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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Luke 19

 

 

Verse 1
And he entered and was passing through Jericho1.
    ZACCHAEUS. PARABLE OF THE POUNDS. JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. (Jericho.) Luke 19:1-28

  1. And he entered and was passing through Jericho. This was about one week before the crucifixion. Jericho is about seven miles from the Jordan and about seventeen and a half from Jerusalem.


Verse 2
And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican1, and he was rich2.

  1. And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican. On publicans, see . It is probable that Zacchaeus was a sub-contractor under some Roman knight who had bought the privilege of collecting taxes at Jericho, or perhaps the privilege of all Judea.

  2. And he was rich. As the Jordan separated between the provinces of Judea and Perea, and as Jericho was the border city between these two provinces, the custom duties of the place were apt to be considerable. The famous balm of Gilead was cultivated in Perea, and probably added considerably to the trade which passed through Jericho. Herod the Great had raised Jericho to opulence, and to rich in such a city was no small matter. Zacchaeus had not consented to become a social outcast without reaping his reward.


Verse 3
And he sought to see Jesus who he was1; and could not for the crowd, because he was little of stature.

  1. And he sought to see Jesus who he was. Jericho had been filled with reports about Jesus, and great excitement existed among the people. Zacchaeus shared this excitement.


Verse 4
And he ran on before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him1: for he was to pass that way.

  1. And climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him. This tree differs from the sycamine, and grows only in those parts of Palestine where the climate is warmest. It is the wild fig, and because of its low trunk and spreading branches it is very easy to climb. The sycamore which grows along our streams is the "buttonwood" and is in no way related to the fig family.


Verse 5
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house1.

  1. Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. This is the only instance where Jesus invited himself to be any man's guest. He knew the feeling of Zacchaeus toward him as well as he knew his name, and hence had no doubt as to his welcome. Jesus says, "I must". Love constrained him to pause in Jericho that he might save the house of Zacchaeus.


Verse 6
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully1.

  1. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. Glad that he had obtained not only the wished-for sight of Jesus, but a favor which he had not dared to hope for. To be thus honored of the Messiah was balm indeed to the outcast's heart.


Verse 7
And when they saw it, they all murmured1, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner2.

  1. And when they saw it, they all murmured. The "all" in this case did not include Jesus' disciples. Jesus was a constant disappointment to those who were seeking to make him an earthly king and who therefore desired him to manifest a kingly pride.

  2. Saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner. See .


Verse 8
And Zacchaeus stood1, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor2; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold3.

  1. And Zacchaeus stood. To give emphasis emphasis and publicity to his words.

  2. Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. He does not mean that he is in the habit of giving half his goods to the poor, but that he does so now, immediately, on the spot, without delay. He does not merely promise to do so hereafter, or to make such a provision in his will.

  3. And if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. The laws of restoration in cases of theft or fraud will be found at Exodus 22:1-4; Numbers 5:7. The proposition of Zacchaeus to restore fourfold suggests that the bulk of his wealth had not been gained in dishonest ways, for if so he would not have been able to make such a restitution.


Verse 9
And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house1, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham2.
    Luke 19:9,10

  1. To-day is salvation come to this house. The visit of Jesus had converted Zacchaeus and brought salvation to his house.

  2. Forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. Though as yet Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24), and was not proclaiming salvation to the Gentiles, yet he could consistently receive Zacchaeus, for, though an outcast publican, he had not so forfeited his sonship in Abraham as to bar him from this right. He was one of the "lost sheep", the very class to which Jesus was sent.


Verse 10
For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

  1. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. See Matthew 10:6.


Verse 11
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable1, because he was nigh to Jerusalem2, and [because] they supposed that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear3.

  1. And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable. The opening words show that the parable which follows was spoken in the house of Zacchaeus.

  2. Because he was nigh to Jerusalem. So far as the record shows, this was the first time in his ministry that Jesus ever approached Jerusalem with a crowd.

  3. And [because] they supposed that the kingdom of God was immediately to appear. By this approaching Jerusalem with a multitude, it seemed to the people that Jesus was consenting to be crowned. And they were filled with those dreams and expectations which a few days later resulted in the triumphal entry. All things pointed to a crisis, and the people were eagerly looking for honors and rewards under the new ruler. Jesus corrected these false views by a parable which showed that there must be patient waiting and faithful work before there could be any season of reward.


Verse 12
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return1.

  1. A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. Those present were looking for the crowning of Jesus at Jerusalem, but he was to ascend into that far country called heaven and was there to receive the kingdom of the earth (Matthew 28:18 Acts 2:32,33), and his return in earthly majesty is yet to take place (1 Corinthians 11:26). For comparison with the parable of the talents in Matthew, see 1 Corinthians 11:26.


