RPM, Volume 17, Number 44, October 25 to October 31, 2015

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament Explanatory and Practical
Part 26

By Albert Barnes

Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Baker Book House, 1949.



Verse 1. In the mean time. While he was discoursing with the scribes and Pharisees, as recorded in the last chapter.

An innumerable multitude. The original word is myriads, or ten thousands. It is used here to signify that there was a great crowd or collection of people, who were anxious to hear him. Multitudes were attracted to the Saviour's ministry, and it is worthy of remark that he never had more to hear him than when he was most faithful and severe in his reproofs of sinners. Men's consciences are on the side of the faithful reprover of their sins; and though they deeply feel the reproof, yet they will still respect and hear him that reproves.

To his disciples, first of all. This does not mean that his disciples were, before all others, to avoid hypocrisy, but that this was the first or chief thing of which they were to beware. The meaning is this:

"He said to his disciples, Above all things beware," &c.

The leaven. See Barnes "Mt 16:6".

Which is hypocrisy. See Barnes "Mt 7:5".

Hypocrisy is like leaven or yeast, because--

1st. It may exist without being immediately detected. Leaven mixed in flour is not known until it produces its effects.

2nd. It is insinuating. Leaven will soon pervade the whole mass. So hypocrisy will, if undetected and unremoved, soon pervade all our exercises and feelings.

3rd. It is swelling. It puffs us up, and fills us with pride and vanity. No man is more proud than the hypocrite, and none is more odious to God. When Jesus cautions them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, he means that they should be cautious about imbibing their spirit and becoming like them. The religion of Jesus is one of sincerity, of humility, of an entire want of disguise. The humblest man is the best Christian, and he who has the least disguise is most like his Master.


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 2. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "for there is nothing" Mt 10:26; Mr 8:15


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 3. Shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. See Barnes on "Mt 20:27".

The custom of making proclamation from the tops or roofs of houses still prevails in the East. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 51, 52) says:

At the present day, local governors in country districts cause their commands thus to be published. Their proclamations are generally made in the evening, after the people have returned from their labours in the field. The public crier ascends the highest roof at hand, and lifts up his voice in a long-drawn call upon all faithful subjects to give ear and obey. He then proceeds to announce, in a set form, the will of their master, and demand obedience thereto.


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 4. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "my friend" Joh 15:14

{d} "Be not afraid" Is 51:7-13; Mt 10:28


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verses 2-9.

See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{1} "farthings" Mt 10:29


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verses 2-9.

See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse.

{e} "Whosoever"

1 Sa 2:30; Ps 119:46; 2 Ti 2:12; Re 2:10

{f} "confess" Jude 1:24


Verses 2-9. See Barnes on "Mt 10:26".

Also Mt 10:27-32.

Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

{g} "denieth me" Ac 3:13,14

{h} "denied" Mt 25:31

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 10

Verse 10. See Barnes on "Mt 12:32".

{i} "it shall not be forgiven" Mt 12:31; 1 Jo 5:16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 11

Verses 11,12. See Barnes "Mt 10:17, Also Mt 10:18-20

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

{k} "take ye no thought" Mt 10:19; Mr 13:11; Lu 21:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 12

Verses 11,12. See Barnes "Mt 10:17, Also Mt 10:18-20

Verse 12. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "the Holy Ghost" Ac 6:10; 26:1

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 13

Verse 13. One of the company. One of the multitude. This man had probably had a dispute with his brother, supposing that his brother had refused to do him justice. Conceiving that Jesus had power over the people--that what he said must be performed--he endeavoured to secure him on his side of the dispute and gain his point. From the parable which follows, it would appear that he had no just claim on the inheritance, but was influenced by covetousness. Besides, if he had any just claim, it might have been secured by the laws of the land.

Speak to my brother. Command my brother.

Divide the inheritance. An inheritance is the property which is left by a father to his children. Among the Jews the older brother had two shares, or twice as much as any other child, De 21:17. The remainder was then equally divided among all the children.

{m} "Master, speak to my brother" Eze 33:31

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Who made me a judge? It is not my business to settle controversies of this kind. They are to be settled by the magistrate. Jesus came for another purpose--to preach the gospel, and so to bring men to a willingness to do right. Civil affairs are to be left to the magistrate. There is no doubt that Jesus could have told him what was right in this case, but then it would have been interfering with the proper office of the magistrates; it might have led him into controversy with the Jews; and it was, besides, evidently apart from the proper business of his life. We may remark, also, that the appropriate business of ministers of the gospel is to attend to spiritual concerns. They should have little to do with the temporal matters of the people. If they can persuade men who are at variance to be reconciled, it is right; but they have no power to take the place of a magistrate, and to settle contentions in a legal way.

{n} "Man, who made me a judge" Joh 18:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Beware of covetousness. One of these brothers, no doubt, was guilty of this sin; and our Saviour, as was his custom, took occasion to warn his disciples of its danger.

Covetousness. An unlawful desire of the property of another; also a desire of gain or riches beyond what is necessary for our wants. It is a violation of the tenth commandment (Ex 20:17), and is expressly called idolatry (Col 3:5). Compare, also, Eph 5:3; Heb 13:5.

A man's life. The word life is sometimes taken in the sense of happiness or felicity, and some have supposed this to be the meaning here, and that Jesus meant to say that a man's comfort does not depend on affluence--that is, on more than is necessary for his daily wants; but this meaning does not suit the parable following, which is designed to show that property will not lengthen out a man's life, and therefore is not too ardently to be sought, and is of little value. The word life, therefore, is to be taken literally.

Consisteth not. Rather, dependeth not on his possessions. His possessions will not prolong it. The passage, then, means: Be not anxious about obtaining wealth, for, however much you may obtain, it will not prolong your life. That depends on the will of God, and it requires something besides wealth to make us ready to meet him. This sentiment he proceeds to illustrate by a beautiful parable.

{o} "Take heed" 1 Ti 6:7-10

{p} "life consisteth" Job 2:4; Mt 6:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 16

Verse 16. A parable. See Barnes Mt 13:3.

Plentifully. His land was fertile, and produced even beyond his expectations, and beyond what he had provided for.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 17

Verse 17. He thought within himself. He reasoned or inquired. He was anxious and perplexed. Riches increase thought and perplexity. Indeed, this is almost their only effect--to engross the thoughts and steal the heart away from better things, in order to take care of the useless wealth.

No room. Everything was full.

To bestow. To place, to hoard, to collect.

My fruits. Our word fruits is not applied to grain; but the Greek word is applied to all the produce of the earth--not only fruit, but also grain. This is likewise the old meaning of the English word, especially in the plural number.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 18

Verse 18. I will pull down my barns. The word barns, here, properly means, granaries, or places exclusively designed to put wheat, barley, &c. They were commonly made, by the ancients, underground, where grain could be kept a long time more safe from thieves and from vermin. If it be asked why he did not let the old ones remain and build new ones, it may be answered that it would be easier to enlarge those already excavated in the earth than to dig new ones.

{q} "this will I do" Jas 4:15,16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Much goods. Much property. Enough to last a long while, so that there is no need of anxiety or labour.

Take thine ease. Be free from care about the future. Have no anxiety about coming to want.

Eat, drink, and be merry. This was just the doctrine of the ancient Epicureans and atheists, and it is, alas! too often the doctrine of those who are rich. They think that all that is valuable in life is to eat, and drink, and be cheerful or merry. Hence their chief anxiety is to obtain the "delicacies of the season"-- the luxuries of the world; to secure the productions of every clime at any expense, and to be distinguished for splendid repasts and a magnificent style of living. What a portion is this for an immortal soul! What folly to think that all that a man lives for is to satisfy his sensual appetites; to forget that he has an intellect to be cultivated, a heart to be purified, a soul to be saved!

{r} "Soul" Ps 49:18

{s} "take thine ease" Ex 11:9; 1 Co 15:32; Jas 5:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Thou fool. If there is any supreme folly, it is this. As though riches could prolong life, or avert for a moment the approach of pain and death.

This night, &c. What an awful sentence to a man who, as he thought, had got just ready to live and enjoy himself! In a single moment all his hopes were blasted, and his soul summoned to the bar of his long-forgotten God. So, many are surprised as suddenly and as unprepared. They are snatched from their pleasures, and hurried to a world where there is no pleasure, and where all their wealth cannot purchase one moment's ease from the gnawings of the worm that never dies.

Shall be required of thee. Thou shalt be required to die, to go to God, and to give up your account.

Then whose, &c. Whose they may be is of little consequence to the man that lost his soul to gain them; but they are often left to heirs that dissipate them much sooner than the father procured them, and thus they secure their ruin as well as his own. Ps 39:6; Ec 2:18,19.

{t} "this night" Job 20:20-23; 27:8; Ps 52:7; Jas 4:14

{2} "thy soul" or, "do they require thy soul."

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 21

Verse 21. So is he. This is the portion or the doom.

Layeth up treasure for himself. Acquires riches for his own use--for himself. This is the characteristic of the covetous man. It is all for himself. His plans terminate there. He lives only for himself, and acts only with regard to his own interest.

Rich toward God. Has no inheritance in the kingdom of God--no riches laid up in heaven. His affections are all fixed on this world, and he has none for God.

From this instructive parable we learn--

1st. That wicked men are often signally prospered--their ground brings forth plentifully. God gives them their desire, but sends leanness into their souls.

2nd. That riches bring with them always an increasing load of cares and anxieties.

3rd. That they steal away the affections from God--are sly, insinuating, and dangerous to the soul.

4th. That the anxiety of a covetous man is not what good he may do with his wealth, but where he may hoard it, and keep it secure from doing any good.

5th. That riches cannot secure their haughty owners from the grave. Death will come upon them suddenly, unexpectedly, awfully. In the very midst of the brightest anticipations--in a moment--in the twinkling of an eye-- it may come, and all the wealth that has been accumulated cannot alleviate one pang, or drive away one fear, or prolong life for one moment.

6th. That the man who is trusting to his riches in this manner is a fool in the sight of God. Soon, also, he will be a fool in his own sight, and will go to hell with the consciousness that his life has been one of eminent folly.

7th. That the path of true wisdom is to seek first the kingdom of God, and to be ready to die; and then it matters little what is our portion here, or how suddenly or soon we are called away to meet our Judge. If our affections are not fixed on our riches, we shall leave them without regret. If our treasures are laid up in heaven, death will be but going home, and happy will be that moment when we are called to our rest.

{v} "layeth up treasure" Hab 2:9

{w} "is not rich toward God" 1 Ti 6:18; Jas 2:5; Lu 12:33

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 22

Verses 22-31. See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 22. No Barnes text on this verse.

{x} "Take no thought for your life" Mt 6:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 23

Verses 22-31. See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 23. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 24

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "ravens" Job 38:41; Ps 147:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 25

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 26

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 27

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 28

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 29

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

{3} "or what you shall drink" or "live not in careful suspense"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 30

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 31

Verses 22-31.

See Barnes "Mt 6:25".

See also Mt 6:26-6:33.

Verse 31. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "But, rather seek" Mt 6:33

{a} "all these things shall" Ps 34:10; Isa 33:16; Ro 8:31,32

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 32

Verse 32. Little flock. Our Saviour often represents himself as a shepherd, and his followers as a flock or as sheep. The figure was beautiful. In Judea it was a common employment to attend flocks. The shepherd was with them, defended them, provided for them, led them to green pastures and beside still waters. In all these things Jesus was and is eminently the Good Shepherd. His flock was small. Few really followed him, compared with the multitude who professed to love him. But, though small in number, they were not to fear. God was their Friend. He would provide for them. It was his purpose to give them the kingdom, and they had nothing to fear, see Mt 6:19-21.

{b} "little flock" Is 40:11; Joh 10:27,28

{c} "it is the father's good pleasure" Mt 25:34; Joh 18:36; Heb 12:28

Jas 2:5; 2 Pe 1:11; Re 1:6; 22:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 33

Verse 33. Sell that ye have. Sell your property. Exchange it for that which you can use in distributing charity. This was the condition of their being disciples. Their property they gave up; they forsook it, or they put it into common stock, for the sake of giving alms to the poor, Ac 2:44; 4:32; Joh 12:6; Ac 5:2.

Bags which wax not old. The word bags, here, means purses, or the bags attached to their girdles, in which they carried their money. See Barnes "Mt 5:38".

By bags which wax not old Jesus means that we should lay up treasure in heaven; that our aim should be to be prepared to enter there, where all our wants will be for ever provided for. Purses, here, grow old and useless. Wealth takes to itself wings. Riches are easily scattered, or we must soon leave them; but that wealth which is in heaven abides for ever. It never is corrupted; never flies away; never is to be left.

Wax. This word is from an old Saxon word, and in the Bible means to grow.

{d} "Sell" Mt 19:21; Ac 2:45; 4:34

{e} "treasure" Mt 6:20; 1 Ti 6:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 34

Verse 34. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 35

Verses 35,36. Let your loins, &c. This alludes to the ancient manner of dress. They wore a long flowing robe as their outer garment. See Barnes Mt 5:38-41.

When they laboured, or walked, or ran, it was necessary to gird or tie this up by a sash or girdle about the body, that it might not impede their progress. Hence, to gird up the loins means to be ready, to be active, to be diligent. Comp. 2 Ki 4:29; 2 Ki 9:1; Jer 1:17; Ac 12:8.

Your lights burning. This expresses the same meaning. Be ready at all times to leave the world and enter into rest, when your Lord shall call you. Let every obstacle be out of the way; let every earthly care be removed, and be prepared to follow him into his rest. Servants were expected to be ready for the coming of their lord. If in the night, they were expected to keep their lights trimmed and burning. When their master was away in attendance on a wedding, as they knew not the hour when he would return, they were to be continually ready. So we, as we know not the hour when God shall call us, should be always ready to die. Comp. See Barnes "Mt 25:1" and Mt 25:2-13.

{f} "Let your loins" Eph 6:14; 1 Pe 1:13

{g} "your lights burning" Mt 25:1,13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 36

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 37

Verse 37. Shall gird himself. Shall take the place of the servant himself. Servants who waited on the table were girded in the manner described above.

Shall make them sit, &c. Shall place them at his table and feast them. This evidently means that if we are faithful to Christ, and are ready to meet him when he returns, he will receive us into heaven -- will admit us to all its blessings, and make us happy there--as if he should serve us and minister to our wants. It will be as if a master, instead of sitting down at the table himself, should place his faithful servants there, and be himself the servant. This shows the exceeding kindness and condescension of our Lord. For us, poor and guilty sinners, he denied himself, took the form of a servant (Php 2:7), and ministered to our wants. In our nature he has wrought out salvation, and he has done it in one of the humblest conditions of the children of men. How should our bosoms burn with gratitude to him, and how should we be willing to serve one another] See Barnes "Joh 13:1".

Also, see Joh 13:2-17.

{h} "Blessed are" Mt 24:46

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 38

Verses 38-46. See Barnes "Mt 24:42".

Also see Mt 24:43-51.

Verse 38. Second watch. See Barnes "Mt 14:25".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 39

Verse 39. No Barnes text on this verse.

{i} "the thief" 1 Th 5:2; 2 Pe 3:10; Re 3:3; 16:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 40

Verse 40. No Barnes text on this verse.

{k} "Be ye therefore ready" Lu 21:34,36

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 41

Verse 41. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 42

Verse 42. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "faithful and wise steward" 1 Co 4:2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 43

Verse 43. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "Blessed" Lu 12:37

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 44

Verse 44. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 45

Verse 45. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "beat the men-servants" Mt 22:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 46

Verse 46. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "will" Ps 37:9; 94:14

{4} "cut him asunder", or "cut him off"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 47

Verse 47. Which knew his lord's will. Who knew what his master wished him to do. He that knows what God commands and requires.

Many stripes. Shall be severely and justly punished. They who have many privileges, who are often warned, who have the gospel, and do not repent and believe, shall be far more severely punished than others. They who are early taught in Sunday-schools, or by pious parents, or in other ways, and who grow up in sin and impenitence, will have much more to answer for than those who have no such privileges.

{p} "which knew his lord's will" Jas 4:17

{q} "shall be beaten with many stripes" Ac 17:30

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 48

Verse 48. Few stripes. The Jews never inflicted more than forty stripes for one offence, De 25:3. For smaller offences they inflicted only four, five, six, &c., according to the nature of the crime. In allusion to this, our Lord says that he that knew not -- that is, he who had comparatively little knowledge--would suffer a punishment proportionally light. He refers, doubtless, to those who have fewer opportunities, smaller gifts, or fewer teachers.

Much is given. They who have much committed to their disposal, as stewards, &c. See the parable of the talents in Mt 25:14-30. See Barnes "Mt 25:14, also Mt 25:15-30.

{r} "he that knew not" Ac 17:30 {s} "For unto whomsoever" Le 5:17; Joh 15:22; 1 Ti 1:13

{t} "committed much" 1 Ti 6:20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 49

Verse 49. I am come, &c. The result of my coming will be that there will be divisions and contentions. He does not mean that he came for that purpose, or that he sought and desired it; but that such was the state of the human heart, and such the opposition of men to the truth, that that would be the effect of his coming. See Barnes "Mt 10:34".

Fire. Fire, here, is the emblem of discord and contention, and consequently of calamities. Thus it is used in Ps 66:12 Is 43:2. And what will I, &c. This passage might be better expressed in this manner:

And what would I, but that it were kindled. Since it is necessary for the advancement of religion that such divisions should take place; since the gospel cannot be established without conflicts, and strifes, and hatreds, I am even desirous that they should come. Since the greatest blessing which mankind can receive must be attended with such unhappy divisions, I am willing, nay, desirous that they should come.

He did not wish evil in itself; but, as it was the occasion of good, he was desirous, if it must take place, that it should take place soon. From this we learn--

1st. That the promotion of religion may be expected to produce many contests and bitter feelings.

2nd. That the heart of man must be exceedingly wicked, or it would not oppose a work like the Christian religion.

3rd. That though God cannot look on evil with approbation, yet, for the sake of the benefit which may grow out of it, he is willing to permit it, and suffer it to come into the world.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 50

Verse 50. A baptism. See Barnes "Mt 20:22".

Am I straitened. How do I earnestly desire that it were passed! Since these sufferings must be endured, how anxious am I that the time should come! Such were the feelings of the Redeemer in view of his approaching dying hour. We may learn from this--

1st. That it is not improper to feel deeply at the prospect of dying. It is a sad, awful, terrible event; and it is impossible that we should look at it aright without feeling --scarcely without trembling.

2nd. It is not improper to desire that the time should come, and that the day of our release should draw nigh, Php 1:23. To the Christian, death is but the entrance to life; and since the pains of death must be endured, and since they lead to heaven, it matters little how soon he passes through these sorrows, and rises to his eternal rest.

{5} "straitened", or "pained"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 51

Verses 51-53. See Barnes "Mt 10:34, See also Mt 10:35-36.

Verse 51. No Barnes text on this verse.

{u} "ye that I am come" Mt 10:34

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 52

Verses 51-53. See Barnes "Mt 10:34, See also Mt 10:35-36.

Verse 52. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 53

Verse 51-53.

See Barnes "Mt 10:34, See also Mt 10:35-36.

Verse 53. No Barnes text on this verse.

{v} "The father shall be divided" Mi 7:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 54

Verses 54-57. See Barnes "Mt 16:2"

See Barnes "Mt 16:3".

Verse 54. No Barnes text on this verse.

{w} "When you see" Mt 16:2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 55

Verses 54-57. See Barnes "Mt 16:2"

See Barnes "Mt 16:3".

Verse 55. South wind. To the south and southwest of Judea were situated Arabia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, all warm or hot regions, and consequently the air that came from those quarters was greatly heated.

How is it that ye do not discern this time? You see a cloud rise, and predict a shower; a south wind, and expect heat. These are regular events. So you see my miracles; you hear my preaching; you have the predictions of me in the prophets; why do you not, in like manner, infer that this is the time when the Messiah should appear?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 56

Verses 54-57. See Barnes "Mt 16:2,

See Barnes "16:3".

Verse 56. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 57

Verse 57. See Barnes "Mt 16:2, See Barnes "Mt 16:3"

{x} "even of yourselves judge ye not" Mt 5:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 58

Verses 58, 59. See Barnes "Mt 5:25".

See Barnes "Mt 5:26".

Verse 58. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "When thou goest" Mt 5:25

{z} "as thou art in the way" Isa 55:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 12 - Verse 59

Verses 58,59. See Barnes "Mt 5:25".

See Barnes "Mt 5:26".

Verse 59. No Barnes text on this verse.

{6} "mite" Mr 12:42



Verse 1. There were present. That is, some persons who were present, and who had heard his discourse recorded in the previous chapter. There was probably a pause in his discourse, when they mentioned what had been done by Pilate to the Galileans.

At that season. At that time--that is the time mentioned in the last chapter. At what period of our Lord's ministry this was, it is not easy to determine.

Some that told him. This was doubtless an event of recent occurrence. Jesus, it is probable, had not before heard of it. Why they told him of it can only be a matter of conjecture. It might be from the desire to get him to express an opinion respecting the conduct of Pilate, and thus to involve him in difficulty with the reigning powers of Judea. It might be as a mere matter of news. But, from the answer of Jesus, it would appear that they supposed that the Galileans deserved it, and that they meant to pass a judgment on the character of those men, a thing of which they were exceedingly fond. The answer of Jesus is a reproof of their habit of hastily judging the character of others.

Galileans. People who lived in Galilee. See Barnes "Mt 2:22".

They were not under the jurisdiction of Pilate, but of Herod. The Galileans, in the time of Christ, were very wicked.

Whose blood Pilate had mingled, &c. That is, while they were sacrificing at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and slew them, and their blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying for sacrifice. It does not mean that Pilate offered their blood in sacrifice, but only that as they were sacrificing he slew them. The fact is not mentioned by Josephus, and nothing more is known of it than what is here recorded. We learn, however, from Josephus that the Galileans were very wicked, and that they were much disposed to broils and seditions. It appears, also, that Pilate and Herod had a quarrel with each other (Lu 23:12), and it is not improbable that Pilate might feel a particular enmity to the subjects of Herod. It is likely that the Galileans excited a tumult in the temple, and that Pilate took occasion to come suddenly upon them, and show his opposition to them and Herod by slaying them.

Pilate. The Roman governor of Judea. See Barnes "Mt 27:2".

