Luke 16:9
And I say to you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) And I say unto you.—The pronoun is emphatic, and stands, as in Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:32, in contrast with what had gone before.

Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.—On “mammon,” comp. Note on Matthew 6:24. The word was Syriac in its origin, and was found also, as Augustine testifies, in Punic. It was in common use in the Targums or Paraphrases of the Old Testament, in our Lord’s time, for “wealth” or “riches,” and possibly, as stated by Tertullian, whose authority, as a Carthaginian, may be admitted as of some weight, was applied to some Syrian deity who, like the Greek Plutus, was worshipped as wealth personified. If we admit this view, it explains, what otherwise it is not easy to explain, St. Luke’s introduction of the Syriac word instead of its Greek equivalent. “The mammon of unrighteousness,” the genitive having the same force as in Luke 16:8, is the wealth to which that character for the most part attaches, wealth wrongly gained and wrongly spent. And yet “of that mammon”—or better, out of, or with, the mammon—men are to make friends. The right use of wealth in helping the poor, making men happier and better, leading them to repentance and to God, will gain for us friends, perhaps the very persons whom we have helped, perhaps the angels of God who rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, perhaps even Christ and the Father, who will receive us into “everlasting habitations.”

That, when ye fail, . . .—The better MSS. give “that when it fails,” so the “mammon,” or riches, on which men set their hearts.

Into everlasting habitations.—Literally, everlasting tabernacles. The word seems chosen, in contrast to the “houses” of Luke 16:4, perhaps in contrast to the “booths” of leaves or branches, transitory and withering in a few days, which entered into the ritual of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:40, Nehemiah 8:15), or with the “tents” which were the symbol of the transitory promises of the older Patriarchs (Hebrews 11:9.)

16:1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we have only the use of it, according to the direction of our great Lord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods. And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannot deny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This may teach us that death will come, and deprive us of the opportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of his lord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable part of their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parable commended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In that respect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice of their object, are foolish; but in their activity, and perseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjust steward is not set before us as an example in cheating his master, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out the careful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children of light would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would as earnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signify spiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoards up what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, what evidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ? The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich in faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises; let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.I say unto you - I, Jesus, say to you, my disciples.

Make to yourselves friends - Some have understood the word "friends," here, as referring to the poor; others, to holy angels; and others, to God. Perhaps, however, the word should not be considered as referring to any particular "persons," but is used in accordance with the preceding parable; for in the application our Saviour uses the "language" appropriated to the conduct of the steward to express the "general" truth that we are to make a proper use of riches. The steward had so managed his pecuniary affairs as to secure future comfort for himself, or so as to find friends that would take care of him "beyond" the time when he was put out of the office. That is, he would not be destitute, or cast off, or without comfort, when he was removed from his office. So, says our Saviour to the publicans and those who had property, so use your property as "to secure" happiness and comfort beyond the time when you shall be removed from the present life. "Have reference," in the use of your money, to the future.

Do not use it so that it shall not avail you anything hereafter; but so employ it that, as the steward found friends, comfort, and a home by "his" wisdom in the use of it, so "you" may, after you are removed to another world, find friends, comfort, and a home - that is, may be happy in heaven. Jesus, here, does not say that we should do it "in the same way" that the steward did, for that was unjust; but only that we should "secure the result." This may be done by using our riches as we "should do;" that is, by not suffering them to entangle us in cares and perplexities dangerous to the soul, engrossing the time, and stealing away the affections; by employing them in works of mercy and benevolence, aiding the poor, contributing to the advance of the gospel, bestowing them where they will do good, and in such a manner that God will "approve" the deed, and will bless us for it. Commonly riches are a "hindrance" to piety. To many they are snares; and, instead of positively "benefiting" the possessor, they are an injury, as they engross the time and the affections, and do not contribute at all to the eternal welfare of the soul. Everything may, by a proper use, be made to contribute to our welfare in heaven. Health, wealth, talents, and influence may be so employed; and this is what our Saviour doubtless means here.

