Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.4. Jesus and Zaccheus (LUKE 19:1–10)
1, 2And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zaccheus, which was the chief among the publicans [and he was a chief tax-gatherer], 3and he [this man] was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; andcould not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him; for he was to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. 6And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all 8murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zaccheus stood [or, came forward], and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvationcome to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 19:2. Zaccheus.—Hebrew זַכָּו, “Pure,” Ezra 2:9; Nehem. 7:14. This Hebrew name with Greek ending of itself denotes him as a man of Jewish origin; comp. Luke 19:9. According to the Clementines, he afterwards became a disciple of Peter, and Bishop of Cæsarea. See Homil. 3:63, and Recogn. 3:65. Later Jewish traditions in reference to his descent are found in SEPP, L. J. iii. p. 166. He is ἀρχιτελώνης, an administrator of the taxes, to whom the over-sight over the common publicans was committed; perhaps plenipotentiary of one of the Roman knights, who often sustained the dignity of Publicani. At Jericho, where in this time a large amount of balsam was produced and exported, the office of tax-gatherer was doubtless an important post. That Zaccheus was rich, appears not only from the place which he had farmed, but also from the liberal way in which he sought to make good previously committed injustice. But that this wealth did not yet satisfy his heart, is made evident by his eager longing after Jesus.
Luke 19:3. He sought to see Jesus.—Without doubt, the fame of Jesus had come to his ears, but he did not yet know Him by sight. Herod also had displayed the same longing, Luke 9:7–9; but is there any need of intimating that the curiosity of Zaccheus sprang from a nobler source? In him we are entitled to presuppose a state of mind like that of the Greeks, John 12:21. After he has heard the wonderful and in part contradictory reports that were in circulation respecting Jesus, an obscure longing for higher treasures has been awakened in his heart,—a longing of which, however, he cannot as yet give any precise account to himself. A very favorable testimony for him is even the fact that he leaves his dwelling, and places himself on the way where the caravan going to the feast must pass by; yet in vain does he strive to discover a spot that will secure him a comfortable standing-place and an unobstructed view; great as is his interest, his stature is proportionably diminutive, so that at last he climbs a tree, on which he finds both rest and an unobstructed view along the road; and he also feels himself now, in the hope of at last obtaining his wish, so happy that he takes no account of the mockeries to which he, the smallest, and yet in a certain sense a great, man, was doubtless exposed in the midst of the jubilant throng, on account of his singular proceeding.
Luke 19:4. A sycamore tree, συκομορέα.—See Lachmann and Tischendorf: the Ficus Ægyptia of Pliny. Arbor moro similis folio, magnitudine, adspectu. See WINER, in voce. The fruit is, according to the accounts of travellers, pleasant and sweet-tasting. But here the sycamore bears a fruit of the noblest and rarest kind, which is to ripen for the refreshment of Jesus.
Luke 19:5. Jesus … saw him.—It is not necessary to explain the acquaintance of Jesus with Zaccheus as supernatural (Olshausen); nor have we any more need of taking refuge in the assumption of a relation unknown to us between the two (Meyer), or conjecturing that some one had designedly mentioned him to our Lord (Paulus). The difficulty disappears if we only transfer ourselves fairly to the scene of the event. By the very exceptionalness of his position, Zaccheus strikes the eye of all. His name goes from mouth to mouth. One shows him to another. Here and there dislike manifests itself against the doubtless not universally beloved chief publican, comp. Luke 19:7, and, therefore, in an entirely natural way the Saviour’s look is directed upon Zaccheus. But what is truly Divine consists in this: that our Lord at once fathoms the heart of the man with the same look which once followed Nathanael into solitude, John 1:48, and that He fulfils his longing for a better good in a way which causes Zaccheus to find more than he had at the moment sought “Nomine se appellari, Zacchœus non potuit non et admirari et lœtari.” Bengel.
To-day I must abide at thy house.—Stop a while to rest. Comp. Luke 19:7, and Matt. 10:11. “Δεῖ is uttered from the consciousness of the Divine disposition of events, Luke 19:10.” Meyer. If this utterance, on the one hand, indicates the haste which well knows that it has no time to lose and will never come again to Jericho, it also beyond doubt expresses, on the other hand, the joy of the Redeemer, who finds the sinner, as the sinner had sought his Redeemer. For the Saviour there exists here an inward necessity to turn in at no other dwelling than that of the publican; His heart commands it, the constraint of compassion tells Him so. “As now in Zaccheus the longing to see Jesus came from the prevenient grace of God, and was the beginning of faith, so was this spark of faith by Christ’s address mightily strengthened.”
Luke 19:7. When they saw it they all murmured.—It is, of course, understood that we have not to understand this of the disciples (Calvin), but of the Jews, who had been witnesses of the joy with which Zaccheus received the Lord at the entrance of his dwelling. With greater haste than he had ever used for the taking in of the most considerable gain, Zaccheus has opened his house for the Exalted Traveller, to whom his heart already feels itself drawn. Yet what prepares for him the most delightful surprise is to others a scandal, and soon the smothered murmur of censure gains distinctness: “He is gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.” Παρά must in the construction not be connected with εἰσῆλθεν but with καταλίῦσαι, since the latter has no other significance than ξενίζεσθαι. We do not, however, from these words alone need to draw the conclusion that Zaccheus was a sinner above many others—for publican and sinner were, in the mouths of many, words of one and the same meaning—and quite as little that Jesus really spent the whole night in the dwelling of Zaccheus, and did not continue His journey till the following day. καταλῦσαι, it is true, is commonly taken in this sense, e. g., by Meyer and De Wette, as also by Schleiermacher, l. c. p. 174. But the example John 1:39 does not prove this, and our Lord’s concluding declaration: “To-day is salvation come to this house,” would be deprived of its natural relation to the other: “To-day must I abide at thy house,” if both sayings had not been uttered in one day. Apparently, therefore, we have to assume that our Lord, who was manifestly hastening to Jerusalem, spent only some hours, the remnant of the day, with Zaccheus, and this of itself was sufficient to make Him with many an object of offence. While every publican, even as such, was odious to the people, who wished to be tributary to Jehovah alone, they had undoubtedly learned of the numerous priests who dwelt at Jericho to look down upon an ἀρχιτελώνης with double contempt. It also bears witness to the unfavorable feeling against our Lord which had so greatly increased in Judæa, that He could scarcely advance a step without drawing on Himself new censure. But if any think that we must assume that the Saviour really spent the night also with Zaccheus, we must at all events conceive that which is related Luke 19:8, 9, as not taking place on the following morning, but soon after the arrival of our Lord, under the first fresh impression of His personal appearance.
Luke 19:8. And Zaccheus came forward and said.—Not as though the admonitions of his Guest had now for the first time exercised such an influence upon this publican (Kuinoel), and still less because he was persuaded that no one would be able to charge upon him the least deceit, because he was honesty itself (F. R. SCHNEIDER, Gesch. J. Chr. ii. p. 84), but because he in this way wished to give an unequivocal proof of his thankfulness for the undeserved honor that had fallen to his lot. Strikingly does the liberality of the chief publican contrast with the mean-spiritedness of the multitude, Luke 19:7. And if ever the saying proved true, that it is indeed difficult yet not impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God, this now came to pass in the words of Zaccheus. He will requite the honor, bestowed on his house by some special act; and already does he know his Guest so intimately as this, that he is well persuaded as to what kind of offering will be to Him even far more acceptable than the most splendid feast. Deeply did he feel his accumulated ill-desert over against the immaculately Holy One; but this compassion shown him encouraged him to rise out of the depth into which he had sunk. With entire spontaneousness he begins to speak of the moral obliquity which had earlier misled him, consciously or unconsciously, to defraud any one of anything, and more than the letter of the law makes his duty will he restore. The hypothetical form of his vow, εἴ·τι, is not merely a milder expression of confession (Meyer); it is, on the other hand, entirely natural in the mouth of a man who has so long and so often offended through the common dishonesty of his calling, that he at the moment does not even call to mind when in particular he had gained anything by chicanery. Enough, the restitution which Moses had required only in a special case of theft (Ex. 22:1), he will make in the case of everything that he has gained in a dishonest way, and while, according to the later Jewish writers, even he was distinguished as an eminent Israelite, who destined the fifth part of his property to benevolence, Zaccheus gives not less than the half of his goods to the poor. In truth: “hœc est sapiens illa stultitia, quam de sycomoro, tanquam fructum vitœ, legerat, rapta reddere, propria relinquere, visibilia contemnere.” Beza. Zaccheus evidently shows that the principle is not strange to him which is expressed in the old maxim: “Peccatum non remittitur, nisi ablatum restituatur.” Whether even previously the requirement addressed by John the Baptist to the publicans had come to his ears: “Exact no more than is appointed,” we know not; at all events, he had hitherto not acted agreeably to it. But now it is as if not only a new light had risen to his eyes, but also a new life to his heart. The day when Jesus entered his house is the birth-day of his new better man, and while he of his own free choice becomes poorer in earthly goods, his wealth in heavenly treasures augments, so that To-day in his consciousness draws a sharp dividing line between Yesterday and To-morrow. This consciousness he expresses in a surprising manner: the ingenua confessio and the voluntaria restitutio complement one another admirably.
Luke 19:9. This day is salvation come to this house.—Our Lord addresses these words directly to Zaccheus (πρός), not merely in relation to him (De Wette, and others); that He does it in the third person arises from the fact, that this declaration is meant to comprise at the same time a vindication of His own coming to this house, and a well-deserved eulogy for Zaccheus himself. He says that salvation has come to the house of the publican, not because that house had received one of His visits, but because its inhabitant really showed himself another man from what he appeared to be in the eyes of the multitude. While they had even just before named him an ἀνὴρ ἁμαρτωλός, the Saviour now names him a υἱὸς Ἀβραάμ, not because he had before been a heathen, but now showed the character of a true Israelite (Maldonatus and others), nor yet merely because he by his conversion had become a true Israelite (ἐστί in the sense of ἐγένετο, Kuinoel), but because it was manifest that he, how much soever the people reviled him, yet belonged to the people of God’s choice. The unloving censurers had overlooked the fact that he, as a son of Abraham, was nevertheless still related to them according to the flesh; Jesus bestowed upon him the eulogy that he also belonged, according to the Spirit, to the posterity of the friend of God; comp. Luke 13:16.