{a} "Galileans" Ac 5:37

{b} "mingled" La 2:20


Verses 2,3. Suppose ye, &c. From this answer it would appear that they supposed that the fact that these men had been slain in this manner proved that they were very great sinners.

I tell you, Nay. Jesus assured them that it was not right to draw such a conclusion respecting these men. The fact that men come to a sudden and violent death is not proof that they are peculiarly wicked.

Except ye repent. Except you forsake your sins and turn to God. Jesus took occasion, contrary to their expectation, to make a practical use of that fact, and to warn them of their own danger. He never suffered a suitable occasion to pass without warning the wicked, and entreating them to forsake their evil ways. The subject of religion was always present to his mind. He introduced it easily, freely, fully. In this he showed his love for the souls of men, and in this he set us an example that we should walk in his steps.

Ye shall all likewise perish. You shall all be destroyed in a similar manner. Here he had reference, no doubt, to the calamities that were coming upon them, when thousands of the people perished. Perhaps there was never any reproof more delicate and yet more severe than this. They came to him believing that these men who had perished were peculiarly wicked. He did not tell them that they were as bad as the Galileans, but left them to infer it, for if they did not repent, they must soon likewise be destroyed. This was remarkably fulfilled. Many of the Jews were slain in the temple; many while offering sacrifice; thousands perished in a way very similar to the Galileans. Comp. See Barnes "Mt 24:1"

and following. From this account of the Galileans we may learn--

(1.) That men are very prone to infer, when any great calamity happens to others, that they are peculiarly guilty. See the Book of Job, and the reasonings of his three "friends."

(2.) That that conclusion; in the way in which it is usually drawn, is erroneous. If we see a man bloated, and haggard, and poor, who is in the habit of intoxication, we may infer openly that he is guilty, and that God hates his sin and punishes it. So we may infer of the effects of licentiousness. But we should not thus infer when a man's house is burned down, or when his children die, or when he is visited with a loss of health; nor should we infer it of the nations that are afflicted with famine, or the plague, or with the ravages of war; nor should we infer it when a man is killed by lightning, or when he perishes by the blowing up of a steamboat. Those who thus perish may be far more virtuous than many that live.

(3.) This is not a world of retribution. Good and evil are mingled; the good and the bad suffer, and all are exposed here to calamity.

(4.) There is another world--a future state--a world where the good will be happy and the wicked punished. There all that is irregular on earth will be regulated; all that appears unequal will be made equal; all that is chaotic will be reduced to order.

(5.) When men are disposed to speak about the great guilt of others, and the calamities that come upon them, they should inquire about themselves. What is their character? what is their condition?. It may be that they are in quite as much danger of perishing as those are whom they regard as so wicked.

(6.) WE MUST REPENT. We must ALL repent or we shall perish. No matter what befalls others, we are sinners; we are to die; we shall be lost unless we repent. Let us, then, think of ourselves rather than of others; and when we hear of any signal calamity happening to others, let us remember that there is calamity in another world as well as here; and that while our fellow-sinners are exposed to trials here, we may be exposed to more awful woes there. Woe there is eternal; here, a calamity like that produced by a failing tower is soon over.


Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 4. Or those eighteen. Jesus himself adds another similar case, to warn them --a case which had probably occurred not long before, and which it is likely they judged in the same manner.

Upon whom the tower in Siloam fell. The name Siloah or Siloam is found only three times in the Bible as applied to water--once in Is 8:6, who speaks of it as running water; once as a pool near to the king's garden, in Ne 3:15; and once as a pool, in the account of the Saviour's healing the man born blind, in Joh 9:7-11. Josephus mentions the fountain of Siloam frequently as situated at the mouth of the Valley of Tyropoeon, or the Valley of Cheese-mongers, where the fountain long indicated as that fountain is still found. It is on the south side of Mount Moriah, and between that and the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The water at present flows out of a small artificial basin under the cliff, and is received into a large reservoir 53 feet in length by 18 in breadth. The small upper basin or fountain excavated in the rock is merely the entrance, or rather the termination of a long and narrow subterranean passage beyond, by which the water comes from the Fountain of the Virgin. For what purpose the tower here referred to was erected is not known; nor is it known at what time the event here referred to occurred. It is probable that it was not far from the time when the Saviour made use of the illustration, for the manner in which he refers to it implies that it was fresh in the recollection of those to whom he spoke.

{1} "sinners above", or "debtors"


Verse 5. I tell you, Nay. It is improper to suppose that those on whom heavy judgments fall in this world are the worst of men. This is not a world of retribution. Often the most wicked are suffered to prosper here, and their punishment is reserved for another world; while the righteous are called to suffer much, and appear to be under the sore displeasure of God, Ps 73:1, and following. This only we know, that the wicked will not always escape; that God is just; and that none who do suffer here or hereafter, suffer more than they deserve. In the future world, all that seems to be unequal here will be made equal and plain.


Verse 6. This parable. See Barnes "Mt 13:3".

Vineyard. A place where vines were planted. It was not common to plant fig-trees in them, but our Lord represents it as having been sometimes done.

{d} "A certain man" Is 5:1; Mt 21:19

{e} "sought fruit thereon" Joh 15:16; Ga 5:22; Phi 4:17


Verse 7. The dresser of his vineyard. The man whose duty it was to trim the vines and take care of his vineyard.

These three years. These words are not to be referred to the time which Christ had been preaching the gospel, as if he meant to specify the exact period. They mean, as applicable to the vineyard, that the owner had been a long time expecting fruit on the tree. For three successive years he had been disappointed. In his view it was long enough to show that the tree was barren and would yield no fruit, and that therefore it should be cut down.

Why cumbereth it the ground? The word cumber here means to render barren or sterile. By taking up the juices of the earth, this useless tree rendered the ground sterile, and prevented the growth of the neighbouring vines. It was not merely useless, but was doing mischief, which may be said of all sinners and all hypocritical professors of religion. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 539) says of the barren fig-tree:

There are many such trees now; and if the ground is not properly cultivated, especially when the trees are young--as the one of the parable was, for only three years are mentioned-they do not bear at all; and even when full grown they quickly fail, and wither away if neglected. Those who expect to gather good crops of well-favoured figs are particularly attentive to their culture--not only plough and dig about them frequently, and manure them plentifully, but they carefully gather out the stones from the orchards, contrary to their general slovenly habits.

This parable is to be taken in connection with what goes before, and with our Saviour's calling the Jewish nation to repentance. It was spoken to illustrate the dealings of God with them, and their own wickedness under all his kindness, and we may understand the different parts of the parable as designed to represent--

1st. God, by the man who owned the vineyard.

2nd. The vineyard as the Jewish people.

3rd. The coming of the owner for fruit, the desire of God that they should produce good works.

4th. The barrenness of the tree, the wickedness of the people.

5th. The dresser was perhaps intended to denote the Saviour and the other messengers of God, pleading that God would spare the Jews, and save them from their enemies that stood ready to destroy them, as soon as God should permit.

6th. His waiting denotes the delay of vengeance, to give them an opportunity of repentance. And,

7th. The remark of the dresser that he might then cut it down, denotes the acquiescence of all in the belief that such a judgment would be just.

We may also remark that God treats sinners in this manner now; that he spares them long; that he gives them opportunities of repentance; that many live but to cumber the ground; that they are not only useless to the church, but pernicious to the world; that in due time, when they are fairly tried, they shall be cut down; and that the universe will bow to the awful decree of God, and say that their damnation is just.

{f} "cut it down" Ex 32:10


Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse.

{g} "let it alone" Ps 106:23; 2 Pe 3:9


Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "and if not, then" Joh 15:2; Heb 6:8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 10

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 11

Verse 11. There was a woman which lead a spirit of infirmity. Was infirm, or was weak and afflicted. This was produced by Satan, Lu 13:16.

Eighteen years. This affliction had continued a long time. This shows that the miracle was real; that the disease was not feigned. Though thus afflicted, yet it seems she was regular in attending the worship of God in the synagogue. There in the sanctuary, is the place where the afflicted find consolation; and there it was that the Saviour met her and restored her to health. It is in the sanctuary and on the Sabbath, also, that he commonly meets his people, and gives them the joys of his salvation.

{i} "spirit of infirmity" Ps 6:2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Thou art loosed from thine infirmity. This was a remarkable declaration. It does not appear that the woman applied to him for a cure; yet Jesus addressed her, and the disease departed. How clear would be the proofs from such a case that he was the Messiah! And how mighty the power of him that by a word could restore her to health!

{k} "thou art loosed from" Joe 3:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Glorified God. Praised God. Gave thanks to him for healing her. They who are restored to health from sickness owe it to God; and they should devote their lives to his service, as expressive of their sense of gratitude to him who has spared them.

{l} "he laid his hands" Mr 16:18; Ac 9:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Answered with indignation, because, &c, He considered this a violation of the Sabbath, doing work contrary to the fourth commandment. If he had reasoned aright, he would have seen that he who could perform such a miracle could not be a violator of the law of God. From this conduct of the ruler we learn--

1st. That men are often opposed to good being done, because it is not done in their own way and according to their own views.

2nd. That they are more apt to look at what they consider a violation of the law in others, than at the good which others may do.

3rd. That this opposition is manifested not only against those who do good, but also against those who are benefited. The ruler of the synagogue seemed particularly indignant that the people would come to Christ to be healed.

4th. That this conduct is often the result of envy. In this case it was rather hatred that the people should follow Christ instead of the Jewish rulers, and therefore envy at the popularity of Jesus, than any real regard for religion.

5th. That opposition to the work of Jesus may put on the appearance of great professed regard for religion. Many men oppose revivals, missions, Bible societies, and Sunday-schools--strange as it may seem --from professed regard to the purity of religion. They, like the ruler here, have formed their notions of religion as consisting in something very different from doing good, and they oppose those who are attempting to spread the gospel throughout the world.

{m} "healed on the sabath-day" Mt 12:10; Mr 3:2; Lu 6:7; 14:3; Joh 5:16

{n} "There are six days" Ex 20:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Thou hypocrite. You condemn me for an action, and yet you perform one exactly similar. You condemn me for doing to a woman what you do to a beast. To her I have done good on the Sabbath; you provide for your cattle, and yet blame me for working a miracle to relieve a sufferer on that day.

Stall. A place where cattle are kept to be fed, and sheltered from the weather.

{o} "Thou hypocrite!" Pr 11:9; Mt 7:5; 23:13,28; Lu 12:1

{p} "on the sabbath" Lu 14:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 16

Verse 16. A daughter of Abraham. A descendant of Abraham. See Barnes "Mt 1:1".

She was therefore a Jewess; and the ruler of the synagogue, professing a peculiar regard for the Jewish people, considering them as peculiarly favoured of God, should have rejoiced that she was loosed from this infirmity.

Whom Satan hath bound. Satan is the name given to the prince or leader of evil spirits, called also the devil, Beelzebub, and the old serpent., Mt 12:24; Re 12:9; 20:2.

By his binding her is meant that he had inflicted this disease upon her. It was not properly a possession of the devil, for that commonly produced derangement; but God had suffered him to afflict her in this manner, similar to the way in which he was permitted to try Job. See Barnes "Job 1:12; 2:6,7".

It is no more improbable that God would suffer Satan to inflict pain, than that he would suffer a wicked man to do it; yet nothing is more common than for one man to be the occasion of bringing on a disease in another which may terminate only with the life. He that seduces a virtuous man and leads him to intemperance, or he that wounds him or strikes him, may disable him as much as Satan did this woman. If God permits it in one case, he may, for the same reason, in another.

{q} "daughter of Abraham" Lu 19:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Adversaries. The ruler of the synagogue, and those who felt as he did.

All the people. The persons who attended the synagogue, and who had witnessed the miracle. It is to be remarked--

1st. That those who opposed Christ were chiefly the rulers. They had an interest in doing it. Their popularity was at stake. They were afraid that he would draw off the people from them.

2nd. The common people heard him gladly. Many of them believed in him. The condition of the poor, and of those in humble life, is by far the most favourable for religion, and most of the disciples of Jesus have been found there.

{r} "all his adversaries" Is 45:24; 1 Pe 3:16

{s} "glorious things" Ex 15:11; Ps 111:3; Is 4:2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 18

Verses 18-21. See these parables explained See Barnes "Mt 13:31"

See Barnes "Mt 13:32".

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "Unto what is the kingdom" Mt 13:31; Mr 4:30

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 19

Verses 18-21. See these parables explained See Barnes "Mt 13:31"

See Barnes "Mt 13:32".

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 20

Verses 18-21. See these parables explained See Barnes "Mt 13:31"

See Barnes "Mt 13:32".

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 21

Verses 18-21. See these parables explained See Barnes "Mt 13:31"

See Barnes "Mt 13:32".

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{2} "three measures of meal" See Barnes "Mt 13:33"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Cities and villages. Chiefly of Galilee, and those which were between Galilee and Jerusalem.

Teaching and journeying. This evinces the diligence of our Lord. Though on a journey, yet he remembered his work. He did not excuse himself on the plea that he was in haste. Christians and Christian ministers should remember that when their Master travelled he did not conceal his character, or think that he was then freed from obligation to do good.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Then said one. Who this was does not appear. It is probable that he was not one of the disciples, but one of the Jews, who came either to perplex him, or to involve him in a controversy with the Pharisees.

Are there few that be saved? It was the prevalent opinion among the Jews that few would enter heaven. As but two of all the hosts that came out of Egypt entered into the land of Canaan, so some of them maintained that a proportionally small number would enter into heaven (Lightfoot). On this subject the man wished the Opinion of Jesus. It was a question of idle curiosity. The answer to it would have done little good. It was far more important for the man to secure his own salvation, than to indulge in such idle inquiries and vain speculations. Our Lord therefore advised him, as he does all, to strive to enter into heaven.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Strive. Literally, agonize. The word is taken from the Grecian Games. In their races, and wrestlings, and various athletic exercises, they strove or agonized, or put forth all their powers to gain the victory. Thousands witnessed them. They were long trained for the conflict, and the honour of victory was one of the highest honours among the people. So Jesus says that we should strive to enter in; and he means by it that we should be diligent, be active, be earnest; that we should make it our first and chief business to overcome our sinful propensities, and to endeavour to enter into heaven. This same figure or allusion to the Grecian games is often used in the New Testament, 1 Co 9:24-26; Phi 2:16; Heb 12:1.

Strait gate. See Barnes "Mt 7:13,14".

Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 32) says:

I have seen these strait gates and narrow ways, 'with here and there a traveller.' They are in retired corners, and must be sought for, and are opened only to those who knock; and when the sun goes down and the night comes on, they are shut and locked. It is then too late.

Will seek to enter in. Many in various ways manifest some desire to be saved. They seek it, but do not agonize for it, and hence they are shut out. But a more probable meaning of this passage is that which refers this seeking to a time that shall be too late; to the time when the master has risen up, &c. In this life they neglect religion, and are engaged about other things. At death, or at the judgment, they will seek to enter in; but it will be too late--the door will be shut; and because they did not make religion the chief business of their life, they cannot then enter in.

Shall not be able. This is not designed to affirm anything respecting the inability of the sinner, provided he seeks salvation in a proper time and manner. It means that at the time when many will seek--when the door is shut--they will not be able then to enter in, agreeable to Mt 7:22. In the proper time, when the day of grace was lengthened out, they might have entered in; but there will be a time when it will be too late. The day of mercy will be ended, and death will come, and the doors of heaven barred against them. How important, then, to strive to enter in while we have opportunity, and before it shall be too late!

{u} "Strive" Mt 7:13

{v} "for many, I say unto you" Joh 7:34; 8:21; Ro 9:31

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 25

Verse 25. When once the master, &c. The figure here used is taken from the conduct of a housekeeper, who is willing to see his friends, and who at the proper time keeps his doors open. But there is a proper time for closing them, when he will not see his guests. At night it would be improper and vain to seek an entrance--the house would be shut. So there is a proper time to seek an entrance into heaven; but there will be a time when it will be too late. At death the time will have passed by, and God will be no longer gracious to the sinner's soul.

{w} "When once the master" Ps 32:6; Is 55:6

{x} "hath shut the door" Mt 25:10

{y} "Lord, Lord open to us" Lu 6:46

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 26

Verse 26. We have eaten, &c. Comp. Mt 7:22,23. To have eaten with one is evidence of acquaintanceship or friendship. So the sinner may allege that he was a professed follower of Jesus, and had some evidence that Jesus was his friend. There is no allusion here, how- ever, to the sacrament. The figure is taken from the customs of men, and means simply that they had professed attachment, and perhaps supposed that Jesus was their friend.

In thy presence. With thee--as one friend does with another.

Thou hast taught. Thou didst favour us, as though thou didst love us. Thou didst not turn away from us, and we did not drive thee away. All this is alleged as proof of friendship. It shows us--

1st. On how slight evidence men will suppose themselves ready to die. How slender is the preparation which even many professed friends of Jesus have for death! How easily they are satisfied about their own piety! A profession of religion, attendance on the preaching of the word or at the sacraments, or a decent external life, is all they have and all they seek. With this they go quietly on to eternity--go to disappointment, wretchedness, and woe!

2nd. None of these things will avail in the day of judgment. It will be only true love to God, a real change of heart, and a life of piety, that can save the soul from death. And oh! how important it is that all should search themselves and see what is the real foundation of their hope that they shall enter into heaven.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 27

Verse 27. See Barnes "Mt 7:23".

{z} "But he shall say" Mt 7:22,23; 25:12,41

{a} "ye workers" Ps 6:8; 101:8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 28

Verses 28-30. See Barnes "Mt 8:11, See Barnes "Mt 8:12".

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "shall be weeping" Mt 8:12; 13:42; 24:51

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 29

Verses 28-30. See Barnes "Mt 8:11, See Barnes "Mt 8:12".

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "they shall come from the east" Re 7:9,10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 30

Verses 28-30. See Barnes "Mt 8:11, See Barnes "Mt 8:12".

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "there are last which shall be first" Mt 19:30

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Came certain of the Pharisees. Their coming to him in this manner would have the appearance of friendship, as if they had conjectured or secretly learned that it was Herod's intention to kill him. Their suggestion had much appearance of probability. Herod had killed John. He knew that Jesus made many disciples, and was drawing away many of the people. He was a wicked man, and he might be supposed to fear the presence of one who had so strong a resemblance to John, whom he had slain. It might seem probable; therefore, that he intended to take the life of Jesus, and this might appear as a friendly hint to escape him. Yet it is more than possible that Herod might have sent these Pharisees to Jesus. Jesus was eminently popular, and Herod might not dare openly to put him to death; yet he desired his removal, and for this purpose he sent these men, as if in a friendly way, to advise him to retire. This was probably the reason why Jesus called him a fox.

Herod. Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. He ruled over Galilee and Perea, and wished Jesus to retire beyond these regions. See Barnes "Lu 3:1".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 32

Verse 32. Tell that fox. A fox is an emblem of slyness, of cunning, and of artful mischief. The word is also used to denote a dissembler. Herod was a wicked man, but the particular thing to which Jesus here alludes is not his vices, but his cunning, his artifice, in endeavouring to remove him out of his territory. He had endeavoured to do it by stratagem--by sending these men who pretended great friendship for his life.

Behold, I cast out devils, &c. Announce to him the fact that I am working miracles in his territory, and that I shall continue to do it. I am not afraid of his art or his enmity. I am engaged in my appropriate work, and shall continue to be as long as is proper, in spite of his arts and his threats.

Today and tomorrow. A little time. The words seem here to be used not strictly, but proverbially--to denote a short space of time. Let not Herod be uneasy. I am doing no evil; I am not violating the laws. I only cure the sick, &c. In a little time this part of my work will be done, and I shall retire from his dominions.

The third day. After a little time. Perhaps, however, he meant literally that he would depart on that day for Jerusalem; that for two or three days more he would remain in the villages of Galilee, and then go on his way to Jerusalem.

I shall be perfected. Rather, I shall have ended my course here; I shall have perfected what I purpose to do in Galilee. It does not refer to his personal perfection, for he was always perfect, but it means that he would have finished or completed what he purposed to do in the regions of Herod. He would have completed his work, and would be ready then to go.

{e} "that fox" Zep 3:3

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 33

Verse 33. I must walk, &c. I must remain here this short time. These three days I must do cures here, and then I shall depart, though not for fear of Herod. It will be because my time will have come, and I shall go up to Jerusalem to die.

For it cannot be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem. I have no fear that Herod will put me to death in Galilee. I shall not depart on that account. Jerusalem is the place where the prophets die, and where I am to die. I am not at all alarmed, therefore, at any threats of Herod, for my life is safe until I arrive at Jerusalem. Go and tell him, therefore, that I fear him not. I shall work here as long as it is proper, and shall then go up to Jerusalem to die. The reason why he said that a prophet could not perish elsewhere than in Jerusalem might be--

1st. That he knew that he would be tried on a charge of blasphemy, and no other court could have cognizance of that crime but the great council or Sanhedrim, and so he was not afraid of any threats of Herod.

2nd. It had been the fact that the prophets had been chiefly slain there. The meaning is,

It cannot easily be done elsewhere; it is not usually done. Prophets have generally perished there, and there I am to die. I am safe, therefore, from the fear of Herod, and shall not take the advice given and leave his territory.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 34

Verses 34,35. See Barnes "Mt 23:37, also see Mt 23:38-39.

Verse 34. From the message which Jesus sent to Herod we may learn--

1st. That our lives are safe in the hands of God, and that wicked men can do no more to injure us than he shall permit, Compare Joh 19:11.

2nd. That we should go on fearlessly in doing our duty, and especially if we are doing good. We should not regard the threats of men. God is to be obeyed; and even if obedience should involve us in difficulty and trials, still we should not hesitate to commit our cause to God and go forward.

3rd. We should be on our guard against crafty and unprincipled men. They often profess to seek our good when they are only plotting our ruin. Even those professedly coming from our enemies to caution us are often also our enemies, and are secretly plotting our ruin or endeavouring to prevent our doing good.

4th. We see here the nature of religion. It shrinks at nothing which is duty. It goes forward trusting in God. It comes out boldly and faces the world. And,

5th. How beautiful and consistent is the example of Christ! How wise was he to detect the arts of his foes! how fearless in going forward, in spite of all their machinations, to do what God had appointed for him to do!

{g} "O Jerusalem" Mt 23:37

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 13 - Verse 35

Verses 34,35. See Barnes "Mt 23:37, also see Mt 23:38-39.

