2-4. chief among the publicans--farming a considerable district,
with others under him.
rich--Ill-gotten riches some of it certainly was. (See on Lu 19:8.)
3. who he was--what sort of person. Curiosity then was his only motive, though his determination not to be baulked was overruled for more than he sought.
4. sycamore--the Egyptian fig, with leaves like the mulberry.
5, 6. looked up,--in the full knowledge of who was in the tree, and
preparatory to addressing him.
Zaccheus--whom he had never seen in the flesh, nor probably heard of. "He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out" (Joh 10:3).
make haste, and come down--to which he literally responded--"he made haste and came down."
for to-day, &c.--Our Lord invites Himself, and in "royal" style, which waits not for invitations, but as the honor is done to the subject, not the sovereign, announces the purpose of royalty to partake of the subject's hospitalities. Manifestly our Lord speaks as knowing how the privilege would be appreciated.
to-day . . . abide--(Compare Joh 1:39), probably over night.
6. joyfully--Whence this so sudden "joy" in the cold bosom of an avaricious publican? The internal revolution was as perfect as instantaneous. "He spake and it was done." "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa 35:6).
7. to be guest--or lodge: something more than "eating with" such
a sinner--that was one but a minute ago, but now is not. This mighty change, however, was all unknown to them. But they shall know it presently. "Sinner" would refer both to his office, vile in the eyes of a Jew, and to his character, which it is evident was not good.
8-10. stood--before all.
said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord--Mark how frequently Luke uses this title, and always where lordly authority, dignity, or power is intended.
if I have--that is, "so far as I have," for evidently the "if" is so used (as in Php 4:8).
taken by false accusation--defrauded, overcharged (Lu 3:12, 13).
fourfold--The Roman law required this; the Jewish law, but the principal and a fifth more (Nu 5:7). There was no demand made for either; but, as if to revenge himself on his hitherto reigning sin (see on Joh 20:28), and to testify the change he had experienced, besides surrendering the half of his fair gains to the poor, he voluntarily determines to give up all that was ill-gotten, quadrupled. He gratefully addressed this to the "Lord," to whom he owed the wonderful change.
9. Jesus said unto him--but also before all.
This day, &c.--memorable saying! Salvation already come, but not a day old.
to this house--so expressed probably to meet the taunt, "He is gone to be guest," &c. The house is no longer polluted; it is now fit to receive Me. But salvation to a house is an exceedingly precious idea, expressing the new air that would henceforth breathe in it, and the new impulses from its head which would reach its members (Ps 118:15; Ac 16:15, 16, 31).
son of Abraham--He was that by birth, but here it means a partaker of his faith, being mentioned as the sufficient explanation of salvation having come to him.
10. lost--and such "lost" ones as this Zaccheus. (See on Lu 15:32.) What encouragement is there in this narrative to hope for unexpected conversions?
Lu 19:11-27. PARABLE OF THE POUNDS.
A different parable from that of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30). For, (1) This parable was spoken "when He was nigh to Jerusalem" (Lu 19:11); that one, some days after entering it, and from the Mount of Olives. (2) This parable was spoken to the promiscuous crowd; that, to the Twelve alone. Accordingly, (3) Besides the "servants" in this parable, who profess subjection to Him, there is a class of "citizens" who refuse to own Him, and who are treated differently, whereas in the parable of the talents, spoken to the former class alone, this latter class is omitted. (4) In the Talents, each servant receives a different number of them (five, two, one); in the Pounds all receive the same one pound, which is but about the sixtieth part of a talent; also, in the talents, each shows the same fidelity by doubling what he received (the five are made ten; the two, four); in the Pounds, each receiving the same, render a different return (one making his pound ten, another five). Plainly, therefore, the intended lesson is different; the one illustrating equal fidelity with different degrees of advantage; the other, different degrees of improvement of the same opportunities; yet with all this difference, the parables are remarkably similar.
12. a far country--said to put down the notion that He was just on
His way to set up His kingdom, and to inaugurate it by His personal
to receive . . . a kingdom--be invested with royalty; as when Herod went to Rome and was there made king; a striking expression of what our Lord went away for and received, "sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."
to return--at His second coming.
13. Occupy--"negotiate," "do business," with the resources entrusted.
14. his citizens--His proper subjects; meaning the Jews, who expressly repudiating our Lord's claims said, "We have no king but Cæsar" (Joh 19:15). In Christendom, these correspond to infidel rejecters of Christianity, as distinguished from professed Christians.
15-26. (See on
ten . . . five cities--different degrees of future gracious reward, proportioned to the measure of present fidelity.
27. bring hither, &c.--(Compare 1Sa 15:32, 33). Referring to the awful destruction of Jerusalem, but pointing to the final destruction of all that are found in open rebellion against Christ.
29-38. Bethphage--"house of figs," a village which with Bethany lay along the further side of Mount Olivet, east of Jerusalem.
31. the Lord hath need, &c.--He both knew all and had the key of the human heart. (See on Lu 19:5.) Perhaps the owner was a disciple.
35. set Jesus on--He allowing this, as befitting the state He was for the first and only time assuming.
37. whole multitude, &c.--The language here is very grand, intended to express a burst of admiration far wider and deeper than ever had been witnessed before.
38. Blessed be the King, &c.--Mark
(Mr 11:9, 10)
more fully, "Hosanna," that is, "Save now," the words of
which were understood to refer to Messiah; and so they add, "to the Son
of David, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest." This was the very loftiest style in which He
could be saluted as the promised Deliverer.
peace, &c.--(See on Lu 2:13, 14).
40. the stones, &c.--Hitherto the Lord had discouraged all demonstrations in His favor; latterly He had begun an opposite course; on this one occasion He seems to yield His whole soul to the wide and deep acclaim with a mysterious satisfaction, regarding it as so necessary a part of the regal dignity in which as Messiah He for this last time entered the city, that if not offered by the vast multitude, it would have been wrung out of the stones rather than be withheld (Hab 2:11).
41-44. when beheld . . . wept--Compare La 3:51, "Mine eye affecteth mine heart"; the heart again affecting the eye. Under this sympathetic law of the relation of mind and body, Jesus, in His beautiful, tender humanity, was constituted even as we. What a contrast to the immediately preceding profound joy! He yielded Himself alike freely to both. (See on Mt 23:37.)
42. at least in this, &c.--even at this moving moment. (See on
thy peace--thinking perhaps of the name of the city. (Heb 7:2) [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. How much is included in this word!
now . . . hid--It was His among His last open efforts to "gather them," but their eyes were judicially closed.
43. a trench--a rampart; first of wood, and when this was burnt, a built wall, four miles in circuit, built in three days--so determined were they. This "cut off all hope of escape," and consigned the city to unparalleled horrors. (See JOSEPHUS, Wars of the Jews, 6.2; 12.3,4.) All here predicted was with dreadful literally fulfilled.
Lu 19:45-48. SECOND CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE AND SUBSEQUENT TEACHING.
45, 46. As the first cleansing was on His first visit to Jerusalem
so this second cleansing was on His last.
den of thieves--banded together for plunder, reckless of principle. The mild term "house of merchandise," used on the former occasion, was now unsuitable.
47. sought--continued seeking, that is, daily, as He taught.
48. were very attentive to hear him--hung upon His words.