Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They have Moses and the prophets.—The words are in entire harmony with all the teaching of our Lord. The right use of lower knowledge is the condition of attaining to the higher, and without it signs and wonders avail but little: “He that hath, to him shall be given” (Mark 4:25); “He that willeth to do the will of God,” so far as he knows it, “shall know of the doctrine” which Christ came to proclaim, “whether it be of God” (John 7:17). It was because the scribes and their followers were unfaithful in a little, that more was denied them. “Moses and the Prophets” were enough to teach them that a life of self-indulgent luxury was evil in itself, and therefore must bring with it, in the end, shame and condemnation. (Comp. Notes on John 5:45-46.)
The prophets - The remainder of the Old Testament. What the prophets had written.
send him to my father's house, &c.—no waking up of good in the heart of the lost, but bitter reproach against God and the old economy, as not warning him sufficiently [Trench]. The answer of Abraham is, They are sufficiently warned.
They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. God will have men believe the propositions of His word, and live up to the rule of life prescribed there, and not expect to have their curiosity satisfied by needless and extraordinary revelations. But is there then no need of the gospel to bring men to heaven? Doubtless there is, but that is included in Moses and the prophets, who all prophesied of Christ, though more darkly than he is revealed in the New Testament.
Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me, John 5:39,46, Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me: now they at that time had no Scriptures to search but those of Moses and the prophets; for the New Testament was not at that time written.
they have Moses and the prophets; that is, their writings; which shows this man, and his five brethren, to be Jews; for to them were the oracles of God committed; and these had the writings of Moses and the prophets read to them every sabbath day; and is true, whether the contemporaries and immediate successors of the Pharisees are meant, or the ten tribes: and also shows, that one view of the parable, is to establish the authority of these writings; see Luke 16:16 and that it is a peculiar privilege to have them; and that they ought to be attended to and regarded;
let them hear them; for they testified concerning Christ, and concerning the sins of the Jews, and the calamities, both temporal and eternal, that should come upon them; and which, testimony was sufficient to leave them without excuse: and indeed, the word of God, read, explained, and heard, is the ordinary means of conversion, or of bringing men to faith and repentance.Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 16:29. Μωσέα, etc.: cf. Luke 18:20, where Jesus refers the ruler to the commandments. Moses, or the law, and the prophets = the O.T., the appointed, regular means of grace.29. They have Moses and the prophets] See John 1:45; John 5:39; John 5:46.Luke 16:29. Λέγει, saith) Abraham gives no answer on the point, whether Lazarus could be sent by him to the brothers of the rich man. There is not, certainly, such a wide gulf separating from the earth either heaven or hell, as separates the two latter from one another.—Μωσέα, Moses) A personification for the Law, appropriately used here as being in antithesis to Lazarus. It is just the same as if they had Moses face to face. [Besides these means of conviction, we are supplied amply with the words of Christ and the writings of His witnesses, by whom also the resurrection from the dead is solemnly affirmed.—V. g.] The scope of this narrative is to commend Scripture, which the Pharisees despised, being ‘covetous,’ Luke 16:14, ‘justifying’ and “exalting themselves,” Luke 16:15, and despising the law, Luke 16:17, all which feelings of the Pharisees are utterly swept away by Scripture. Moses and the prophets are here considered especially, inasmuch (in so far) as they testify concerning Christ Jesus, Luke 16:16, whom the Pharisees were deriding, Luke 16:14.—ἀκουσάτωσαν, let them hear) This is said sternly. No man is compelled. It is in the believing hearing of the word that we are saved, not by means of apparitions. Herod, as being one not desirous to hear, is not permitted to see a miracle. The question as to men’s state after death is less openly and less at large treated of in the Old Testament [than in the New]; and yet that which is revealed on the subject must suffice for leading men (the Jews) to repent. They are mistaken who suppose that it is only by the revelation of those mysteries that the ungodly are to be gained over to religion.Verse 29. - Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. The reply of Abraham was especially addressed to those Jews who were standing round him and even asking for a sign. They had all read and heard again and again the Books of Moses and the records of the prophets; if these guides had failed to show them the right way, a special messenger sent to them would be quite useless.
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