Of the mammon - "By means" of the mammon.

Mammon - A Syriac word meaning riches. It is used, also, as an idol the god of riches.

Of unrighteousness - These words are an Hebrew expression for "unrighteous mammon," the noun being used for an adjective, as is common in the New Testament. The word "unrighteous," here, stands opposed to "the true riches" in Luke 16:11, and means "deceitful, false, not to be trusted." It has this meaning often. See 1 Timothy 6:17; Luke 12:33; Matthew 6:19; Matthew 19:21. It does not signify, therefore, that they had acquired the property "unjustly," but that property was "deceitful" and not to be trusted. The wealth of the steward was deceitful; he could not rely on its continuance; it was liable to be taken away at any moment. So the wealth of the world is deceitful. We cannot "calculate" on its continuance. It may give us support or comfort now, but it may be soon removed, or we taken from "it," and we should, therefore, so use it as to derive benefit from it hereafter.

When ye fail - When ye "are left," or when ye "die." The expression is derived from the parable as referring to the "discharge" of the steward; but it refers to "death," as if God then "discharged" his people, or took them from their stewardship and called them to account.

They may receive you - This is a form of expression denoting merely "that you may be received." The plural form is used because it was used in the corresponding place in the parable, Luke 16:4. The direction is, so to use our worldly goods that "we may be received" into heaven when we die. "God" will receive us there, and we are to employ our property so that he will not cast us off for abusing it.

Everlasting habitations - Heaven, the eternal "home" of the righteous, where all our wants will be supplied, and where there can be no more anxiety, and no more removal from enjoyments, 2 Corinthians 5:1.

9. Make … friends of—Turn to your advantage; that is, as the steward did, "by showing mercy to the poor" (Da 4:27; compare Lu 12:33; 14:13, 14).

mammon of unrighteousness—treacherous, precarious. (See on [1678]Mt 6:24).

ye fail—in respect of life.

they may receive you—not generally, "ye may be received" (as Lu 6:38, "shall men give"), but "those ye have relieved may rise up as witnesses for you" at the great day. Then, like the steward, when turned out of one home shall ye secure another; but better than he, a heavenly for an earthly, an everlasting for a temporary habitation. Money is not here made the key to heaven, more than "the deeds done in the body" in general, according to which, as a test of character—but not by the merit of which—men are to be judged (2Co 5:10, and see Mt 25:34-40).

That by mammon here is meant riches is universally agreed, but whether it originally be a Chaldaic, or Syriac, or Punic word is not so well agreed. The Chaldee paraphrast useth it, Hosea 5:11; but the Hebrew there is quite otherwise, (according to our translation), he willingly walked after the commandment. But if the notion of those be true, that some of those nations had an idol called Mammon, whom they made the god of riches, answering the Grecian Plutus, it fairly interprets the Chaldee paraphrast. They followed the command for idolatry, for such was Jeroboam’s commandment, mentioned in that text, and from thence it might be that the Syrians and Punics called riches mammon. We have the word in the New Testament four times, thrice in this chapter, once Matthew 6:24. It is called the mammon of unrighteousness, by a Hebraism; it is as much as, the unrighteous mammon: by which we must not understand ill gotten goods, (for God hateth robbery for a burnt offering), we must restore such goods, not make friends of them; but riches are so called, because of the manifold temptations to sin which arise from them, upon which account they are also called deceitful. But others think that it is so called in opposition to the true riches, mentioned Luke 16:11. So that the mammon of unrighteousness is the mammon of falsehood, or hurtful riches, riches of hurtfulness (adicia sometimes signifies hurt or wrong, and adicein, laedere, nocere). Of these riches, which are no true riches, and which deceive the soul, and do hurt and mischief to a soul, exposing it to temptation, Christ commands us to make friends; either,

