Luke 16:22
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.—Of the three terms in common use among the Jews to express the future state of blessedness—(1) the Garden of Eden, or Paradise; (2) the Throne of Glory; (3) the bosom of Abraham—this was the most widely popular. It rested on the idea of a great feast, in which Abraham was the host. To lie in his bosom, as St. John in that of our Lord’s (John 13:23), was to be there as the most favoured guest. And this was the position which was assigned to the beggar, obviously not merely as a compensation for the “evil things” he had endured on earth, but as the crown of the faith and patience with which he had borne them. The being “carried by angels” was literally in accord with the popular Jewish belief. Either good angels in general, or the special guardian angels of the righteous, took on them this office.

The rich man also died, and was buried.—As no mention is made of the burial of the beggar, it is obvious that there is something specially distinctive in the word. It had been, we may imagine, a stately burial, with hired mourners and all the pageantry of woe. such as within a few weeks, or even days, was to be the portion of the historic Lazarus of Bethany.

Luke 16:22. And it came to pass — In a little time; that the beggar died — Worn out with hunger, and pain, and want of all things; and was carried by angels (amazing change of the scene!) into Abraham’s bosom — So the Jews styled paradise; the place or state where the souls of good men remain from death to the resurrection. The expression alludes to the way of representing the felicities of heaven, by sharing a magnificent banquet with Abraham and the other patriarchs; (see Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30;) and nothing could better describe the honour and happiness of Lazarus, who had lain in so wretched a condition before the rich man’s gate, than telling us that he was placed next to Abraham, and so, as the Jews expressed themselves, lay in his bosom, John 13:23. The rich man also died — For death knocks with equal boldness at the sumptuous mansion of the rich, or even at the palace of the prince, and at the cottage of the peasant. This rich man’s purple and fine linen, and his faring sumptuously every day, could not keep death from him: nay, probably these things served to hasten its approach: for various diseases, and even those of a very dreadful and tormenting kind, are frequently the certain consequences of luxury and high living. And was buried — Doubtless with pomp enough, though we do not read of his lying in state: that stupid, senseless pageantry, that shocking insult on a poor putrifying carcass, was reserved for our enlightened age! We read nothing of poor Lazarus’s funeral: and indeed, this is one advantage which the rich have over the poor, their wealth will provide for them a costly funeral! Their clay-cold corpse shall be enclosed in a coffin covered with velvet, many mourners shall be hired to put on a melancholy aspect, a cloak for a glad heart, and horses decked with nodding plumes, shall bear their wretched remains to the cold, senseless tomb! But alas! what is all this pomp to the soul, which, the moment it leaves the body, enters on an eternal scene of bliss or wo! Nay, and even before it leaves it, has views and feelings very different, according to the difference of the state it finds itself to be in, and the apprehensions of coming misery, or expectations of approaching happiness which it entertains. How great was the difference in these respects between the feelings of the rich man and those of Lazarus, when on the verge of eternity! the approach of death being very terrible to the former, while the latter descried the goal with inexpressible joy. And from the moment of their departure, how utterly were all things respecting them reversed! the beggar, being a pious man, finds himself, after being wafted by guardian angels through the unknown regions, laid in Abraham’s bosom; whereas the man that was in high life, having probably always pleased himself with the thought that there would be no future state, is amazed beyond what can be expressed, when he finds himself plunged in the torments of hell.16:19-31 Here the spiritual things are represented, in a description of the different state of good and bad, in this world and in the other. We are not told that the rich man got his estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a man may have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of this world, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sin of this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is a godly man, and one that will hereafter be happy for ever, in the depth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some of the dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflicted in this world. We are not told that the rich man did him any harm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here is the different condition of this godly poor man, and this wicked rich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there are discourses between glorified saints and damned sinners, but this dialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, to which condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, when those who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall not have the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are now called upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it. As wicked people have good things only in this life, and at death are for ever separated from all good, so godly people have evil things only in this life, and at death they are for ever put from them. In this world, blessed be God, there is no gulf between a state of nature and grace, we may pass from sin to God; but if we die in our sins, there is no coming out. The rich man had five brethren, and would have them stopped in their sinful course; their coming to that place of torment, would make his misery the worse, who had helped to show them the way thither. How many would now desire to recall or to undo what they have written or done! Those who would make the rich man's praying to Abraham justify praying to saints departed, go far to seek for proofs, when the mistake of a damned sinner is all they can find for an example. And surely there is no encouragement to follow the example, when all his prayers were made in vain. A messenger from the dead could say no more than what is said in the Scriptures. The same strength of corruption that breaks through the convictions of the written word, would triumph over a witness from the dead. Let us seek to the law and to the testimony, Isa 8:19,20, for that is the sure word of prophecy, upon which we may rest, 2Pe 1:19. Circumstances in every age show that no terrors, or arguments, can give true repentance without the special grace of God renewing the sinner's heart.Was carried by the angels - The Jews held the opinion that the spirits of the righteous were conveyed by angels to heaven at their death. Our Saviour speaks in accordance with this opinion; and as he expressly affirms the fact, it seems as proper that it should be taken literally, as when it is said the rich man died and was buried. Angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation Hebrews 1:14, and there is no more improbability in the supposition that they attend departing spirits to heaven, than that they attend them while on earth.

