Luke 19:8

8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much."

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 down and was happy to welcome him.
7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner."
8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much."
9 Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.