1. To make God our friend, not by meriting from him any thing by our disposal of them, but by obedience to his will in our distribution of them. Or:

2. To make poor Christians our friends, so as we may have their prayers. So that, when ye fail, when you die, when you fail of any more comfort from them, they may receive you into everlasting habitations; the holy Trinity, or the blessed angels, (whose work it is, as we shall hear, to carry souls into Abraham’s bosom), may receive you into heaven. And I say unto you,.... These are the words of Christ, as are also the latter part of the preceding verse, accommodating and applying the parable to his disciples, and for their instruction:

make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness: by "mammon" are designed riches, wealth, and substance; See Gill on Matthew 6:24 and is called "mammon of unrighteousness", because such wealth is often unrighteously detained, and is not made use of to right and good purposes, by the owners of it; or because, generally speaking, it is possessed by unrighteous men; and, for the most part, used in an unrighteous manner, in luxury, pride and intemperance, and is the root, instrument, and means of such unrighteousness: or it maybe rendered "mammon of hurt", or "hurtful mammon"; as it often is to those who are over anxious and desirous of it, or other disuse or misuse of it: or, as best of all, "mammon of falsehood", or "deceitful mammon"; so in the Targum (w), frequent mention is made of , "mammon of falsity"; and stands opposed to "true riches" in Luke 16:10 for worldly riches are very empty and fallacious; wherefore deceitfulness is ascribed to them; and they are called uncertain riches, which are not to be depended upon. Matthew 13:22 unless it should be rather thought that it is so called, because gotten in an unrighteous way; as it was by Zacchaeus, and might be by Matthew, one of the disciples, Christ now speaks to, and the publicans and sinners, who were lately become his followers, and whom he advises, as the highest piece of wisdom and prudence, to dispose of in such a manner, as of it to "make" themselves "friends"; not God, Father, Son, and Spirit. These indeed are friends to the saints, but they are not made so by money; reconciliation and redemption are not procured this way; nor is the favour of the judge to be got by such means; the only means of reconciliation, are the blood and death of Christ; though indeed acts of beneficence, rightly performed, are well pleasing to God: nor are the angels meant, who are very friendly to all good men; nor rich men, to whom riches are not to be given, Proverbs 22:16 but rather riches themselves, which, if not rightly used, and so made friends of, will cry, and be a witness against the owners of them, James 5:1 though it may be the poor saints are intended; who by their prayers are capable of doing either a great deal of hurt, or a great deal of good; and it is the interest of rich men to make them their friends:

that when ye fail: of money; or "that fails", as the Ethiopic version reads; or rather, when ye leave that, that is, when ye die; so in Jeremiah 42:22 "know certainly that ye shall die"; the Septuagint renders it, "ye shall fall by the sword", &c.

they may receive you into everlasting habitations: the mansions of glory, which are many, and of an eternal duration: this is to be understood of their being received thither, not by the poor, to whom they have been benefactors; for though these may now pray for their reception to glory when they die, and will hereafter rejoice at their reception thither; yet they themselves will not be receivers of them, or their introducers into the everlasting tents, or tabernacles: nor are the angels intended, who carry the souls of the righteous into Abraham's bosom, and will gather the elect together at the last day; for not they, but God and Christ, receive the saints to glory: the words may be rendered impersonally, "you may be received"; in a way of welldoing, though not for it; mention is made of the "everlasting tabernacles", in

"Their glory also will I take unto me, and give these the everlasting tabernacles, which I had prepared for them.'' (2 Esdras 2:11)

and so the phrase may be rendered here, as opposed to the earthly and perishable tabernacles of the body 2 Corinthians 5:1

(w) Targum in Job 27.8. & in Isa v. 23. & xxxiii. 15. & in Ezekiel 22.27. & in Hos. v. 11.

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon {c} of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting {d} habitations.

(c) This is not spoken of goods that are gotten wrongly, for God will have our bountifulness to the poor proceed and come from a good fountain: but he calls those things riches of iniquity which men use wickedly.