Verse 35. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "your house is left" Le 26:31,32; Ps 69:25; Isa 1:7; 5:5,6; Da 9:27; Mic 3:12

{i} "Blessed is he that" Lu 19:38; Joh 12:13



Verse 1. It came to pass. It so happened or occurred.

As he went, &c. It is probable that he was invited to go, being in the neighbourhood (Lu 14:12); and it is also probable that the Pharisee invited him for the purpose of getting him to say something that would involve him in difficulty.

One of the chief Pharisees. One of the Pharisees who were rulers, or members of the great council or the Sanhedrim. See Barnes "Mt 5:22".

It does not mean that he was the head of the sect of the Pharisees, but one of those who happened to be a member of the Sanhedrim. He was therefore a man of influence and reputation.

To eat bread. To dine. To partake of the hospitalities of his house.

On the sabbath-day. It may seem strange that our Saviour should have gone to dine with a man who was a stranger on the Sabbath; but we are to remember--

2nd. That he did not go there for the purpose of feasting and amusement, but to do good.

3rd. That as several of that class of persons were together, it gave him an opportunity to address them on the subject of religion, and to reprove their vices. If, therefore, the example of Jesus should be pled to authorize accepting an invitation to dine on the Sabbath, it should be pled JUST AS IT WAS. If we can go just as he did, it is right. If when away from home; if we go to do good; if we make it an occasion to discourse on the subject of religion and to persuade men to repent, then it is not improper. Farther than this we cannot plead the example of Christ. And surely this should be the last instance in the world to be adduced to justify dinner-parties, and scenes of riot and gluttony on the Sabbath.

They watched him. They malignantly fixed their eyes on him, to see if he did anything on which they could lay hold to accuse him.


Verse 2. A certain man before him. In what way he came there we know not. He might have been one of the Pharisee's family, or might have been placed there by the Pharisees to see whether he would heal him. This last supposition is not improbable, since it is said in Lu 14:1 that they watched him.

The dropsy. A disease produced by the accumulation of water in various parts of the body; very distressing, and commonly incurable.


Verse 3. Jesus, answering. To answer, in the Scriptures, does not always imply, as among us, that anything had been said before. It means often merely to begin or to take up a subject, or, as here, to remark on the case that was present.

Is it lawful, &c. He knew that they were watching him. If he healed the man at once, they would accuse him. He therefore proposed the question to them, and when it was asked, they could not say that it was not lawful.

{b} "Is it lawful" Lu 13:14


Verse 4. They held their peace. They were silent. They could not say it was not lawful, for the law did not forbid it. If it had they would have said it. Here was the time for them to make objections if they had any, and not after the man was healed; and as they made no objection then, they could not with consistency afterward. They were therefore effectually silenced and confounded by the Saviour.

He took him. Took hold of the man, or perhaps took him apart into another room. By taking hold of him, or touching him, he showed that the power of healing went forth from himself.


Verses 5,6. See Barnes "Mt 12:11".

Verse 5. Which of you, &c. In this way Jesus refuted the notion of the Pharisees. If it was lawful to save an ox on the Sabbath, it was also to save the life of a man. To this the Jews had nothing to answer.

{c} "Which of you" Lu 13:15.


Verses 5,6. See Barnes "Mt 12:11".

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 7. A parable. The word parable, here, means rather a precept, an injunction. He gave a rule or precept about the proper manner of attending a feast, or about the humility which ought to be manifested on such occasions.

That were bidden. That were invited by the Pharisee. It seems that he had invited his friends to dine with him on that day.

When he marked. When he observed or saw.

Chief rooms. The word rooms here does not express the meaning of the original. It does not mean apartments, but the higher places at the table; those which were nearest the head of the table and to him who had invited them. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".

That this was the common character of the Pharisees appears from Mt 23:6.


Verses 8,9. Art bidden. Art invited.

Verse 8. Art bidden. Art invited.

To a wedding. A wedding was commonly attended with a feast or banquet.

The highest room. The seat at the table nearest the head.

A more honourable man. A more aged man, or a man of higher rank. It is to be remarked that our Saviour did not consider the courtesies of life to be beneath his notice. His chief design here was, no doubt, to reprove the pride and ambition of the Pharisees; but, in doing it, he teaches us that religion does not violate the courtesies of life. It does not teach us to be rude, forward, pert, assuming, and despising the proprieties of refined intercourse. It teaches humility and kindness, and a desire to make all happy, and a willingness to occupy our appropriate situation and rank in life; and this is true politeness, for true politeness is a desire to make all others happy, and a readiness to do whatever is necessary to make them so. They have utterly mistaken the nature of religion who suppose that because they are professed Christians, they must be rude and uncivil, and violate all the distinctions in society. The example and precepts of Jesus Christ were utterly unlike such conduct. He teaches us to be kind, and to treat men according to their rank and character. Comp. Mt 22:21; Ro 13:7; 1 Pe 2:17.

{d} "When thou art" Pr 25:6,7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 10

Verse 10. The lowest room. The lowest seat at the table; showing that you are not desirous of distinctions, or greedy of that honour which may properly belong to you.

Shalt have worship. The word worship here means honour. They who are sitting with you shall treat you with respect. They will learn your rank by your being invited nearer to the head of the table, and it will be better to learn it thus than by putting yourself forward. They will do you honour because you have shown a humble spirit.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Whosoever exalteth, &c. This is universal among men, and it is also the way in which God will deal with men. Men will perpetually endeavour to bring down those who endeavour to exalt themselves; and it is a part of God's regular plan to abase the proud, to bring down the lofty, to raise up those that be bowed down, and show his favours to those who are poor and needy.

{e} "For, whosoever" 1 Sa 15:17; Job 22:29; Ps 18:27; Pr 15:33; 29:23

Mt 28:12; Lu 18:14; Jas 4:6; 1 Pe 5:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Call not thy friends, &c. This is not to be understood as commanding us not to entertain at all our relatives and friends; but we are to remember the design with which our Lord spoke. He intended, doubtless, to reprove those who sought the society of the wealthy, and particularly rich relatives, and those who claimed to be intimate with the great and honourable, and who, to show their intimacy, were in the habit of seeking their society, and making for them expensive entertainments. He meant, also, to commend charity shown to the poor. The passage means, therefore, call not only your friends, but call also the poor, &c. Comp. Ex 16:8; 1 Sa 15:22; Jer 7:22,23

Mt 9:13.

Thy kinsmen. Thy relations.

A recompense. Lest they feel themselves bound to treat you with the same kindness, and, in so doing, neither you nor they will show any kind spirit, or any disposition to do good beyond what is repaid.

{f} "nor thy rich" Pr 22:16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 13

Verse 13. The poor. Those who are destitute of comfortable food.

The maimed. Those who are deprived of any member of their body, as an arm or a leg, or who have not the use of them so that they can labour for their own support.

{g} "call the poor" Ne 8:10,12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Shalt be blessed. Blessed in the act of doing good, which furnishes more happiness than riches can give, and blessed or rewarded by God in the day of judgment.

They cannot recompense thee. They cannot invite you again, and thus pay you; and by inviting them you show that you have a disposition to do good.

The resurrection of the just. When the just or holy shall be raised from the dead. Then God shall reward those who have done good to the poor and needy from love to the Lord Jesus Christ, Mt 10:42; Mt 25:34-36.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God here means the kingdom which the Messiah was to set up. See Barnes "Mt 3:2".

The Jews supposed that he would be a temporal prince, and that his reign would be one of great magnificence and splendour. They supposed that the Jews then would be delivered from all their oppressions, and that, from being a degraded people, they would become the most distinguished and happy nation of the earth. To that period they looked forward as one of great happiness. There is some reason to think that they supposed that the ancient just men would then be raised up to enjoy the blessings of the reign of the Messiah. Our Saviour having mentioned the resurrection of the just, this man understood it in the common way of the Jews, and spoke of the peculiar happiness which they expected at that time. The Jews only, he expected, would partake of those blessings. Those notions the Saviour corrects in the parable which follows.

{h} "Blessed is he that shall" Re 19:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 16

Verse 16. A great supper. Or great feast. It is said to be great on account of the number who were invited.

Bade many. Invited many beforehand. There is little difficulty in understanding this parable. The man who made the supper is, without doubt, designed to represent God; the supper, the provisions which he has made for the salvation of men; and the invitation, the offers which he made to men, particularly to the Jews, of salvation. See a similar parable explained See Barnes "Mt 22:1, also Mt 22:2-13.

{i} "A certain man" Mt 22:2

{k} "great supper" Is 25:6,7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Sent his servant. An invitation had been sent before, but this servant was sent at the time that the supper was ready. From this it would seem that it was the custom to announce to those invited just the time when the feast was prepared. The custom here referred to still prevails in Palestine. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 178) says

If a sheikh, beg, or emeer invites, he always sends a servant to call you at the proper time. This servant often repeats the very formula mentioned in Lu 14:17: Tefuddulu, el asha hader--Come, for the supper is ready. The fact that this custom is mainly confined to the wealthy and to the nobility is in strict agreement with the parable, where the certain man who made the great supper and bade many is supposed to be of this class. It is true now, as then, that to refuse is a high insult to the maker of the feast, nor would such excuses as those in the parable be more acceptable to a Druse emeer than they were to the lord of this great supper.

{l} "Come, for all" Pr 9:2,5; So 5:1; Isa 55:1,2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 18

Verse 18. I have bought a piece of ground. Perhaps he had purchased it on condition that he found it as good as it had been represented to him.

I must needs go. I have necessity, or am obliged to go and see it; possibly pleading a contract or an agreement that he would go soon and examine it. However, we may learn from this that sinners sometimes plead that they are under a necessity to neglect the affairs of religion. The affairs of the world, they pretend, are so pressing that they cannot find time to attend to their souls. They have no time to pray, or read the Scriptures, or keep up the worship of God. In this way many lose their souls. God cannot regard such an excuse for neglecting religion with approbation. He commands us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, nor can he approve any excuse that men may make for not doing it.

{m} "first" Lu 8:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 19

Verse 19. I go to prove them. To try them, to see if he had made a good bargain. It is worthy of remark that this excuse was very trifling. He could as easily have tried them at any other time as then, and his whole conduct shows that he was more disposed to gratify himself than to accept the invitation of his friend. He was selfish; just as all sinners are, who, to gratify their own worldliness and sins, refuse to accept the offers of the gospel.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 20

Verse 20. I have married a wife, &c. Our Saviour here doubtless intends to teach us that the love of earthly relatives and friends often takes off the affections from God, and prevents our accepting the blessings which he would bestow on us. This was the most trifling excuse of all; and we cannot but be amazed that such excuses are suffered to interfere with our salvation, and that men can be satisfied for such reasons to exclude themselves from the kingdom of God.

{n} "I have married a wife" Lu 14:26; 1 Co 7:33

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Showed his lord. Told his master of the excuses of those who had been invited. Their conduct was remarkable, and it was his duty to acquaint him with the manner in which his invitation had been received.

Being angry. Being angry at the men who had slighted his invitation; who had so insulted him by neglecting his feast, and preferring for such reasons their own gratification to his friendship and hospitality. So it is no wonder that God is angry with the wicked every day. So foolish as well as wicked is the conduct of the sinner, so trifling is his excuse for not repenting and turning to God, that it is no wonder if God cannot look upon their conduct but with abhorrence.

Go out quickly. The feast is ready. There is no time to lose. They who partake of it must do it soon. So the gospel is ready; time flies; and they who partake of the gospel must do it soon, and they who preach it must give diligence to proclaim it to their fellow-men.

The streets and lanes of the city. The places where the poor, &c., would be found. Those first invited were the rich, who dwelt at ease in their own houses. By these the Jews were intended; by those who were in the streets, the Gentiles. Our Lord delivered this parable to show the Jews that the Gentiles would be called into the kingdom of God. They despised the Gentiles, and considered them cast out and worthless, as they did those who were in the lanes of the city.

The maimed, &c. See Barnes "Mt 14:13".

{o} "being angry" Ps 2:12

{p} "into the streets" Re 22:17

{q} "poor" 1 Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7,8

{r} "halt" Ps 38:7; Is 33:23; 35:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Yet there is room. He went out and invited all he found in the lanes, and yet the table was not fall. This he also reported to his master. There is room. What a glorious declaration is this in regard to the gospel! There yet is room. Millions have been saved, but there yet is room. Millions have been invited, and have come, and have gone to heaven, but heaven is not yet full. There is a banquet there which no number can exhaust; there are fountains which no number can drink dry; there are harps there which other hands may strike; and there are seats there which others may occupy. Heaven is not full, and there yet is room. The Sabbath-school teacher may say to his class, there yet is room; the parent may say to his children, there yet is room; the minister of the gospel may go and say to the wide world, there yet is room. The mercy of God is not exhausted; the blood of the atonement has not lost its efficacy; heaven is not full. What a sad message it would be if we were compelled to go and say,

"There is no more room--heaven is full --not another one can be saved. No matter what their prayers, or tears, or sighs, they cannot be saved. Every place is filled; every seat is occupied."

But, thanks be to God, this is not the message which we are to bear; and if there yet is room, come, sinners, young and old, and enter into heaven. Fill up that room, that heaven may be full of the happy and the blessed. If any part of the universe is to be vacant, O let it be the dark world of woe!

{s} "yet there is room" Ps 103:6; 130:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Go out into the highways. Since enough had not been found in the lanes and streets, he commands the servant to go into the roads--the public highways out of the city, as well as to the streets in it--and invite them also.

Hedges. A hedge is the inclosure around a field or vineyard. It was commonly made of thorns, which were planted thick, and which kept the cattle out of the vineyard.

"A common plant for this purpose is the prickly pear, a species of cactus, which grows several feet high, and as thick as a man's body, armed with sharp thorns, And thus forming an almost impervious defence"

(Professor Hackett, Scripture Illustrations, p. 174). Those in the hedges were poor labourers employed in planting them or trimming them-- men of the lowest class and of great poverty. By his directing them to go first into the streets of the city and then into the highways, we are not to understand our Saviour as referring to different classes of men, but only as denoting the earnestness with which God offers salvation to men, and his willingness that the most despised should come and live. Some parts of parables are thrown in for the sake of keeping, and they should not be pressed or forced to obtain any obscure or fanciful signification. The great point in this parable was, that God would call in the Gentiles after the Jews had rejected the gospel. This should be kept always in view in interpreting all the parts of the parable.

Compel them. That is, urge them, press them earnestly, one and all. Do not hear their excuses on account of their poverty and low rank of life, but urge them so as to overcome their objections and lead them to the feast. This expresses the earnestness of the man; his anxiety that his table should be filled, and his purpose not to reject any on account of their poverty, or ignorance, or want of apparel. So God is earnest in regard to the most polluted and vile. He commands his servants, his ministers, to urge them to come, to press on them the salvation of the gospel, and to use ALL the means in their power to bring into heaven poor and needy sinners.

{t} "compel" Ps 110:3

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 24

Verse 24. For l say unto you. These may be considered as the words of Jesus, making an application of the parable to the Pharisees before him.

None of these men. This cannot be understood as meaning that no Jews would be saved, but that none of those who had treated him in that manner--none who had so decidedly rejected the offer of the gospel--would be saved. We may here see how dangerous it is once to reject the gospel; how dangerous to grieve away the Holy Spirit. How often God forsakes for ever the sinner who has been once awakened, and who grieves the Holy Spirit. The invitation is full and free; but when it is rejected, and men turn wilfully away from it, God leaves them to their chosen way, and they are drowned in destruction and perdition. How important, then, is it to embrace the gospel at once; to accept the gracious invitation, and enter without delay the path that conducts to heaven!

{u} "that none of these men" Pr 1:24; Mt 21:43; He 12:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 25

Verses 25-27. See Barnes "Mt 10:37, See Barnes "Mt 10:38".

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 26

Verses 25-27. See Barnes "Mt 10:37" See Barnes "Mt 10:38".

Verse 26. And hate not. The word hate, here, means simply to love less. See the meaning of the verse in See Barnes "Mt 10:37.

It may be thus expressed:

"He that comes after me, and does not love his father less than he loves me, &c., cannot be my disciple."

We are not at liberty literally to hate our parents. This would be expressly contrary to the fifth commandment. See also Eph 6:1-3; Co 3:20. But we are to love them less than we love Christ; we are to obey Christ rather than them; we are to be willing to forsake them if he calls us to go and preach his gospel; and we are to submit, without a murmur, to him when he takes them away from us. This is not an uncommon meaning of the word hate in the Scriptures. Comp. Mal 1:2,3; Ge 29:30,31; De 21:15-17.

{v} "and hate not his father" De 33:9; Mt 10:37

{w} "his own life" Ac 20:24; Re 12:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 27

Verses 25-27. See Barnes "Mt 10:37" See Barnes "Mt 10:38".

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

{x} "whosoever doth not" Mt 16:24; Mr 8:34; 9:23; 2 Ti 3:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 28

Verse 28. Intending to build a tower. See Mt 21:33. A tower was a place of defence or observation, erected on high places or in vineyards, to guard against enemies. It was made high, so as to enable one to see an enemy when he approached; and strong, so that it could not be easily taken.

Counteth the cost. Makes a calculation how much it will cost to build it.

{y} "intending to build a tower" Pr 24:27

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 29

Verse 29. Haply. Perhaps.

To mock him. To ridicule him. To laugh at him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 30

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "was not able to finish" Heb 7:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 31

Verse 31. With ten thousand to meet, &c. Whether he will be able, with the forces which he has, to meet his enemy. Christ here perhaps intends to denote that the enemies which we have to encounter in following him are many and strong, and that our strength is comparatively feeble.

To meet him. To contend with him. To gain a victory over him.

{a} "consulteth whether" Pr 20:18

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 32

Verse 32. Or else. If he is not able. If he is satisfied that he would be defeated.

An ambassage. Persons to treat with an enemy and propose terms of peace. These expressions are not to be improperly pressed in order to obtain from them a spiritual signification. The general scope of the parable is to be learned from the connection, and may be thus expressed:

1st. Every man who becomes a follower of Jesus should calmly and deliberately look at all the consequences of such an act and be prepared to meet them.

2nd. Men in other things act with prudence and forethought. They do not begin to build without a reasonable prospect of being able to finish. They do not go to war when there is every prospect that they will be defeated.

3rd. Religion is a work of soberness, of thought, of calm and fixed purpose, and no man can properly enter on it who does not resolve by the grace of God to fulfil all its requirements and make it the business of his life.

4th. We are to expect difficulties in religion. It will cost us the mortification of our sins, and a life of self-denial, and a conflict with our lusts, and the enmity and ridicule of the world. Perhaps it may cost us our reputation, or possibly our lives and liberties, and all that is dear to us; but we must cheerfully undertake all this, and be prepared for it all.

5th. If we do not deliberately resolve to leave all things, to suffer all things that may be laid on us, and to persevere to the end of our days in the service of Christ, we cannot be his disciples. No man can be a Christian who, when he makes a profession, is resolved after a while to turn back to the world; nor can he be a true Christian if he expects that he will turn back. If he comes not with a full purpose always to be a Christian; if he means not to persevere, by the grace of God, through all hazards, and trials, and temptations; if he is not willing to bear his cross, and meet contempt, and poverty, and pain, and death, without turning back, he cannot be a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 33

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "forsaketh not all" Php 3:7,8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 34

Verses 34,35. See Barnes "Mt 5:13" See Barnes "Mr 9:49,50".

Salt is good. It is useful. It is good to preserve life and health, and to keep from putrefaction.

His savour. Its saltness. It becomes tasteless or insipid.

Be seasoned. Be salted again.

Fit for the land. Rather, it is not fit for land---that is, it will not bear fruit of itself. You cannot sow or plant on it.

Nor for the dunghill. It is not good for manure. It will not enrich the land.

Cast it out. They throw it away as useless.

He that hath ears, &c. See Mt 11:15. You are to understand that he that has not grace in his heart; who merely makes a profession of religion, and who sustains the same relation to true piety that this insipid and useless mass does to good salt, is useless in the church, and will be rejected. Real piety, true religion, is of vast value in the world. It keeps it pure, and saves it from corruption, as salt does meat; but a mere profession of religion is fit for nothing, it does no good. It is a mere encumbrance, and all such professors are fit only to be cast out and rejected. All such must be rejected by the Son of God, and cast into a world of wretchedness and despair. Comp. Mt 7:22,23; Mt 8:12; 23:30; 25:30; Re 3:16; Job 8:13; Job 26:13.

{d} "but men cast it out" Joh 15:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 14 - Verse 35

Verse 35. See Barnes on "Lu 14:34"



Verse 1. Publicans and sinners. See Barnes "Mt 9:10".

{a} "drew near unto him" Mt 9:10


Verse 2. Murmured. They affected to suppose that if Jesus treated sinners kindly he must be fond of their society, and be a man of similar character. They considered it disgraceful to be with them or to eat with them, and they therefore brought a charge against him for it. They would not suppose that he admitted them to his society for the purpose of doing them good; nor did they remember that the very object of his coming was to call the wicked from their ways and to save them from death.

Receiveth sinners. Receives them in a tender manner; treats them with kindness; does not drive them from his presence.

And eateth with them. Contrary to the received maxims of the scribes. By eating with them he showed that he did not despise or overlook them.

{b} "murmured" Ac 11:3


Verse 3. This parable. See Barnes "Mt 17:12,13".


Verses 4-6. See Barnes "Mt 18:12,13".

{c} "man" Mt 18:12


Verses 4-6. See Barnes "Mt 18:12,13".

Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verses 4-6. See Barnes "Mt 18:12,13".

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "for I have found" Ps 119:176


Verse 7. Likewise joy, &c. It is a principle of human nature that the recovery of an object in danger of being lost, affords much more intense joy than the quiet possession of many that are safe. This our Saviour illustrated by the case of the lost sheep and of the piece of silver. It might also be illustrated by many other things. Thus we rejoice most in our health when we recover from a dangerous disease; we rejoice over a child rescued from danger or disease more than over those who are in health or safety. We rejoice that property is saved from conflagration or the tempest more than over much more that has not been in danger. This feeling our Lord represents as existing in heaven. Likewise, in like manner, or on the same principle, there is joy.

In heaven. Among the angels of God. Comp. Lu 15:10. Heavenly beings are thus represented as rejoicing over those who repent on earth. They see the guilt and danger of men; they know what God has done for the race, and they rejoice at the recovery of any from the guilt and ruins of sin.

One sinner. One rebel against God, however great may be his sins or however small. If a sinner, he must perish unless he repents; and they rejoice at his repentance because it recovers him back to the love of God, and because it will save him from eternal death.

