Luke 19


The conversion of Zaccheus, 1-10.

The parable of the nobleman, his ten servants, and the ten

pounds, 11-27.

Christ sends his disciples for a colt on which he rides into

Jerusalem, 28-40.

He weeps over the city, and foretells its destruction, 41-44.

Goes into the temple, and casts out the buyers and sellers,

45, 46.

The chief priests and the scribes seek to destroy him, but are

afraid of the people, who hear him attentively. 47, 48.


Verse 1. Entered and passed through] Was passing through. Our

Lord had not as yet passed through Jericho-he was only passing

through it; for the house of Zaccheus, in which he was to lodge,

Lu 19:5, was

in it.

Verse 2. Zaccheus] It is not unlikely that this person was a Jew

by birth, see Lu 19:9; but because he had engaged in a business

so infamous, in the eyes of the Jews, he was considered as a mere

heathen, Lu 19:7.

Chief among the publicans] Either a farmer-general of the taxes,

who had subordinate collectors under him: or else the most

respectable and honourable man among that class at Jericho.

He was rich.] And therefore the more unlikely to pay attention

to an impoverished Messiah, preaching a doctrine of universal

mortification and self-denial.

Verse 3. And he sought to see Jesus who he was] So the mere

principle of curiosity in him led to his conversion and

salvation, and to that of his whole family, Lu 19:9.

Verse 4. He ran before] The shortness of his stature was amply

compensated by his agility and invention. Had he been as tall as

the generality of the crowd, he might have been equally unnoticed

with the rest. His getting into the tree made him conspicuous: had

he not been so low of stature he would not have done so. Even the

imperfections of our persons may become subservient to the grace

of God in our eternal salvation. As the passover was at hand, the

road was probably crowded with people going to Jerusalem; but the

fame of the cure of the blind man was probably the cause of the

concourse at this time.

Verse 5. Make haste, and come down] With this invitation, our

blessed Lord conveyed heavenly influence to his heart; hence he

was disposed to pay the most implicit and cheerful obedience to

the call, and thus he received not the grace of God in vain.

Verse 6. Received him joyfully.] He had now seen WHO he was, and

he wished to hear WHAT he was; and therefore he rejoiced in the

honour that God had now conferred upon him. How often does Christ

make the proposal of lodging, not only in our house, but in our

heart, without its being accepted! We lose much because we do not

attend to the visitations of Christ: he passes by-he blesses our

neighbours and our friends; but, often, neither curiosity nor any

other motive is sufficient to induce us to go even to the house of

God, to hear of the miracles of mercy which he works in behalf of

those who seek him.

Verse 7. To be guest with a man that is a sinner.] Meaning

either that he was a heathen, or, though by birth a Jew, yet as

bad as a heathen, because of his unholy and oppressive office.

See Clarke on Lu 7:37.

Verse 8. The half of my goods I give to the poor] Probably he

had already done so for some time past; though it is generally

understood that the expressions only refer to what he now purposed

to do.

If I have taken any thing-by false accusation] εσυκοφαντησα,

from συκον, a fig, and φαινω, I show or declare; for

among the primitive Athenians, when the use of that fruit was

first found out, or in the time of a dearth, when all sorts of

provisions were exceedingly scarce, it was enacted that no figs

should be exported from Attica; and this law (not being actually

repealed, when a plentiful harvest had rendered it useless, by

taking away the reason of it) gave occasion to ill-natured and

malicious fellows to accuse all persons they found breaking the

letter of it; and from them all busy informers have ever since

been branded with the name of sycophants. POTTER's Antiq. vol. i.

c. 21, end.

I restore him fourfold.] This restitution the Roman laws obliged

the tax-gatherers to make, when it was proved they had abused

their power by oppressing the people. But here was no such proof:

the man, to show the sincerity of his conversion, does it of his

own accord. He who has wronged his fellow must make restitution,

if he have it in his power. He that does not do so cannot expect

the mercy of God. See the observations at the end of Gen 42, and

Nu 5:7.

Verse 9. Jesus said unto him] Bishop PEARCE observes: "Probably

Luke wrote αυτους, not αυτον, said unto them, i.e. to those who

had before called Zaccheus a sinner; (Lu 19:7;) for Jesus here

speaks of Zaccheus in the third person, he also is a son of

Abraham, and therefore he was not then speaking to him." This

conjecture of this respectable prelate is supported by the margin

of the later Syriac, and by every copy of the Itala but two.

To this house] τωοικωτουτω, To this very house or family.

As if he had said: "If he be a sinner, he stands in the greater

need of salvation, and the Son of man is come to seek and save

what was lost, Lu 19:10; and therefore to save this lost soul is

a part of my errand into the world." See the sentiment contained

in this verse explained on Mt 18:11.

