And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus
By whom is designed, not any particular beggar in the times of Christ, that went by this name; though there were such persons in Israel, and in the times of our Lord; as blind Bartimaeus, and others: nor David, in the times of Saul, who was poor and needy; and who sometimes wanted bread, and at a certain time went to Abimelech for some: nor the godly poor in common, though the heirs of the heavenly kingdom are, generally speaking, the poor of this world; these receive Christ and his Gospel, and have their evil things here, and their good things hereafter; they are now slighted and neglected by men, but shall hereafter have a place in Abraham's bosom, and be for ever with the Lord: nor are the Gentiles intended; though they may be said to be poor and helpless, as they were without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, and without hope and God in the world; and were despised and rejected by the Jews, and not suffered to come into their temple, and were called and treated as dogs; though, as the Syrophenician woman pleaded, the dogs might eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table; and who, upon the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, were called by grace, and drawn to Christ, and were blessed with faithful Abraham, and made to sit down with him in the kingdom of heaven: but our Lord Jesus Christ himself is here meant; as appears from the cause and occasion of this parable, which was the derision of Christ by the covetous Pharisees, who, though high in the esteem of men, were an abomination to God; and from the scope and design of it, which is to represent the mean and despicable condition of Christ in this world, whilst the Pharisees, his enemies, lived in great pomp and splendour; and the exaltation of Christ hereafter, when they would be in the utmost distress; and also the infidelity of that people, who continued in their unbelief, notwithstanding the resurrection of Christ from the dead: the name Lazarus well agrees with him. The Syriac version calls him "Loozar", as if it signified one that was helpless, that had no help, but wanted it, and so a fit name for a beggar; and well suits with Christ, who looked, and there was none to help, ( Isaiah 63:5 ) nor did he receive any help from men; though rather, the word is the contraction of Eleazar, and so the Ethiopic version reads it here; and it is easy to observe, that he who is called R. Eleazar in the Babylonian Talmud, is in the Jerusalem called, times without number, (rzel br) , R. Lazar F8; and R. Liezer, is put for R. Eliezer: it is a rule given by one of the Jewish writers F9, that
``in the Jerusalem Talmud, wherever R. Eleazar is written without an "aleph", R. Lazar ben Azariah is intended.''And Christ may very well be called by this name; since this was the name of one of his types, Eleazer the son of Aaron, and one of his ancestors, who is mentioned in his genealogy, ( Matthew 1:15 ) and especially as the name signifies, that the Lord was his helper: see ( Exodus 18:4 ) . Help was promised him by God, and he expected it, and firmly believed he should have it, and accordingly he had it: God did help him in a day of salvation: and which was no indication of weakness in him, who is the mighty God, and mighty to save; but of the Father's regard to him as man, and mediator; and of the concern that each of the divine persons had for, and in man's salvation: and on account of his circumstances of life, he might be called (ptwcov) , a "poor man", as he is in ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 ) and frequently in prophecy; see ( Psalms 34:6 ) ( 40:17 ) ( 41:1 ) ( 69:29 ) ( Ecclesiastes 9:15 ) ( Isaiah 66:2 ) ( Zechariah 9:9 ) and though by assuming human nature, he did not cease to be God, or to lose the riches of his divine nature and perfections, yet his divine perfections, and the glory of them, were much hid and covered in his state of humiliation; and he was much the reverse of many of them in his human nature; in which he was exposed to much outward poverty and meanness: he was born of poor parents; had no liberal education; was brought up to a trade: had not a foot of ground to call his own, nor where to lay his head: and lived upon the ministrations of others to him; and when he died, had nothing to bequeath his mother, but left her to the care of a disciple: and he is further described, by his posture and situation,
which was laid at his gate;
that is, at the "rich man's", as is expressed in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions: this was the place where beggars stood, or were laid, and asked alms; hence is that rule with the Jews F11, and in many other places the following phrase;
``if a man dies and leaves sons and daughters---if he leaves but a small substance, the daughters shall be taken care of, and the sons, (Myxtph le wlavy) , "shall beg at the gates."''This denotes the rejection of Christ by the Jews; he came to them, and they received him not; he had no entrance into their hearts, and was admitted but into few of their houses; they put those that confessed him out of their synagogues; and caused him himself to depart out of some of their cities; they delivered him up unto the Gentiles that were without; and at last led him without the gate of Jerusalem, where he suffered:
full of sores;
so Nahum Gamzu F12 is said to have his whole body, (Nyxv alm) , "full of ulcers": sometimes the Jewish phrase, which answers to the word here used, is (Nyxv hkwm) , "one plagued with ulcers" F13; and this by the commentators F14, is explained of a "leprous" person; so one of the names of the Messiah is with the Jews F15, (arwwyx) , which signifies "leprous", in proof of which, they produce ( Isaiah 53:4 ) . "Surely he hath borne our griefs" By these "sores" may be meant, sins; see ( Psalms 38:5 Psalms 38:7 ) ( Isaiah 1:6 ) . Christ was holy and righteous in himself, in his nature, life, and conversation; he was without both original, and actual sins, yet he was in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was reproached and calumniated by men as a sinner; and had really and actually all the sins of his people on him, by imputation; and was made even sin itself, for them; so that in this sense he might be said to be full of them, though in himself he was free from them: they may also intend the temptations of Satan, those fiery darts which were flung at him, and by which he suffered; as also the reproaches and persecutions of men, which attended him more or less, from the cradle to the cross; together with all his other sorrows and sufferings, being scourged, buffeted, and beaten, and wounded for our sins, and bruised for our transgressions; of which wounds and bruises he might be said to be full.
F8 T. Hieros. Biccurim, fol. 63. 3, 4. & 64. 1. & 65. 3, 4. & Sheviith, fol. 36. 3. & passim.
F9 Juchasin, fol. 81. 1.
F11 Misn. Bava Bathra, c. 9. sect. 1. & T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 140. 2. Piske Tosaph. in Cetubot, art. 138, 372.
F12 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 21. 1.
F13 Misn. Cetubot, c. 3. sect. 5. & 7. 10.
F14 Maimon. & Bartenora in lb.
F15 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.