That repenteth. See Barnes "Mt 9:13".

Just persons. The word persons is not in the original. It means simply just ones, or those who have not sinned. The word may refer to angels as well as to men. There are no just men on earth who need no repentance, Ec 7:20; Ps 14:2,3; Ro 3:10-18.

Our Saviour did not mean to imply that there were any such. He was speaking of what took place in heaven, or among angels, and of their emotions when they contemplate the creatures of God; and he says that they rejoiced in the repentance of one sinner more than in the holiness of many who had not fallen. We are not to suppose that he meant to teach that there were just ninety-nine holy angels to one sinner. He means merely that they rejoice more over the repentance of one sinner than they do over many who have not fallen. By this he vindicated his own conduct. The Jews did not deny the existence of angels. They would not deny that their feelings were proper. If they rejoiced in this manner, it was not improper for him to show similar joy, and especially to seek their conversion and salvation. If they rejoice also, it shows how desirable is the repentance of a sinner. They know of how much value is an immortal soul. They see what is meant by eternal death; and they do not feel too much, or have too much anxiety about the soul that can never die. Oh that men saw it as they see it! and oh that they would make an effort, such as angels see to be proper, to save their own souls, and the souls of others from eternal death!

{c} "need no repentance" Lu 5:32


Verses 8-10.

Verse 8. Ten pieces of silver. In the original, ten drachmas. The drachma was about the value of fifteen cents, and consequently the whole sum was about a dollar and a half, or six shillings. The sum was small, but it was all she had. The loss of one piece, therefore, was severely felt.

There is joy in the presence, &c. Jesus in this parable expresses the same sentiment which he did in the preceding. A woman would have more immediate, present joy at finding a lost piece, than she would in the possession of those which had not been lost. So, says Christ, there is joy among the angels at the recovery of a single sinner.

{1} "pieces of silver" Drachma here translated a piece of silver is the eighth part of an ounce, which cometh to sevenpence halfpenny. See Barnes "Mt 18:28".


Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 10

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{f} "there is joy" Eze 18:23,32; 33:11; Ac 11:18; Phm 1:15,16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And he said. Jesus, to illustrate still farther the sentiment which he had uttered, and to show that it was proper to rejoice over repenting sinners, proceeds to show it by a most beautiful and instructive parable. We shall see its beauty and propriety by remembering that the design of it was simply to justify his conduct in receiving sinners, and to show that to rejoice over their return was proper. This he shows by the feelings of a father rejoicing over the return of an ungrateful and dissipated son.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 12

Verse 12. And the younger of them said. By this younger son we are to understand the publicans and sinners to be represented. By the elder, the Pharisees and scribes.

Give me the portion. The part.

Of goods. Of property.

That falleth to me. That is properly my share. There is no impropriety in supposing that he was of age; and, as he chose to leave his father's house, it was proper that his father should, if he chose, give him the part of the estate which would be his.

He divided unto them his living. His property, or means of living. The division of property among the Jews gave the elder son twice as much as the younger. In this case it seems the younger son received only money or movable property, and the elder chose to remain with his father and dwell on the paternal estate. The lands and fixed property remained in their possession. Among the ancient Romans and Syrophoenicians, it was customary, when a son came to the years of maturity, if he demanded his part of the inheritance, for the father to give it to him. This the son might claim by law. It is possible that such a custom may have prevailed among the Jews, and that our Saviour refers to some such demand made by the young man.

{g} "And he divided unto them" Mr 12:44

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Gathered all together. Collected his property. If he had received flocks or grain, he sold them and converted them into money. As soon as this arrangement had been made he left his father's house.

Took his journey. Went, or travelled.

Into a far country. A country far off from his father's house. He went probably to trade or to seek his fortune, and in his wanderings came at last to this dissipated place, where his property was soon expended.

Wasted his substance. Spent his property.

In riotous living. Literally,

"Living without saving anything."

He lived extravagantly, and in the most dissolute company. Lu 15:30. By his wandering away we may understand that sinners wander far away from God; that they fall into dissolute and wicked company; and that their wandering so far off is the reason why they fall into such company, and are so soon and so easily destroyed.

{h} "famine" Am 8:11,12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 14

Verse 14. A mighty famine. Famines were common in Eastern nations. They were caused by the failure of the crops--by a want of timely rains, a genial sun, or sometimes by the prevalence of the plague or of the pestilence, which swept off numbers of the inhabitants. In this case it is very naturally connected with the luxury, the indolence, and the dissipation of the people in that land.

{h} "mighty famine" Am 8:11,12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 15

Verse 15. Joined himself. Entered the service of that citizen. Hired himself out to him. It would seem that he engaged to do any kind of work, even of the lowest kind.

A citizen. One of the inhabitants of one of the cities or towns of that region, probably a man of property.

Into the fields. Out of the city where the owner lived.

To feed swine. This was a very low employment, and particularly so to a Jew. It was forbidden to the Jews to eat swine, and of course it was unlawful to keep them. To be compelled, therefore, to engage in such an employment was the deepest conceivable degradation. The object of this image, as used by the Saviour in the parable, is to show the loathsome employments and the deep degradation to which sin leads men, and no circumstance could possibly illustrate it in a more striking manner than he has done here. Sin and its results everywhere have the same relation to that which is noble and great, which the feeding of swine had, in the estimation of a Jew, to an honourable and dignified employment.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 16

Verse 16. He would fain. He would gladly. He desired to do it.

The husks. The word husks with us denotes the outward covering of corn. In this there is little nourishment, and it is evident that this is not intended here; but the word used here denotes not only husks, but also leguminous plants, as beans, &c. It is also used to denote the fruit of a tree called the carob or kharub-tree, which is common in Ionia, Syria, and Rhodes. The tree is more bushy and thick-set than the apple-tree, and the leaves are larger and of a much darker green. The following is Dr. Thomson's description of the fruit of this tree (The Land and the Book, vol. i.p. 22):

The husks-- a mistranslation--are fleshy pods, somewhat like those of the locust-tree, from six to ten inches long and one broad, laid inside with a gelatinous substance, not wholly unpleasant to the taste when thoroughly ripe. I have seen large orchards of this kharub in Cyprus, where it is still the food which the swine do eat. The kharub is often called St. John's Bread, and also Locust-tree, from a mistaken idea about the food of the Baptist in the wilderness.

The cut will give an idea of these pods, or husks as they are called in our translation.

No man gave unto him. Some have understood this as meaning "no one gave him anything -- any bread or provisions;" but the connection requires us to understand it of the "husks." He did not go a begging --his master was bound to provide for his wants; but the provision which he made for him was so poor that he would have preferred the food of the swine. He desired a portion of their food, but that was not given him. A certain quantity was measured out for them, and he was not at liberty to eat it himself. Nothing could more strikingly show the evil of his condition, or the deep degradation, and pollution, and wretchedness of sin.

{i} "filled" Is 44:20; Ho 12:1

{k} "the swine did eat" Ps 73:22

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 17

Verse 17. He came to himself. This is a very expressive phrase. It is commonly applied to one who has been deranged, and when he recovers we say he has come to himself. In this place it denotes that the folly of the young man was a kind of derangement--that he was insane. So it is of every sinner. Madness is in their hearts (Ec 9:3); they are estranged from God, and led, by the influence of evil passions, contrary to their better judgment and the decisions of a sound mind.

Hired servants. Those in a low condition of life--those who were not born to wealth, and who had no friends to provide for them.

I perish. I, who had property and a kind father, and who might have been provided for and happy.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 18

Verse 18. I will arise. This is a common expression among the Hebrews to denote entering on a piece of business. It does not imply that he was sitting, but that he meant immediately to return. This should be the feeling of every sinner who is conscious of his guilt and danger.

To my father. To his father, although he had offended him, and treated him unkindly, and had provoked him, and dishonoured him by his course of conduct. So the sinner. He has nowhere else to go but to God. He has offended him, but he may trust in his kindness. If God does not save him he cannot be saved. There is no other being that has an arm strong enough to deliver from sin; and though it is painful for a man to go to one whom he has offended--though he cannot go but with shame and confusion of face--yet, unless the sinner is willing to go to God and confess his faults, he can never be saved.

I have sinned. I have been wicked, dissipated, ungrateful, and rebellious.

Against heaven. The word heaven here, as it is often elsewhere, is put for God. I have sinned against God. See Mt 21:25. It is also to be observed that one evidence of the genuineness of repentance is the feeling that our sins have been committed chiefly against God. Commonly we think most of our offences as committed against man; but when the sinner sees the true character of his sins, he sees that they have been aimed chiefly against God, and that the sins against man are of little consequence compared with those against God. So David, even after committing the crimes of adultery and murder--after having inflicted the deepest injury on man--yet felt that the sin as committed against God shut every other consideration out of view: Against thee, thee ONLY, have I sinned, &c., Ps 51:4.

Before thee. This means the same as against thee. The offences had been committed mainly against God, but they were to be regarded, also, as sins against his father, in wasting property which he had given him, in neglecting his counsels, and in plunging himself into ruin. He felt that he had disgraced such a father. A sinner will be sensible of his sins against his relatives and friends as well as against God. A true penitent will be as ready to acknowledge his offences against his fellow-men as those against his Maker.

{l} "I will arise" Ps 39:5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No more worthy, &c.

"Such has been my conduct that I have been a disgrace to my father. I am not fit to be honoured by being called the son of a man so kind and virtuous."

Make me as one, &c.

"Treat me as a servant. Let me come again into your family, but I do not ask to be treated as a son. I am willing to come in if you will give me only the support that you give to a servant."

This evinced,

1st. Deep humility-such as a sinner should have.

2nd. Love for his father's house--such as all penitents should have toward God's dwelling-place in heaven.

3rd. Confidence in his father that he would treat him kindly, even if he treated him as a servant. Such confidence all returning penitents feel in God. They are assured that God will treat them kindly--that whatever he gives them will be more than they deserve, and they are therefore willing to be in his hands. Yet,

4th. He had no adequate sense of his father's kindness. He did not fully appreciate his character. He was far more kind than he had dared to hope he would be; just as all sinners undervalue the character of God, and find him always more kind than they had supposed. No sinner comes to God with a just and adequate view of his character, but always finds him more merciful than he had dared to hope.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 20

Verse 20. He arose, and came. Was coming. But here is no indication of haste. He did not run, but came driven by his wants, and, as we may suppose, filled with shame, and even with some doubts whether his father would receive him.

A great way off. This is a beautiful description--the image of his father's happening to see him clad in rags, poor, and emaciated, and yet he recognized his son, and all the feelings of a father prompted him to go and embrace him.

Had compassion. Pitied him. Saw his condition--his poverty and his wretched appearance--and was moved with compassion and love.

And ran. This is opposed to the manner in which the son came. The beauty of the picture is greatly heightened by these circumstances. The son came slowly-- the father ran. The love and joy of the old man were so great that he hastened to meet him and welcome him to his home.

Fell on his neck. Threw his arms around his neck and embraced him.

And kissed him. This was a sign at once of affection and reconciliation. This must at once have dissipated every doubt of the son about the willingness of his father to forgive and receive him. A kiss is a sign of affection, 1 Sa 10:1; Ge 29:13. This is evidently designed to denote the readiness of God to pity and pardon returning sinners. In this verse of inimitable beauty is contained the point of the parable, which was uttered by the Saviour to vindicate his own conduct in receiving sinners kindly. Who could blame this father for thus receiving his repenting son? Not even a Pharisee could blame him; and our Saviour thus showed them, so that they could not resist it, that God received returning sinners, and that it was right for him also to receive them and treat them with attention.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "I have sinned" Ps 51:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 22

Verse 22. The best robe. The son was probably in rags. The joy of the father is expressed by clothing him in the best raiment, that he might appear well. The robe here mentioned is probably the outer garment; and the father told them to put on him the best one that was in the house--one reserved for festival occasions. See Ge 27:15.

A ring on his hand. To wear a ring on the hand was one mark of wealth and dignity. The rich and those in office commonly wore them. Comp. Jas 2:2. To give a ring was a mark of favour, or of affection, or of conferring office. Comp. Ge 41:42; Es 8:2. Here it was expressive of the favour and affection of the father.

Shoes on his feet. Servants, probably, did not usually wear shoes. The son returned, doubtless, without shoes--a condition very unlike that in which he was when he left home. When, therefore, the father commanded them to put shoes on him, it expressed his wish that he should not be treated as a servant, but as a son. The word shoes here, however, means no more than sandals, such as were commonly worn. And the meaning of all these images is the same-- that God will treat those who return to him with kindness and affection. These images should not be attempted to be spiritualized. They are beautifully thrown in to fill up the narrative, and to express with more force the general truth that God will treat returning penitents with mercy and with love. To dress up the son in this manner was a proof of the father's affection. So God will bestow on sinners the marks of his confidence and regard.

{o} "Bring forth the best robe" Zec 3:3,5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 23

Verse 23. Be merry. Literally, "eating, let us rejoice." The word merry does not quite express the meaning of the Greek. Merriment denotes a light, playful, jovial mirth. The Greek denotes simply joy--let us be happy, or joyful.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Was dead. This is capable of two significations:

1st. I supposed that he was dead, but I know now that he is alive.

2nd. He was dead to virtue--he was sunk in pleasure and vice. The word is not unfrequently thus used. See 1 Ti 5:6; Mt 8:22; Ro 6:13.

Hence to be restored to virtue is said to be restored to life, Ro 6:13; Re 3:1; Eph 2:1.

It is probable that this latter is the meaning here. See Lu 15:31.

Was lost. Had wandered away from home, and we knew not where he was.

{p} "For" Lu 15:32 {q} "was dead" Eph 2:1; 5:14; Re 3:1

{r} "is alive again" Ro 6:11,13

{s} "was lost" Eze 34:4,16; Lu 19:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 25

Verse 25. In the field. At work. This eldest son is designed to represent the Pharisees who had found fault with the Saviour. Their conduct is likened to that of this envious and unnatural brother.

Music and dancing. Dancing was not uncommon among the Hebrews, and was used on various occasions. Thus Miriam celebrated the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt in dances as well as songs, Ex 15:20. David danced before the ark, 2 Sa 6:14. It was common at Jewish feasts (Jud 21:19-21) and in public triumphs (Jud 11:34), and at all seasons of mirth and rejoicings, Ps 30:11; Jer 31:4,13.

It was also used in religious services by the idolaters (Ex 32:19), and also by the Jews, at times, in their religious services, Ps 149:3; 150:4. In this case it was an expression of rejoicing. Our Lord expresses no opinion about its propriety. He simply states the fact, nor was there occasion for comment on it. His mentioning it cannot be pleaded for its lawfulness or propriety, any more than his mentioning the vice of the younger son, or the wickedness of the Pharisees, can be pleaded to justify their conduct. It is an expressive image, used in accordance with the known customs of the country, to express joy. It is farther to be remarked, that if the example of persons in Scripture be pleaded for dancing, it can be only for just such dances as they practised --for sacred or triumphal occasions.

{t} "music and dancing" Ps 30:11; 126:1,2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 26

Verses 26-28. Safe and sound. In health.

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 28

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

{u} "angry" Jon 4:1-3; Ro 10:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 29

Verse 29. A kid. A young goat. This was of less value than the calf; and he complains that while his father had never given him a thing of so little value as a kid, he had now given his other son the fatted calf.

Make merry with. Entertain them--give them a feast. This complaint was unreasonable, for his father had divided his property, and he might have had his portion, and his father had uniformly treated him with kindness. But it serves to illustrate the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees, and the folly of their complaint.

{v} "do I serve thee" Is 65:5; Lu 18:11

{w} "neither transgressed I" Phi 3:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 30

Verse 30. This thy son. This son of thine. This is an expression of great contempt. He did not call him his brother, but his father's son, to show at once his contempt for his younger brother, and for his father for having received him as he did. Never was there a more striking instance of petty malice, or more unjustifiable disregard of a father's conduct and will.

Thy living. Thy property. This is still designed to irritate the father, and set him against his younger son. It was true that the younger son had been guilty, and foolish, and ungrateful; but he was penitent, and that was of more consequence to the father than all his property; and in the joy that he was penitent and was safe, he forgot his ingratitude and folly. So should the elder son have done.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 31

Verse 31. All I have is thine. The property was divided. What remained was in reality the elder son's. He was heir to it all, and had a right, if he chose, to use it. He had therefore no right to complain.

This instructive and beautiful parable was designed to vindicate the conduct of Jesus--to show that it was right to receive sinners, and that the conduct of the Pharisees was unreasonable. The elder son represents the Pharisees; the younger, the returning sinner, whether Jew or Gentile; and the father, God, who is willing to receive them. The parable had the designed effect. It silenced the adversaries of Jesus and vindicated his own conduct. There is not, perhaps, anywhere to be found a more beautiful and touching narrative than this. Every circumstance is tender and happily chosen; every word has a meaning; every image is beautiful; and the narrative closes just where it is fitted to make the deepest impression. In addition to what has been suggested, we may learn from this parable the following lessons :-

1st. That the disposition of a sinner is selfish. He desires to get all that he can, and is impatient of delay, Lu 15:12.

2nd. Sinners waste their blessings, and reduce themselves to a state of want and wretchedness, Lu 15:13. A life of sin brings on spiritual want and misery. It destroys the faculties, benumbs the mind, hardens the heart, abuses the beneficence of God, and makes us careless of him who gave us all that we have, and indifferent to the consequences of our own conduct.

3rd. Sinners disregard the future woes that will come upon them. The young man cared not for any calamities that might be the result of his conduct. He went on heedlessly--like every sinner-to enjoy himself, and to squander what the toils of his father had procured for him.

4th. Afflictions are often the means of bringing sinners to reflection, Lu 15:14. While his property lasted the prodigal cared little about his father. When that was gone, and he was in the midst of a famine, he thought of his ways. When sinners are in prosperity they think little about God. When he takes away their mercies, and they are called to pass through afflictions, then they think of their ways, and remember that God can give them comfort.

5th. We have here an impressive exhibition of the wants and woes of a sinner.

1st. He had spent all. He had nothing. So the sinner. He has no righteousness, no comfort.

2nd. He was far from God, away from his father, and in a land of strangers. The sinner has wandered, and has no friend. His miseries came upon him because he was so far away from God.

3rd. His condition was wretched. He was needy, in famine, and without a friend. So the sinner. His condition is aptly denoted by that of the prodigal, who would gladly have partaken of the food of the swine. The sinner has taken the world for his portion, and it neither supplies the wants of his soul, nor gives him comfort when he is far away from his Father's home and from God.

6th. The sinner in this situation often applies to the wrong source for comfort, Lu 15:15. The prodigal should at once have returned to his father, but he rather chose to become a servant of a citizen of that region. The sinner, when sensible of his sins, should return at once to God; but he often continues still to wander. He tries new objects. He seeks new pleasures and new friends, and finds them equally unsatisfactory. He engages in new pursuits, but all in vain. He is still comfortless, and in a strange, a famished land.

7th. The repentance required in the gospel is a return to a right mind, Lu 15:17. Before his conversion the sinner was alienated from God. He was spiritually deranged. He saw not things as they are. Now he looks on the world as vain and unsatisfactory, and comes to himself. He thinks aright of God, of heaven, of eternity, and resolves to seek his happiness there. No man regards things as they are but he who sees the world to be vain, and eternity to be near and awful; and none acts with a sane mind but he who acts on the belief that he must soon die; that there is a God and a Saviour--a heaven and a hell.

8th. When the sinner returns he becomes sensible of the following things:

1st. That he is in danger of perishing, and must soon die but for relief--" I perish with hunger."

2nd. That God is willing and able to save him--"How many hired servants have bread enough and to spare." There is abundance of mercy for all, and all may come.

3rd. He begins to cherish a hope that this may be his. God is willing, and he feels that all that is needful is for him to go to him.

4th. He resolves to go to God--"I will arise and go."

5th. He comes to him willing to confess all his sins, and desirous of concealing none-- "I will say, Father, I have sinned."

9th. True repentance is a voluntary act. It is not forced. It is the resolution of the sinner to go, and he cheerfully and cordially arises and goes, Lu 15:18.

10th. A real penitent feels that his sins have been committed against GOD, Lu 15:18.

11th. A true penitent also is willing to acknowledge his offences against his parents, brothers, friends, and all men, Lu 15:18.

12th. A real penitent is humble, Lu 15:18. He has no wish to conceal anything, or to be thought more highly of than he ought to be.

13th. God is willing to receive the true penitent, and has made the richest provision for his return and for his comfort. None need to hesitate to go. All who go, feeling that they are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked, will find God willing to receive them, and none will be sent empty away.

14th. The joy at the return of sinners is great. Angels rejoice over it, and all holy beings are glad.

15th. We should not be envious at any favours that God may be pleased to bestow on others, Lu 15:32. He has given us more than we deserve; and if, by the sovereignty of his grace, he is pleased to endow others with more grace, or to give them greater talents, or to make them more useful, we have no cause to complain. We should rather rejoice that he is pleased to give such mercies to any of our race, and should praise him for the manifestation of his goodness, whether made to us or to other men.

16th. The sensible joy when the sinner returns to God is often greater than that which may be felt after the return, and yet the real cause of rejoicing be no greater. In times of revival, the sensible joy of Christians may be greater than in ordinary seasons. Their graces are quickened, their zeal kindled, and their hopes strengthened.

17th. If God is willing to receive sinners, if all holy beings rejoice, then how should Christians strive for their conversion, and seek for their return!

18th. If God is willing to receive sinners now, then all should at once return. There will be a time when he will not be willing to receive them. The day of mercy will be ended; and from the misery and want of this wretched world, they will go down to the deeper miseries and wants of a world of despair--where hope never comes; from whence the sinner can never return; and where the cheering thought can never enter the mind that in his Father's house there is bread enough and to spare, or where he must feel that if there is, it will be for ever untasted by the wretched prodigal in the land of eternal famine and death.