(d) That is, the poor Christians: for they are the inheritors of these habitations; Theophylact.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 16:9, giving the application of the whole parable for His disciples who were present

κἀγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, not: κἀγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν comp. on Luke 11:9. κἀγώ corresponds to the preceding ὁ κύριος, and ὑμῖν to τὸν οἰκον. τῆς ἀδικ. As the master praised that steward on account of his prudence, so also must I commend to you an analogous prudent course of conduct,[194] but in how much higher a sense!

ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς φίλους κ.τ.λ.] provide for yourselves friends, etc. It is evident whom Jesus means by these friends from the final sentence, ἵνα δέξωνται ὑμᾶς κ.τ.λ. Those who receive you, to wit, are the angels (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27); and these are made friends of by the beneficent application of riches (comp. Luke 15:10; Matthew 18:10; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 24:31). Thus they correspond to the χρεωφειλεταῖς of the parable, but indirectly. Ambrose, at so early a period, has this true interpretation, and very recently Ewald. The reference to God (Wolf, Kuinoel, Niedner, and others) or to Christ (Olshausen), either alone or with the addition of the angels (see also Bleek), is not appropriate, since the reception into the Messiah’s kingdom is the duty of the ministering spirits, accompanied by whom the Lord appears in His glory (Luke 9:26). According to the usual interpretation, those to whom deeds of love have been done, the poor, etc., are meant (so also Wieseler, Meuss, Lahmeyer), whose gratitude is earned as the steward has earned the gratitude of the debtors. But in this case ἵνα δέξωνται ὑμᾶς must be subjected to a strained interpretation. See below. The ἑαυτοῖς, to yourselves, standing emphatically even before ποιής. in B L R א* Tisch., corresponds to the idea that the (higher) analogy of an application for their own use, as in the case of that steward, is to be admitted.

ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΜΑΜ. Τῆς ἈΔΙΚ] ἘΚ denotes that the result proceeds from making use of Mammon, Matthiae, p. 1333; Bernhardy, p. 230; Ellendt, Lex Soph. I. p. 550 f. But Mammon, the idea of which is, moreover, in no way to be extended to the totality of the earthly life (Eylau), is not to be taken in this place as at Luke 16:13, personally (comp. on Matthew 6:24), but as neuter, as at Luke 16:11, wealth.