Luke 19:10. For the Son of Man.—Statement of the ground of the previous declaration. Where a son of Abraham, according to the flesh, is a lost one, just there is My appearance necessary; where a lost one is renewed unto a spiritual son of Abraham, there is the purpose of My appearance attained.—Ἠλθε signifies not entirely the same as the έ̓ρχεσθαι εἰς τὸν κόσμον of John, where the secondary idea of preëxistence is not to be mistaken; absolutely used, it appears to designate the public manifestation and coming forth of the Son of Man.—To seek, like the Shepherd, Luke 15:4. Comp. Matt. 9:13; 18:11.—To save, not in the sense of to make blessed, but in the sense of to rescue. The σωτηρία of the New Testament is the preservation of that which would otherwise have become the certain prey of an irrevocable destruction, as Zaccheus would have become if this hour had not dawned for him.—What afterwards became of him we know not. In all probability he remained in his office of tax-gatherer; at least the Saviour, who sees the end of His own career approaching, does not call him away from it, as he formerly called Matthew and others. He knows that such a man will afterwards be an ornament to the calling of the publican, and prove himself continually a son of Abraham. Yet enough, at all events, when Jesus now soon afterwards left Jericho, He knew that in this city at least one house was found in which He had already bestowed that which He, dying, was soon to procure for a whole lost world—σωτηρία!
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. In the days of Joshua there was a terrible curse uttered upon Jericho, Josh. 6:26, and in the time of Ahab this curse was fulfilled in a not less terrible manner, 1 Kings 16:34. With the entry of the Saviour into Jericho there dawns at least for one house in Jericho a day of inestimable blessing, and more yet would have become partakers of this blessing along with Zaccheus, had they only known the time of their visitation.
2. The coming of our Saviour to the City of Palms in the midst of the tumult of an innumerable throng; the silent inquiry of a longing soul after Him, and the sweet answer of prevenient grace; the entrance of Jesus into the favored house with all His peace, and the sacrifice rendered by the thanksgiving of the surprised inhabitant thereof;—all this has a beautiful symbolical sense, which makes this gospel above any other fitted for the dedication of a church, especially when it is brought into connection with the inexhaustibly rich epistle, Rev. 21:1–5.
3. “Little soul, thinkest thou then that for thee no tree has grown on which thou mightest climb, that thy eyes might behold Him that bringeth salvation to thy heart?” Gossner.
4. The very great diversity of the ways in which God leads sinners to conversion becomes manifest when we compare the history of Zaccheus with so many others; for instance, with that of the Penitent Thief, of Saul, Cornelius, of the Jailer, &c. The history of this chief of the publicans reminds us of the parable of the Treasure in the Field, and still more of that of the Pearl of Great Price. At the same time the reception which Jesus makes ready for the publican is an admirable commentary on His own word, Rev. 3:20.
5. The connection of πίστις with μετάνοια is vividly presented in the history of Zaccheus. On the one hand, no receptivity for faith on the Saviour, unless already in his soul an incipient, secret but powerful change had taken place; on the other hand, no true faith that did not of itself lead to a thorough alteration of the life and the method of business. It is foolish to suppose that Zaccheus, by the restoration of extorted gain, could have compensated his guilt before God, but just as little would his repentance have been a sincere one if he had felt no necessity of setting right his trespasses in this way. The consolatory consciousness that the guilt of sin is blotted out cannot possibly refresh us, if it is not at the same time our highest wish to be relieved from the ruinous dominion of the same.
6. The Pauline doctrine of Justification by Faith is by this narrative both explained and confirmed. Zaccheus is the precursor of the many heathens who have not sought for righteousness and yet have obtained righteousness, Rom. 9:30–33. The Jews, on the other hand, who in their holiness of works murmured against the bestowal of free grace, remained then and remain yet—shut out.
7. In conclusion, the circumstance deserves well to be brought into use in behalf of future Apologetics, that the whole history of Zaccheus bears a character of freshness, truth, and absence of invention, on which every doubt is broken, as even Strauss, L. J. i. p. 613, has conceded. But with this its historical truth is united its ideal and eternal truth, according to which this journey of the Saviour may be called the symbol of His continuous journey through the world’s history, in which He now, as ever, reveals Himself to the individual in His saving power, while the greater part, even yet, continually misunderstand Him or mock Him.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The hour of blessing for the once accursed City of Palms.—Where Jesus passes by He cannot remain hidden.—The rich Zaccheus in all his poverty; the subsequently impoverished Zaccheus in all his wealth.—The longing to see Jesus: 1. How it arises; 2. wherein it reveals itself; 3. in what way it is satisfied.—How the tumult of the world often hinders us still from seeing and hearing our Lord at hand.—In order to see Jesus well, one must climb; in order to receive Him rightly, one must come down.—He hath filled the hungry with good things, but the rich He hath sent empty away.—The courage of the poor sinner.—The looking of Jesus up to Zaccheus no less proof of grace than His looking down towards many others.—Where the concern is to save a sinner, there to the Saviour a stopping on His way to death is no loss of time.—It is not by the beauty of nature, but by a work of grace, that our Lord allows Himself to be detained at Jericho.—“Make haste and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house,” text for a communion address. This assurance: 1. For whom does it hold true? 2. what does it prove? 3. what does it promise? 4. what does it require?—Jesus a Saviour who: 1. Must come into our house; 2. and can come even to-day; 3. and comes for our salvation.—Jesus invites Himself, if one should not venture to invite Him.—The Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name, John 10:3.—Even to-day does the world take offence when the Saviour turns in at the house of the sinner.—Parallel between this event and Luke 7:36–50. Here also the displeasure of Simon on the one hand, the penitence of the sinning woman on the other hand.—Zaccheus, the longer for salvation, is: 1. Courageously bold; 2. inwardly rejoiced; 3. by many contemned; 4. highly honored.—The little Zaccheus a great hero of faith: 1. How longingly he waits; 2. how frankly he comes: 3. how bountifully he thanks.—The making good of former trespasses: 1. A necessity naturally felt; 2. a sure token; 3. a blessed fruit, of upright faith.—“To-day is salvation come unto this house,” a text for baptismal and marriage addresses.—The day of true conversion the most memorable day of life, 2 Cor. 5:17.—Where Jesus gains disciples, there has Abraham also acquired genuine sons.—Jesus is come to seek, etc.: 1. A most humiliating; 2. an indescribably comforting; 3. a powerfully sanctifying, saying.
STARKE:—J. HALL:—From a great sinner there may come a great saint.—OSIANDER:—God has chosen some souls of the rich as well as of the poor to eternal life.—Many a man does something that in his calling appears to him to be unimpeachable, but faith judges very differently; 2 Sam. 6:16.—Christ willingly directs His eyes upon penitent sinners; Luke 22:61.—QUESNEL:—God gives the longing to know Him, and if that is not despised He then gives more.—The Lord Jesus wishes to come spiritually to us; John 14:23.—MAJUS:—We may well be conversant with sinners if we only do not mean to practise sin with them.—Compassion towards the poor avails not for salvation, yet must it be practised for those that will be saved; Deut. 24:17.—LANGII Op.:—How many are like Zaccheus in riches and unrighteousness, but how few in true conversion and restitution.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Happy the house where Jesus becomes a Guest!—With true conversion there come to pass great alterations in houses, cities, and countries.—The farther from the world, the nearer to God.—HEUBNER:—Jesus is accessible to all classes.—Even yet He finds necessity to abide with those that desire Him.—What an honor to entertain Jesus!—The days of salvation in our fife when Jesus comes especially near to us.—Through faith we come into communion with all the saints of the early time.—The visible church leads into the invisible.—Our churches as dwelling-places of Jesus; they are: 1. Reminders of Him, Luke 19:1–4; 2. sources of His gracious visitation, Luke 19:5–7; 3. summonses on the part of Jesus to conscientious fulfilment of duty, Luke 19:8; 4. awakenings to the care of our own and others’ souls, Luke 19:9–10.—PALMER:—The gracious hour of the Lord: 1. How it comes (unexpected, but not unprepared for); 2. what it brings (Christ, and in Him salvation); 3. what traces it leaves behind (a heart disposed to repentance and love).—ARNDT:—Jesus the Friend of man: 1. Towards whom He reveals His love; 2. what moves Him thereto; 3. how He proceeds; 4. what effects he produces; 5. by what means he accomplishes and crowns His work.—J. DIEDRICH:—How men’s souls, truly for their salvation, meet with Christ.—W. HOFACKER:—The beautiful process of development which the noble plant of faith, under the influence of Divine grace, passes through: 1. The tender germs; 2. the beautiful flower; 3. the wholesome fruits of the plant.—GEROK:—The concurrence of human will and Divine grace.—KNAPP:—Concerning the ever-abounding blessing of a true personal acquaintance with Christ.—HARLESS:—Jesus receives sinners [Jesus nimmt die Sünder an].