{x} "Son" Ro 9:4; 11:1

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 15 - Verse 32

Verse 32. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "meet"

Jon 4:10,11

{z} "make merry" Ps 51:8; Isa 35:10 {a} "for this" Lu 15:24



Verse 1. His disciples. The word disciples, here, is not to be restricted to the twelve apostles or to the seventy. The parable appears to have been addressed to all the professed followers of the Saviour who were present when it was delivered. It is connected with that in the preceding chapter. Jesus had there been discoursing with the scribes and Pharisees, and vindicating his conduct in receiving kindly publicans and sinners. These publicans and sinners are here particularly referred to by the word disciples. It was with reference to them that the whole discourse had arisen. After Jesus had shown the Pharisees, in the preceding chapter, the propriety of his conduct, it was natural that he should turn and address his disciples. Among them there might have been some who were wealthy. The publicans were engaged in receiving taxes, in collecting money, and their chief danger arose from that quarter--from covetousness or dishonesty. Jesus always adapted his instructions to the circumstances of his hearers, and it was proper, therefore, that he should give these disciples instructions about their peculiar duties and dangers. He related this parable, therefore, to show them the danger of the love of money; the guilt it would lead to (Lu 16:1); the perplexities and shifts to which it would drive a man when once he had been dishonest (Lu 16:3-7); the necessity of using money aright, since it was their chief business (Lu 16:9); and the fact that if they would serve God aright they must give up supreme attachment to money (Lu 16:13); and that the first duty of religion demanded that they should resolve to serve God, and be honest in the use of the wealth intrusted to them. This parable has given great perplexity, and many ways have been devised to explain it. The above solution is the most simple of any; and if these plain principles are kept in view, it will not be difficult to give a consistent explanation of its particular parts. It should be borne in mind, however, that in this, as well as in other parables, we are not to endeavour to spiritualize every circumstance or allusion. We are to keep in view the great moral truth taught in it, that we cannot serve God and mammon, and that all attempts to do this will involve us in difficulty and sin.

A steward. One who has charge of the affairs of a family or household; whose duty it is to provide for the family, to purchase provisions, &c. This is, of course, an office of trust and confidence. It affords great opportunity for dishonesty and waste, and for embezzling property. The master's eye cannot always be on the steward, and he may therefore squander the property, or hoard it up for his own use. It was an office commonly conferred on a slave as a reward for fidelity, and of course was given to him that, in long service, had shown himself most trustworthy. By the rich man, here, is doubtless represented God. By the steward, those who are his professed followers, particularly the publicans who were with the Saviour, and whose chief danger arose from the temptations to the improper use of the money intrusted to them.

Was accused. Complaint was made.

Had wasted. Had squandered or scattered it; had not been prudent and saving.


Verse 2. Give an account. Give a statement of your expenses and of your conduct while you have been steward. This is not to be referred to the day of judgment. It is a circumstance thrown into the parable to prepare the way for what follows. It is true that all will be called to give an account at the day of judgment, but we are not to derive that doctrine from such passages as this, nor are we to interpret this as teaching that our conscience, or the law, or any beings will accuse us in the day of judgment. All that will be indeed true, but it is not the truth that is taught in this passage.

{a} "give an account" Lu 12:42; 1 Co 4:2; 1 Ti 4:14; 1 Pe 4:10


Verse 3. Said within himself. Thought, or considered.

My lord. My master, my employer.

I cannot dig. This may mean either that his employment had been such that he could not engage in agriculture, not having been acquainted with the business, or that he was unwilling to stoop to so low an employment as to work daily for his support. To dig, here, is the same as to till the earth, to work at daily labour.

To beg. These were the only two ways that presented themselves for a living-- either to work for it, or to beg.

I am ashamed. He was too proud for that. Besides, he was in good health and strength, and there was no good reason why he should beg--nothing which he could give as a cause for it. It is proper for the sick, the lame, and the feeble to beg; but it is not well for the able-bodied to do it, nor is it well to aid them, except by giving them employment, and compelling them to work for a living. He does a beggar who is able to work the most real kindness who sets him to work, and, as a general rule, we should not aid an able-bodied man or woman in any other way. Set them to work, and pay them a fair compensation, and you do them good in two ways, for the habit of labour may be of more value to them than the price you pay them.


Verse 4. I am resolved. He thought of his condition. He looked at the plans which occurred to him. He had been dishonest, and knew that he must lose his place. It would have been better to have considered before this, and resolved on a proper course of life, and to be faithful to his trust; and his perplexity here teaches us that dishonesty will sooner or later lead us into difficulty, and that the path of honesty is not only the right path, but is the path that is filled with most comfort and peace.

When I am put out, &c. When I lose my place, and have no home and means of support.

They may receive me, &c. Those who are now under me, and whom I am resolved now to favour. He had been dishonest to his master, and, having commenced a course of dishonesty, he did not shrink from pursuing it. Having injured his master, and being now detected, he was willing still farther to injure him, to take revenge on him for removing him from his place, and to secure his own interest still at his expense. He was resolved to lay these persons under such obligations, and to show them so much kindness, that they could not well refuse to return the kindness to him and give him a support. We may learn here,

1st. That one sin leads on to another, and that one act of dishonesty will be followed by many more, if there is opportunity.

2nd. Men who commit one sin cannot get along consistently without committing many more. One lie will demand many more to make it appear like the truth, and one act of cheating will demand many more to avoid detection. The beginning of sin is like the letting out of waters, and no man knows, if he indulges in one sin, where it will end.

3rd. Sinners are selfish. They care more about themselves than they do either about God or truth. If they seek salvation, it is only for selfish ends, and because they desire a comfortable abode in the future world rather than because they have any regard to God or his cause.


Verse 5. Called every one. As he was steward, he had the management of all the affairs, and, of course, debts were to be paid to him.

Debtors. Those who owed his master, or perhaps tenants; those who rented land of his master.


Verse 6. An hundred measures. The measure here mentioned is the bath, which contained, according to Dr. Arbuthnot's tables, 7 1/2 gallons, or, according to the marginal note, about 9 gallons and 3 quarts.

Oil. Oil of olives, or sweet oil. It was much used for lamps, as an article of food (Ex 29:2), and also for anointing, and, of course, as an article of commerce, 1 Ki 5:11. These were persons, doubtless, who had rented land of the rich man, and who were to give him a certain proportion of the produce.

Thy bill. The contract, obligation, or lease. It was probably written as a promise by the debtor and signed by the steward, and thus became binding. Thus he had power to alter it, without supposing that his master would detect it. The bill or contract was in the hands of the steward, and he gave it back to him to write a new one.

Quickly. He supposed that his master would soon remove him, and he was therefore in haste to have all things secure beforehand. It is worthy of remark, also, that all this was wrong. His master had called for the account; but, instead of rendering it, he engaged in other business, disobeyed his lord still, and, in contempt of his commands, sought his own interest. All sinners would be slow to give in their account to God if they could do it; and it is only because, when God calls them by death, they cannot but go, that they do not engage still in their own business and disobey him.

{1} "Measures of oil" = "The measure Batos, in the original, contained nine gallons and three quarts. See Eze 45:10-14


Verse 7. Measures of wheat. The measure here mentioned--the kor, or homer--contained, according to the tables of Dr. Arbuthnot, about 32 pecks, or 8 bushels; or, according to the marginal note, about 14 bushels and a pottle. A pottle is 4 pints. The Hebrew kor, ^hebrew^--or homer, ^hebrew^--was equal to 10 baths or 70 gallons, and the actual amount of the measure, according to this, was not far from 8 gallons. Robinson (Lex.), however, supposes that the bath was 11 1/2 gallons, and the kor or homer 14.45 bushels. The amount is not material to the proper understanding of the parable.

Fourscore. Eighty.

{2} "measures" = "The measure here indicated contained about fourteen bushels and a pottle"


Verse 8. The lord commended. Praised, or expressed admiration at his wisdom. These are not the words of Jesus, as commending him, but a part of the narrative or parable. His master commended him--saw that he was wise and considerate, though he was dishonest.

The unjust steward. It is not said that his master commended him because he was unjust, but because he was wise. This is the only thing in his conduct of which there is any approbation expressed, and this approbation was expressed by his master. This passage cannot be brought, therefore, to prove that Jesus meant to commend his dishonesty It was a commendation of his shrewdness or forethought; but the master could no more approve of his conduct as a moral act than he could the first act of cheating him.

The children of this world. Those who are devoted to this world; who live for this world only; who are careful only to obtain property, and to provide for their temporal necessities. It does not mean that they are peculiarly wicked and profligate, but only that they are worldly, and anxious about earthly things. See Mt 13:22; 2 Ti 4:10.

Are wiser. More prudent, cunning, and anxious about their particular business. They show more skill, study more plans, contrive more ways to provide for themselves, than the children of light do to promote the interests of religion.

In their generation. Some have thought that this means in their manner of living, or in managing their affairs. The word generation sometimes denotes the manner of life, Ge 6:9; 37:2. Others suppose that it means toward or among the men of their own age. They are more prudent and wise than Christians in regard to the people of their own time; they turn their connection with them to good account, and make it subserve their worldly interests, while Christians fail much more to use the world in such a manner as to subserve their spiritual interests.

Children of light. Those who have been enlightened from above--who are Christians. This may be considered as the application of the parable. It does not mean that it is more wise to be a worldly man than to be a child of light, but that those who are worldly show much prudence in providing for themselves; seize occasions for making good bargains; are active and industrious; try to turn everything to the best account, and thus exert themselves to the utmost to advance their interests; while Christians often suffer opportunities of doing good to pass unimproved; are less steady, firm, and anxious about eternal things, and thus show less wisdom. Alas! this is too true; and we cannot but reflect here how different the world would be if all Christians were as anxious, and diligent, and prudent in religious matters as others are in worldly things.

{b} "children of light" Joh 12:36; Eph 5:8


Verse 9. 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 benefitting 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 Lu 16:11, and means deceitful, false, not to be trusted. It has this meaning often. See 1 Ti 6:17; Lu 12:33; Mt 6:19; 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, Lu 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 Co 5:1.

{3} "mammon of unrighteousness" "riches"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 10

Verse 10. He that is faithful, &c. This is a maxim which will almost universally hold true. A man that shows fidelity in small matters will also in large; and he that will cheat and defraud in little things will also in those involving more trust and responsibility. Fidelity is required in small matters as well as in those of more importance.

{d} "He that is faithful" Mt 25:21,23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Who will commit, &c. If you are not faithful in the small matters pertaining to this world, if you do not use aright your property and influence, you cannot expect that God will commit to you the true riches of his grace. Men who are dishonest and worldly, and who do not employ the deceitful mammon as they ought, cannot expect to grow in grace. God does not confer grace upon them, and their being unfaithful in earthly matters is evidence that they would be also in much greater affairs, and would likewise misimprove the true riches.

True riches. The graces of the gospel; the influences of the Spirit; eternal life, or religion. The riches of this world are false, deceitful, not to be trusted (Lu 16:9); the treasures of heaven are true, faithful, never-failing, Mt 6:19,20.

{4} "mammon" = "riches"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Another man's. The word man's is not in the original. It is, "If ye have been unfaithful managers for another." It refers, doubtless, to God. The wealth of the world is his. It is committed to us as his stewards. It is uncertain and deceitful, and at any moment he can take it away from us. It is still his; and if, while intrusted with this, we are unfaithful, we cannot expect that he will confer on us the rewards of heaven.

That which is your own. The riches of heaven, which, if once given to us, may be considered as ours that is, it will be permanent and fixed, and will not be taken away as if at the pleasure of another. We may calculate on it, and look forward with the assurance that it will continue to be ours for ever, and will not be taken away like the riches of this world, as if they were not ours. The meaning of the whole parable is therefore thus expressed: If we do not use the things of this world as we ought--with honesty, truth, wisdom, and integrity, we cannot have evidence of piety, and shall not be received into heaven. If we are true to that which is least, it is an evidence that we are the children of God, and he will commit to our trust that which is of infinite importance, even the eternal riches and glory of heaven.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 13

Verse 13. See Barnes "Mt 6:24".

No Barnes text on this verse.

{e} "No servant" Jos 24:15; Mt 6:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 14

Verses 14,15. They derided him. The fact that they were "covetous" is here stated as the reason why they derided him, or, as it is literally, "they turned up the nose at him." They contemned or despised the doctrine which he had laid down, probably because it showed them that with their love of money they could not be the true friends of God, or that their profession of religion was really false and hollow. They were attempting to serve God and mammon, and they therefore looked upon his doctrine with contempt and scorn.

Justify yourselves. Attempt to appear just; or, you aim to appear righteous in the sight of men, and do not regard the heart.

That which is highly esteemed. That is, mere external works, or actions performed merely to appear to be righteous.

Is abomination. Is abominable, or hateful. The word used here is the one that in the Old Testament is commonly given to idols, and denotes God's abhorrence of such conduct. These words are to be applied chiefly to what Jesus was discoursing about. There are many things esteemed among men which are not abomination in the sight of God; as, for example, truth, parental and filial affection, industry, &c. But many things, much sought and admired, are hateful in his sight. The love of wealth and show, ambition and pride, gay and splendid vices, and all the wickedness that men contrive to gild and to make appear like virtue--external acts that appear well while the heart is evil--are abominable in the sight of God, and should be in the sight of men. Comp. Lu 18:11-14; 1 Sa 16:7.

{f} "Pharisees also" Mt 23:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 15

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse.

{g} "justify" Lu 10:29

{h} "God knoweth" Ps 7:9; Jer 17:10

{i} "esteemed" Pr 16:5; Mal 3:15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 16

Verse 16. See Barnes "Mt 11:12-14".

Every man. Many men, or multitudes. This is an expression that is very common, as when we say everybody is engaged in a piece of business, meaning that it occupies general attention.

{k} "The law" Mt 11:12,13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 17

Verse 17. See Barnes "Mt 5:18".

{l} "it is easier" Ps 102:26; Is 40:8; 51:6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 18

Verse 18. See Barnes "Mt 5:32".

These verses occur in Matthew in a different order, and it is not improbable that they were spoken by our Saviour at different times. The design, here, seems to be to reprove the Pharisees for not observing the law of Moses, notwithstanding their great pretensions to external righteousness, and to show them that they had really departed from the law.

{m} "putteth away his wife" Mt 5:32; 1 Co 7:10,11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 19

Verse 19. There was a certain rich man. Many have supposed that our Lord here refers to a real history, and gives an account of some man who had lived in this manner; but of this there is no evidence. The probability is that this narrative is to be considered as a parable, referring not to any particular case which had actually happened, but teaching that such cases might happen. The design of the narrative is to be collected from the previous conversation. He had taught the danger of the love of money (Lu 16:1,2); the deceitful and treacherous nature of riches (Lu 16:9-11); that what was in high esteem on earth was hateful to God (Lu 16:15); that men who did not use their property aright could not be received into heaven (Lu 16:11,12); that they ought to listen to Moses and the prophets (Lu 16:16,17); and that it was the duty of men to show kindness to the poor. The design of the parable was to impress all these truths more vividly on the mind, and to show the Pharisees that, with all their boasted righteousness and their external correctness of character, they might be lost. Accordingly he speaks of no great fault in the rich man --no external, degrading vice--no open breach of the law; and leaves us to infer that the mere possession of wealth may be dangerous to the soul, and that a man surrounded with every temporal blessing may perish for ever. It is remarkable that he gave no name to this rich man, though the poor man is mentioned by name. If this was a parable, it shows us how unwilling he was to fix suspicion on anyone. If it was not a parable, it shows also that he would not drag out wicked men before the public, but would conceal as much as possible all that had any connection with them. The good he would speak well of by name; the evil he would not injure by exposing them to public view.

Clothed in purple. A purple robe or garment. This colour was expensive as well as splendid, and was chiefly worn by princes, nobles, and those who were very wealthy. Comp. Mt 27:28. See Barnes "Isa 1:18".

Fine linen. This linen was chiefly produced of the flax that grew on the banks of the Nile, in Egypt, Pr 7:16; Eze 27:7. It was peculiarly soft and white, and was therefore much sought as an article of luxury, and was so expensive that it could be worn only by princes, by priests, or by those who were very rich, Ge 41:42; 1 Ch 15:27; Ex 28:5.

Fared sumptuously. Feasted or lived in a splendid manner.

Every day. Not merely occasionally, but constantly. This was a mark of great wealth, and, in the view of the world, evidence of great happiness. It is worthy of remark that Jesus did not charge on him any crime. He did not say that he had acquired this property by dishonesty, or even that he was unkind or uncharitable; but simply that he was a rich man, and that his riches did not secure him from death and perdition.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 20

Verses 20,21. Beggar. Poor man. The original word does not mean beggar, but simply that he was poor. It should have been so translated to keep up the contrast with the rich man.

Named Lazarus. The word Lazarus is Hebrew, and means a man destitute of help, a needy, poor man. It is a name given, therefore, to denote his needy condition.

Laid at his gate. At the door of the rich man, in order that he might obtain aid.

Full of sores. Covered with ulcers; afflicted not only with poverty, but with loathsome and offensive ulcers, such as often are the accompaniments of poverty and want. These circumstances are designed to show how different was his condition from that of the rich man. He was clothed in purple; the poor man was covered with sores; he fared sumptuously; the poor man was dependent even for the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.

The dogs came. Such was his miserable condition that even the dogs, as if moved by pity, came and licked his sores in kindness to him. These circumstances of his misery are very touching, and his condition, contrasted with that of the rich man, is very striking. It is not affirmed that the rich man was unkind to him, or drove him away, or refused to aid him. The narrative is designed simply to show that the possession of wealth, and all the blessings of this life, could not exempt from death and misery, and that the lowest condition among mortals may be connected with, life and happiness beyond the grave. There was no provision made for the helpless poor in those days, and consequently they were often laid at the gates of the rich, and in places of public resort, for charity. See Ac 3:2. The gospel has been the means of all the public charity now made for the needy, as it has of providing hospitals for those who are sick and afflicted. No pagan nation ever had a hospital or an alms house for the needy, the aged, the blind, the insane. Many heathen nations, as the Hindoos and the Sandwich Islanders, destroyed their aged people; and all left their poor to the miseries of public begging, and their sick to the care of their friends or to private charity.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 22

Verse 22. 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 (He 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 Barnes "Mt 23:6".

See Barnes "Joh 13:23".

See Barnes "Joh 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, Mt 3:9. To be his friend was, in their view, the highest honour 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 for ever.

Was buried. This is not said of the poor man. Burial was thought to be an honour, 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 honour, and all that the world calls happy and desirable.

{n} "Abraham's bosom" Mt 8:11

{o} "rich man also died" Pr 14:32

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 23

Verse 23. In hell. The word here translated hell (Hades) means literally a dark, obscure place; the place where departed spirits go, but especially the place where wicked spirits go. See Barnes "Job 10:21" also Job 10:22; Isa 14:9".

The following circumstances are related of it in this parable:

1st. It is far off from the abodes of the righteous. Lazarus was seen afar off.

3rd. There is a great gulf fixed between that and heaven, Lu 16:26.

4th. The suffering is great. It is represented by torment in a flame, Lu 16:24.

5th. There will be no escape from it, Lu 16:26. The word hell here means, therefore, that dark, obscure, and miserable place, far from heaven, where the wicked shall be punished for ever.

He lifted up his eyes. A phrase in common use among the Hebrews, meaning he looked, Ge 13:10; 18:2; 31:10; Da 8:3; Lu 6:20.

Being in torment. The word torment means pain, anguish (Mt 4:24); particularly the pain inflicted by the ancients in order to induce men to make confession of their crimes. These torments or tortures were the keenest that they could inflict, such as the rack, or scourging, or burning; and the use of the word here denotes that the sufferings of the wicked can be represented only by the extremest forms of human suffering.

And seeth Abraham, &c. This was an aggravation of his misery. One of the first things that occurred in hell was to look up, and see the poor man that lay at his gate completely happy. What a contrast! Just now he was rolling in wealth, and the poor man was at his gate. He had no expectation of these sufferings' now they have come upon him, and Lazarus is happy and for ever fixed in the paradise of God. It is more, perhaps, than we are authorized to infer, that the wicked will see those who are in paradise. That they will know that they are there is certain; but we are not to suppose that they will be so near together as to be seen, or as to make conversation possible. These circumstances mean that there will be a separation, and that the wicked in hell will be conscious that the righteous, though on earth they were poor or despised, will be in heaven. Heaven and hell will be far from each other, and it will be no small part of the misery of the one that it is far and for ever removed from the other.

{r} "tormented" Re 14:10,11.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 24

Verse 24. Father Abraham. The Jews considered it a signal honour that Abraham was their father--that is, that they were descendants from him. Though this man was now in misery, yet he seems not to have abandoned the idea of his relation to the father of the faithful. The Jews supposed that departed spirits might know and converse with each other. See Lightfoot on this place. Our Saviour speaks in conformity with that prevailing opinion; and as it was not easy to convey ideas about the spiritual world without some such representation, he therefore speaks in the language which was usual in his time. We are not, however, to suppose that this was literally true, but only that it was designed to represent more clearly the sufferings of the rich man in hell.

Have mercy on me. Pity me. The rich man is not represented as calling on God. The mercy of God will be at an end when the soul is lost. Nor did he ask to be released from that place. Lost spirits know that their sufferings will have no end, and that it would be in vain to ask to escape the place of torment. Nor does he ask to be admitted where Lazarus was. He had no desire to be in a holy place, and he well knew that there was no restoration to those who once sink down to hell.

Send Lazarus. This shows how low he was reduced, and how the circumstances of men change when they die. Just before, Lazarus was laid at his gate full of sores; now he is happy in heaven. Just before, he had nothing to give, and the rich man could expect to derive no benefit from him; now he asks, as the highest favour, that he might come and render him relief. Soon the poorest man on earth, if he is a friend of God, will have mercies which the rich, if unprepared to die, can never obtain. The rich will no longer despise such men; they would then be glad of their friendship, and would beg for the slightest favour at their hands.

Dip the tip, &c. This was a small favour to ask, and it shows the greatness of his distress when so small a thing would be considered a great relief.

Cool my tongue. The effect of great heat on the body is to produce almost insupportable thirst. Those who travel in burning deserts thus suffer inexpressibly when they are deprived of water. So pain of any kind produces thirst, and particularly of connected with fever. The sufferings of the rich man are therefore represented as producing burning thirst, so much that even a drop of water would be refreshing to his tongue. We can scarce form an idea of more distress and misery than where this is continued from one day to another without relief. We are not to suppose that he had been guilty of any particular wickedness with his tongue as the cause of this. It is simply an idea to represent the natural effect of great suffering, and especially suffering in the midst of great heat.

I am tormented. I am in anguish--in insupportable distress.

In this flame. The lost are often represented as suffering in flames, because fire is an image of the severest pain that we know. It is not certain, however, that the wicked will be doomed to suffer in material fire. See Barnes "Mr 9:44".