Verse 11. And as they heard these things] I believe the

participle of the present tense, here, is used for the

participle of the past, or rather that the participle of the

present conveys sometimes the sense of the past; for this

discourse appears to have taken place the next day after he had

lodged at the house of Zaccheus; for the text says that he was

then drawing nigh to Jerusalem, from which Jericho was distant

nineteen miles. I have not ventured to translate it so, yet I

think probably the text should be read thus: And after they had

heard these things, he proceded to speak a parable, because they

were nigh to Jerusalem.

Immediately appear.] Perhaps the generality of his followers

thought that, on his arrival at Jerusalem, he would proclaim

himself king.

Verse 12. A certain nobleman] In the following parable there are

two distinct morals intended; let it be viewed in these two points

of light. 1. The behaviour of the citizens to the nobleman; and,

2. The behaviour of his own servants to him. 1. By the behaviour

of the citizens, and their punishment, (Lu 19:14, 27,) we are

taught that the Jews, who were the people of Christ, would reject

him, and try to prevent his reigning over them in his spiritual

kingdom, and would for that crime be severely punished by the

destruction of their state. And this moral is all that answers to

the introductory words, Lu 19:11.

And they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately

appear. 2. The other moral extends itself through the whole of the

parable, viz. that the disciples of Christ, who are his servants;

and who made a good improvement of the favours granted them by the

Gospel, should be rewarded in proportion to the improvement made

under the means of grace. This latter moral is all that is

intended by Matthew in Mt 25:14, &c., who mentions this parable

as spoken by Christ after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem;

though Luke has here placed that event after the parable. See

Bishop PEARCE.

The meaning of the different parts of this parable appears to be

as follows.

A certain nobleman-The Lord Jesus, who was shortly to be

crucified by the Jews.

Went into a far country] Ascended to the right hand of the

Divine Majesty.

To receive a kingdom] To take possession of the mediatorial

kingdom, the right to which, as Messiah, he had acquired by his

sufferings: see Php 2:8, 9; Heb 1:3, 8, 9. In these words there

is an allusion to the custom of those days, when they who had

kingdoms or governments given unto them went to Rome to receive

that dignity from the emperors. Bishop PEARCE. In proof of this,

see Josephus, Ant. l. xiv. c. xiv., where we find Herod went to

Rome to receive the sanction and authority of the Roman emperor.

And, from lib. xvii. c. 3, we learn that his successors acted in

the same way.

And to return.] To judge and punish the rebellious Jews.

Verse 13. Ten servants] All those who professed to receive his

doctrine. Ten was a kind of sacred number among the Hebrews, as

well as seven. See Lu 14:31; 15:8; Mt 15:1.

Ten pounds] Ten minas. The Septuagint use the original word μναα

for the Hebrew maneh, from which it is evidently derived; and

it appears from Eze 45:12, to have been equal to

sixty shekels in money. Now suppose we allow the shekel, with

Dean Prideaux, to be 3s., then the mina or maneh was equal to

9 English money. The impropriety of rendering the original word

pound, will easily be seen by the most superficial reader. We

should therefore retain the original word for the same reason so

often before assigned. SUIDAS says, "The talent was sixty minas,

the mina one hundred drachms, the drachm six oboli, the

obolus six chalci, the chalcus seven mites or lepta."

By the ten minas given to each, we may understand the Gospel of

the kingdom given to every person who professes to believe in

Christ, and which he is to improve to the salvation of his soul.

The same word is given to all, that all may believe and be saved.

Verse 14. His citizens] Or countrymen-the Jewish people, who

professed to be subjects of the kingdom of God.

Hated him] Despised him for the meanness of his birth, his

crucifixion to the world, and for the holiness of his doctrine.

Neither mortification nor holiness suits the dispositions of the

carnal mind.

Sent a message after him] As, in Lu 19:12, there is an allusion

to a person's going to Rome, when elected to be ruler of a

province or kingdom, to receive that dignity from the hand of the

emperor, so it is here intimated that, after the person went to

receive this dignity, some of the discontented citizens took the

opportunity to send an embassy to the emperor, to prevent him from

establishing the object of their hatred in the government.

We will not have this man, &c.] The Jews rejected Jesus Christ,

would not submit to his government, and, a short time after this,

preferred even a murderer to him. Like cleaves to like. No wonder

that those who murdered the Lord of glory should prefer a

murderer, one of their own temper, to the Redeemer of their


Verse 15. When he was returned] When he came to punish the

disobedient Jews; and when he shall come to judge the world. See

the parable of the talents, Mt 25:14, &c.

Verse 16. Lord, thy pound hath gained ten] The principal

difference between this parable and that of the talents above

referred to is, that the mina given to each seems to point out the

gift of the Gospel, which is the same to all who hear it; but the

talents distributed in different proportions, according to each

man's ability, seem to intimate that God has given different

capacities and advantages to men, by which this one gift of the

Gospel may be differently improved.