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.5. Jesus in relation to the Sanguine Hopes of His Disciples (Luke 19:11–27)
11And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought [or, imagined] that the kingdom of God should 12[was about] immediately appear [to be manifested immediately]. He said therefore, A certain nobleman [εὐγενής] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom,and to return. 13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy [Do business therewith] till I come.114But his citizens [or, those of his city] hated him, and sent a message [embassy] after him, saying, We will not have [we do not wish] this man to reign over us. 15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that be might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17And he said unto him, Well [Excellent], thou good servant: because 18thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19And he said likewise 20to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another2 came, saying, Lord, behold, 21 here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin [handkerchief]: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that [which] thou layedst not 22down [didst not deposit], and reapest that [which] thou didst not sow. And [om., And, V. O.3] he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down 23[which I did not deposit], and reaping that [which] I did not sow: Wherefore then And wherefore, καὶ διὰ τί] gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury [collected it with interest]? 24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath 25, 26ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For [om., For, V. O.4] I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that [which] he hath shall be taken away from him. 27But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them5 before me.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 19:11. And as they heard these things.—The instruction communicated by Luke in the next following parable, our Lord may have delivered while yet in the house of Zaccheus, but we doubt whether it was uttered just at the entrance of this dwelling before the ears of the murmuring throng, Luke 19:7 (Meyer). With better right, perhaps, we might conclude from Luke 19:28 that the Saviour delivered this parable immediately before His departure from Jericho. But, however this may be, it stands in direct connection with. His declaration, Luke 19:10. It may be that the mention of the Son of Man having come, threw a new spark into the tinder of their earthly expectations, although it is difficult to state more exactly what precise connection there could be between this declaration and the thought that the kingdom of God should become παραχρῆμα manifest. We know, however, how many looks were directed with the liveliest interest upon the approaching Passover, where it appeared that the intense opposition between Jesus and His enemies was about to come to a public decision. Besides this, they were already in the neighborhood of the capital; and might there not there, even by the least word, be kindled anew the expectation of that which had been most longingly desired? In no case do we need to deny that the now-following parable was addressed to the disciples of the Saviour also. From Luke 18:34 it appears that they were as yet by no means cured of their earthly Messianic hopes, and here also, as often, there lay a certain truth at the basis of their error. That the kingdom of God should become manifest, ἀναφαίνεσθαι, was in and of itself subject to no doubt, but that it would come into view at this very point, and that in a palpable, sensuous form—in other words, that Christ would be glorified without a previous separation from His own; in that lay the error of which they must be immediately cured, and to controvert it the following parable is designed.
A parable.—That the parable coincides in many respects with that of the Talents (Matt. 25:14–30), and yet is in no way identical with that, but is more or less modified in the redaction, Lange has, Matthew, p. 441, convincingly demonstrated. So also the assertion is destitute of any ground (Strauss) that this parable has arisen from an only half-successful amalgamation of two others, namely, that of the Talents and that of the Unfaithful Husbandmen. Undoubtedly the representation of a king who, instead of arms, rather entrusts his money to his servants, has at the first look something strange, but if this admits of sufficient explanation from the purpose of the parable, it can by no means prove anything against the originality and exactness of the rendering of Luke. Precisely in this way would our Lord teach His disciples that His true subjects were not, like those of other kingdoms, to strive with arms in their hands, but that they were to carry on business with the entrusted pound, while not till after His return (Luke 19:27) should they be called to take part in His victory over His irreconcilable foes. In view of the relative coincidence which exists between this parable and that of the Talents in Matthew, the question can hardly be avoided which of them was first delivered, and may consequently be considered as the foundation of the other. Directly in opposition to the common views (Schleiermacher, Neander), we believe that the parable of the Talents must be regarded as a further explanation of the parable before us, not the reverse; in other words, that the first delivered parable (in Luke) is also the simplest; that the one subsequently uttered (in Matthew) bears, on the other hand, a more complicated character. For here the work for all the servants is alike; there there exists a diversity in the number of the talents. Here there is bestowed on the servant only recompense; there with the recompense an extended eulogy. Here it is only an ignominious loss; there also a terrible judgment, which is the punishment of the slothful servant—grounds enough for the opinion that in reality the parable of the Pounds must have preceded that of the Talents. It is true, there are. single features in the last-named parable which are less elaborated than in the former: but this phenomenon is sufficiently explained if we only consider that one was, at all events, delivered shortly after the other, and that the parable of the Talents can be only so far called a variation—or, if we will, a short summary of the one before us—as this, that in it the chief thought is modified according to the necessity of the disciples, and set forth yet more clearly. Because the parable, Matt. 25, was delivered exclusively for the faithful disciples, and not, like this, in the presence also of secret enemies, it was there unnecessary again to depict the fate of the rebellious citizens, without, however, the parable of the Talents having suffered the least loss in completeness by the falling away of this feature; on the other hand, it has even gained in unity thereby. Thus may the two stand very well independently by one another; and, moreover, the parable of the Pounds has this peculiar character, that it sets forth the King of the kingdom of God on the one hand in contrast with His servants, on the other with His enemies. In the prospect of righteous retribution which is prepared for both at His coming, is the inner unity of the representation grounded.
Luke 19:12. A certain nobleman.—An indirect intimation of the kingly descent and dignity of our Lord; at the same time a prophecy of His going away from the earth, and a comforting representation of His departure to the Father, as of the means ordained for the obtaining of the kingly dignity and glory. Finally, the definite assurance that the interval between the departure and the return of the Lord is only an interim.
Luke 19:13. Ten pounds.—Δέκαμνᾶς. It is not probable that we have here to understand a Hebrew mina of 100 shekels; rather an Attic mina of 100 drachmæ = 21 thalers ($14),6 about one-sixtieth of the talent, Matt. 25:15. The distinction is sufficiently explained from the consideration that the lord in the latter parable leaves behind his whole property in the hands of his servants. Here, on the other hand, he only commits to them a slight gift, by which their faithfulness in the least is to be proved, comp. Luke 16:10. In comparison with the great reward which is hereafter bestowed above upon the faithful, even five talents are an ὀλίλον, in comparison with which ten pounds deserved to be called an ἐλάχιστον, Luke 19:17.—Πραγματεύεσθαι is used by the Rabbins also in the sense of ἐργάζεσθαι, Matt. 25:26 = negotiari. This must they do, not till the King returns, but while he is on the journey. Ἐν ᾧ, see notes on the text. General indication of the period of time which remains allotted them for trading. He spends the time in travelling, they the same time in business.
Luke 19:14. Embassy.—A peculiar designation, taken from the political history of this period, of the stubborn enmity of the Jews (see below), especially as this should exhibit itself after our Lord’s departure from the earth. The capriciousness of the enmity appears from this, that the ambassadors do not give even a word of reason for their dislike, and the degree in which they despise the king finds expression in the contemptuous τοῦτον. That this essay has no success, since the king nevertheless receives the kingdom, and returns as judge, appears from the sequel of the parable. Before, however, he punishes his enemies, his servants must give account for themselves.
Luke 19:15. How much every man, τίς τί, contracted form for two different questions. It must be shown what form of business each one had carried on, and with what success. By the pounds we are to understand in general that which the Lord bestows on His servants that they may labor therewith for the kingdom of God and make profit: as well the external possessions as the inward endowment and energy. In deep humility all the servants acknowledge that this gain is not their own, but the lord’s, therefore with emphasis, Thy pound.
Luke 19:16. Gained ten pounds.—Here the thought comes into the foreground that faithfulness, even with the smallest χάρισμα, may become a source of inexhaustible blessing. In Matthew the emphasis is laid more upon the proportionableness of the capital, the profit, and the reward. In this the faithfulness is rewarded simply with a more extended circle of operation (“I will place thee over many things”), and with the enjoyment of the joy of their Lord. Finally, the praise here bestowed on the first servant is withheld from the second, who with the same pound had only gained the half of what the first had gained, in order thereby to intimate that the reward should be different in just that proportion in which the profit of the labor is greater or less. As to the rest, the government over five cities is of itself distinction enough, especially when we consider that the cities lie in the midst of the land of the rebels, that is now become the king’s kingdom, and from which the enemies are now soon to be exterminated.
Luke 19:20. In a handkerchief.—The conduct of the third had been, therefore, in direct conflict with his calling; without personal faithfulness or love he had in secret calculated that if he had gained much, his lord would pluck the fruit thereof; if he, on the other hand, lost, that the responsibility and the damage would be on his side, since he, at all events, would have to give back the amount entrusted. Thus had he given ear to the voice of self-seeking, suffered himself to be strengthened in his natural slothfulness, and instead of laboring in the sweat of his brow for the interest of his lord, he had hidden the entrusted money in the now entirely superfluous handkerchief [Greek, ἐν σουδαρίῳ; literally, sweat-cloth]. To excuse his words and his character (Olshausen) appears to us to conflict as well with the letter as with the spirit of the parable. We see evidently that our Saviour will describe the slothful egoist, who allows himself to be held back by carnal considerations from that which in any event would have been his duty, and who believes that he can excuse his mean conduct by the appeal to the austere character of his lord. So much greater, therefore, must his consternation be, when the very ground made the pretext by him for his vindication prepares the way for his condemnation. See further on Matt. 25:25, 26.
Luke 19:22. Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.—“A wonderfully happy argument ex concessis” (Lange). Comp. Matt. 12:37. His own word is retorted upon the slothful one, and thereon a question is grounded, beginning with καὶ διὰ τί, which brings him into contradiction with himself. The lord does not concede to him that he is actually a hard man, but only refutes the shameless one on the position he had most arbitrarily taken. “Ne dicas, te invenire non potuisse, quibus pecunia esset opus. Argentarii ab omnibus pecuniam sumunt fœnore. Sensus est: non est etiam, quod in collocanda pecunia periculum, obtendas; mea erat; ego jam exegissem non tuo, sed meo periculo.” Grotius.