{r} "tormented in this flame" Is 66:24; Mr 9:44

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 25

Verse 25. Son. This is a representation designed to correspond with the word father. He was a descendant of Abraham--a Jew--and Abraham is represented as calling this thing to his remembrance. It would not lessen his sorrows to remember that he was a son of Abraham, and that he ought to have lived worthy of that relation to him.

Remember. This is a cutting word in this place. One of the chief torments of hell will be the remembrance of what was enjoyed and of what was done in this world. Nor will it be any mitigation of the suffering to spend an eternity where there will be nothing else to do, day or night, but to remember what urns done, and what might have been, if the life had been right.

Thy good things. That is, property, splendour, honour.

Evil things. Poverty, contempt, and disease.

But now, &c. How changed the scene! How different the condition! And how much better was the portion of Lazarus, after all, than that of the rich man! It is probable that Lazarus had the most real happiness in the land of the living, for riches without the love of God can never confer happiness like the favour of God, even in poverty. But the comforts of the rich man are now gone for ever, and the joys of Lazarus have just commenced. One is to be comforted, and the other to be tormented, to all eternity. How much better, therefore, is poverty, with the friendship of God, than riches, with all that the world can bestow! And how foolish to seek our chief pleasures only in this life!

{s} "in thy lifetime" Job 21:13; Ps 73:12-19; Lu 6:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 26

Verse 26. A great gulf. The word translated gulf means chasm, or the broad, yawning space between two elevated objects. In this place it means that there is no way of passing from one to the other.

Fixed. Strengthened--made firm or immovable. It is so established that it will never be movable or passable. It will for ever divide heaven and hell.

Which would pass. We are not to press this passage literally, as if those who are in heaven would desire to go and visit the wicked in the world of woe. The simple meaning of the statement is, that there can be no communication between the one and the other --there can be no passing from one to the other. It is impossible to conceive that the righteous would desire to leave their abodes in glory to go and dwell in the world of woe; nor can we suppose that they would wish to go for any reason unless it were possible to furnish relief. That will be out of the question. Not even a drop of water will be furnished as a relief to the sufferer.

Neither can they pass to us, &c. There can be no doubt that the wicked will desire to pass the gulf that divides them from heaven. They would be glad to be in a state of happiness; but all such wishes will be vain. How, in the face of the solemn statement of the Saviour here, can men believe that there will be a restoration of all the wicked to heaven? He solemnly assures us that there can be no passage from that world of woe to the abodes of the blessed; yet, in the face of this, many Universalists hold that hell will yet be vacated of its guilty millions, and that all its miserable inhabitants will be received to heaven! Who shall conduct them across this gulf, when Jesus Christ says it cannot be passed? Who shall build a bridge over that yawning chasm which he says is "fixed?" No: if there is anything certain from the Scripture, it is that they who enter hell return no more; they who sink there sink for ever.

{t} "neither can they pass to us" Eze 28:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 27

Verses 27,28. Five brethren. The number five is mentioned merely to preserve the appearance of verisimilitude in the story. It is not to be spiritualized, nor are we to suppose that it has any hidden or inscrutable meaning.

May testify unto them. May bear witness to them, or may inform them of what is my situation, and the dreadful consequences of the life that I have led. It is remarkable that he did not ask to go himself. He knew that he could not be released, even for so short a time. His condition was fixed. Yet he had no wish that his friends should suffer, and he supposed that if one went from the dead they would hear him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 28

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 29

Verse 29. They have Moses. The writings of Moses. The first five books of the Bible.

The prophets. The remainder of the Old Testament. What the prophets had written.

Hear them. Hear them speak in the Scriptures. Read them, or hear them read in the synagogues, and attend to what they have delivered.

{u} "They have Moses and the prophets" Is 34:16; Joh 5:39

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Nay. No. They will not hear Moses and the prophets. They have heard them so long in vain, that there is no prospect now that they will attend to the message; but if one should go to them directly from the eternal world they would hear him. The novelty of the message would attract their attention, and they would listen to what he would say.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 31

Verse 31. Be persuaded. Be convinced of the truth; of the danger and folly of their way; of the certainty of their suffering hereafter, and be induced to turn from sin to holiness, and from Satan unto God.

From this impressive and instructive parable we may learn--

1st. That the souls of men do not die with their bodies.

2nd. That the soul is conscious after death; that it does not sleep, as some have supposed, till the morning of the resurrection.

3rd. That the righteous are taken to a place of happiness immediately at death, and the wicked consigned at once to misery.

4th. That wealth does not secure from death.

"How vain are riches to secure Their haughty owners from the grave!"

The rich, the beautiful, the gay, as well as the poor, go down to the grave. All their pomp and apparel, all their honours, their palaces, and their gold cannot save them. Death can as easily find his way into the splendid mansions of the rich as into the cottages of the poor; and the rich shall turn to the same corruption, and soon, like the poor, be undistinguished from common dust and be unknown.

5th. We should not envy the condition of the rich.

"On slippery rocks I see them stand,
d fiery billows roll below.

"Now let them boast how tall they rise,
I'll never envy them again;
There they may stand with haughty eyes,
Till they plunge deep in endless pain.

"Their fancied joys how fast they flee!
Like dreams, as fleeting and as vain;
Their songs of softest harmony
Are but a prelude to their pain."

6th. We should strive for a better inheritance than can be possessed in this life.

"Now I esteem their mirth and wine
Too dear to purchase with my blood:
Lord, 'tis enough that thou art mine--
My life, my portion, and my God."

7th. The sufferings of the wicked in hell will be indescribably great. Think what is represented by torment; by burning flame; by insupportable thirst; by that state where a single drop of water would afford relief. Remember that all this is but a representation of the pains of the damned, and that this will have no intermission day or night, but will continue from year to year, and age to age, without any end, and you have a faint view of the sufferings of those who are in hell.

8th. There is a place of sufferings beyond the grave--a hell. If there is not, then this parable has no meaning. It is impossible to make anything of it unless it be designed to teach that.

9th. There will never be any escape from those gloomy regions. There is a gulf fixed-:fixed, not movable. Nor can any of the damned beat a pathway across this gulf to the world of holiness.

10th. We see the amazing folly of those who suppose there may be an end to the sufferings of the wicked, and who, on that supposition, seem willing to go down to hell to suffer a long time, rather than go at once to heaven. If man were to suffer but a thousand years, or even one year, why should he be so foolish as to choose that suffering rather than go at once to heaven, and be happy at once when he dies?

11th. God gives us sufficient warning to prepare for death. He has sent his Word, his servants, his Son; he warns us by his Spirit and his providence; by the entreaties of our friends and by the death of sinners; he offers us heaven, and he threatens hell. If all this will not move sinners, what would do it? There is nothing that would.

12th. God will give us nothing farther to warn us. No dead man will come to life to tell us of what he has seen. If he did, we would not believe him. Religion appeals to man not by ghosts and frightful apparitions. It appeals to their reason, their conscience, their hopes, their fears. It sets life and death soberly before men, and if they will not choose the former, they must die. If you will not hear the Son of God and the warnings of the Scriptures, there is nothing which you will or can hear. You will never be persuaded, and will never escape the place of torment.

{v} "If they hear not" 2 Co 4:3

{w} "neither will they be persuaded" Joh 12:10,11



Verses 1,2. It is impossible. It cannot but happen. Such is the state of things that it will be. See these verses explained in See Barnes "Mt 18:6".

See Barnes "Mt 18:7".

{a} "It is impossible" Mt 18:6,7; Mr 9:42


Verse 2. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verses 3,4.

See Barnes "Mt 18:5, See Barnes "Mt 18:21, See Barnes "Mt 18:22".

Trespass against thee. Sin against thee, or does anything that gives you an offence or does you an injury.

Rebuke. Reprove. Go and tell him his fault, and seek an explanation. Acquaint him with what has been the effect of his conduct, and the state of your feelings, that he may acknowledge his error and repent.

{b} "rebuke him" Le 19:17


Verse 4. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "thou shalt forgive him" Mt 6:12,14; Col 3:13


Verse 5. Increase our faith. This duty of forgiving offences seemed so difficult to the disciples that they strongly felt the need of an increase of faith. They felt that they were prone themselves to harbour resentments, and that it required an additional increase of true religion to enable them to comply with the requirements of Jesus. We may learn from this--

1st. That Jesus has the power of increasing the faith of his people. Strength comes from him, and especially strength to believe the gospel. Hence he is called the Author and Finisher of our faith, He 12:2.

2nd. The duty of forgiving offences is one of the most difficult duties of the Christian religion. It is so contrary to our natural feelings; it implies such elevation above the petty feelings of malice and revenge, and is so contrary to the received maxims of the world, which teach us to cherish rather than to forgive the memory of offences; that it is no wonder our Saviour dwells much on this duty, and so strenuously insists on it in order to our having evidence that our hearts have been changed. Some have thought that this prayer that he would increase their faith refers to the power of working miracles, and especially to the case recorded in Mt 17:16-20.

{d} "Increase our faith" He 12:2


Verse 6. See Barnes "Mt 17:20".

Sycamine-tree. This name, as well as sycamore, is given, among us, to the large tree commonly called the buttonwood; but the tree here mentioned is different. The Latin Vulgate and the Syriac versions translate it mulberry-tree. It is said to have been a tree that commonly grew in Egypt, of the size and appearance of a mulberry-tree, but bearing a species of figs. This tree was common in Palestine. It is probable that our Lord was standing by one as he addressed these words to his disciples. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i.p. 22-24) says of this tree:

It is generally planted by the wayside, in the open space where several paths meet." [Comp. Lu 19:4] This sycamore is a remarkable tree. It not only bears several crops of figs during the year, but these figs grow on short stems along the trunk and large branches, and not at the end of twigs, as in other fruit-bearing trees. The figs are small, and of a greenish-yellow colour. At Gaza and Askelon I saw them of a purple tinge, and much larger than they are in this part of the country. They were carried to market in large quantities, and appeared to be more valued there than with us. Still, they are, at best, very insipid, and none but the poorer classes eat them. It is easily propagated, merely by planting a stout branch in the ground, and watering it until it has struck its roots into the soil. This it does with great rapidity and to a vast depth. It was with reference to this latter fact that our Lord selected it to illustrate the power of faith. Now, look at this tree--its ample girth, its wide-spread arms branching off from the parent trunk only a few feet from the ground; then examine its enormous roots, as thick, as numerous, and as wide-spread into the deep soil below as the branches extend into the air above—the very best type of invincible steadfastness. What power on earth can pluck up such a tree ? Heaven's thunderbolt may strike it down, the wild tornado may tear it to fragments, but nothing short of miraculous power can fairly pluck it up by the roots.

{e} "If ye had faith" Mt 17:20; 21:21; Mr 9:23; 11:23


Verse 7. Having a servant, &c. This parable appears to have been spoken with reference to the rewards which the disciples were expecting in the kingdom of the Messiah. The occasion on which it was spoken cannot be ascertained. It does not seem to have any particular connection with what goes before. It may be supposed that the disciples were somewhat impatient to have the kingdom restored to Israel (Ac 1:6)--that is, Israel that he would assume his kingly power, and that they were impatient of the delay, and anxious to enter on the rewards which they expected, and which they not improbably were expecting in consequence of their devotedness to him. In answer to these expectations, Jesus spoke this parable, showing them,

1st. That they should be rewarded as a servant would be provided for; but,

2nd. That this was not the first thing; that there was a proper order of things, and that thus the reward might be delayed, as a servant would be provided for, but at the proper time, and at the pleasure of the master; and,

3rd. That this reward was not to be expected as a matter of merit, but would be given at the good pleasure of God, for they were but un- profitable servants.

By and by. This should have been translated immediately. He would not, as the first thing, or as soon as he returned from the field, direct him to eat and drink. Hungry and weary he might be, yet it would be proper for him first to attend upon his master. So the apostles were not to be impatient because they did not at once receive the reward for which they were looking.

To meat. To eat; or, rather, place thyself at the table.


Verse 8. I may sup. Make ready my supper.

Gird thyself. See Barnes "Lu 12:37".


Verse 9. I trow not. I think not; or I suppose not.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 10

Verse 10. Are unprofitable servants. We have conferred no favour. We have merited nothing. We have not benefited God, or laid him under obligation. If he rewards us, it will be matter of unmerited favour. This is true in relation to Christians in the following respects:

1st. Our services are not profitable to God (Job 22:2); he needs not our aid, and his essential happiness will not be increased by our efforts.

2nd. The grace to do his will comes from him only, and all the praise of that will be due to him.

3rd. All that we do is what is our duty; we cannot lay claim to having rendered any service that will bind him to show us favour; and

4th. Our best services are mingled with imperfections. We come short of his glory (Ro 3:23); we do not serve him as sincerely, and cheerfully, and faithfully as we ought; we are far, very far from the example set us by the Saviour; and if we are saved and rewarded, it will be because God will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will remember our iniquities no more, Heb 8:12.

{f} "unprofitable" Job 22:3; Ps 16:2,3; Is 64:6; Ro 11:35; 1 Co 9:16,17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 11

Verse 11. The midst of Samaria and Galilee. He went from Galilee, and probably travelled through the chief villages and towns in it and then left it; and as Samaria was situated between Galilee and Jerusalem, it was necessary to pass through it; or it may mean that he passed along on the borders of each toward the river Jordan, and so passed in the midst, i.e. between Galilee and Samaria. This is rendered more probable from the circumstance that as he went from Galilee, there would have been no occasion for saying that he passed through it, unless it be meant through the confines or borders of it, or at least it would have been mentioned before Samaria.

{g} "Samaria" Lu 9:51,52; Joh 4:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 12

Verse 12. There met him. They were in his way, or in his path, as he was entering the village. They were not allowed to enter the village while they were afflicted with the leprosy, Le 13:46; Nu 5:2,3

Lepers. See Barnes "Mt 8:2".

Stood afar off. At a distance, as they were required by law. They were unclean, and it was not lawful for them to come near to those who were in health. As Jesus was travelling, they were also walking in the contrary way, and seeing him, and knowing that they were unclean, they stopped or turned aside, so that they might not expose others to the contagion.

{h} "stood afar off" Le 13:46

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 13

Verse 13. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Go show yourselves, &c. See Barnes "Mt 8:4".

By this command he gave them an implied assurance that they would be healed; for the design for which they were to go was to exhibit the evidence that they were restored, and to obtain permission from the priest to mingle again in society. It may also be observed that this required no small measure of faith on their part, for he did not first heal them, and then tell them to go; he told them to go without expressly assuring them that they would be healed, and without, as yet, any evidence to show to the priest. So sinners, defiled with the leprosy of sin, should put faith in the Lord Jesus and obey his commands, with the fullest confidence that he is able to heal them, and that he will do it if they follow his directions; and that in due time they shall have the fullest evidence that their peace is made with God, and that their souls shall by him be declared free from the defilement of sin.

Were cleansed. Were cured, or made whole.

{i} "Go show yourselves" Le 13:2; 14:3; Mt 8:4; Lu 5:14

{k} "as they went" 2 Ki 5:14; Isa 65:24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 15

Verses 15,16. One of them, &c. This man, sensible of the power of God and grateful for his mercies, returned to express his gratitude to God for his goodness. Instead of obeying at once the letter of the command, he first expressed his thanks to God and to his Great Benefactor. There is no evidence, however, that he did not, after he had given thanks to God, and had poured out his joy at the feet of Jesus, go to the priest as he was directed; indeed, he could not have been restored to society without doing it; but he first poured out his thanks to God, and gave him praise for his wonderful recovery. The first duty of sinners, after they have been forgiven and have the hope of eternal life, is to prostrate themselves at the feet of their Great Benefactor, and to consecrate themselves to his service. Then let them go and show to others the evidence that they are cleansed. Let them go and mingle, like a restored leper, with their families and friends, and show by the purity and holiness of their lives how great is the mercy that has cleansed them.

He was a Samaritan. See Barnes "Mt 10:5".

This rendered his conduct more remarkable and striking in the sight of the Jews. They considered the Samaritans as peculiarly wicked, and themselves as peculiarly holy. This example showed them, like the parable of the good Samaritan, that in this they were mistaken; and one design of this seems to have been to break down the opposition between the Jews and Samaritans, and to bring the former to more charitable judgments respecting the latter.

{l} "glorified" Ps 30:1,2

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 16

Verse 16. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "Samaritan" Joh 4:39-42

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 17

Verses 17,18. Where are the nine? Jesus had commanded them to go to the priest, and they were probably literally obeying the commandment. They were impatient to be healed and selfish in wishing it, and had no gratitude to God or their Benefactor. Jesus did not forbid their expressing gratitude to him for his mercy; he rather seems to reprove them for not doing it. One of the first feelings of the sinner cleansed from sin is a desire to praise his Great Benefactor; and a real willingness to obey his commandments is not inconsistent with a wish to render thanks to him for his mercy. With what singular propriety may this question now be asked, Where are the nine? And what a striking illustration is this of human nature, and of the ingratitude of man! One had come back to give thanks for the favour bestowed on him; the others were heard of no more. So now. When men are restored from dangerous sickness, here and there one comes to give thanks to God; but "where are the nine?" When men are defended from danger; when they are recovered from the perils of the sea; when a steamboat is destroyed, and a large part of crew and passengers perish, here and there one of those who are saved acknowledges the goodness of God and renders him praise; but where is the mass of them? They give no thanks; they offer no praise. They go about their usual employments, to mingle in the scenes of pleasure and of sin as if nothing had occurred. Few, few of all who have been rescued from "threatening graves" feel their obligation to God, or ever express it. They forget their Great Benefactor; perhaps the mention of his name is unpleasant, and they scorn the idea that they are under any obligations to him. Such, alas! is man, ungrateful man!

This stranger. This foreigner; or, rather, this alien, or this man of another tribe. In the Syraic version, "this one who is of a foreign people." This man, who might have been least expected to express gratitude to God. The most unlikely characters are often found to be most consistent and grateful. Men from whom we would expect least in religion, are often so entirely changed as to disappoint all our expectations, and to put to shame those who have been most highly favoured. The poor often thus put to shame the rich; the ignorant the learned; the young the aged.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 19

Verse 19. Go thy way. To the priest; for without his certificate he could not again be restored to the society of his friends, or to the public worship of God. Having now appropriately expressed your gratitude, go to the priest and obey the law of God. Renewed sinners, while their hearts overflow with gratitude to Jesus, express that gratitude by obeying God, and by engaging in the appropriate duties of their calling and of religion.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Was demanded. Was asked.

Of the Pharisees. This was a matter of much importance to them, and they had taught that it would come with parade and pomp. It is not unlikely that they asked this merely in contempt, and for the purpose of drawing out something that would expose him to ridicule.

The kingdom of God. The reign of God; or the dispensation under the Messiah. See Barnes "Mt 3:2".

With observation. With scrupulous and attentive looking for it, or with such an appearance as to attract observation--that is, with pomp, majesty, splendour. He did not deny that, according to their views, the time was drawing near; but he denied that his kingdom would come in the manner in which they expected. The Messiah would not come with pomp like an earthly prince; perhaps not in such a manner as to be discerned by the eyes of sagacious and artful men, who were expecting him in a way agreeable to their own feelings. The kingdom of God is within men, and it makes its way, not by pomp and noise, but by silence, decency, and order, 1 Co 14:40.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Lo here! or, Lo there! When an earthly prince visits different parts of his territories, he does it with pomp. His movements attract observation, and become the common topic of conversation. The inquiry is, Where is he? which way will he go? and it is a matter of important news to be able to say where he is. Jesus says that the Messiah would not come in that manner. It would not be with such pomp and public attention. It would be silent, obscure, and attracting comparatively little notice. Or the passage may have reference to the custom of the pretended Messiahs, who appeared in this manner. They said that in this place or in that, in this mountain or that desert, they would show signs that would convince the people that they were the Messiah. Comp. See Barnes "Ac 5:36,37".

Is within you. This is capable of two interpretations.

1st. The reign of God is in the heart. It does not come with pomp and splendour, like the reign of temporal kings, merely to control the external actions and strike the senses of men with awe, but it reigns in the heart by the law of God; it sets up its dominion over the passions, and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2nd. It may mean the new dispensation is even now among YOU. The Messiah has come. John has ushered in the kingdom of God, and you are not to expect the appearance of the Messiah with great pomp and splendour, for he is now among you. Most critics at present incline to this latter interpretation. The ancient versions chiefly follow the former.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 22

Verse 22. The days will come. He here takes occasion to direct the minds of his disciples to the days of vengeance which were about to fall on the Jewish nation. Heavy calamities will befall the Jewish people, and you will desire a deliverer.

Ye shall desire. You who now number yourselves among my disciples.

One of the days of the Son of man. The Son of man here means the Messiah, without affirming that he was the Messiah. Such will be the calamities of those times, so great will be the afflictions and persecutions, that you will greatly desire a deliverer--one who shall come to you in the character in which you have expected the Messiah would come, and who would deliver you from the power of your enemies; and at that time, in the midst of these calamities, men shall rise up pretending to be the Messiah, and to be able to deliver you. In view of this, he takes occasion to caution them against being led astray by them.

Ye shall not see it. You shall not see such a day of deliverance-- such a Messiah as the nation has expected, and such an interposition as you would desire.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 23

Verses 23,24. And they shall say, &c. Many false Christs, according to Josephus, appeared about that time, attempting to lead away the people. See Barnes "Mt 24:23" also Mt 24:24-27.

{r} "they shall say to you" Mt 24:23; Mr 13:21.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 24

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 25

Verse 25.

See Barnes "Mr 8:31".

{s} "But first" Mr 8:31; Lu 9:22

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 26

Verses 26,27. See Barnes "Mt 24:37" also Mt 24:38-39

{t} "in the days" Ge 7:11,23

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 28

Verse 28-30. They did eat, &c. They were busy in the affairs of this life, as if nothing were about to happen.

The same day, &c. See Barnes "Ge 19:23-25".

It rained. The word here used might have been rendered he rained. In Genesis it is said that the Lord did it.

Fire and brimstone. God destroyed Sodom on account of its great wickedness. He took vengeance on it for its sins; and the example of Sodom is set before men to deter them from committing great transgressions, and as a full proof that God will punish the guilty. See Jude 1:7; Isa 1:10; Jer 23:14.