Τῆς ἈΔΙΚΊΑς] Genitivus qualitatis, as at Luke 16:8 : of the unrighteous Mammon. As at Luke 16:8 this predicate is attached to the steward, because he had acted unrighteously towards his lord, so here it is attached to wealth, because it, as in the case of that steward, serves, according to usual experience (comp. Luke 18:24 f.), as an instrument of unrighteous dealing. The moral characteristic of the use of it is represented as adhering to itself. Other explanations, instead of being suggested by the context, are read into the passage isolated from the context, to wit, that of Jerome, Augustine,[195] Calvin, Olearius, Maldonatus, Lightfoot, Bertholdt, Rosenmüller, Möller, Bornemann, and others: opes injuste partae (comp. Euthymius Zigabenus: ὡς ἐξ ἀδικίας θησαυρισθέντα, τῆς ἐκ τοῦ μὴ διαμερίζεσθαι τὰ περιττὰ τούτου τοῖς πένησιν); that of Drusius, Michaelis, Schreiter, Kuinoel, Wieseler, and others (comp. Dettinger and H. Bauer): opes fallaces, or wealth which allures (Löffler, Köster); that of Paulus (Exeg. Handb.): that Mammon is designated as unrighteous towards the disciples, to whom he has communicated little; that of Schulz and Olshausen: opes impias (Olshausen: “the bond by which every individual is linked to the αἰὼν οὗτος and its princes”); that of Heppe: that wealth is so designated as being no true actual possession (Luke 16:11); and others. Moreover, a hidden irony (Eylau) against an Ebionitic error of the disciples, as if they had imputed to what is earthly in itself the character of ἀδικία, is remote from the words, since the predicate is taken from the conduct of the steward. There are analogous expressions of the Targumists, in which the characteristic peculiarity of Mammon is given by means of a superadded substantive (as ממון דשקר, דרשע ממון); see in Lightfoot, p. 844. The value of the predicate Τῆς ἈΔΙΚ., so far as the structure of the discourse is concerned, seems to be, that this application of wealth for selfish advantage is entirely conformable to the improba indoles thereof, according to which it allows itself to be used, instead of only for the purpose of serving the interest of its possessor (Mammon), for the selfish advantage of those who have it to administer. The epithet is contemptuous. Ye cannot, considering its nature, better make use of so worthless a thing! Bornemann, Schol. p. 98 ff., and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 116 ff., finds the whole precept ΠΟΙΉΣΑΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ. to be in contradiction with the moral teaching of Christ, and conjectures: Οὐ ΠΟΙΉΣΕΤΕ Κ.Τ.Λ., “non facietis (nolite facere) vobis amicos ex opibus injuste collectis,” etc.,[196] without any trace in the evidence for the text. And the doubt of Bornemann is solved by the consideration that (1) Jesus does not bid the disciples provide themselves with Mammon in a similar way to the steward (the steward did not provide himself with wealth at all, rather he bestowed it on the debtors, but for his own advantage), but to apply the riches which they, as having hitherto been οἰκονόμοι of Mammon, still had at their disposal, in a similar way to that steward, to make themselves friends; (2) that Jesus requires of His disciples to forsake all (Luke 5:27, Luke 18:22 ff., comp. Luke 12:33) is the less in conflict with the passage before us, that at that time there were around Him so many publicans and sinners who had previously entered into His service (out of the service of Mammon), and for these the words of Jesus contained the command to forsake all just in the special form appropriate to the relations in which they stood. In respect of μαθητάς, Luke 16:1, we are not to conceive exclusively only of the Twelve, and of such as already had forsaken all; (3) our text does not conflict with the context (Luke 16:13), as it rather claims in substance the giving up of the service of Mammon, and its claim corresponds to the μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν κ.τ.λ., besides allowing the idea of laying up treasure in heaven (see ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλ. κ.τ.λ.) to appear in a concrete form.