Luke 19:24. Unto them that stood by.—Not the other δοῦλοι (Kuinoel), who had already rendered account, but the halberdiers, who surround him when he appears in his majesty, comp. Matt. 25:31. The astonishment which these testify (Luke 19:25 may be put in a parenthesis, Lachmann and Ewald), gives the king occasion now more particularly to give the reason for his severe determination. Without giving heed to the remonstrance, he repeats the great principle, “Unto every one which hath,” &c. See Luke 8:18, and the admirable remarks of NEANDER, L. J., ad loc. The positive retribution, Matt. 25:30, which is threatened against the unprofitable servant is omitted here, probably because the judgment upon the enemies is yet to be declared. Yet by the loss itself decreed against him his unfaithfulness is sufficiently punished; while he that gained the ten pounds has now, besides the gracious recompense, received a happy surprise in addition.
Luke 19:27. But those mine enemies.—The command is given to the same guards to whom that in Luke 19:24 was addressed. Contemptuously the enemies are named τούτους (see TISCHENDORF, ad loc.), as they previously had named their lawful king, τοῦτον.—Slay them.—A strong expression of the severity and hopelessness of the Messianic retribution. The sudden breaking off of the parable heightens not a little its beauty.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Far more than any other parable of our Lord, the parable of the Ten Pounds is a picture which, as it were, is framed into the political history of that unquiet period. Native princes of minor territories were then sometimes obliged to repair to Rome, in order there to be elevated to their legitimate rank. This had been the case in the Jewish land also with Herod the First, and with Archelaus, and it belongs to the yet too little considered traits of the deep humility of the Son of Man, that He can compare His Ascension, even though only remotely, with the journey of a Herod to Rome; a μείωσις, and yet, at the same time, an accommodation beyond compare.—But also a second trait of the parable was taken from life, namely, the embassy of the hostile citizens, who sought to work against the dreaded enthronement. We are to understand the fifty Jews, who had followed Archelaus with this very intention, and the eight thousand who afterwards followed these, and earnestly besought Augustus, in the temple of Apollo, that he would free them from the Idumæan prince, and in case of necessity rather even unite them with Syria. In Jericho, where, perhaps not far from the dwelling of Zaccheus, the kingly palace stood which Archelaus had built with princely splendor (see JOSEPHUS, A. J. 17:13, 1), such an allusion was doubly fitting, and at the same time easily intelligible. The bloody vengeance, with the mention of which the parable ends, was in those days often exercised, if at Rome the intrigues of the prince had triumphed over his opponents. It was, moreover, well remembered by the hearers of our Lord how Archelaus, after he had returned as Ethnarch over Judæa and Samaria, had bestowed on his faithful adherents cities for a reward, and had on the other hand, out of vengeance, deprived his enemies of life. (See A. J. 14, 14, 3; 15:6, 7; 17:9, 3, a. o.) It scarcely needs an intimation how much freshness and life such an historical background imparts to this parabolical instruction, and how spontaneously the question must have arisen: Who is the king—who his servants—who are the enemies that are here spoken of?
2. The parable of the Ten Pounds was thoroughly fitted to serve as a wholesome antidote against a fourfold error. It might be fancied that the Messianic kingdom would very soon appear; that it would be at once visible on earth; that every one would willingly and with joy submit himself to the same; and finally, that there could be for its subjects no higher calling than that of an inactive enjoyment. In opposition to the first opinion, there is this feature of the parable, that first, the far journey must be made, and therefore a comparatively long interval spent before everything could come to the desired issue; in contrast with the second expectation stands the remark, that not here but elsewhere must the native prince receive the reins of legitimate dominion, before he could vindicate His high rank on His own soil. Over against the third error, our Lord counts it needful to sketch the image of an enmity which would shamelessly, groundlessly, stubbornly, but at the same time also unsuccessfully, lift its head against the King. In opposition to the fourth opinion, He sets forth the image of the calling of the ten servants,—the type of the collective body of all His servants—to the carrying on of business and obtaining of gain. Not as proud warriors, but rather as humble dealers with a very small capital, does He leave them at His going away, and so must all ideal Utopias of their fantasy recede momentarily, at least, before the requirements of the soberest reality.
3. The whole parable is a strong testimony for the elevated self-consciousness of our Lord in reference to His heavenly origin and His high destiny. At the same time it gives a proof of the lofty courage and the still dignity with which He approaches Jerusalem. It is as if once more were heard the roaring of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, before the lamb gives itself to be led to the slaughter. On the one hand the whole Christology of this parable is an echo of many a royal psalm of the Old Testament, especially of Pss. 2. and 110; on the other hand, we have here the intimation of the more extended eschatological revelations which are afterwards to be given in the Apocalypse.
4. The promise of a future extension and elevation of their activity as the proper reward for the disciples of our Lord, is wholly in the spirit of the Hellenistic Pauline Gospel of Luke, comp. 1 Cor. 13:9–12. With this, however, it deserves consideration, that the promise of a personal return of our Lord to earth, Luke 19:15, comp. Acts 3:21, is not only made in the Gospel of Matthew, or in the discourses and Epistles of Peter, but also in Luke. Certainly a proof that this doctrine is something more than the mere offspring of a narrow Judaistic theology, and, therefore, at the same time, for all who reject every hope of a personal Parusia as gross Chiliasm, an important intimation that at all events they are not to throw away husk and kernel together.
5. The parable of the Pounds places visibly before our eyes not only the life-calling of the apostles, but also that of all believers. From the fact that here ten servants appear who all receive the same, the diversity recedes before the unity. As bond-servants of their Lord they are called to wait for His return, and that not in inactive rest, but in zealous activity. They have not to contend with carnal weapons against His enemies, but in the midst of all opposition quietly to proceed with their labor. In the humble position of witnesses to the faith, they must seek with word and deed to spread abroad God’s kingdom, and expect their share in the government of the world, not before, but only after, the personal return of the Lord. The success of their endeavors is differently modified according to the diversity of time, talents, and energies; but the reward is suited to the different deserts. In every case it is in proportion to that which was demanded and accomplished. For the ten pounds which the best one I gained, he would scarcely have been able to buy a house, and he is placed over ten cities; but never does a reward fall to the portion of the slothful one, who has contented himself merely with this, that he did no positive harm. To gain nothing is the way to lose all, and the injury which one prepares for himself by his own unfaithfulness appears as irrevocable. Certainly here also agrees the word: γίνεσθε δόκιμοι τραπεζῖται, which our Lord, according to some, really uttered on this occasion. (According to Dionysius Alexandrinus, Cyril, and others, the admonition, 1 Thess. 5:21, is also to be taken as proceeding from our Lord, and as belonging to the same connection. See LARDNER, Probab. ii. p. 38.)
6. In the concluding word of the parable there stands before the eyes of our Lord, without doubt, the terrible fate of Jerusalem, which He soon so sadly weeps over, Luke 19:41, 42. It is the greater for this, that He immediately after these discourses sets forth, in order, for enemies from whom He foresees such hatred, and who are to be condemned to such a punishment, to die the death of a slave.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Earthly-minded Messianic expectations a weed: 1. Deeply rooted; 2. hard to eradicate; 3. soon shooting up again.—On the point of accomplishing His Priestly offering, our Lord speaks as a Prophet of His future Kingly dignity.—The opinion that the Lord will never come again is, in its kind, not less to be reprobated than the fancy of His apostles that He would never, go away.—The parable of the Ten Pounds sketches for us an image: 1. Of the King of the kingdom of God, a. His origin, b. His destiny, c. His departure and return; 2. of His servants, a. their calling, b. their giving account, c. their reward; 3. of His enemies, a. their hatred, b. their impotency, c. their punishment.—The Christian life, that of the merchant: 1. The capital; 2. the income; 3. the profit.—The absolute refusal to acknowledge the kingly authority of our Lord: 1. The height which it reaches; 2. the depth in which it ends.—We must all be manifested; 2 Cor. 5:10.—On what depends the various profit for the kingdom of God, and according to what standard is the diverse recompense calculated?—They who suffer with Christ shall also reign with Him; 2 Tim. 2:12.—Faithfulness in the least the Saviour esteems not slightly.—The slothful servant condemned from his own words.—If we have presumptuously neglected good, it helps us little if we believe that we have avoided greater evil.—The sins of omission are not less worthy of punishment than the sins of commission; James 4:17.—The little pound put into a napkin, the greater talent buried in the earth.—Even the angels do not at once comprehend the πολυποίκιλος σοθία in the sentence of the Lord.—No earthly nor heavenly might can alter the judgment once pronounced.—The greater the Lord’s forbearance to His enemies has been, so much the more terrible will their judgment be.—The crime of treason is punished under the eyes of the King.—By the extirpation of the enemies of the kingdom of God, the blessedness of the redeemed is perfected.
STARKE:—This parable, as it were the Testament of Christ, in which He shows the nature of His kingdom, &c.—QUESNEL:—Jesus truly of a high descent.—There is no one that has not received from the hand of the Lord gifts wherewith to get usury.—BRENTIUS:—Even the very wisest rulers never satisfy the rabble.—Their humility of heart is the main character of all true servants and children of God.—The growth of grace in us draws the growth of glory after it.—CANSTEIN:—As to worldly business there appertains not only diligence and laboriousness, but also understanding and prudence, so also in spiritual husbandry.; Eph. 5:15.—The eternal glory has its fixed degrees.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Terrible is it that sinners undertake to divert from themselves the guilt of their wickedness, and to push it upon God.—For unreasonable excuses the ungodly are never at a loss.—God is righteous in His judgments; let man only lay his hand upon his mouth.—God will avenge and punish ungodliness not in secret, but before the tribunal of the whole world.—The Almighty God hath committed all judgment to the Son.—Whoever will not let himself be pastured by the lamb, him shall the lion devour.—Up! Christians that die in the Lord—they are setting out towards Jerusalem.
HEUBNER:—Not the abundance and magnitude of what is done, but faithfulness, makes worthy of reward.—Thou needest be no eminent character.—The selfish heart continually hostile to God.—All that originates from God has an inner fructifying power if it is only used aright.—Divine love knows no limits; it gives ad infinitum.—LISCO:—The great responsibility of the Christian, which is imposed upon him through the possession of Divine gifts.—The rule according to which the King of the kingdom of heaven will hereafter judge His subjects.—PALMER:—“Him that hath, to him shall be given,” &c.; text for communion sermon.—F. W. KRUMMACHER:—“Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee:” the stinging rebuke of apostasy.—BECK:—How we in the light of eternity have to regard this time below.