Yet, in overthrowing it, he used natural means. He is not to be supposed to have created fire and brimstone for the occasion, but to have directed the natural means at his disposal for their overthrow; as he did not create the waters to drown the world, but merely broke up the fountains of the great deep and opened the windows of heaven. Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim (De 29:23), were four great cities, on a plain where is now the Dead Sea, at the south-east of Palestine, and into which the river Jordan flows. They were built on ground which abounded, doubtless, as all that region now does, in bitumen or naphtha, which is easily kindled, and which burns with great intensity. The phrase "fire and brim stone" is a Hebrew form of expression, denoting sulphurous fire, or fire having the smell of sulphur; and may denote a volcanic eruption, or any burning like that of naphtha. There is no improbability in supposing either that this destruction was accomplished by lightning, which ignited the naphtha, or that it was a volcanic eruption, which, by direction of God, overthrew the wicked cities.

From heaven. By command of God, or from the sky. To the people of Sodom it had the appearance of coming from heaven, as all volcanic eruptions would have. Hundreds of towns have been overthrown in this way, and all by the agency of God. He rules the elements, and makes them his instruments, at his pleasure, in accomplishing the destruction of the wicked.

{u} "Lot went out of Sodom" Ge 19:23,24

{v} "When the Son of Man" 2 Th 1:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

{u} "Lot went out of Sodom" Ge 19:23,24

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 30

Verse 30. Even thus, &c. Destruction came upon the old world, and upon Sodom, suddenly; when they were engaged in other things, and little expecting this. So suddenly and unexpectedly, says he, shall destruction come upon the Jewish people. See Barnes "Mt 24:31"

See Barnes "Mt 24:17,18".

{v} "when the Son" 2 Th 1:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 31

Verse 31. See Barnes "Ge 19:26"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 32

Verse 32. Remember Lot's wife. See Barnes "Ge 19:26".

She looked back--she delayed --perhaps she desired to take something with her, and God made her a monument of his displeasure. Jesus directed his disciples, when they saw the calamities coming upon the Jews, to flee to the mountains, Mt 24:16. He here charges them to be in haste--not to look back--no!; to delay--but to escape quickly, and to remember that by delaying, the wife of Lot lost her life.

{w} Ge 19:26

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 33

Verse 33. See Barnes "Mt 10:39"

{x} "shall seek to save" Mt 16:25; Mr 8:35; Lu 9:24; Joh 12:25

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 34

Verses 34-36. See Barnes "Mt 24:40"

See Barnes "Mt 24:41"

{y} "Whosoever shall seek" Mt 24:40,41

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 35

Verse 35. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 36

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

{3} Verse 36 is wanting in most Greek copies.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 37

Verse 37.

See Barnes "Mt 24:26".

Where, Lord? Where, or in what direction, shall these calamities come? The answer implies that it would be where there is the most guilt and wickedness. Eagles flock where there is prey. So, said he, these armies will flock to the place where there is the most wickedness; and by this their thoughts were directed at once to Jerusalem, the place of eminent wickedness, and the place, therefore, where these calamities might be expected to begin.

{z} "Wheresoever the body is" Job 39:30; Mt 24:28



Verse 1. A parable. See Barnes "Mt 13:3".

To this end. To show this.

Always. At all times. That is, we must not neglect regular stated seasons of prayer; we must seize on occasions of remarkable providences--as afflictions or signal blessings--to seek God in prayer; we must always maintain a spirit of prayer, or be in a proper frame to lift up our hearts to God for his blessing, and we must not grow weary though our prayer seems not to be answered.

Not to faint. Not to grow weary or give over. The parable is de- signed to teach us that, though our prayers should long appear to be unanswered, we should persevere, and not grow weary in supplication to God.

{a} "that men" Ps 65:2; 102:17; Lu 11:8; 21:36; Ro 12:12; Eph 6:18 Php 4:6


Verse 2. A judge which feared not God. One appointed by law to determine causes brought before him. This judge had no reverence for God, and consequently no regard for the rights of man. These two things go together. He that has no regard for God can be expected to have none for man; and our Lord has here indirectly taught us what ought to be the character of a judge--that he should fear God and regard the rights of man. Comp. De 1:16,17.

Regarded man. Cared not for man. Had no respect for the opinions or the rights of man.

{1} "city" = "in a certain city"


Verse 3. A widow. This is a circumstance that gives increasing interest to the parable. Judges were bound to show peculiar attention to widows, Isa 1:17; Jer 22:3. The reason of this was that they were defenseless, were commonly poor, and were liable to be oppressed by those in power.

Avenge me. This would have been better translated, "Do me justice against my adversary, or vindicate me from him." It does not denote vengeance or revenge, but simply that she wished to have justice done her--a thing which this judge was bound to do, but which it seems he had no disposition to do.

Adversary. One opposed in law. In this case it seems that the judge was unwilling to do justice, and probably took advantage of her condition to oppress her.


Verses 4,5. For a while. Probably this means for a considerable time. It was his duty to attend to the claims of justice, but this was long delayed.

Within himself. He thought, or came to a conclusion.

Though I fear not, &c. This contains the reason why he attended to the case at all. It was not from any regard to justice, or to the duties of his office. It was simply to avoid trouble. And yet his conduct in this case might have appeared very upright, and possibly might have been strictly according to law and to justice, How many actions are performed that appear well, when the doers of those actions know that they are mere hypocrisy! and how many actions are performed from the basest and lowest motives of selfishness, that have the appearance of external propriety and even of goodness!

She weary me. The word used here, in the original, is that which was employed to denote the wounds and bruises caused by boxers, who beat each other, and blacken their eyes, and disable them. See Barnes "1 Co 9:27".

Hence it means any vexatious and troublesome importunity that takes the time, and disables from other employment.


Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 6. Hear, &c. Give attention to this, and derive from it practical instruction.


Verse 7. Shall not God avenge, &c. We are not to suppose that the character of God is at all represented by this judge, or that his principles of conduct are at all like those of the judge. This parable shows us conclusively that many circumstances of a parable are not to be interpreted closely: they are mere appendages to the narrative. The great truth which our Saviour designed to teach is what we ought to endeavour to find. In this case there can be no doubt what that truth is. He has himself told us that it is, that men ought always to pray and not to faint. This he teaches by the example in the parable; and the argument which it implies is this:

1st. A poor widow, by her perseverance only, obtained from an unjust man what otherwise she would not have obtained.

2nd. God is not unjust. He is good, and disposed to do justice and to bestow mercy. If, therefore, this wicked man by persevering prayer was induced to do justice, how much more shall God, who is good, and who is not actuated by any such selfish and base principles, do justice to them who apply to him!

Avenge. Do justice to or vindicate them. This may have a twofold reference,

1st. To the disciples in the time of Jesus, who were about to be oppressed and persecuted, and over whom calamities were about to come, as if God did not regard their cries and had forsaken them. To them Jesus gives the assurance that God would hear their petitions and come forth to vindicate them; and that, notwithstanding all these calamities, he would yet appear for their deliverance.

2nd. It may have a more general meaning. The people of God are often oppressed, calumniated, persecuted. They are few in number and feeble. They seem to be almost forsaken and cast down, and their enemies triumph. Yet in due time God will hear their prayers, and will come forth for their vindication. And even if it should not be in this life, yet he will do it in the day of judgment, when he will pronounce them blessed, and receive them for ever to himself.

His own elect. People of God, saints, Christians; so called because God has chosen them to be his. The term is usually given in the Scriptures to the true followers of God, and is a term of affection, denoting his great and peculiar love in choosing them out of a world of sinners, and conferring on them grace, and mercy, and eternal life. See Barnes "1 Th 1:4"

See Barnes "Col 3:12"

See Barnes "1 Pe 1:2"

See Barnes "Eph 1:4".

It signifies here that they are peculiarly dear to him; that he feels a deep interest in their welfare, and that he will therefore be ready to come forth to their aid. The judge felt no special interest in that widow, yet he heard her; God feels a particular regard, a tender love for his elect, and therefore he will hear and save.

Which cry day and night. This expresses one striking characteristic of the elect of God; they pray, and pray constantly. No one can have evidence that he is chosen of God who is not a man of prayer. One of the best marks by which the electing love of God is known is that it disposes us to pray. This passage supposes that when the elect of God are in trouble and pressed down with calamities, they will cry unto him; and it affirms that if they do, he will hear their cries and answer their requests.

Though he bear long with them. This passage has been variously interpreted, and there is some variety of reading in the manuscripts. Some read, "Will not God avenge his elect? Will he linger in their cause?" But the most natural meaning is, "Although he defers long to avenge them, and greatly tries their patience, yet he will avenge them." He tries their faith; he suffers their persecutions and trials to continue a long time; and it almost appears as if he would not interpose. Yet he will do it, and will save them.

{c} "he will avenge" Ps 46:5; He 10:37; 2 Pe 3:8,9


Verse 8. Speedily. Suddenly, unexpectedly. He will surely vindicate them, and that at a time, perhaps, when they were nearly ready to give over and to sink into despair. This may refer to the deliverance of the disciples from their approaching trials and persecutions among the Jews; or, in general, to the fact that God will interpose and aid his people.

Nevertheless. But. Notwithstanding this. Though this is true that God will avenge his elect, yet will he find his elect faithful? The danger is not that God will be unfaithful--he will surely be true to his promises; but the danger is that his elect--his afflicted people--will be discouraged; will not persevere in prayer; will not continue to have confidence in him; and will, under heavy trials, sink into despondency. The sole meaning of this phrase, therefore, is, that there is more danger that his people would grow weary, than that God would be found unfaithful and fail to avenge his elect. For this cause Christ spoke the parable, and by the design of the parable this passage is to be interpreted.

Son of man cometh. This probably refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem--the coming of the Messiah, by his mighty power, to abolish the ancient dispensation and to set up the new.

Faith. The word faith is sometimes taken to denote the whole of religion, and it has been understood in this sense here; but there is a close connection in what Christ says, and it should be understood as referring to what he said before. The truth that he had been teaching was, that God would deliver his people from their calamities and save them, though he suffered them to be long tried. He asks them here whether, when he came, he should find this faith, or a belief of this truth, among his followers? Would they be found persevering in prayer, and believing that God would yet avenge them; or would they cease to pray always, and faint? This is not to be understood, therefore, as affirming that when Christ comes to judgment there will be few Christians on the earth, and that the world will be overrun with wickedness. That may be true, but it is not the truth taught here.

The earth. The land--referring particularly to the land of Judea. The discussion had particular reference to their trials and persecutions in that land. This question implies that in those trials many professed disciples might faint and turn back, and many of his real followers almost lose sight of this great truth, and begin to inquire whether God would interpose to save them. The same question may be asked respecting any other remarkable visitation of the Son of God in affliction. When tried and persecuted, do we believe that God will avenge us ? Do we pray always and not faint ? Have we faith to believe that, though clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne ? And when storms of persecution assail us, can we go to God and confidently commit our cause to him, and believe that he will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day?

{d} "shall he find faith" Mt 24:12


Verse 9. Unto certain. Unto some.

Which trusted in themselves. Who confided in themselves, or who supposed that they were righteous. They did not trust to God or the Messiah for righteousness, but to their own works. They vainly supposed they had themselves complied with the demands of the law of God.

Despised others. Others who were not as externally righteous as themselves. This was the character of the Pharisees. They trusted in their outward conformity to the ceremonies of the law. They considered all who did not do that as sinners. This, moreover, is the true character of self-righteousness. Men of that stamp always despise all others.

They think they are far above them in holiness, and are disposed to say to them, Stand by thyself, for I am holier than thou, Is 65:5. True religion, on the contrary, is humble. Those who trust in Christ for righteousness feel that they are, in themselves, poor, and miserable, and guilty, and they are willing to admit that others may be much better than themselves. Certain it is, they despise no one. They love all men; they regard them, however vile, as the creatures of God and as going to eternity, and are disposed to treat them well, and to aid them in their journey toward another world.

{e} "which trusted in themselves" Lu 10:29 {2} "that they were righteous" or "as being righteous"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 10

Verse 10. The temple. Into one of the courts of the temple--the court where prayer was commonly offered. See Barnes "Mt 21:12".

A Pharisee. See Barnes "Mt 3:7".

Publican. See Barnes "Mt 5:46

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Stood and prayed thus with himself. Some have proposed to render this, "stood by himself" and prayed. In this way it would be characteristic of the sect of the Pharisees, who dreaded the contact of others as polluting, and who were disposed to say to all, Stand by yourselves. The Syraic so renders it, but it is doubtful whether the Greek will allow this construction. If not, it means, he said over to himself what he had done, and what was the ground on which he expected the favour of God.

God, I thank thee. There was still in the prayer of the Pharisee an appearance of real religion. He did not profess to claim that he had made himself better than others. He was willing to acknowledge that God had done it for him, and that he had a right to his gratitude for it. Hypocrites are often the most orthodox in opinion of any class of men. They know the truth, and admit it. They use it frequently in their prayers and conversation. They will even persecute those who happen to differ from them in opinion, and who may be really wrong. We are not to judge of the piety of men by the fact that they admit the truth, or even that they use it often in their prayers. It is, however, not wrong to thank God that he has kept us from the gross sins which other men commit; but it should not be done in an ostentatious manner, nor should it be done forgetting still that we are great sinners and need pardon. These were the faults of the Pharisees.

Extortioners. Rapacious; avaricious; who take away the goods of others by force and violence. It means, also, those who take advantage of the necessities of others, the poor and the oppressed, and extort their property.

Unjust. They who are not fair and honest in their dealings; who get the property of others by fraud. They are distinguished from extortioners because they who are unjust may have the appearance of honesty; in the other case there is not.

{f} "not as other men are" Is 65:5; Re 3:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 12

Verse 12. I fast twice, &c. This was probably the Jewish custom. The Pharisees are said to have fasted regularly on the second and fifth days of every week in private. This was in addition to the public days of fasting required in the law of Moses, and they therefore made more a matter of merit of it be cause it was voluntary.

I give tithes. A tithe means the tenth part of a thing. A tenth part of the possessions of the Jews was required for the support of the Levites, Nu 18:21. In addition to the tithes required strictly by law, the Pharisees had tithed everything which they possessed--even the smallest matters--as mint, anise, cummin, &c., Lu 11:42. It was this, probably, on which he so particularly prided himself. As this could not be proved to be strictly required in the law, it had more the appearance of great piety, and therefore he particularly dwelt on it.

I possess. This may mean either all which I have, or all which I pain or acquire. It is not material which meaning be considered the true one. The religion of the Pharisee, therefore, not seeking a religion that should dwell in the heart and regulate the feelings; and in making public and ostentatious professions of his own goodness. Most of all was this abominable in the sight of God, who looks into the heart, and who sees wickedness there when the external actions may be blameless. We may learn from the case of the Pharisee --

1st. That it is not the man who has the most orthodox belief that has, of course, the most piety;

2nd. That men may be externally moral, and not be righteous in the sight of God;

3rd. That they may be very exact in the external duties of religion, and even go beyond the strict letter of the law; that they may assume a great appearance of sanctity, and still be strangers to true piety; and

4th. That ostentation in religion, or a boasting before God of what we are and of what we have done, is abominable in his sight. This spoils everything, even if the life should be tolerably blameless, and if there should be real piety.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Standing afar off. Afar off from the temple. The place where prayer was offered in the temple was the court of women. The Pharisee advanced to the side of the court nearest to the temple, or near as he could; the publican stood on the other side of the same court if he was a Jew, or in the court of the Gentiles if he was a pagan, as far as possible from the temple, being conscious of his unworthiness to approach the sacred place where God had his holy habitation.

So much as his eyes, &c. Conscious of his guilt. He felt that he was a sinner, and shame and sorrow prevented his looking up. Men who are conscious of guilt always fix their eyes on the ground.

Smote upon his breast. An expression of grief and anguish in view of his sins. It is a sign of grief among almost all nations.

God be merciful, &c. The prayer of the publican was totally different from that of the Pharisee. He made no boast of his own righteousness toward God or man. He felt that he was a sinner, and, feeling it, was willing to acknowledge it. This is the kind of prayer that will be acceptable to God. When we are willing to confess and forsake our sins, we shall find mercy, Pr 28:13. The publican was willing to do this in any place; in the presence of any persons; amid the multitudes of the temple, or alone. He felt most that God was a witness of his actions, and he was willing, therefore, to confess his sins before him. While we should not seek to do this publicly, yet we should be willing at all times "to confess our manifold transgressions, to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same by God's infinite goodness and mercy." It is not dishonourable to make acknowledgment when we have done wrong. No man is so much dishonoured as he who is a sinner and is not willing to confess it; as he who has done wrong and yet attempts to conceal the fault, thus adding hypocrisy to his other crimes.

{g} "smote upon his breast" Jer 31:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 14

Verse 14. I tell you. The Pharisees would have said that the first man here was approved. Jesus assures them that they judged erroneously. God judges of this differently from men.

Justified. Accepted or approved of God. The word justify means to declare or treat as righteous. In this case it means that in their prayers the one was approved and the other not; the one went down with the favour of God in answer to his petitions, the other not.

For every one, &;c. See Barnes "Lu 14:11"

{h} "for everyone that exalteth" Job 22:29; Mt 23:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 15

Verses 15-30. See Barnes "Mt 19:13" See also Mt 19:14-19:30

{i} "And they brought" Mt 19:13; Mr 10:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 16

Verse 16. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{k} "as a little child" Ps 131:2; Mr 10:15; 1 Pe 1:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "a certain ruler" Mt 19:16; Mr 10:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 20

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "Thou knowest" Ex 20:12-16; De 5:16-20; Ro 13:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 22

Verse 22. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "treasure in heaven" Mt 6:19,20; 1 Ti 6:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 23

Verse 23. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 24

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "How hardly shall they" Pr 11:22; 1 Ti 6:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 25

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 26

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} Jer 32:17; Zec 8:6; Lu 1:37

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 28

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

{q} "hath left house" De 33:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 30

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

{r} "life everlasting" Re 2:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 31

Verses 31-33. See Barnes "Mt 20:17-19".

By the prophets. Those who foretold the coming of the Messiah, and whose predictions are recorded in the Old Testament.

Son of man. The Messiah. They predicted that certain things would take place respecting the Messiah that was to come. See Barnes "Da 9:25, also Da 9:26-27; See Barnes "Isa 53:1".

These things, Jesus said, would be accomplished in him, he being the Son of man, or the Messiah.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 32

Verse 32. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "delivered" Mt 27:2; Lu 23:1; Joh 18:28; Ac 3:13

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 33

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 34

Verse 34. Understood none of these things. Though they were plainly revealed, yet such were their prejudices and their unwillingness to believe them that they did not understand them. They expected that he would be a temporal prince and a conqueror, and they were not willing to believe that he would be delivered into the hands of his enemies. They did not see how that could be consistent with the prophecies. To us now these things appear plain, and we may hence learn that those things which to us appear most mysterious may yet appear perfectly plain; and we should learn to trust in God, and believe just what he has spoken. See Barnes "Mt 16:21"

{u} "they understood none of these things" Joh 18:28

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 35

Verses 35-43. See this passage explained See Barnes "Mt 20:29, also Mt 20:30-34

{v} "and it came to pass" Mt 20:29; Mr 10:46

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 36

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 37

Verse 37. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 38

Verse 38. No Barnes text on this verse.

{w} "have mercy on me" Ps 62:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 39

Verse 39. No Barnes text on this verse.

{x} "cried so much the more" Ps 141:1

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 40

Verse 40. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 41

Verse 41. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 42

Verse 42. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "thy faith hath saved thee" Lu 17:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 18 - Verse 43

Verse 43. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "received" Ps 30:2

{a} "glorified" Lu 5:26; Ac 4:21; 11:18; Ga 1:24



Verse 1. And Jesus entered, &c. See Barnes "Mt 20:29".

This means, perhaps, he was passing through Jericho when Zaccheus saw him. His house was in Jerico.

{b} "Jericho" Jos 6:26; 1 Ki 16:34


Verse 2. A man named Zaccheus. The name Zaccheus is Hebrew, and shows that this man was a Jew. The Hebrew name properly means pure, and is the same as Zacchai in Ezr 2:9; Ne 7:14. The publicans, therefore, were not all foreigners.

Chief among the publicans. Who presided over other tax-gatherers, or who received their collections and transmitted them to the Roman government

He was rich. Though this class of men was despised and often infamous, yet it seems that they were sometimes wealthy. They sustained, however, the general character of sinners, because they were particularly odious in the eyes of the Jews. See Barnes "Lu 19:7".

The evangelist has thought it worthy of record that he was rich, perhaps, because it was so unlikely that a rich man should follow so poor and despised a personage as Jesus of Nazareth, and because it was so unusual a thing during his personal ministry. Not many rich were called, but God chiefly chose the poor of this world. Compare 1 Co 1:26-29.


Verse 3. Who he was. Rather what sort of person he was, or how he appeared. He had that curiosity which is natural to men to see one of whom they have heard much. It would seem, also, that in this case mere curiosity led to his conversion and that of his family. Comp. 1 Co 14:23-25. God makes use of every principle--of curiosity, or sympathy, or affection, or hope, or fear --to lead men in the way of salvation, and to impress truth on the minds of sinners.

The press. The crowd; the multitude that surrounded Jesus. Earthly princes are often borne in splendid equipages, or even carried, as in Eastern nations, in palanquins on the shoulders of men. Jesus mingled with the multitude, not seeking distinctions of that sort, and perhaps, in appearance, not distinguished from thousands that followed him.

Little of stature. Short. Not a tall man.


Verse 4. A sycamore-tree. See Barnes "Lu 17:6"


Verse 5.Abide at thy house. Remain there, or put up with him. This was an honour which Zaccheus did not expect. The utmost, it seems, which he aimed at was to see Jesus; but, instead of that, Jesus proposed to remain with him, and to give him the benefit of his personal instruction. It is but one among a thousand instances where the Saviour goes, in bestowing mercies, far beyond the desert, the desire, or the expectation of men; and it is not improper to learn from this example that solicitude to behold the Saviour will not pass unnoticed by him, but will meet with his warm approbation, and be connected with his blessing. Jesus was willing to encourage efforts to come to him, and his benevolence prompted him to gratify the desires of the man who was solicitous to see him. He does not disdain the mansions of the rich any more than he does the dwelling-places of the poor, provided there be a humble heart; and he did not suppose there was less need of his presence in order to save in the house of the rich man than among the poor. He set an example to all his ministers, and was not afraid or ashamed to proclaim his gospel amid wealth. He was not awed by external splendour or grandeur.