ὅταν ἐκλείπῃ] (see the critical remarks) when it fails, i.e. when it ceases. Comp. Luke 22:32; Hebrews 1:12; Xen. Hell. Luke 1:5. 2 : ἐχων δὲ ἥκειν τάλαντα πεντακόσια· ἐὰν δὲ ταῦτα ἑκλίπῃ κ.τ.λ.; 1 Samuel 9:7; 1Ma 3:29; 1Ma 3:45; Sir 14:19; Sir 42:24; and frequently in the LXX. and in the Apocrypha. This ὅταν ἐκλ. indeed corresponds to the point of the parable: ὅταν μετασταθῶ, Luke 16:4, but signifies in the application intended to be made—the catastrophe of the Parousia, at the appearance of which, in the σχῆμα τοῦ κοσμου τούτου which precedes it, the temporal riches come to an end and cease to exist (Luke 6:24; Jam 5:1 ff.; Luke 17:26 ff.), whereas then the treasures laid up in heaven (Matthew 6:20; Luke 12:33; Luke 18:22) occupy their place (comp. also 1 Timothy 6:19), and the complete ἀπάτη of riches (Matthew 13:22) is revealed. This reference to the Parousia is required in the context by the αἰωνίους σκηνάς, whereby the setting up of the kingdom (here also conceived of as near) is referred to. The Recepta ἐκλίπητε[197] would mean: when ye shall have died (Plat. Legg. 6. p. 759 E, 9. p. 836 E; Xen. Cyr. 8:7. 26; Isaiah 11:10, LXX; Genesis 25:8; Genesis 49:33; Tob 14:11; Test. XII. Patr. p. 529). But after death that which is first to be expected is not the kingdom of Messiah, or the life in heaven to which reference is usually made (even by Bleek), but the paradise in Sheol (Luke 16:22), to which, however, the predicate αἰωνίους is not appropriate (in opposition to Engelhardt). Moreover, Jesus could not refer His disciples to the condition after their death, since, according to the synoptic Gospels (and see also on John 14:3), He had placed the Parousia and the setting up of the kingdom in the lifetime even of that generation[198] (Luke 16:9. ἐγὼ: the use of the emphatic pronoun seems to involve that here begins the comment of Jesus on the parable, Luke 16:8 being spoken by the master and a part of the parable. But J. Weiss (in Meyer) views this verse as a second application put into the mouth of Jesus, but not spoken by Him, having for its author the compiler from whom Lk. borrowed (Feine’s Vork. Lukas). He finds in Luke 16:8-13 three distinct applications, one by Jesus, Luke 16:8; one by the compiler of precanonical Lk., Luke 16:9; and one by Lk. himself, Luke 16:10-13. This analysis is plausible, and tempting as superseding the difficult problem of finding a connection between these sentences, viewed as the utterance of one Speaker, the Author of the parable. Luke 16:9 explicitly states what Luke 16:8 implies, that the prudence is to be shown in the way of making friends.—φίλους: the friends are not named, but the next parable throws light on that point. They are the poor, the Lazaruses whom Dives did not make friends of—to his loss. The counsel is to use wealth in doing kindness to the poor, and the implied doctrine that doing so will be to our eternal benefit. Both counsel and doctrine are held to apply even when wealth has been ill-gotten. Friends of value for the eternal world can be gained even by the mammon of unrighteousness. The more ill-gotten the more need to be redeemed by beneficent use; only care must be taken not to continue to get money by unrighteousness in order to have wherewith to do charitable deeds, a not uncommon form of counterfeit philanthropy, which will not count in the Kingdom of Heaven. The name for wealth here is very repulsive, seeming almost to imply that wealth per se is evil, though that Jesus did not teach.—ἐκλίπῃ, when it (wealth) fails, as it must at death. The other reading, ἐκλίπητε (T.R.), means “when ye die,” so used in Genesis 25:8.—αἰωνίους σκηνάς, eternal tents, a poetic paradox = Paradise, the poor ye treated kindly there to welcome you! Believing it to be impossible that Jesus could give advice practically suggesting the doing of evil that good might come, Bornemann conjectures that an οὐ has fallen out before ποιήσετε (fut.), giving as the real counsel: do not make, etc.9. Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness] The Greek may mean either Make the unrighteous mammon your friend; or make yourselves friends by your use of the unrighteous mammon. There is no proof that Mammon is the Hebrew equivalent to Plutus, the Greek god of wealth (Matthew 6:24). Mammon simply means wealth and is called ‘unrighteous’ by metonymy (i.e. the ethical character of the use is represented as cleaving to the thing itself) because the abuse of riches is more common than their right use (1 Timothy 6:10).

It is not therefore necessary to give to the word ‘unrighteous’ the sense of ‘false’ or ‘unreal,’ though sometimes in the LXX. it has almost that meaning. We turn mammon into a friend, and make ourselves friends by its means, when we use riches not as our own to squander, but as God’s to employ in deeds of usefulness and mercy.

when ye fail] i.e. when ye die; but some good MSS. read “when it (mammon) fails,” which the true riches never do (Luke 12:33).

they may receive you] The ‘they’ are either the poor who have been made friends by the right use of wealth; or the word is impersonal, as in Luke 12:11; Luke 12:20, Luke 23:31. The latter sense seems to be the best, for it is only by a very secondary and subordinate analogy that those whom we aid by a right use of riches can be said (‘by their prayers on earth, or their testimony in heaven’) to ‘receive’ us.