Abraham's bosom - This is a phrase taken from the practice of reclining at meals, where the head of one lay on the bosom of another, and the phrase, therefore, denotes intimacy and friendship. See the notes at Matthew 23:6. Also John 13:23; John 21:20. The Jews had no doubt that Abraham was in paradise. To say that Lazarus was in his bosom was, therefore, the same as to say that he was admitted to heaven and made happy there. The Jews, moreover, boasted very much of being the friends of Abraham and of being his descendants, Matthew 3:9. To be his friend was, in their view, the highest honor and happiness. Our Saviour, therefore, showed them that this poor and afflicted man might be raised to the highest happiness, while the rich, who prided themselves on their being descended from Abraham, might be cast away and lost forever.

Was buried - This is not said of the poor man. Burial was thought to be an honor, and funerals were, as they are now, often expensive, splendid, and ostentatious. This is said of the rich man to show that he had "every" earthly honor, and all that the world calls happy and desirable.

22. died—His burial was too unimportant to mention; while "the rich man died and was buried"—his carcass carried in pomp to its earthly resting-place.

in to Abraham's bosom—as if seen reclining next to Him at the heavenly feast (Mt 8:11).

See Poole on "Luke 16:19" And it came to pass that the beggar died,.... The death of Christ was not a casual thing, a fortuitous event; it was agreed unto, and settled in the covenant of grace; it was spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament; it was typified by the sacrifices of the law, and other things; it was foretold by Christ himself, and was the end of his coming into this world, wherein the great love, both of him and of his Father, is expressed; and is the main article of the Christian faith; so that this came to pass according to the decrees of God, the counsel, and covenant of peace, the will of Christ, and his predictions, and as the accomplishment of the law, and prophets: it was not a natural, but violent death which Christ died; and yet it was both voluntary and necessary; it was but once, and is of an eternal efficacy, and is a sacrifice acceptable to God; it was not for himself, or any sin of his, who knew none, nor for the angels, and their redemption, whose nature he did not assume; but for men, and for their sins. Christ died not merely as an example to them, or only to confirm his doctrines; but as a substitute, in the room and stead of his people; to atone for their sins, and satisfy divine justice; to procure the pardon of them in a way of justice; to take them away, and utterly abolish them; to bring in an everlasting righteousness; to obtain eternal redemption, and bring such nigh to God who were afar off, and that men might live through him now, and have eternal life by him hereafter:

and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: by Abraham's bosom is meant heaven, a phrase well known to the Jews, by which they commonly expressed the happiness of the future state: of Abraham's happy state they had no doubt; and when they spake of the happiness of another's, they sometimes signified it by going to Abraham; as when the mother of the seven sons, slain by Caesar, saw her youngest going to be sacrificed (p).

