Luke 16:3

3 "The manager said to himself, 'What am I going to do? I've lost my job as manager. I'm not strong enough for a laboring job, and I'm too proud to beg. . . .

Luke 16:3 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 16:3

Then the steward said within himself
As the Scribes and Pharisees were wont to do, ( Matthew 3:9 ) ( 9:3 ) ( Luke 7:39 Luke 7:49 )

what shall I do?
he does not say, what will become of me? I am undone, and what shall I do to be saved? or what shall I do for my Lord and Master I have so much injured? or what shall I do to make up matters with him? or what account shall I give? but what shall I do for a maintenance? how shall I live? what shall I do to please men, and gain their opinion and good will, and so be provided for by them? of this cast were the Pharisees, men pleasers, and self-seekers:

for my Lord taketh away from me the stewardship:
the priesthood was changed, and there was a change also of the law; the ceremonial law was abrogated, and the ordinances of the former dispensation were shaken and removed; so that these men must of course turn out of their places and offices:

I cannot dig;
or "plough", as the Arabic version renders it; or do any part of husbandry, particularly that which lies in manuring and cultivating the earth; not but that he was able to do it; but he could not tell how to submit to such a mean, as well as laborious way of life; for nothing was meaner among the Jews than husbandry: they have a saying, that (eqrqh Nm htwxp twnmwa Kl Nya) , "you have no trade", or business, "lesser", or meaner "than husbandry" F7:

and to beg I am ashamed;
for nothing could be more disagreeable, to one who had lived so well in his master's house, and in so much fulness and luxury, as the Scribes and Pharisees did. The Jews have a saying, that F8

``want of necessaries, (wtlavm bwj) , "is better than begging": (and says one) I have tasted the bitterness of all things, and I have not found any thing more bitter "than begging:"''

and which was literally true of the Jews, after the destruction of Jerusalem; when multitudes of them were condemned to work in the mines; and vast numbers were scattered about every where as vagabonds, begging their bread; both which were very irksome to that people: though both these phrases may be mystically understood: and "digging" may intend a laborious searching into the Scriptures, and a diligent performance of good works: neither of which the Pharisees much cared for, though they made large pretensions to both; nor did they dig deep to lay a good foundation whereon to build eternal life and happiness: nor could they attain to the law of righteousness by all their toil and labour, they would be thought to have taken: and for "begging", they were above that: read the Pharisee's prayer in ( Luke 18:11 Luke 18:12 ) and you will not find one petition in it. To ask any thing at the throne of grace, in a way of mere grace and favour, and not merit: or to beg any thing at the hands of Christ, as life, righteousness, pardon, cleansing, healing, food they were ashamed of, and cared not for.


F7 T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 63. 1.
F8 Mischar Hapeninim apud Buxtorf. Florileg, Heb. p. 262.

Luke 16:3 In-Context

1 Jesus said to his disciples, "There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses.
2 So he called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about you? You're fired. And I want a complete audit of your books.'
3 "The manager said to himself, 'What am I going to do? I've lost my job as manager. I'm not strong enough for a laboring job, and I'm too proud to beg. . . .
4 Ah, I've got a plan. Here's what I'll do . . . then when I'm turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.'
5 "Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.