[Luke 19:13.—Van Oosterzee translates: “while I am on the journey,” on the strength of the reading ἐν ᾦ for ἕως. Ἐν ᾦ is found in A., B., D., Cod. Sin., K., L., R., and is accepted by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Tregelles, Alford. Bleek, however, objects to it as not giving a good sense, as ἔρχομαι cannot well have any other meaning than “come” in the connection.—C. C. S.]
Luke 19:20.—Ὁ ἕτερος should be read, according to B., D., [Cod. Sin.,] L., [R.,] cursives, Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Tregelles, Alford. Meyer regards the article as a mechanical repetition of those in Luke 19:16, 18.—C. C. S.]
Luke 19:22.—Δέ is not sufficiently attested.
[Luke 19:26.—The γάρ of the Recepta is apparently borrowed from Matt. 25:29. [Omitted by Meyer, Alford; bracketed by Lachmann, Tregelles; retained by Tischendorf. Not found in B., Cod. Sin., L. More reason for adding it, than for omitting it if genuine.—C. C. S.]
Luke 19:27.—“Them” being in italics in E. V. indicates the absence of the pronoun in the Greek. Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Alford, however, read αὐτοὺς on the authority of B., [Cod. Sin.,] F., L., R.—C. C. S.]
[Equal, of course, to many times the present value of that sum.—C. C. S.]
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.PART THIRD
THE Final Conflict and the Culmination of the Glory of the Son of Man
THE FINAL CONFLICT
A. The Entry into Jerusalem, with its attending Circumstances LUKE 19:28–48
1. The Entry Itself (Luke 19:28–40)
(Parallels: Matt. 21:1–9; Mark 11:1–10; John 12:12–19)
28And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his [the7] disciples, 30Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring [and loosing him bring8] him hither. 31And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34And they said, [Because, V. O.9] The Lord hath need of him. 35And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their [own] garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud 38voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master [Teacher], rebuke thy disciples. 40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should [shall] hold their peace, the stones would [will] immediately cry out.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
CHRONOLOGY.—At the entry into the Passion-week, it becomes possible to us to follow our Lord from day to day, and at last almost hour by hour. According to John 12:1, He came six days before the Passover to Bethany. Since now this began with the 14th Nisan, our Lord must already on the 8th have come into the circle of His friends in Bethany, and therefore on the Friday or Saturday before His death. If we consider, however, that our Lord on His last Sabbath certainly made no extended journey, that we read nothing of any village before or in the neighborhood of Bethany where He could have spent the day of rest, that on the other hand the last-named village appears to have been also the last stopping-place of the journey, it then becomes extremely probable that He entered before the Sabbath, and therefore on Friday, into the village of Lazarus. After the ending of the weekly Divine service, the feast was held at which Mary anointed the Lord, but which Luke passes over in silence. And if now the entry into Jerusalem, John 12:12, took place on the day after this feast, there is then no ground to transfer this day to any other than Palm-Sunday. The view of those who, on account of some little difference in the four Evangelists, maintain that two entries took place, may well be regarded as already antiquated; ex abundanti, comp. VON BAUR, Kanonische Evang. p. 196.
Luke 19:29. Bethphage and Bethany.—The designation of locality does not proceed from the position of the travellers from Jericho, in which case Bethany must have been named first, since Bethphage was almost a suburb of Jerusalem. But since the two places were so nearly contiguous that they were scarcely distinct, the account of the approach begins here in a popular manner with the more distant locality lying nearest to Jerusalem. In brief, at the moment when the two disciples are despatched, our Lord has Bethany behind Him, Bethphage before Him, and points to the latter when He says δεικτικῶς: Go ye into the village over against you.
Two of the disciples.—From the graphic trait of Mark 11:4, that they find the colt tied “by a door without, in a place where two ways met,” we should almost conjecture that his original authority, Peter, was eye-witness, and therefore one of the two. But that John, here also, as in the preparation for the Passover, accompanied, is, on account of the tone of his narrative of the entry, less probable. In vividness, at least, his representation is inferior to that of the Synoptics.
Luke 19:30. Whereon yet never man sat.—“A creatively fresh new time, a new prince, a new beast.” Lange. We may compare the new grave in which no one was ever yet laid, Luke 23:53, and, from the Old Testament, the young heifers on which never yet a yoke had come, which upon a new wagon drew the Ark of the Covenant, 1 Sam. 6:7.
Luke 19:31. And if any one ask you.—There is nothing in and of itself improbable in supposing that our Lord had friends in Bethphage, and may have made arrangements with them which He did not think necessary to communicate to His disciples. If, however, we consider the mysterious form of the command; if we consider how little it was in the spirit of our Saviour to give to something very ordinary a guise of singularity; if we compare the preparation of the Passover, and if we keep the very unique significance of this entry with its attendant circumstances well in mind,—it is then undoubtedly most natural to see here also a manifestation of that foreknowledge which, so soon as it was necessary, could penetrate even that which lay beyond the sphere of the senses and of common calculation. Without doubt, however, the owners of the beast of carriage belonged to the many concealed friends of our Lord, and He had in spirit foreseen that a command addressed in His name to these men would not be in vain.
Luke 19:32. They that were sent went their way.—The purpose of this whole command was not so much to come into possession of a beast of carriage, as rather to exercise the disciples in unconditional obedience, even there where something remained inexplicable to them, and at the same time to strengthen them in their faith in the superhuman foreknowledge and the Messianic character of the Lord; for foreknowledge of hidden things belonged undoubtedly to the traits which were especially expected in the perfect Servant of God, comp. John 16:30; and with wisdom does the Lord reveal this trait of His Messianic character, in that very hour in which He permits homage to be offered to Him, in His dignity as the Messiah.
Luke 19:33. The owners thereof.—In Mark: “Certain of them that stood there.” What the Saviour foresaw, takes place actually; objections are raised; but at the appointed watchword (δ́τι, the definite answer to the question διὰ τί) every objection is let fall. “Non potuere, Domino huic obsequentes, frustrari.” Bengel.
Luke 19:35. Their own garments.—“Ἑαυτῶν colors this act of honor.” Meyer. A similar hearty homage appears in this, that they, according to Luke, set our Lord upon the colt (ἐπεβίβασαν). while the others only speak in general of His sitting thereon (καθίζειν). Besides the disciples, who in this way displayed their reverence for Him, there are, Luke 19:36, others named who spread out their garments as a carpet before His feet, while, Luke 19:37, the jubilant exclamations of the multitude, which here is to be carefully distinguished from the disciples, are spoken of.
Luke 19:37. At the descent of the mount of Olives, πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει τοῦ ό̓ρους, κ.τ.λ.—According to Luke, who distinguishes the different elements of the act of homage, even somewhat more accurately than Matthew and Mark, the enthusiasm begins there to reach its culmination precisely when the final goal of the peaceful train is in sight. When they have come near to the point of descent of the mount of Olives, to the height from which the whole city spreads itself out like a great panorama before the view of the beholders, the jubilant joy rises higher and higher, while the way begins to descend.
The mighty works.—Matter for praise is least of all lacking; Barimæus is found in person among the multitude, Luke 19:43; the View of the capital city awakens again remembrance of similar miracles, and the name Lazarus is upon the lips of all; comp. John 12:17. The notice of Luke, Luke 19:37, although he keeps silence otherwise as to the miracle at Bethany, contains however so far an indirect proof of the truth of the narrative, John 11., as this, that it appears from it that our Lord, without doubt, in the time immediately preceding, must have performed some great σημεῖο, which was yet entirely fresh in memory, and raises enthusiasm even to such a height. What particular miracle this however was, we learn only from John.
Luke 19:38. Blessed be the King.—It is noticeable that the report of the hymn in Luke shows a less specifically Old Testament character than in Matthew and Mark. In this respect the Paulinist does not belie himself. The parallelism requires us to understand εἰρήνη here not in the literal sense of “peace,” pax, since this reigns in heaven evermore, and is never troubled, never disturbed; but in the signification of laus or gloria. In heaven, therefore, is given to God the Lord honor, in the highest [regions] glory. See Luke 2:14.
Luke 19:39. Some of the Pharisees.—This feature also is peculiar to Luke, and has the highest internal probability. In their eyes our Lord is nothing but a Rabbi in Israel, who is riding on an ass to the city, and who has it at any moment in his power to repress the enthusiasm of the disciples within the bounds of the most unsympathizing composure. [“Their spirit was just that of modern Socinianism: the prophetic expressions used, the lofty epithets applied to Him, who was simply in their view a διδάσκαλος, offended them.” Alford.] He himself is more or less responsible for it, if they in their pious zeal go too far, and he will do well to give the fathers of the people no just cause of offence. We recognize here quite the same men who before also had often attempted to make our Lord responsible for that which displeased them in His friends, who, besides, despised the people, that knew not the law. It was permitted to no one to strike a higher key of joy than Pharisaism found consistent with decorum.
Luke 19:40. If these should hold their peace.—Proverbial expression, to indicate that it is in individual cases harder to impose silence on men, than to cause that which itself is speechless to speak, comp. Hab. 2:11. A covert intimation of the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the stones of the city and the temple should proclaim the majesty of our Lord. An intimation which is the more striking, if we imagine to ourselves that at this very moment perhaps the echo of the Hosannas was heard against the marble temple, and the acclamations of the people were thus given back from the heights of Zion. “With these words our Lord at the same time expresses a great law of the life of the kingdom of God. When men hold their peace from praising God, and very especially, when a dark despotism imposes silence on the better-minded, when the gospel is suppressed, then the stones begin to cry out: they proclaim the judgments of the Lord, whose glory can have no end.” Lane.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See the parallels on Matthew, Mark, and John.