Verse 13
And he called ten servants of his, and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them, Trade ye [herewith] till I come1.

  1. And he called ten servants of his, and gave them ten pounds, and said unto them, Trade ye [herewith] till I come. To each of the servants he gave a crown, which was equal to about seventeen dollars of our money. It was a paltry sum for a nobleman and suggests a state of poverty and humiliation such as would give small incentive to any to remain faithful to his service.


Verse 14
But his citizens hated him1, and sent an ambassage after him, saying, We will not that this man reign over us2.

  1. But his citizens hated him. In addition to the servants, this nobleman had citizens, or subjects, who owed him respect and reverence pending the confirmation of his kingdom, and homage and obedience.

  2. And sent an ambassage after him, saying, We will not that this man reign over us. Their hatred of him led them to oppose his confirmation. These citizens represented the Jews, and Theophylact well observes how near the Jews came to repeating these very words of rejection when they said to Pilate, "We have no king but Caesar . . . Write not, The King of the Jews" (John 19:15,21).


Verse 15
And it came to pass, when he was come back again1, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants, unto whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading.

  1. And it came to pass, when he was come back again, etc. Thus Jesus shall call us to account for our stewardship (2 Corinthians 5:10), and some, despite the long absence of their Lord, and the rebellion of the citizens, will be found to have been faithful.


Verse 16
And the first came before him, saying, Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more1.

  1. And the first came before him, saying, Lord, thy pound hath made ten pounds more. As to this servant's answer Grotius says, comparing it with 1 Corinthians 15:10:

    "He modestly attributes this to his lord's money, and not to his own work."


Verse 18
And he said unto him, Well done, thou good servant: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities1.

  1. Well done, thou good servant: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. Thus by small faithfulness we are proved worthy of great trust (2 Corinthians 4:17). We should note that while the bounty is royal, yet it is proportionate. It suggests the difference in estate between the nobleman who departed and the king who returned.


Verse 19
And he said unto him also, Be thou also over five cities1.

  1. Be thou also over five cities. The faithful servants are promoted to be rulers (2 Timothy 2:1,2). The nobleman, having been of low estate himself, could sympathize with his servants and delight in promoting them (Philippians 2:7).


Verse 20
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I kept laid up in a napkin:

  1. Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin. Having no banks in which to store money, such as we have, the men of Palestine usually concealed it. At the present time the people of that land are accustomed to bury their money in the ground within their houses.


Verse 21
for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that which thou layedst not down, and reapest that which thou didst not sow1.

  1. Thou art an austere man: thou takest up that which thou layedst not down, and reapest that which thou didst not sow. He impudently criticizes his lord, saying that he was one hard to please and one who expected others to do all the work and let him reap all the gain. The injustice of his criticism had just been exposed beforehand by the king's treatment of the two preceding statements. This servant represents those who make the labors and difficulties of the Christian life an excuse for doing nothing.


Verse 22
He saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant1. Thou knewest that I am an austere man, taking up that which I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow;

  1. Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. The king patiently grants for argument's sake all that is urged, but shows that even so, the conduct of this servant could not be justified. Thus, no argument can justify the sinner who contends against God.


Verse 25
then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank1, and I at my coming should have required it with interest2?

  1. Then wherefore gavest thou not my money into the bank. The word "trapeza", translated "bank", means the table of the money-changer and is so translated at Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:15.

  2. And I at my coming should have required it with interest? It would appear from this passage that the money-changers were willing to borrow and pay some rate of interest. The bank, therefore, was not a thing incorporated and watched by government, but merely an individual with whom money might be secure or not, according to his personal honesty. Our present banking system has been the slow growth of many centuries. The lesson taught is that we should work with others if we have not self-confidence enough to work alone.


Verse 26
I say unto you, that unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him.

  1. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. See . The meaning here is that every one who makes use of what he has shall increase his powers, a rule which applies to all the affairs of life.


Verse 27
But these mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

  1. But these mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them bring hither, and slay them before me. See Luke 19:14. A reference in the first instance to the Jews who were citizens of Christ's kingdom and who were justly destroyed for rejecting him when he ascended his throne. A reference in the second instance to all the inhabitants of the globe who are all in his kingdom and who shall be destroyed at his coming if they had rejected him. It is a fearful thing to contemplate the destruction of sinners, but it is more fearful to think of sin, rebellion, and uncleanness being tolerated forever.


Verse 28
And when he had thus spoken, he went on before, going up to Jerusalem1.

  1. He went on before, going up to Jerusalem. The crowd had paused, waiting for Jesus, and he now leads on toward Jerusalem.


