Luke 16

1 He said also to his disciples, There was a rich man, that had a bailiff [There was some rich man, that had a farmer, or bailee]; and this was denounced to him, as he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said to him, What hear I this thing of thee? yield reckoning of thy bailiffship, for thou might not now be bailiff [+yield reason of thy farm, for now thou shalt no more hold the farm].
3 And the bailiff said within himself, What shall I do, for my lord taketh away from me the bailiffship? delve may I not, I shame to beg. [Forsooth the farmer said within himself, What shall I do, for my lord taketh away from me the farm? I may not delve, I am ashamed to beg.]
4 I know what I shall do, that when I am removed from the bailiffship [that when I shall be removed from the farm], they receive me into their houses.
5 Therefore when all the debtors of his lord were called together [And so all the debtors of his lord called together], he said to the first, How much owest thou to my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred barrows of oil. And he said to him, Take thy caution [Take thy caution, or obligation], and sit soon, and write fifty.
7 Afterward he said to another, And how much owest thou? Which answered, An hundred cors of wheat [Which said, An hundred measures of wheat]. And he said to him, Take thy letters, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord praised the bailiff of wickedness [And the lord praised the farmer of wickedness], for he had done prudently; for the sons of this world be more prudent in their generation than the sons of light.
9 And I say to you, make ye to you friends of the riches of wickedness [make to you friends of the riches of wickedness], that when ye shall fail, they receive you into everlasting tabernacles.
10 He that is true in the least thing, is true also in the more [He that is faithful in the least thing, is faithful also in the more]; and he that is wicked in a little thing, is wicked also in the more.
11 Therefore if ye were not true in the wicked thing of riches [Therefore if ye were not true in the wicked riches], who shall betake to you that that is very?
12 And if ye were not true in other men's thing, who shall give to you that that is yours?
13 No servant may serve to two lords; for either he shall hate the one, and love the other; either he shall draw to the one, and despise the other. Ye be not able to serve to God and to riches. [+No man servant may serve two lords; forsooth either he shall hate the one, and love the other; or he shall cleave to the one, and despise the other. Ye be not able to serve to God and riches.]
14 But the Pharisees, that were covetous, heard all these things, and they scorned him.
15 And he said to them, Ye it be, that justify you before men; but God hath known your hearts [soothly God knoweth your hearts], for that that is high to men, is abomination before God.
16 The law and the prophets till to John; from that time the realm of God is evangelized [from that time the realm of God is preached], and each man doeth violence into it.
17 Forsooth it is lighter heaven and earth [for] to pass, than that one tittle fall from the law [than one tittle fall of the law].
18 Every man that forsaketh his wife, and weddeth another, doeth lechery [doeth adultery]; and he that weddeth the wife forsaken of the husband, doeth adultery.
19 There was a rich man [Some man was rich], and was clothed in purple, and white silk, and ate every day shiningly.
20 And there was a beggar [And there was some beggar], Lazarus by name, that lay at his gate full of boils,
21 and coveted to be fulfilled of the crumbs [+coveting to be fulfilled with the crumbs/coveting to be filled of the crumbs], that fell down from the rich man's board, and no man gave to him; but [and] hounds came, and licked his boils.
22 And it was done, that the beggar died, and was borne of angels into Abraham's bosom. And the rich man was dead also, and was buried in hell.
23 And he raised up his eyes, when he was in torments, and saw Abraham afar, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he dip the end of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 And Abraham said to him, Son, have mind, for thou hast received good things in thy life, and Lazarus also evil things; but he is now comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And in all these things a great dark place is stablished betwixt us and you; that they that will from hence pass to you, be not able [+And in all these things a great dark place, either depth, is stablished between us and you; that they that will from hence pass to you, may not], neither from thence pass over hither.
27 And he said, Then I pray thee, father, that thou send him into the house of my father.
28 For I have five brethren, that he witness to them, lest also they come into this place of torments.
29 And Abraham said to him [And Abraham saith to him], They have Moses and the prophets; hear they them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if any of dead men [shall] go to them, they shall do penance.
31 And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither if any of dead men [shall] rise again, they shall believe to him.

Luke 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The parable of the unjust steward. (1-12) Christ reproves the hypocrisy of the covetous Pharisees. (13-18) The rich man and Lazarus. (19-31)

Verses 1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we have only the use of it, according to the direction of our great Lord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods. And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannot deny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This may teach us that death will come, and deprive us of the opportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of his lord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable part of their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parable commended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In that respect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice of their object, are foolish; but in their activity, and perseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjust steward is not set before us as an example in cheating his master, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out the careful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children of light would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would as earnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signify spiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoards up what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, what evidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ? The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich in faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises; let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.

Verses 13-18 To this parable our Lord added a solemn warning. Ye cannot serve God and the world, so divided are the two interests. When our Lord spoke thus, the covetous Pharisees treated his instructions with contempt. But he warned them, that what they contended for as the law, was a wresting of its meaning: this our Lord showed in a case respecting divorce. There are many covetous sticklers for the forms of godliness, who are the bitterest enemies to its power, and try to set others against the truth.

Verses 19-31 Here the spiritual things are represented, in a description of the different state of good and bad, in this world and in the other. We are not told that the rich man got his estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a man may have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of this world, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sin of this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is a godly man, and one that will hereafter be happy for ever, in the depth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some of the dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflicted in this world. We are not told that the rich man did him any harm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here is the different condition of this godly poor man, and this wicked rich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there are discourses between glorified saints and damned sinners, but this dialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, to which condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, when those who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall not have the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are now called upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it. As wicked people have good things only in this life, and at death are for ever separated from all good, so godly people have evil things only in this life, and at death they are for ever put from them. In this world, blessed be God, there is no gulf between a state of nature and grace, we may pass from sin to God; but if we die in our sins, there is no coming out. The rich man had five brethren, and would have them stopped in their sinful course; their coming to that place of torment, would make his misery the worse, who had helped to show them the way thither. How many would now desire to recall or to undo what they have written or done! Those who would make the rich man's praying to Abraham justify praying to saints departed, go far to seek for proofs, when the mistake of a damned sinner is all they can find for an example. And surely there is no encouragement to follow the example, when all his prayers were made in vain. A messenger from the dead could say no more than what is said in the Scriptures. The same strength of corruption that breaks through the convictions of the written word, would triumph over a witness from the dead. Let us seek to the law and to the testimony, ( isaiah 8:19 isaiah 8:20 ) , for that is the ( 2 Peter. 1:19 ) Circumstances in every age show that no terrors, or arguments, can give true repentance without the special grace of God renewing the sinner's heart.

Luke 16 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.