2. In His entry into Jerusalem, the Lord has been sent to some for a fall, and to others for a rising again. At all times this event in His history has called forth scandal and gainsaying. We may remember the unbelieving heathen who at the time of Tertullian (see Apol. advers. Gentec, Luke 10) scoffed at the Christians as asinarii; the scoffing Jew who asked them: If thy Christ is a God, why has He then ridden upon an unclean beast? (Lipmannus in his now almost forgotten Nizachon), and especially the English atheists, the Wolfenbüttel fragmentists, and many younger heroes in the domain of the negative criticism. Here also holds good the saying: Luke 7:35.
3. The whole entry of our Lord has no lesser purpose than this, to reveal Himself as King in the spiritual kingdom of God. Before His death He will by an unequivocal act proclaim the great truth which He, as the holy secret of His life, had hidden from most of the uninitiated, and only as it were whispered in the car of receptive individuals. Once in His life He grants to His own publicly to proclaim what lies so deeply at their heart, and He fulfils intentionally a prophecy which at His time was unanimously interpreted of the Messiah. If He has previously considered the declaration of His dignity as dangerous, He now counts silence inconceivable. It is the day on which He who came to His own and His own received Him not, commits Himself to the love of those who so deeply honored Him, and reveals himself to the gaze of those who look with devotion upon Him. This was for His cause, yea, for the whole Israelitish nation, necessary. It was hereafter never possible to say that He had never declared Himself in a wholly unequivocal manner. When Jerusalem afterwards was accused of the murder of the Messiah, it should not be able to say that the Messiah had omitted to give a sign intelligible for all alike. Our Lord will prove that He is more than a prophet mighty in word and deed; that He is King in the full force of the word.
4. But His kingdom is not of this world; can He show it more evidently? His attire, the beast He sits on, His train, His whole demeanor proclaims it. No wonder that afterwards Herod no more than Pilate founded on this entry any imputation whatever. The Roman garrison may remain composedly in the tower Antonia, when this peaceful festal throng enters in at the gates of Jerusalem.
5. The deepest significance of this act of our Lord will be understood only when it is brought into direct connection with the history of His Passion. Voluntarily does the Lamb approach His murderers now that the time of slaughter has arrived. By such a public step He guards on the one hand against an assassination, and on the other hand brings on more rapidly His suffering and dying, for by this very act the hate of His enemies increases; Judas sees himself again deceived, when the Lord suffers even this opportunity of mounting an earthly throne to pass by unused; and while Jesus does nothing more to keep the enthusiasm of the multitude alive by brilliant miracles, the whole enthusiasm of the multitude at the end is nothing more than the last upstreaming brilliancy of an evening sun, before it vanishes beneath the horizon.
6. In connection with the fate of all Israel, this hour may be named the decisive and irrevocable turning-point. Assuredly we may, if we look at the same time at Jesus’ words and tears, Luke 19:41, 42, regard this entry as a carefully prepared last attempt to preserve Israel as a people. Because Jerusalem contents itself to-day with the fleeting Hosannas, it has drawn upon itself the fulfilment of the judgment that its stones hereafter shall yet cry out: for the entry now gave to all opportunity to show their temper without disguise; the people now did not stand under the influence of the priests; no one’s tongue was bound to silence by a command; it was the day which decided whether Jerusalem would become the blessed centre of all nations, or the terrible monument of retributive justice. What would have happened if Jerusalem had considered on this day the things which belonged unto her peace,—this is a question not capable of solution, and therefore also an idle one. Suffice it, since they now remained hidden from her eyes, the die was cast, and after the hen had vainly essayed to gather her brood together, the eagles, forty years after, stretch out not in vain their talons upon the carcass.
7. In this way the event itself becomes of moment for all following times. While it prepared the way for Jesus’ death and Jerusalem’s destruction, it has at the same time prepared the way for the reconciliation of the whole world, and for the bringing in of the Gentiles. At the same time it serves as proof, that although the kingdom of God comes not with observation, yet where it comes it cannot forever remained concealed. What here took place is in no way in conflict with the parables of the Mustard-Seed and of the Leaven. “When the kingdom of God in its mustard-seed and leaven state has in a hidden way worked for a time, the working thereof must make itself known in great results, as facts which press themselves upon the attention of every one, and it is the great historical epochs of the world which are formed therefrom. What gradually goes on must also come to special view in individually great effects. We should misunderstand the force of the Leaven and of the Mustard-Seed, if we suppose that everything must always remain in this hidden gradual development. It would be just such an error as if we should suppose that the great results striking the eye were to be the first. Only in connection with that inner secretly working power, which comes therein to manifestation, can they be rightly understood. The kingdom of God is indeed also the city that lies upon the hill, and the light that must lighten all.” NEANDER, Der glorreiche Einzug Christi in Jerusalem, cine Palmsonntagsbetrachtung. Berlin, 1848, p. 10.
8. The entry of our Lord into Jerusalem is the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy, Zech. 9:9. On the other hand, the entry itself is in turn the prophecy of His return in glory, when He, surrounded by His many thousands of saints, whose Hosanna has then become a Hallelujah, shall descend from heaven upon earth. 1 Thess. 4:16; comp. Zech. 14:4.
9. There is a striking contrast between the honor and esteem with which the Pharisees and Sanhedrists received an earthly conqueror, Alexander the Great, and the coldness with which they received the King of Peace three centuries after, when He also will make His entry into Jerusalem. Then no expressions of homage appeared to them strong enough; now even the least is too strong. To a contrast not less striking than that is which is to be noticed between the reception of Jesus and that of an earthly king, Erasmus alludes in his Paraphr. N. T. ad h. l. Opera, Edit. Basil. 7. p. 186: to the contrast between the entry of the high-priest of the New and of the Old Testament. Externally considered, Erasmus speaks of the high-priest of Israel, but he means thereby without doubt the Pope of Rome, the so-called Vicar of Christ, whose outward, pomp stands in such glaring contrast with this humble entry of the Sovereign of the kingdom of God.
10. The stones of the temple of Jerusalem have not been the only ones which in the most literal sense of the word proclaim the glory of God and His Anointed. More and more does the testimonium lapidum become for Christian Apologetics of inestimable worth, and the inscription on the Salzburg rock-gate: te saxa loquuntur, proves itself true in the historical sphere also before our eyes and ears. Call to mind for instance the latest excavations of Nineveh, Babylon, &c., and compare the interesting writing of OTTO STRAUSS, “Nineveh, and the Word of God,” Berlin, 1855.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
As often, so also here, when there is anything of moment to be done, there the Lord sends His disciples two and two.—The obedience of faith: 1. Not easy; 2. never put to shame.—Whoever carries out the command of the Lord, must often reckon on opposition.—“The Lord hath need of him,” an answer before which all opposition must be dumb.—In the service of the Lord, even the unclean may be purified, the despised invaluable, that which stands idle be used.—Even earthly good must be applied to the service of the Heavenly King.—Even for the friends of the Lord there comes a time for speaking, which terminates the time of silence.—Even an humble yet upright homage is well pleasing to the Saviour.—“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3; Ps. 24:7, 8; Ps. 68:4.—The wonderful works of our Lord the glory and joy of His disciples.—Joy in Jesus must terminate in glory rendered unto God.—The Hosanna of the people: 1. The echo of the accord of many a psalm in the Old Testament; 2. the beginning of the lay of praise in the New Testament; 3. the prophecy of the perfect festal lay in Heaven.—The enmity of the flesh against the revelation of the life of the Spirit.—The voice of the stones in honor of Christ: 1. How loud it calls; 2. how powerfully it preaches.—The entry into Jerusalem a revelation of the threefold character of our Lord: 1. Of His prophetic dignity; since He a. knows hidden things, b. accomplishes marvellous things, c. foretells future things; 2. of His high-priestly dignity: He is a. the immaculate, b. the compassionate, c. the willing High-priest of the New Covenant; 3. of His kingly dignity: He reveals Himself at this entry a. as the promised Messiah, b. as the King of the spiritual kingdom, c. as the future Vanquisher of the world.—The question: Who is this? answered out of the history of the Entry into Jerusalem, Matt. 21:10.—At the entry into Jerusalem there is a threefold example given us: 1. By the people; 2. by the disciples; 3. by our Lord. The first we have to follow to a certain point, the second exactly, the third only from afar.—Our Hosanna and Hallelujah must be: 1. Of higher mood; 2. as freely rendered; 3. less transient than that before the gate of Jerusalem.—At the entry into Jerusalem, no one maintains neutrality towards our Lord; only enthusiasm on the one, and hatred on the other, side.—The vanity of the praise of a world in which the Hosanna and the “Crucify” follow so quickly on one another. Acts 14:8–20.—Behold I come to do Thy will, O my God!, PS. 40.
STARKE:—Christ avails Himself of His Divine right as the Lord and Heir of all things, and causes to come to Him what is His own.—BRENTIUS:—The kingdom of Christ brings along with humility the greatest glory with it: Lord, open our eyes; 2 Kings 6:17.—Jesus has chosen to have nothing His own.—If things often turn out very differently from what men have thought, yet they always come to pass as God has said.—Without great commotion and manifold speeches of men, there is no making progress in the cause of religion.—Servants of Christ in all emergencies appeal to their Lord’s command.—The Lord has in all places hidden friends, who reveal themselves at the right time.—Heaven and earth have been again united through Christ.—QUESNEL:—God’s praise is to the ears of the world troublesome.—Zealots without understanding must be answered with forbearance and mildness.—Even to lifeless creatures does God give a tongue when it pleases Him.—HEUBNER:—The might of Jesus over human hearts.—Obedience is better than scrupulosity.—The kingdom of the Messiah brings on a spiritual spring.—Lifeless creatures testify against the blindness and unthankfulness of men.