"she fell upon him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and said unto him, my son, , "go to Abraham, your father", and tell him, thus saith my mother, &c.''

and sometimes, as here, by being in his bosom. So it is said (q), that Eliezer his servant (Abraham's, the same name with Lazarus) , "is laid in his bosom": and which may refer to the account in the Talmud (r), that when R. Benaah, the painter of caves, came to the cave of Abraham, he found Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, , "standing before him". And it is also said (s) of Rabbi, when he died, , "this day he sits in the bosom of Abraham"; for as it was usual with them to represent the joys of heaven by a feast, so the partaking of them, by sitting down at a table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; see Matthew 8:11 and as their manner at meals was by lying along on couches at eating; he that lay next another might be said to lie, or lean, in his bosom: hence Abraham's bosom came to signify the near and intimate enjoyment of happiness with him in the other world. The ascension of Christ is expressed by a being "carried up into heaven", Luke 24:51 and here he is entered, and has been received, and will be retained, until the time of the restitution of all things; here he is glorified in human nature, sits at the right hand of God, and appears in his presence, on the behalf of his people; and indeed, the ends of his going there, were to receive gifts for them, to be their advocate and intercessor, to take possession of heaven in their name, and prepare that for them, and them for that; and hither "he was carried by angels": these were the chariots in which he rode; and these the guard that attended him, when he was seen, looked upon, and gazed at by them with adoration, faith, and wonder; which shows the ministration of angels to him, and seems to set forth the glory and magnificence in which he ascended; and this agrees with the notions of the Jews, that when good men die, their souls are immediately received by angels, and taken under their care, and carried to heaven. So one of their paraphrasts (t) having mentioned the garden of Eden, which is but another name for heaven with them, adds,

"into which no man can enter but the righteous, whose souls are "carried" thither, , "in the hand", or "by the means" of angels.''

And elsewhere they say (u),

"with the Shekinah come three ministering angels to receive the soul of a righteous man.''

Particularly it is said of Moses, at the time of his death (w), that

"the holy blessed God descended from the highest heavens, to take the soul of Moses, and three ministering angels with him.''

And sometimes they say (x), not only three angels, but three companies of angels attend at such a time: their words are these;

"when a righteous man departs out of the world, three companies of ministering angels meet him; one says to him, "come in peace"; and another says, "walking in his uprightness" and the other says, "he shall enter into peace", &c.''

No mention is made in this parable of the burial of this man, nor any words used expressive of it, or that in the least hint it. The reason is, because Christ lay so short a time in the grave, and he was not left there, nor did he see corruption; but in a very little while was raised from the dead, and delivered from the power of the grave; when, after some stay on earth, he was attended by angels to the highest heavens: for this is to be understood, not of his soul being had to paradise immediately upon his separation from the body; but of his ascension to heaven after his resurrection, when he was escorted by angels thither.

The rich man also died. This may be understood both of the natural death of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, though they were dignified persons, were as gods, yet were mortal, and died like men; see Psalm 82:6 compared with John 10:34 and they died in their sins, in their unbelief of the Messiah, and so were damned; in their impenitence and hardness of heart, for as they thought they needed no repentance, they were not called unto it; and in the sin against the Holy Ghost, blaspheming the miracles of Christ done by him, and which was a sin unto death; and under the power and guilt of all their other sins, and so were lost and perished. And it may also be understood of the political and ecclesiastical death of the Jewish people; which lay in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the temple, and in the abolition of the temple worship, and of the whole ceremonial law; a "Lo-ammi" was written upon their church state, and the covenant between God and them was broken; the Gospel was removed from them, which was as death, as the return of it, and their call by it, will be as life from the dead; as well as their place and nation, their civil power and authority were taken away from them by the Romans: and a death of afflictions, by captivity and calamities, of every kind, have attended them ever since. And it is to be observed, that Lazarus died before the rich man, as Christ died before the destruction of the Jewish polity and church state: the city and sanctuary were not destroyed, nor the daily sacrifice made to cease, nor the consummation, and that determined, poured upon the desolate, until some time after the Messiah was cut off, according to the prophecy in Daniel 7:26. Moreover, no mention is made of the rich man being carried by angels, as Lazarus was; and if he was, he was carried, not by the good, but by the evil angels, and not into Abraham's bosom, but to hell. So the Jews (y) say,

"if a soul is worthy, how many holy troops, or companies, are ready to join it, and bring it up into paradise? but if not worthy, how many strange troops are ready to bring it in the way of hell? these are the troops of the destroying angels.''

continued...