Verse 17. Over ten cities.] This is to be understood as

referring to the new kingdom which the nobleman had just received.

His former trustiest and most faithful servants he now represents

as being made governors, under him, over a number of cities,

according to the capacity he found in each; which capacity was

known by the improvement of the minas.

Verse 20. Lord, behold, here is thy pound] See Mt 25:18.

Verse 23. With usury?] συντοκω, With its produce, i.e. what

the loan of the money is fairly worth, after paying the person

sufficiently for using it: for, in lent money, both the lender and

borrower are supposed to reap profit.

Verse 25. And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.]

This whole verse is omitted by the Codex Bezae, a few others, and

some copies of the Itala. It is probably an observation that some

person made while our Lord was delivering the parable, with a

design to correct him in the distribution: as if he had said, "Why

give the mina to that person? he has got ten already; give it to

one of those who has fewer."

Verse 26. And from him that hath not] See this particularly

explained Mt 13:12. Perhaps it would be well, with Bishop PEARCE,

to supply the word gained-give it to him who hath gained ten

minas; for I say unto you, That unto every one who hath gained

shall be given; and, from him who hath not gained, even that

which he hath received, shall be taken away.

Verse 27. Those-enemies-bring hither] the Jews, whom I shall

shortly slay by the sword of the Romans.

Verse 28. He went before] Joyfully to anticipate his death, say

some. Perhaps it means that he walked at the head of his

disciples; and that he and his disciples kept on the road before

other companies who were then also on their way to Jerusalem, in

order to be present at the feast.

Verse 29. - 38. See this triumphal entry into Jerusalem

explained at large on Mt 21:1-11, and Mr 11:1-10.

Verse 38. Glory in the highest.] Mayst thou receive the

uttermost degrees of glory! See Clarke on Mt 21:9.

Verse 40. If these should hold their peace, the stones would-cry

out.] Of such importance is my present conduct to you and to

others, being expressly predicted by one of your own prophets,

Zec 9:9, as pointing out the triumph of humility over pride,

and of meekness over rage and malice, as signifying the salvation

which I bring to the lost souls of men, that, if this multitude

were silent, God would give even to the stones a voice, that the

advent of the Messiah might be duly celebrated.

Verse 41. And wept over it] See Mt 23:37.

Verse 42. The things which belong unto thy peace!] It is very

likely that our Lord here alludes to the meaning of the word

Jerusalem, from yereh, he shall see, and

shalom, peace or prosperity. Now, because the inhabitants of it

had not seen this peace and salvation, because they had refused to

open their eyes, and behold this glorious light of heaven which

shone among them, therefore he said, Now they are hidden from

thine eyes, still alluding to the import of the name.

Verse 43. Cast a trench about thee] This was literally fulfilled

when this city was besieged by Titus. Josephus gives a very

particular account of the building of this wall, which he says was

effected in three days, though it was not less than thirty-nine

furlongs in circumference; and that, when this wall and trench

were completed, the Jews were so enclosed on every side that no

person could escape out of the city, and no provision could be

brought in, so that they were reduced to the most terrible

distress by the famine which ensued. The whole account is well

worth the reader's attention. See Josephus, War, book v. chap.

xxii. sec. 1, 2, 3.

Verse 44. The time of thy visitation.] That is, the time of

God's gracious offers of mercy to thee. This took in all the time

which elapsed from the preaching of John the Baptist to the coming

of the Roman armies, which included a period of above forty years.

Verse 45. Went into the temple] See all this transaction

explained, Mt 21:12-16.

Verse 47. And he taught daily in the temple.] This he did for

five or six days before his crucifixion. Some suppose that it was

on Monday in the passion week that he thus entered into Jerusalem,

and purified the temple; and on Thursday he was seized late at

night: during these four days he taught in the temple, and lodged

each night at Bethany. See Clarke on Mt 21:17.

Verse 48. Were very attentive to hear him.] Or, They heard him

with the utmost attention, εξεκρεματοαυτουακουων, literally,

They hung upon him, hearing. The same form of speech is used

often by both Greek and Latin writers of the best repute.

Ex vultu dicentis, pendet omnium vultus.

The face of every man hung on the face of the speaker.

--------Pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore.

Virg. AEn. iv. 79.

And she hung again on the lips of the narrator.

The words of the evangelist mark, not only the deepest attention

because of the importance of the subject, but also the very high

gratification which the hearers had from the discourse. Those who

read or hear the words of Christ, in this way, must inevitably

become wise to salvation.

THE reader is requested to refer to Mt 24, and to Mt 25:14, for

more extensive information on the different subjects in this

chapter, and to the other parallel places marked in the margin.

The prophecy relative to the destruction of Jerusalem is one of

the most circumstantial, and the most literally fulfilled, of any

prediction ever delivered. See this particularly remarked at the

conclusion of Mt 24, where the whole subject is amply reviewed.

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