Advent Sermon:—HARLESS:—1. The character of the King; 2. His coming; 3. those to whom He comes; 4. those with whom He abides.—THOLUCK:—The Advent call: Thy King cometh.—W. HOFACKER:—How Jesus, who comes in the flesh, comes yet continually in the Spirit: 1. To whom He comes; 2. with what intent; 3. with what result.—F. ARNDT:—The entry of the King of all kings into the city of all cities: 1. Unimposing to the outward sense; 2. majestic to the eye of faith; 3. intensely desired by help-imploring hearts.—F. W. KRUMMACHER:—Passions-buch, p. 49: How this gospel strengthens us in faith: 1. In the Divine Messianic dignity of our Lord; 2. In the blessed coming of His kingdom.—COUARD:—Thy King cometh: 1. He is come; 2. He is ever coming; 3. He will come.—STIER:—1. To whom comes He? 2. how comes He? 3. how shall we receive Him?—How in the life of Jesus continual loftiness and lowliness are found conjoined.—FUCHS:—The Palm-Sunday acclamation, a salutation of the youthful Christian throng on their confirmation day.—NIEMANN:—Blessed be, &c.: 1. How this acclaim then resounded; 2. and should yet resound; 3. shall hereafter resound aloud.—RAUTENBERG:—The diverse reception of our Lord.—KRAUSSOLD:—Beholdthy King cometh to thee.—DITTMAR:—The Advent of Jesus, and the necessity of the present time.—THOMASIUS:—The preparation of the church for the coming of our Lord: 1. Purpose; 2. conditions.—HAUSCHILD:—Blessed be He that cometh: 1. To suffer; 2. to rule; 3. to give everlasting salvation.—FLOREY:—What makes the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem so heart-cheering?—BRANDT:—The final entry of Jesus into Jerusalem a blessed spectacle.
[Luke 19:29.—Αὑτοῦ omitted by Tischendorf, Alford; bracketed by Tregelles with B., Cod. Sin., L.—C. C. S.]
Luke 19:30.—According to the reading of B., D., L., which here place a καί before λύσαντες.
Luke 19:34.—Ὅτι should be read, as by Lachmann and Tischendorf, [Tregelles; omitted by Tischendorf in his 7th ed.] The witnesses for it are too preponderating to allow the supposition, with Meyer [and Alford], that it has crept in from Luke 19:31. [Ὅτι found in A., B., D., Cod. Sin., K., L., M. Yet the fact of manuscripts fluctuating here, while none omit ὅτι in Luke 19:31, favors the supposition that it has crept in from there.—C. C. S.]
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,2. The Manifestation of the Glory of the King in Word and Deed (Luke 19:41–48)
41And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42Saying, If thou [also] hadst known, even10 thou [om., even thou], at least in this thy day, the things 43which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the [om., the] days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench [embankment] about thee, and compass thee round and keep thee in on every side, 44And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold [the sellers] therein, and them that bought [omit these 5 words11]; 46Saying unto them, It is written, [And12] My house is [shall be] the [a] house of prayer (Is. 56:7); but ye have made it a den of thieves 47[robbers]. And he taught [was teaching] daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and [also13] the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him [hung, listening, upon him,14 ἐξεκρέματο αὐτοῦ ἀκούων].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Luke 19:41. And wept.—Not only ἐδἁκρυσεν, as in John 11:35, but έ̓κλαυσεν, with loud voice and words of lamentation. What the cause of these tears is, appears from ἐπ̓ αὐτή and the immediately following words. Again, it is Luke alone who has preserved to us this affecting trait, and it scarcely needs to be mentioned how exactly such a trait fits into the gospel which teaches us in our Lord to know the true and holy Son of Man. And yet we cannot be surprised that precisely this genuinely and purely human trait, even from of old, has been to many a stumbling-block and scandal. In relation to this, it is noticeable (see GROTIUS, ad loc.) that the words έ̓κλαυσεν ἐπ̓ αὐτ. in individual ancient manuscripts do not appear; ἐν τοῖς ἀδιορθώτοις ἀντιγράφοις, says, however, Epiphanius, the words are read. “Mutarunt homines temerarii et delicati, quibus flere Christo indignum videbatur.”
Luke 19:42. If thou also hadst known.—“Pathetic aposiopesis, and thereby the expression of a fruitless wish.” Meyer. The thou also places the unbelieving inhabitants of Jerusalem in opposition to the disciples of our Lord, who had really considered τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην, perhaps a delicate allusion to what the name of Jerusalem as City of Peace (Salem) signifies. The here-designated ημέρα can be no other than what our Lord, Luke 19:44, calls τὸν καιρὸν τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς. Comp. Luke 1:68. The whole time of the public activity of our Lord in Jerusalem was a respite of two years, which had been prepared for more than twenty centuries, and now, as it were, concentrated itself in the one day on which the Lord entered as King into Jerusalem. This Jerusalem would have known (έ̓ηως), if it had unanimously rendered homage to its Messiah; but although the Lord here also had found individual believing hearts, yet Jerusalem as a city rejected its King; the ̓Ιουδαῖοι recognized Him not. It was hidden from their eyes who He was, and what a salvation He would bestow. ̓Εκρὐβη according to the righteous counsel of God, Matt. 11:25, 26, but not without their own personal guilt.
Luke 19:43. Days shall come.—Luke 19:43, 44 is the text of the powerful discourse respecting the destruction of Jerusalem which our Lord, Luke 21:5 seq., two days afterwards delivered before His disciples. The ἡμέραι which are now threatened are the terrible consequences of the fact that the ἡμέρα, Luke 19:43, has hastened by in vain. ̔́Οτι does not depend on ἐκρύβη, so that thereby the thing that is hidden is indicated (Theophylact), neither is it any strengthening word, in the sense of profecto utique (Starke), but the common signification “for” must be here retained, in the sense that the wish, Luke 19:42, has thereby a reason given for it, as if the Saviour would say, “I might indeed wish that, &c., for now the things that belong to thy peace remain hidden from thine eyes. Now impends,” &c.
An embankment, χάρακα, masculine.—It is remarkable how our Lord not only in general foretells the destruction of Jerusalem, but also in particular describes the way and method in which this judgment should be accomplished. He announces a formal siege, in which they should avail themselves of all the then usual auxiliaries and should permit themselves all the atrocities which victors have at any time exercised against the vanquished. First He mentions the χάρμξ, a camp strengthened with palisades and line of circumvallation, in short, a wall such as we actually read in Josephus (De Bell. Jud. 5:6,2; 5:12,2) was thrown up around Jerusalem, but burned by the Jews. Afterwards, in consequence of this structure, περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν. We may here understand the wall thirty stadia long, which Titus in three days caused to be erected around the city, in place of the burnt χάραξ. In consequence of this measure the desolation now breaking in upon her and upon her children (ἐδαθιοῦσι) becomes general. This word occurs in a twofold signification: “to level with the earth” and “to dash to the ground” (Ps. 137:9); the first prophesies the fate of the city, the other that of her inhabitants, both being here zeugmatically connected. Finally, the conclusion of all this, no stone remains upon another, so that now, Luke 19:40, the stones begin to cry out. This last part of the prophecy was first completely fulfilled after the insurrection of Bar-Cochba in the days of the Emperor Adrian, and this is the terrible result, continuing unto the present day, of this one blinding, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation! In this conclusion, and especially in this continually ascending καί, καί, καί lies a δεινότης orationis, which can be better felt than described.
Luke 19:45. And He went into the temple.—Comp. the parallels in Matthew and Mark. Luke, who entirely passes over the cursing of the fig-tree, relates also the temple-cleansing only briefly. In fact, he only states the beginning of this symbolical transaction (ή̓ρξατο), while Matthew also notices the successful end (εξέβαλεν). To him it is especially remarkable that the Saviour begins His last sojourn and converse in the sanctuary with so strong a measure. Respecting the manner of the expulsion also, and for the precise description of the persons expelled, compare Matthew and Mark. The citation from Isaiah 56:7, Luke has in common with them, while he with Matthew omits the πᾶσιν τοῖς έ̓θνεσιν, apparently only for the sake of brevity. As to the question whether the temple-cleansing took place once or twice, comp. LANGE, Matthew, p. 376. We also decide for a repetition of the transaction, since the opposite opinion falls into far more difficulties, inasmuch as it must either impeach John or the Synoptics of the greatest inexactness. It agrees entirely with the typical and symbolical character of this transaction, that our Lord began as well as concluded His life therewith. Besides, the circumstances also are so very different that they make identity improbable. As respects now particularly this second temple-cleansing, those who find difficulty in supposing that our Lord, a few days before His death, should have repeated an act which might prepossess or embitter the secular power against Him, may for the same reason account the denunciatory discourse (Matt. 23) as entirely fictitious. That our Saviour did not perform this act at the second Passover, too, is simply to be ascribed to the circumstance that at that Passover He was not at Jerusalem, John 6:1–4. Who knows whether, perhaps, after the first temple-cleansing, the abuse thus animadverted upon did not diminish or entirely cease; and on the contrary, the priestly party, out of spite against our Lord and at the same time in order to elicit new opposition, restore it anew on the last feast? Then it would at the same time be explained why His words of rebuke at the second cleansing sound even sharper than at the first. In view of the brevity of the Synoptical relation, we cannot be surprised that neither in the language of our Lord nor in the conduct of those expelled, do we meet with a reminiscence of the previous temple-cleansing. Perhaps, however, the still recollection of the first contributed to weaken opposition at the second.