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 16:22-23. Ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτόν] not his soul merely (“non possunt ingredi Paradisum nisi justi, quorum animae eo feruntur per angelos,” Targum on Cantic. Luke 4:12), but the dead person who is not buried (as the rich man was, Luke 16:23), but instead thereof is carried away by the angels (“antequam egrederentur socii ex hac area, mortui sunt R. Jose et R. Chiskia et R. Jesa; et viderunt, quod angeli sancti eos deportarent in illud velum expansum,” Idra Rabba, 1137 f.), and that too into Abraham’s bosom, where he lives once more and is blessed (Luke 16:24 f.). Ewald also, and Schegg, hold the correct view. The usual device, that the burial of the poor man was left without mention, as being worthy of no consideration, is an evasion, the more arbitrary in proportion as the narrative is a fictitious one, the doctrine of which indeed concerns only the condition of the souls in Hades, while its concrete poetic representation concerns the whole man; hence Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 359, mistaking very inconsiderately the poetic character of the description, calls our explanation folly.

εἰς τὸν κόλπ. Ἀβρ.] בחיקו של אברהם, among the Rabbins also a frequent sensuous representation of special blessedness in Paradise,[209] where the departed referred to are in intimate fellowship with the patriarch who loves them (resting on his breast). Comp. Wetstein. See also 4Ma 13:16, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob receive the dead into their bosom. The κόλπ. Ἀβρ. is therefore not of the same import as Paradise, Luke 23:43, but Abraham is in Paradise (comp. on John 8:56), and has there received Lazarus to his bosom. The representation of a repast (Grotius, Bengel, Michaelis, Kuinoel, and others) does not belong to this place, but refers to the Messianic kingdom (Matthew 8:11).

καὶ ἐτάφη] so that therefore it was not with him as it was with Lazarus, who was carried by the angels, etc. It is usually supposed by way of addition to this: splendidly, in accordance with his position, and the like. This is purely arbitrary.

Luke 16:23. Hades corresponds to the Hebrew Sheol, which in the LXX. is translated by ᾅδης, and hence denotes the whole subterranean place of abode of departed souls until the resurrection, divided into Paradise (Luke 23:43) for the pious, and Gehenna for the godless. Ruth R. Luke 1:1 : “Illi descendunt in Paradisum, hi vero descendunt in Gehennam.” That ᾅδης in itself does not mean the place of punishment alone—hell, although the context may bring with it the reference thereto, is very clearly evident in the New Testament from Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31.[210] This is in opposition to West in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 265. From the Old Testament, compare especially Genesis 37:35. The reward and punishment in Hades is a preliminary one until the full retribution after resurrection and judgment. The upper Paradise, which is in heaven, is not to be confounded with that lower one. See on 2 Corinthians 12:3 f.

ἐν τῷ ἅδῃ] which region of Hades is meant, is shown by the context. Moreover, let it be observed that the poetry of the narrative transfers even the rich man as to his whole person to Hades, see Luke 16:24, whither he, however, comes down from the grave.[211]

ἐπάρας τ. ὀφθ. ὁρᾷ Ἀβρ.] for “Paradisus et Gehenna ita posita sunt, ut ex uno in alterum prospiciant,” Midr. on Ecclesiastes 7:14. Paradise is not conceived of as higher in situation (see, on the other hand, Luke 16:26), but the rich man in his torment has not yet until now lifted up his eyes in order to look around him, beyond his nearest neighbourhood.

ἐν τοῖς κόλποις] the plural, as is often the case also in the classical writers since Homer.

[209] Not of the heavenly blessedness, in respect of which the κόλπος Ἀβρ. has been made into “sinus gratiae divinae, in quem Abraham pater credentium receptus est” (Calovius). In this way dogmatic theology is at no loss to come to terms with exegesis, maintaining that the sinus Abrahae is not to be understood subjectively, “quasi ab Abrahamo et in ipsius sinu receptus Lazarus sit” (and this is nevertheless the only correct view), but objectively, as that bosom which “Abrahamum ceu objectum fovet in complexu suo.” Even Lechler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 820 f., doubts that an abode of Abraham in Hades may be meant; but without sufficient reason. His reason, at least,—that the angels elsewhere bring about the intercourse between earth and heaven, not between earth and Sheol,—is not to the purpose. For the angels have also, in the passage before us, the service of mediation between heaven and earth; they are sent from heaven to the earth to bear Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom in the paradise of Sheol. The reveries of the later Jews about the angels in the lower paradise, see in Eisenmenger, II. p. 309 ff.

[210] Comp. Güder in Herzog’s Encyklop. V. p. 442, and see Grotius on the passage.