Verse 29
And it came to pass, when he drew nigh unto Bethphage1 and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples,
    JESUS' TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM. (From Bethany to Jerusalem and back, Sunday, April 2, A.D. 30.) Matthew 21:1-12,14-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19

  1. Bethphage. See John 12:12-19.


Verse 30
saying, Go your way into the village over against [you]1; in which as ye enter ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat: loose him, and bring him.

  1. Go your way into the village over against [you], etc. See .


Verse 31
And if any one ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say, The Lord hath need of him.

  1. And if any one ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say, The Lord hath need of him. See .


Verse 34
And they that were sent went away, and found even as he had said unto them1.

  1. And they that were sent went away, and found even as he had said unto them. See .


Verse 35
And they brought him to Jesus: and they threw their garments upon the colt1, and set Jesus thereon.

  1. And they threw their garments upon the colt. See .


Verse 36
And as he went, they spread their garments in the way1.

  1. And as he went, they spread their garments in the way. See .


Verse 37
And as he was now drawing nigh, [even] at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples1 began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen2;

  1. The whole multitude of the disciples. See .

  2. Began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen. John has shown us that the raising of Lazarus was most prominent in their thoughts (John 12:17,18).


Verse 38
saying, Blessed [is] the King that cometh in the name of the Lord1: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest2.

  1. Blessed [is] the King that cometh in the name of the Lord. See .

  2. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. For comparison, see .


Verse 39
And some of the Pharisees from the multitude1 said unto him, Teacher, rebuke thy disciples2.

  1. And some of the Pharisees from the multitude. Not a committee sent from Jerusalem for that purpose.

  2. Said unto him, Teacher, rebuke thy disciples. It is possible that these may have been moved with an honest fear that the enthusiasm of the people would call down the vengeance of the Romans (John 11:48), but it is more likely that they were prompted solely by envy.


Verse 40
And he answered and said, I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out1.

  1. I tell you that, if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out. The expression is probably proverbial (Habakkuk 2:11). The meaning is that the occasion of the great King's visit to his city (Matthew 5:35) was so momentous that, if man withheld his praise, inanimate nature would lend its acclamations.


Verse 41
And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it1,

  1. And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it. The summit of Olivet is two hundred feet higher than the nearest part of the city of Jerusalem and a hundred feet higher than its farthest part, so that the Lord looked upon the whole of it as one looks upon an open book. As he looked upon it he realized the difference between what his coming might mean to it and what it did mean to it; between the love and gratitude which his coming should have incited and the hatred and violence which it did incite; between the forgiveness, blessing, and peace which he desired to bring it and the judgment, wrath, and destruction which were coming upon it. The vision of it all excited strong emotion, and the verb used does not indicate silent tears, but audible sobbing and lamentation.


Verse 42
saying, If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes1.

  1. If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. The day then passing was among the last before the crucifixion, which would present to the Jews a strong motive for repentance. Had Jerusalem hearkened unto Jesus then, he would have saved her from that self-exaltation which proved her ruin. But bigotry and prejudice blinded her eyes.


Verse 43
For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side1,

  1. Thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side. From where Jesus then stood he could see the houses which were to be thrown down, he could locate the embankments which would be built, and he could trace almost every foot of the line of the wall by which Titus in his anger girdled the city when his embankments were burned (Josephus, Wars 5:6.2,11.4-6,12:1,2).


Verse 44
and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee1; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another2; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation3.

  1. And thy children within thee. The city is figuratively spoken of as a mother, and her citizens as her children. See Luke 13:34.

  2. And they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another. To leave one stone upon another is a proverbial expression descriptive of a complete demotion, but in the overthrow of Jerusalem it was well-nigh literally fulfilled. Thus, while the people rejoiced in the present triumph, the prophetic eye and ear of our Lord beheld the judgments which were coming upon the city, heard the bitter cry of the starved defenders during the siege, the screams of the crucified left to perish upon their crosses after its capture, all ending in the final silence of desolation when not one stone was left upon another.

  3. Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. The term "visitation" usually refers to a season of judgment, but here, as elsehwere also (Exodus 4:31), it means a season of grace.


Verse 45
And he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold1,
    BARREN FIG-TREE. TEMPLE CLEANSED. (Road from Bethany and Jerusalem. Monday, April 4, A.D. 30.) Matthew 21:18,19,12,13; Mark 11:12-18; Luke 19:45-48

  1. And he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold. See Luke 19:45-48.


Verse 46
saying unto them, It is written, And my house shall be a house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of robbers1.

  1. And my house shall be a house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of robbers. See .


Verse 47
And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him:
    Luke 19:47,48

  1. But the chief priests and the scribes . . . sought to destroy him. See Luke 19:47,48.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 19:4". "The Fourfold Gospel". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

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