And as they heard these things
What Zacchaeus said to Christ, and what Christ said to Zacchaeus; particularly, that salvation, or the Saviour was then come to his house, and that he was come to save lost persons:
he added, and spake a parable;
that is, as the Syriac version renders it, "he added a parable to the word", or to what he had said:
because he was nigh to Jerusalem:
within ten "parsas", or large miles; for at such a distance was Jerusalem from Jericho F6, where Christ now was, according to the Jewish writers; but according to Josephus F7, it was a hundred and fifty furlongs, which must be eighteen or twenty miles, and this may be said to be nigh; and not long after this, we hear of Christ at the Mount of Olives, which was about a mile from Jerusalem, ( Luke 19:29 ) .
And because they thought that the kingdom of God should
or be revealed, or made manifest: the phrase is Jewish; so ( Song of Solomon 2:12 ) "the time of the singing of birds is come", is interpreted F8, the time that the "kingdom of heaven", (hlgtv) , "shall be revealed", is come, and elsewhere F9,
``say to the cities of the house of Judah, (Nwkhlad atwklm) (taylnta) , "the kingdom of your God is revealed;"''meaning in both places, as here, the kingdom of the Messiah: what induced the disciples of Christ, or the multitude, or both, to imagine that the temporal kingdom of the Messiah, which they were expecting, would quickly be set up, might be what he had said to Zacchaeus, that salvation was that day come to his house, he being a son of Abraham; which they understanding of a temporal salvation, took it as a hint, that the outward prosperity of the seed of Abraham was at hand; as also what he had said, concerning his coming to seek and save that which is lost; which they were willing to interpret, of the civil state of Judea, and that he was come to restore its lost liberties and privileges; and partly, because he was now not a great way from Jerusalem, and was on his journey thither, in order to make his entrance in a very public manner; which was the metropolis of their nation, and the ancient seat of their kings, David, Solomon, and others: now the scope and design of the following parable, is to refute the notion of a temporal kingdom, and its near approach; by showing, that his kingdom lay a great way off, and was not of this world; and that his servants and disciples had a great deal of business to transact for him, and must not think of pomp and grandeur, but of labour and service; and that the Jews were so far from receiving any advantages by his kingdom, that they would not submit to his government, and would be treated as enemies, and utterly destroyed; even their nation, city, and temple.
F6 Bartenora in Misn. Tamid, c. 3, sect. 8.
F7 De Bello Jud. l. 4. c. 27.
F8 Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 11. 4.
F9 Targum in Isa. xl. 9.