into everlasting habitations] Rather, into the eternal tents, John 14:2. “And give these the everlasting tabernacles which I had prepared for them,” 2Es 2:11. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:1; Isaiah 33:20, and see p. 384). The general duty inculcated is that of “laying up treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:20; comp. 1 Timothy 6:17-19). There is no Ebionite reprobation of riches as riches here; only a warning not to trust in them. (Mark 10:24.)Luke 16:9. Ποιήσατεἵνα ἵτανδέξωνται, make—that when—they may be about to receive you) All these words are repeated from Luke 16:4 [ποιήσωἵνα ὅτανδέξωνται].—φίλους, friends) Not merely are you to make single friends, each making one friend, but each should make more friends than one. See note on Luke 16:5. [A result which you will not truly be able to effect with gifts of mere pence or farthings.—V. g.] In this case, a thing which seldom happens, the debtor [the ‘friends’] loves the creditor [‘you’]. But, alas! what shall we say of the case of those, who not only are destitute of such friends, but who, by rapine and frauds, etc., make for themselves enemies, who sigh and cry to heaven against their oppressors.—ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ, out of [by means of] the mammon) not merely by the restoration of what has been [unjustly] taken away, but also by acts of beneficence, almsgiving, kindliness, indulgence, as Job did, Job 31:20.—ἵνα, that) Liberality alone is not sufficient: but yet this removes a great impediment in the way of entrance into the everlasting habitations [tabernacles].—ἐκλίπητε, ye shall have failed) viz. at death, when our stewardship is required of us [Ecclesiastes 9:10]. גרע LXX. render by ἐκλείπω, even in the case of the just. But in this passage He implies by the word, according to the force of the parable, such an ending of one’s office (as steward) and of one’s life, as would be wretched, if there were not friends already made, who should be ready to receive us.—δέξωνταί, they may be ready to receive) viz. the friends [may be ready to receive], either in this life, or in that which is to come.[173] The heirs of heavenly good things will say, The Father hath ordered that these good things should be ours (Luke 16:12, τὸ ὑμέτερον, “that which is your own”); we wish that these should belong to you also, seeing that ye have benefited us. The Divine judgment hath both many interceders for averting punishment, and many approvers of the sentence of condemnation passed (et deprecatores et subscriptores). See 1 Corinthians 6:2. [No doubt, it is not those only upon whom one may have conferred a benefit, that are indicated here, but all, without exception, who, before one dies, have already passed to everlasting habitations, or else who (though not having yet entered them) have their own appointed place there. For the cause of all these is a common cause. And benefits are laid out to the best account when bestowed on the sons and servants of GOD.—V. g.] If the friends had no part to play in this instance viz. in receiving their benefactors to everlasting habitations], what need would there be to make friends?—ΑἸΩΝΊΟΥς, everlasting) This is put in antithesis to the failure implied in ὅταν ἐκλίπητε.—ΣΚΗΝᾺς, tabernacles, or habitations) They are so called on account of their security, pleasantness, and the convenience of dwelling together, as it were, in one common mansion. There is not added their own [viz. habitations], as in Luke 16:4 [τοὺς οἴκους αὐτῶν], their own houses, because the σκηναὶ, habitations, belong to God.

