Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
The name is Jewish.
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
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"
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
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"
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
if I have--that is, "so far as I have," for evidently the "if" is so
used (as in
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
There was no demand made for either; but, as if to revenge
himself on his hitherto reigning sin (see on
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
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
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
What encouragement is there in this narrative to hope for unexpected
PARABLE OF THE
A different parable from that of the Talents
For, (1) This parable was spoken "when He was nigh to Jerusalem"
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"
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
29-38. Bethphage--"house of figs," a village which with Bethany lay
along the further side of Mount Olivet, east of Jerusalem.
30. whereon, &c.--(See on
31. the Lord hath need, &c.--He both knew all and had the key of
the human heart. (See on
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
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
41-44. when beheld . . . wept--Compare
"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
42. at least in this, &c.--even at this moving moment. (See on
thy peace--thinking perhaps of the name of the city.
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.
CLEANSING OF THE
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
47. sought--continued seeking, that is, daily, as He taught.
48. were very attentive to hear him--hung upon His words.