[211] In view of the poetic character of these representations, it is very precarious (see Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychol. p. 429 ff.) to seek to gather from them anything on the constitution of a psychical body in the intermediate state (to give instruction on which subject is not at all the purpose of the narrative). Scripture (even 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.) leaves us without any disclosure on this point; hence all the less are we to give heed to declarations of clairvoyants, and to theosophic and other kind of speculations.Luke 16:22. The end comes to the two men.—ἀπενεχθῆναι: the poor man dies, and is carried by angels into the bosom of Abraham; the man, body and soul (so Meyer), but of course this is poetry. What really happened to the carcase is passed over in delicate reserve.—ἐτάφη: of course Dives was buried with all due pomp, his funeral worth mentioning. (“It is not said that the poor man was buried because of the meanness of poor men’s burial, but it is said expressly of the rich man, διὰ τὸ πολυτελὲς τῆς τῶν πλουσίων ταφῆς.” Euthy. Zig.)22. into Abrahams bosom] Comp. Luke 13:28. This expression is used as a picture for the banquet of Paradise (comp. Numbers 11:12; John 1:18; John 13:23, and Josephus, De Maccab. 13).

the rich man also died] “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave,” Job 21:13.

and was buried] Nothing is said of the pauper-funeral of Lazarus. In one touch our Lord shews how little splendid obsequies can avail to alter the judgment of heaven.

“One second, and the angels alter that.”Luke 16:22. Ἀπενεχθῆναι) He was carried away, from the place that was strange to him (in which he was an alien) to his true country.—αὐτὸν, that he) i.e. his soul: inasmuch as Abraham also is designated in reference to the soul [not the body], although his bosom, and the finger of Lazarus, as also the tongue of the rich man, are mentioned.—εἰς τὸν κόλπον, into the bosom) as his own genuine son, the coheir and sharer of the same table with Abraham, who “sits down” to the banquet in the kingdom of the heavens [Matthew 8:11]. An abbreviated mode of expression: For the bosom presupposes the banquet; the banquet presupposes the kingdom of the heavens. Lazarus attained to the kingdom of the heavens; nay more, to the banquet: nay even to the bosom of Abraham. Lazarus afterwards having become more intimately united to Abraham, is said to be ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ, Luke 16:23, in the plural.[176] The Jews used to call the good state of the dead the bosom of Abraham, and the garden of Eden, with which comp. Luk 32:43. See Lightfoot on this passage.—καὶ, also) Often two men die at the one time, who during life were next neighbours.—ἐτάφη, was buried) with great pomp. This formed the conclusion of those “good things,” which the rich man received: see Luke 16:25.

[176] An allusion to the folds of the garment on the bosom, or in the lap.—E. and T.Verse 22. - And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. At last kind death came, and relieved Lazarus of his sufferings. His dismissal, as might have been expected, preceded that of the rich man; for he was enfeebled by a deadly disease. We must not, of course, press too much the details we find in parables; still, from our Lord's way of speaking of the great change in the cases of both Lazarus and Dives, it would seem as though there was absolutely no pause between the two lives of this world and the world to come. The rich man evidently is pictured as closing his eyes upon his gorgeous surroundings here, and opening them directly again upon his cheerless surroundings there. Lazarus is described as being borne at once into Abraham's bosom. Indeed, some interpret the words as signifying that the body as well as the soul was carried by angels into Paradise. It is, however, better, with Calvin, to understand the expression as alluding only to Lazarus's soul; of the body of the pauper nothing was said, as men probably contemptuously, if not carelessly, buried it with the burial rites which such homeless, friendless ones too often receive. The place whither the blest Lazarus went is termed "Abraham's bosom." This term was used by the Jews indifferently, with "the garden of Eden," or "under the throne of glory," for the home of happy but waiting souls. The rich man also died, and was buried. There is a terrible irony here in this mention of burial. This human pageantry of woe was for the rich man what the carrying by the angels into Abraham's bosom was for Lazarus - it was his equivalent; but while these empty honours were being paid to his senseless, deserted body, the rich man was already gazing on the surroundings of his new and cheerless home. After the moment's sleep of death, what an awakening! Abraham's bosom

A Rabbinical phrase, equivalent to being with Abraham in Paradise. "To the Israelite Abraham seems the personal centre and meeting-point of Paradise" (Goebel).

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