[173] Some of the friends you have made may be still in this life when your stewardship shall come to its close, others may be in the world above. Both alike shall wish your eternal salvation.—E. and T.Verse 9. - And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. Then, with his usual solemn formula, "I say unto you," the Lord gave out his moral interpretation of the parable. His words were addressed to possessors of various degrees of wealth. "You will soon have to give up all your worldly goods; be prudent in time, make some real friends out of the mammon of unrighteousness; by means of that money entrusted to your care, do good to others who are in need." The mammon of unrighteousness. This word "mammon" does not denote, as some have supposed, the name of a deity, the god of wealth or money, but it signifies "money" itself. It is a Syriac or Aramaic term. The words, "of unrighteousness," are added because in so many cases the getting of money is tainted with unrighteousness in some form or other; and, when possessed, it so often hardens the heart, as the Lord himself said in another place (Luke 18:25), that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. "What the steward of my story," said the Master, "did to men of his world, see that you with your money do toward those who belong to your world." That, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. So that when you shall be dismissed from being stewards of God's possessions, that is, when ye shall die, "when ye suffer the last eclipse and bankruptcy of life," that then others, your friends, may receive you (welcome you) into everlasting dwellings. The majority of the older authorities here, instead of" when ye fail," read, "when it (money) shall fail you" (by the event of your death). The sense of the passage, however, remains the same, whichever reading be adopted. But now a deeply interesting question arises - When the Lord speaks of friends receiving us after death into eternal homes, to what friends is he alluding? Great expositors, Ewald and Meyer, for instance, tell us that he means the angels. But the plain sense of the parable points, not to angels, but to poor, weak, suffering persons whom we have helped here; these, then, must be the friends who will receive us, or welcome us, in the world to come. A further query suggests itself - How will these be able to receive us? To such a question no definite reply can be given. We know too little of the awful mysteries of that world to be able even to hazard a surmise as to the help or the comfort which grateful, blessed spirits will be able to show to their brethren the newly arrived, when they receive them. His word here must suffice us; well will it be for us, if one day we practically discover the holy secret for ourselves. Godet has a weighty note with which he concludes his exposition of this difficult but most instructive parable: "There is no thought more fitted than that of this parable, on the one hand to undermine the idea of merit belonging to alms-giving (what merit could be got out of that which is another's? and is not all money, are not all goods out of which we bestow our alms, God's?); and on the other, to encourage us in the practice of that virtue which assures us of friends and protectors for the grave moment of our passing into the world to come." One beautiful and exquisitely comforting thought is shrined in this playful and yet intensely solemn utterance of Jesus. The eternal tents, the "many mansions," as John calls them, will have among their occupants, it is certain, many a one whose life on earth was hard and sorrowful. These are now enjoying bliss indescribable, these poor Lazaruses, to whom this world was so sad, so dreary a habitation. And perhaps a portion of their blessedness consists in this power, to which the Lord makes allusion here, of assisting others - the helped here becoming the helpers there. Although the teaching of Christ and his chosen servants here and elsewhere shows us distinctly that no merit can attach to almsgiving, seeing that our alms are only given out of property entrusted to us for a short time by God for this and other similar purposes, yet the same authoritative teaching informs us that God has regard to almsdeeds done in the true spirit of love, in determining our eternal destiny. Thus a message direct from heaven informs the Roman legionary Cornelius that his prayers and alms were come up for a memorial before God. Paul writes to Timothy to charge the Ephesus Christians "that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." In the parable of Lazarus and Dives we shall find this principle yet more clearly illustrated. These are only a few out of the many passages where this generosity and almsgiving is commended to the believer with peculiar earnestness. Make to yourselves friends

Compare Virgil, "Aeneid," vi., 664:. Among the tenants of Elysium he sees "those who, by good desert, made others mindful of them."

Of the mammon of unrighteousness (ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας)

The same idiom as in Luke 16:8, steward of injustice. Compare unrighteous mammon, Luke 16:11. Mammon should be spelt with one m. It is a Chaldee word, meaning riches. It occurs only in this chapter and at Matthew 6:24. "Of the mammon" is, literally, by means of. In the phrase of unrighteousness, there is implied no condemnation of property as such; but it is styled unrighteous, or belonging to unrighteousness, because it is the characteristic and representative object and delight and desire of the selfish and unrighteous world: their love of it being a root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Wyc., the riches of wickedness.

Ye fail (ἐκλίπητε)

But all the best texts read ἐκλίπῃ, "when it (the mammon) fails."

They may receive

The friends.

Habitations (σκηνάς)

Lit., tents or tabernacles.

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