{b} "saw him" Ps 139:1-3

{c} "abide at thy house" Joh 14:23; Re 3:20


Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 7. Murmured. Found fault, complained.

To be a guest. To remain with, or to be entertained by.

A man that is a sinner. All publicans they regarded as great sinners, and the chief of the publicans, therefore, they regarded as peculiarly wicked. It would appear also from Zaccheus' confession that his character had been that of an oppressive man. But the people seemed to forget that he might be a penitent, and that the Messiah came to save that which was lost.

{d} "That he was gone" Mt 9:11; Lu 5:30


Verse 8. The half of my goods I give to the poor. It is not necessary to understand this as affirming that this had been his practice, or that he said this in the way of proclaiming his own righteousness. It may be understood rather as a purpose which he then formed under the teaching of Christ. He seems to have been sensible that he was a sinner. Of this he was convinced, as we may suppose, by the presence and discourse of Jesus. At first, attracted only by curiosity, or, it may be, by partial conviction that this was the Messiah, he had sought to see the Saviour; but his presence and conversation convinced him of his guilt, and he stood and openly confessed his sins, and expressed his purpose to give half his ill-gotten property to the poor. This was not a proclamation of his own righteousness, nor the ground of his righteousness, but it was the evidence of the sincerity of his repentance, and the confession which with the mouth is made unto salvation, Ro 10:10.

And if I have taken. His office gave him the power of oppressing the people, and it seems that he did not deny that it had been done.

By false accusation. This is the same word which in Lu 3:14 is rendered "neither accuse any falsely." The accusation seems to have been so made that the person accused was obliged to pay much greater taxes, or so that his property came into the hands of the informer. There are many ways in which this might be done, but we do not know the exact manner.

I restore him. We cannot suppose that this had been always his practice, for no man would wantonly extort money from another, and then restore him at once four times as much; but it means that he was made sensible of his guilt; perhaps that his mind had been a considerable time perplexed in the matter, and that now he was resolved to make the restoration. This was the evidence of his penitence and conversion. And here it may be remarked that this is always an indisputable evidence of a man's conversion to God. A man who has hoarded ill-gotten gold, if he becomes a Christian, will be disposed to do good with it. A man who has injured others--who has cheated them or defrauded them, even by due forms of law, must, if he be a Christian, be willing, as far as possible, to make restoration. Zaceheus, for anything that appears to the contrary, may have obtained this property by the decisions of courts of justice, but he now felt that it was wrong; and though the defrauded men could not legally recover it, yet his conscience told him that, in order to his being a true penitent, he must make restitution. One of the best evidences of true conversion is when it produces this result; and one of the surest evidences that a professed penitent is not a true one, is when he is not disposed to follow the example of this son of Abraham and make proper restitution.

Four-fold. Four times as much as had been unjustly taken. This was the amount that was required in the Jewish law when a sheep had been stolen, and a man was convicted of the theft by trial at law, Ex 22:1. If he confessed it himself, without being detected and tried, he had only to restore what was stolen, and add to it a fifth part of its value, Nu 5:6,7. The sincerity of Zaccheus' repentance was manifest by his being willing to make restoration as great as if it had been proved against him, evincing his sense of the wrong, and his purpose to make full restitution. The Jews were allowed to take no interest of their brethren (Le 25:35,36), and this is the reason why that is not mentioned as the measure of the restitution. When injury of this kind is done in other places, the least that is proper is to restore the principal and interest; for the injured person has a right to all that his property would have procured him if it had not been unjustly taken away.

{e} "I give to the poor" Ps 41:1

{f} "by false accusation" Ex 20:16; Lu 3:14

{g} "restore him four-fold" Ex 22:1; 2 Sa 12:6


Verse 9. Salvation is come to this house. This family. They have this day received the blessings of the gospel, and become interested in the Messiah's kingdom. Salvation commences when men truly receive Christ and their sins are pardoned; it is completed when the soul is sanctified and received up into heaven.

Forasmuch. Because. For he has given evidence that he is a new man, and is disposed to forsake his sins and receive the gospel.

The son of Abraham. Hitherto, although a Jew, yet he has been a sinner, and a great sinner. He was not worthy to be called a son of Abraham. Now, by repentance, and by receiving the Christ whose day Abraham saw and was glad (Joh 8:56), he has shown himself to be worthy to be called his son. Abraham was an example of distinguished piety; the father of the faithful (Ro 4:11), as well as the ancestor of the Jews. They were called his sons who were descended from him, and particularly they who resembled him. In this place the phrase is used in both senses.

{h} "son of Abraham" Lu 13:16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 10

Verse. 10 See Barnes "Mt 18:11"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 11

Verse 11. He spake a parable. This parable has in some respects a resemblance to the parable of the talents in Mt 25:14-28, but it is not the same. They differ in the following respects: That was spoken after he had entered Jerusalem; this, while on his way there. That was delivered on the Mount of Olives; this, in the house of Zaccheus. That was delivered to teach them the necessity of improving the talents committed to them; this was for a different design. He was now near Jerusalem. A great multitude attended him. His disciples regarded him as the Messiah, and by this they understood a temporal prince who should deliver them from the dominion of the Romans and set them at liberty. They were anxious for that, and supposed that the time was at hand, and that now, as soon as he entered Jerusalem, he would assume the appearance of such a prince and set up his kingdom. To correct that notion seems to have been the main design of this parable. To do that, he tells them of a man who had a right to the kingdom, yet who, before taking possession of it, went into another kingdom to receive a confirmation of his title, thus intimating that he would also go away before he would completely set up his kingdom (Lu 19:12); he tells them that this nobleman left to his servants property to be improved in his absence, as he would leave to his disciples talents to be used in his service (Lu 19:12,13); he tells them that this nobleman was rejected by his own citizens (Lu 19:14), as he would be by the Jews; and that he received the kingdom and called them to an account, as he also would his own disciples.

Because he was nigh to Jerusalem. The capital of the country, and where they supposed he would probably set up his kingdom.

The kingdom of God should immediately appear. That the reign of the Messiah would immediately commence. He spake the parable to correct that expectation.

{i} "because they thought that" Mt 18:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 12

Verse 12. A certain nobleman. A prince; a man descended from kings, and having a title, therefore, to succeed in the kingdom.

Went into a far country, &c. This expression is derived from the state of things in Judea in the time of the Saviour. Judea was subject to the Romans, having been conquered by Pompey about sixty years before Christ. It was, however, governed by Jews, who held the government under the Romans. It was necessary that the prince or king should receive a recognition of his right to the kingdom by the Roman emperor, and, in order to this, that he should go to Rome; or, as it is said here, that he might receive to himself a kingdom. This actually occurred several times. Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great, about the time of the birth of Jesus, went to Rome to obtain a confirmation of the title which his father had left him, and succeeded in doing it. Herod the Great, his father, had done the same thing before to secure the aid and countenance of Antony. Agrippa the younger, grandson of Herod the Great, went to Rome also to obtain the favour of Tiberius, and to be confirmed in his government. Such instances, having frequently occurred, would make this parable perfectly intelligible to those to whom it was addressed. By the nobleman, here, is undoubtedly represented the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ; by his going into a far country is denoted his going to heaven, to the right hand of his Father, before he should fully set up his kingdom and establish his reign among men.

{m} "A certain nobleman" Mt 25:14; Mr 13:34

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 13

Verse 13. Ten servants. Nothing in particular is denoted by the number ten. It is a circumstance intended to keep up the narrative. In general, by these servants our Saviour denotes his disciples, and intends to teach us that talents are given us to be improved, for which we must give an account at his return.

Ten pounds. The word translated pound here denotes the Hebrew minah, which was equal to about 15 dollars, or £3. The pounds here denote the talents which God has given to his servants on earth to improve, and for which they must give an account in the day of judgment.

Occupy till I come. The word occupy here means not merely to possess, as it often does in our language, but to improve, to employ in business, for the purpose of increasing it or of making profit on it. The direction was to use this money so as to gain more against his return. So Jesus commands his disciples to improve their talents; to make the most of them; to increase their capability of doing good, and to do it until he comes to call us hence, by death, to meet him. See 1 Co 12:7; Eph 4:7.

{1} "Mina" translated here a pound is 12 ounces and a half, which, at 5 shillings the ounce, is £3, 2s. 6d.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 14

Verse 14. But his citizens. His subjects, or the people whom he was desirous of ruling.

Hated him. On account of his character, and their fear of oppression. This was, in fact, the case with regard to Archelaus, the Jewish prince, who went to Rome to be confirmed in his kingdom.

Sent a message, saying, &c. His discontented subjects, fearing what would be the character of his reign, sent an embassy to remonstrate against his being appointed as the ruler. This actually took place. Archelaus went to Rome to obtain from Augustus a confirmation of his title to reign over that part of Judea which had been left him by his father, Herod the Great. The Jews, knowing his character (comp. Mt 2:22 sent an embassy of fifty to Rome, to prevail on Augustus not to confer the title on him, but they could not succeed. He received the kingdom, and reigned in Judea in the place of his father. As this fact was fresh in the memory of the Jews, it makes this parable much more striking. By this part of it Christ designed to denote that the Jews would reject him --the Messiah, and would say that they did not desire him to reign over them. See Joh 1:11. So it is true of all sinners that they do not wish Jesus to reign over them, and, if it were possible, would cast him off, and never submit to his reign.

{n} "his citizens" Joh 1:11; 15:18

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 15

Verse 15. See Barnes "Mt 25:19".

{2} "money" "silver" and so, Lu 19:23.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 16

Verses 16-19. See Barnes "Mt 25:20,21".

Ten cities. We are not to suppose that this will be literally fulfilled in heaven. Christ teaches here that our reward in heaven will be in proportion to our faithfulness in improving our talents on earth.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "faithful" Lu 16:10

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 20

Verse 20. A napkin. A towel. He means by it that he had not wasted it nor thrown it by carelessly, but had been very careful of it; so much so as to be at the pains to tie it up in a towel and put it in a safe place, as if he had been very faithful to his trust. So many men employ their talents, their learning, their property, their influence. They have them; they keep them; but they never use them in the service of the Lord Jesus; and, in regard to their influence on the church or the world, it would be the same if God had never conferred on them these talents.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 21

Verse 21. An austere man. Hard, severe, oppressive. The word is commonly applied to unripe fruit, and means sour, unpleasant, harsh. In this case it means that the man was taking every advantage, and, while he lived in idleness, was making his living out of the toils of others.

Thou takest up, &c. Thou dost exact of others what thou didst not give. The phrase is applied to a man who finds what has been lost by another, and keeps it himself, and refuses to return it to the owner. All this is designed to show the sinner's view of God. He regards him as unjust, demanding more than man has power to render, and more, therefore, than God has a right to demand. See Barnes "Mt 25:24".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Out of thine own mouth. By your own statement, or your own views of my character. If you knew that this was my character, and knew that I would be rigid, firm, and even severe, it would have been the part of wisdom in you to have made the best use of the money in your power; but as you knew my character beforehand, and was well acquainted with the fact that I should demand a strict compliance with your obligation, you have no right to complain if you are condemned accordingly.

We are not to suppose that God is unjust or austere; but what we are to learn from this is, that as men know that God will be just, and will call them to a strict account in the day of judgment, they ought to be prepared to meet him, and that they cannot then complain if God should condemn them.

{p} "Out of thine" 2 Sa 1:16; Job 15:6; Mt 12:37; 22:12; Ro 3:19

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 23

Verse 23. The bank. The treasury, or the place of exchange. Why did you not loan it out, that it might be increased?

Usury. Interest.

{q} "Wherefore" Ro 2:4,5

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 24

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 25

Verse 25. And they said unto him. Those standing around him said.

He hath, &c. This was probably an observation made by some of the by-standers, as if surprised at such a decision. "He has already ten pounds. Why take away this one, and add to what he already possesses? Why should his property be increased at the expense of this man, who has but one pound?" The answer to this is given in the following verse, that every one that hath, to him shall be given; every man who is faithful, and improves what God gives him, shall receive much more.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 26

Verses 26,27. For I say, &c. These are the words of the nobleman declaring the principles on which he would distribute the rewards of his kingdom.

But those mine enemies. By the punishment of those who would not that he should reign over them is denoted the ruin that was to come upon the Jewish nation for rejecting the Messiah, and also upon all sinners for not receiving him as their king. See Barnes on the parable of the talents in See Barnes "Mt 25:14" and following.

{r} "That unto everyone that hath" Mt 13:12; 25:29; Mr 4:25; Lu 8:18

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 28

Verses 28-39.

See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 29

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

{t} "came to pass" Mt 21:1; Mr 11:1

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 30

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 31

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 32

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 33

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 34

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 35

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

{v} "they cast their garments" 2 Ki 9:13

{w} "set Jesus thereon" Joh 12:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 36

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 37

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 38

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

{x} "Blessed be the king" Ps 118:26; Lu 13:35

{y} "peace in heaven" Lu 2:14

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 39

Verses 28-39. See Barnes "Mt 21:1, also Mt 21:2-16

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 40

Verse 40. The stones would--cry out. It is proper that they should celebrate my coming. Their acclamations ought not to be suppressed. So joyful is the event which they celebrate--the coming of the Messiah--that it is not fit that I should attempt to impose silence on them. The expression here seems to be proverbial, and is not to be taken literally. Proverbs are designed to express the truth strongly, but are not to be taken to signify as much as if they were to be interpreted literally. The sense is, that his coming was an event of so much importance that it ought to be celebrated in some way, and would be celebrated. It would be impossible to restrain the people, and improper to attempt it. The language here is strong proverbial language to denote that fact. We are not to suppose, therefore, that our Saviour meant to say that the stones were conscious of his coming, or that God would make them speak, but only that there was great joy among the people; that it was proper that they should express it in this manner, and that it was not fit that he should attempt to repress it.

{z} "the stones would cry out" Hab 2:11; Mt 3:9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 41

Verses 41-44. He wept over it. Showing his compassion for the guilty city, and his strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it. See Barnes "Mt 23:37, also Mt 23:38-39. As he entered the city he passed over the Mount of Olives. From that mountain there was a full and magnificent view of the city. See Barnes "Mt 21:1".

the view of the splendid capital--the knowledge of its crimes-- the remembrance of the mercies of god toward it-- the certainty that it might have been spared if had received the prophets and himself--the knowledge that it was about to put him, their long-expected Messiah, to death, and for that to be given up to utter desolation --affected his heart, and the triumphant King and Lord of Zion wept! Amid all his prosperity, and all the acclamations of the multitude, the heart of the Redeemer of the world was turned from the tokens of rejoicing to the miseries about to come on a guilty people. Yet they might have been saved. If thou hadst known, says he, even thou, with all thy guilt, the things that make for thy peace; if thou hadst repented, had been righteous, and had received the Messiah; if thou hadst not stained thy hands with the blood of the prophets, and shouldst not with that of the Son of God, then these terrible calamities would not come upon thee. But it is too late. The national wickedness is too great; the cup is full; mercy is exhausted; and Jerusalem, with all her pride and splendour, the glow of her temple, and the pomp of her service, must perish!

For the days shall come, &c. This took place under Titus, the Roman general, A.D. 70, about thirty years after this was spoken.

Cast a trench about thee. The word trench now means commonly a pit or ditch. When the Bible was translated, it meant also earth thrown up to defend a camp (Johnson's Dictionary). This is the meaning of the original here. It is not a pit or large ditch, but a pile of earth, stones, or wood thrown up to guard a camp, and to defend it from the approach of an enemy. This was done at the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus informs us that Titus, in order that he might compel the city to surrender by famine, built a wall around the whole circumference of the city. This wall was nearly 5 miles in length, and was furnished with thirteen castles or towers. This work was completed with incredible labour in ten days. The professed design of this wall was to keep the city in on every side. Never was a prophecy more strikingly accomplished.

Shall lay thee even with the ground, &c. This was literally done. Titus caused a plough to pass over the place where the temple stood. See Barnes "Mt 24:1, and following. All this was done, says Christ, because Jerusalem knew not the time of its visitation--that is, did not know, and would not know, that the Messiah had come. His coming was the time of their merciful visitation. That time had been predicted, and invaluable blessings promised as the result of his advent; but they would not know it. They rejected him, they put him to death, and it was just that they should be destroyed.

{a} "wept over it" Ps 119:36; Jer 9:1; 13:17; Joh 11:35

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 42

Verse 42. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "this, thy day" Ps 85:7,8; He 3:7,13,15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 43

Verse 43. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "cast a trench around thee" Is 29:2,3; Jer 6:5,6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 44

Verse 44. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "shall lay thee even" 1 Ki 9:7,8; Mi 3:12; Mt 23:37,38; Lu 13:34,35

{e} "they shall not leave" Mt 24:2; Mr 13:2

{f} "thou knowest not the time" La 1:8; 1 Pe 2:12

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 45

Verses 45, 46. See Barnes "Mt 21:12,13"

{g} "went into the temple" Mt 21:12,13; Mr 11:15-17; Joh 2:15,17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 46

Verse 46. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "My house" Is 56:7

{i} "den of thieves" Jer 7:11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 47

Verse 47. Daily in the temple. That is, for five or six days before his crucifixion.

{k} "taught daily" Joh 18:20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 19 - Verse 48

Verse 48. Could not find, &c. Were not able to accomplish their purpose; they did not know how to bring it about.

Very attentive. Literally, hung upon him to hear him. The word denotes an anxious desire, a fixed attention, a cleaving to him, and an unwillingness to leave him, so that they might hear his words. This is always the case when men become anxious about their salvation. They manifest it by hanging on the preaching of the gospel; by fixed attention; and by an unwillingness to leave the place where the word of God is preached. In view of the fact that the Lord Jesus wept over Jerusalem, we may remark:

(1.) It was on account of the sins and danger of the inhabitants, and of the fact that they had rejected offered mercy.

(2.) There was occasion for weeping. Jesus would not have wept had there been no cause for it. If they were in no danger, if there was no punishment in the future world, why should he have wept? When the Lord Jesus weeps over sinners, it is the fullest proof that they are in danger,

(3.) Sinners are in the same danger now. They reject Christ as sinners did then. They despise the gospel as they did then. They refuse now to come to him as the inhabitants of Jerusalem did. Why are they not then in the same danger?

(4.) Deep feeling, gushing emotions, lively affections, are proper in religion. If the Saviour wept, it is not improper for us to weep--it is right. Nay, can it be right not to weep over the condition of lost man.

(5.) Religion is tenderness and love. It led the Saviour to weep, and it teaches us to sympathize and to feel deeply. Sin hardens the heart, and makes it insensible to every pure and noble emotion; but religion teaches us to feel "for others' woes," and to sympathize in the danger of others.

(6.) Christians and Christian ministers should weep over lost sinners. They have souls just as precious as they had then; they are in the same danger; they are going to the judgment-bar; they are wholly insensible to their danger and their duty.

Did Christ o'er sinners weep?
And shall our cheeks be dry?
Let floods of penitential grief
Burst forth from every eye.

The Son of God in tears,
Angels with wonder see!
Be thou astonished, O my soul;
He shed those tears for thee.

He wept that we might weep;
Each sin demands a tear;
In heaven alone no sin is found,
And there's no weeping there.

{3} "were very attentive" or, "hanged on him"



Verses 1-9. See this passage explained in the Notes on Mt 21:23-27.

See Barnes "Mt 21:23, also Mt 21:24-27.

{a} "And it came to pass" Mt 21:23; Mr 11:27


Verse 2. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "by what authority" Ac 4:7-10; 7:27


Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 4. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "for they be persuaded" Mt 14:5


Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse.


Verses 9-19.

See Barnes "Mt 21:33, also Mt 21:34-45.

{d} "A certain man" Mt 21:33; Mr 12:1

{e} "planted a vineyard" So 8:11,12; Is 5:1-7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 10

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{f} "fruit" Joh 15:16; Ro 7:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 11

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 12

Verse 12. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 13

Verse 13. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 14

Verse 14. No Barnes text on this verse.

{g} "the heir" Ps 2:8; Ro 8:17; He 1:2

{h} "let us kill him" Mt 27:21-25; Ac 2:23; 3:15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 15

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 16

Verse 16. No Barnes text on this verse.

{g} "give the vineyard to others" Ne 9:36,37

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 17

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{k} "The stone" Ps 118:22

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 18

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "but on whomsoever" Da 2:34,35

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 19

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 20

Verses 20-38.

See Barnes "Mt 22:15, also Mt 22:16-33 See Barnes "Mr 12:13, also Mr 12:14-27.

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "that they might take" Mt 22:15

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 21

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{1} "truly" or, "of a truth"

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 22

Verse 22. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 23

Verse 23. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 24

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

{2} "penny" Mt 18:28

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 25

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "Render, therefore" Ro 13:7

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 26

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "held their peace" Titus 1:10,11

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 27

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "then came to him" Mt 22:23; Mr 12:18

{q} "Sadducees" Ac 23:6,8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 28

Verse 28. No Barnes text on this verse.

{r} "If any man's brother" De 25:5-8

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 29

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 30

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 31

Verse 31. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 32

Verse 32. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 33

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 34

Verse 34. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 35

Verse 35. No Barnes text on this verse.

{s} "accounted worthy" Lu 21:36; Re 3:4

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 36

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "Neither can they die" Re 21:4

{u} "equal unto the angels" 1 Co 15:49,52; 1 Jo 3:2

{v} "the children of God" Ro 8:17

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 37

Verse 37. No Barnes text on this verse.

{w} "showed at the bush" Ex 3:2-6

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 38

Verse 38. No Barnes text on this verse.

{x} "for all live unto him" Ro 14:8,9

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 39

Verse 39. See Barnes "Mr 12:32".

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 40

Verses 40-44. See Barnes "Mt 22:41, also Mt 22:42-46

Verse 40. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 41

Verse 41. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "And he said unto them" Mt 22:42; Mr 12:35

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 42

Verse 42. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "The Lord said unto my Lord" Ps 110:1; Ac 2:34

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 43

Verse 43. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 44

Verse 44. No Barnes text on this verse.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 45

Verses 45-47.

Verse 45. No Barnes text on this verse.

{a} "of all the people" 1 Ti 5:20

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 46

Verse 46. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "Beware of the scribes" Mr 12:23

{c} "greetings" Lu 11:43

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 20 - Verse 47

Verse 47. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "devour widow's houses" Isa 10:2; Mt 23:14; 2 Ti 3:6

{e} "a show" 1 Th 2:5

{f} "receive greater damnation" Lu 10:12,14; Jas 3:1

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