Luke 19:8

8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods 1I give to the poor. And if I have 2defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it 3fourfold."

Luke 19:8 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 19:8

And Zacchaeus stood
Before Christ, in respect to him, and reverence of him; and in the presence of others, to make a public confession before them, and that they might all hear it, when come to his own house:

and said unto the Lord;
that is, to "Jesus", as the Syriac and Persic versions, and some copies read; he addressed himself to Christ, and made his confession to him, as the Israelite, when he brought the basket of the firstfruits to the priest, confessed before the Lord his God, ( Deuteronomy 26:4 Deuteronomy 26:5 ) . And the rather Zacchaeus directed his speech to Christ, being, as he was now convinced, the discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart; who knew the genuineness of his repentance, that it was hearty and real; and the sincerity of his expressions and resolutions, and upon what principles he acted, and proposed to do as follows:

behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor;
not to make satisfaction for the sins he had committed, but to testify his sense of them, and his repentance for them, and as willing to do good with what he had gotten; which shows, that the disposition of his mind was altered, and of a covetous oppressor, he was become tender, kind, and liberal. According to an order made by the Jews in Usha, a man might not give away more than a fifth part of his estate, unless in some extraordinary cases F21; and we read of one, that gave a "third" part of his goods to the poor F23; and of another, that gave, as here, half of his mammon, or wealth F24; and another, half of his food to the poor F25; and of another, that gave away all his goods to them F26; see ( 1 Corinthians 13:3 ) ; to give a tenth part, was reckoned a medium F1:

and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation;
or by extorting any thing from him on any pretence, by making an unjust demand upon him; or in any oppressive way, by defrauding and tricking, and by doing him any injury, in any form or manner:

I restore him fourfold:
the same that was done in case of sheep stealing, ( Exodus 22:1 ) but in such a case as this, the law only required the principal, with the fifth part added to it; see ( Leviticus 6:5 ) ( Numbers 5:7 ) but Zacchaeus proposes as much as in the case of theft, and which was rarely used. The Jews F2 say,

``that the manner of paying double, was more used than the manner of paying fourfold, or fivefold; for the manner of paying double was used, both in things animate and inanimate; but the manner of paying fourfold and fivefold, was used but with respect to an ox, and a sheep only.''

This was done by Zacchaeus, to show the truth and reality of his repentance; for with that nation,

``the repentance of shepherds, and of collectors, and of "publicans", is said F3 to be very difficult:''

the reason given by the gloss is, because they rob many, and do not know who to return to.


F21 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 50. 1. & Maimon. in Misn. Peah, c. 1, sect 1.
F23 T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 44. 1.
F24 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 67. 2.
F25 Juchasin, fol. 105. 2.
F26 T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 2.
F1 Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 7. sect. 5.
F2 Misna Bava Kama, c. 7. sect. 1.
F3 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 94. 2.

Luke 19:8 In-Context

6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.
7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."
8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."
9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

Cross References 3

  • 1. [Luke 18:22]
  • 2. Luke 3:14
  • 3. Exodus 22:1; 2 Samuel 12:6
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.