Luke 19:47. And He was teaching daily.—Striking and vivid representation of the state of things in this critical point of time. On the side of our Lord, unshaken courage, composure, and energy of spirit, with which He every day shows Himself publicly, joined with beseeming care for His own security, which moves Him not to pass the night in Jerusalem so long as His hour has not yet come. On the side of His enemies, irreconcilable hatred and thoughts of murder, especially on the part of the worldly aristocracy, which counts itself mortally endangered by Him. On the side of the people, undiminished delight in hearing Him, on which account His enemies, with their base designs, can as yet obtain no handle against the Saviour. The people hang on His lips. The more they hear the more they wish to hear (ἐξεκρέματο, cum gen.). “As bees on the flowers on which they seek honey, or as young birds on the mouth of the old ones from whom they would have food.” Meanwhile His enemies are visibly perplexed. They find not what they shall do to Him. The Saviour and the people alike are for the moment an obstacle to them. Thus is displayed on the one side the might of unarmed innocence, on the other the impotency of armed and resolved malice.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). This word proved true not only in Jerusalem’s temple, but also at Jerusalem’s gate. The eloquence of the words of Jesus is great, that of His silence, perchance, yet greater, but that of His tears passes all description. The tears of the Lord at the grave of Lazarus and those at the entry into Jerusalem have so much analogy, and yet again so much diversity, that the consideration of these relations furnishes admirable contributions towards the knowledge of the person and the character of our Lord. The contrast between this jubilant multitude and the weeping Saviour, between the deepest blindness on the one and the most infallible knowledge on the other side, is so speaking, and moreover so taken from the life, that here also the declaration can be applied: “This trait could not have been invented.” With right says Augustine, Lacrymœ Domini, gaudia mundi.
2. Not without reason has there been found at all times in this prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, on the very place where afterwards the Romans pitched their first camp, one of the strongest proofs of the infallible and Divine foreknowledge of Jesus. The comparison of this declaration with the account of Josephus is the work of the apologist. Thereby, at the same time, must not be forgotten what an unhappy result the godless attempt for the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Julian the Apostate had. See CHRYSOST., Oratio 3 adv. Judœos. [Chrysostom says, in substance, that under the impious emperor the Jews were permitted to attempt the rebuilding of the temple, that it might not be said that they could have rebuilt it if they would; but that flames bursting out from the foundations drove them away; while yet the foundations which they had begun remained even in his day as witnesses at once of their purpose and of their impotency to accomplish it. The truth of this account of Chrysostom is, as we know, supported by the testimony of the impartial Ammianus Marcellinus; and all the sneers of Gibbon at this “specious and splendid miracle” do not render it less certain that Divine Providence, in a wonderful way, took care that the prophecy of the Son of God should not be frustrated. Whether this were a miracle in the sphere of nature or not is a matter of little moment; it is, at all events, an illustrious miracle of Providence.—C. C. S.]
3. “The holy tears of Jesus show how God’s heart is disposed towards men when they fall into sin and destruction. Even in God we may conceive a compassionate sorrow, only that it is ever at the same time removed again by His eternal love, wisdom, and holiness. In Jesus, these tears over Jerusalem are at the same time tears of high-priestly intercession and mediation, and belong, in so far, to all men. Comp. Heb. 5:7.” Von Gerlach.
4. Our admiration of the majesty of our Lord increases yet more when we see how He, who certainly knows that He must give up Jerusalem for lost, continues yet, even in the last days of His life, with unwearied and holy zeal to be active in Jerusalem. Even when He knows that the mass will not let itself be saved, He continues to have compassion on the individuals. Precisely for this reason is His love so adorable, that it becomes at no moment weak; and while it weeps the fate of sinners, vehemently burns against sin, but this wrath seeks not itself, but the Father’s honor. At His entry Jesus weeps over the lot of Jerusalem. At His going out He says, Weep not, Luke 23:28.
5. The temple-cleansing is one of the acts of our Lord which have sometimes been elevated too high, sometimes depreciated too low. The former has been the case when men have believed themselves to see here a miracle in the ordinary sense of the word, nay, esteemed it as even greater than, for instance, the miracle of Cana. See ORIGEN, ad h. l.; JEROME, ad Matt. 21:15; LAMPE in Comment. Against this we have to remember the moral predominance which a personality like that of the Saviour must have had over souls which were so mean and weak as these, and to remember the many examples of similar triumphs of truth and right over the servants of deceit and unrighteousness which we meet with even in profane history. On the other hand, some have in this act, without reason, found occasion to throw suspicion on the moral purity of our Lord, and as it were turned the scourge of small cords against Himself. We have here to call to mind not only the right of the Zealots, but very especially the right of the Son in the house of His Father, and especially to take note of the union of a holy wrath with compassionate love which beams through this act of the Saviour. Shortly after He has wielded the scourge, He stretches out the helping hand, which has but just expelled the rabble, towards cripples and wretched ones; these wretched ones, whom compassion had brought into the temple, the omnipotence of love has healed. Comp. Matt. 21:14, and in reference to the first temple-cleansing the interesting section: The Banner on the Mountain, in BAUMGARTEN’S Geschichte Jesu, Brunswick, 1859, pp. 99–111.
6. The temple-cleansing the symbol of the whole life of our Lord, as also of the purpose of His manifestation on earth. See CYRIL. ALEX. ii.1; ORIGEN, tom. x. p. 16; AUGUSTINE, Tract, in Evangel. Joh., and others. Comp. Mal. 3:1, and Luke 3:15. An admirable work of art representing the temple-cleansing by Jouvenet.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
“Behold thy King cometh to thee.”—How the Lord at His entry into Jerusalem reveals His kingly character: 1. By His tears; 2. by His word; 3. by His deed in the temple.—Jesus’ tears the most beautiful pearls in His crown of glory.—Jesus’ love to an unthankful people and to a native country destined to destruction.—Anger at sin and compassion for the sinners united in the Saviour.—The King of Israel at the same time the compassionate High-priest.—The acceptable time, the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).—Whoever despises the one day of salvation has many evil days to expect.—The Romans at the siege of Jerusalem the witnesses for the truth of the word of Jesus.—Great grace, great blindness, great retribution.—The contrast between the last entry of our Lord into Jerusalem and His last departure.—The Son in the desecrated house of His Father: 1. How vehement is His wrath; 2. with what dignity He speaks; 3. how graciously He blesses.—The Scripture the rule according to which everything in Divine service also must be guided.—Yet again will the Lord clear His temple: 1. In the heart; 2. in the house; 3. in the church; 4. in the whole creation.—“My house is a house of prayer,” how this word points us: 1. To inestimable privileges; 2. to holy obligations; 3. to high expectations.—The temple of the Lord: 1. Its original destination; 2. its later perversion; 3. its final perfection.—It is the best, which through human wickedness is most shamefully corrupted (Rom. 7:13).—The Passion-week a striking proof of the faithfulness of our Lord to the once uttered principle (John 9:4).—The remarkable drama which the temple after the entry and the cleansing presents: 1. A throng of hearers eager for salvation; 2. an impotent throng of enemies; 3. over against both the Lord, immaculate, unwearied, fearless.—Jesus already triumphant even before His apparent overthrow; His enemies already defeated even before their seeming triumph.
STARKE:—LANGII Op.:—The nearer and greater the grace is, the nearer and greater the judgments if it is not received.—ZEISIUS:—Consider, O man, what the tears of Jesus have in them, and let them melt thy heart to repentance.—There is nothing more to be wept over than the spiritual blindness of man.—HEDINGER:—Blindness comes before destruction.—CANSTEIN:—Even the time or grace has with God its limitation.—OSIANDER: -When the wrath of God blazes forth, it rages very terribly against the impenitent.—LUTHER:—The contemning of the gospel brings lands and cities to destruction.—Holiness is the ornament of the house of God (Ps. 93:5).—Against open abominations there suits a thorough earnestness.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—How many in the temple who have murdered their souls by presumptuous sins.—QUESNEL:—The Church is not only a house of prayer, but also a house of instruction.—Hardened men will rather inflict mischief on pious preachers than amend themselves.—ZEISIUS:—Without God’s will no harm can happen to His faithful servants.—Jesus has among the common people more friends than among the chief ones.—To hang on Jesus’ lips and hear Him is good, but not enough.
HEUBNER:—The diverse value of many tears.—To every blinded sinner we can exclaim, If thou hadst known!—To every one is his time of grace allotted.—The sinner has a bandage before his eyes.—The fate of our posterity should urge us to repentance.—The invincibleness of love.—Guard thee against everything which can disturb devotion in others and destroy the soul.—The churches the asylums of the truth.—Some friends the truth finds ever.
On the Pericope.—The sorrow of Jesus at the last view of Jerusalem: 1. Sources; 2. effects.—How the tears of Jesus yet speak to us.—Great cities as the seat of great corruption.—The value of the tears of the Christian.—COUARD:—Jerusalem and the Jewish people: 1. Jerusalem’s time of grace; 2. Jerusalem’s hardening; 3. Jerusalem’s fall.—The tears of Christians here below: 1. Tears of joy; 2. tears of repentance; 3. tears of sorrow.—SOUCHON:—The knowing of the time of visitation.—PALMER:—Jerusalem’s blindness: 1. Near to it is destruction, but no one forebodes it; 2. near to it is salvation, but no one will recognize it.—The Saviour: 1. In His tears; 2. in His zeal of fire; 3. how He by both calls us to repentance.—RAUTENBERG:—Jesus’ tears over Jerusalem, tears to awaken: 1. Compassion; 2. terror; 3. affection; 4. consolation.—THOLUCK:—1. These tears a shame to our cold hearts; 2. a rebuke to our light-mindedness; 3. a shaking of our security.—VON KAPFF:—The judgments of the Lord: 1. The judgment of grace; 2. the judgment of wrath; 3. the judgment of cleansing; 4. the judgment of hardening; 5. the judgment of condemnation.—ARNDT:—Jesus the Friend of His country.—VAN OOSTERZEE:—Jesus’ tears over Jerusalem: 1. Jerusalem’s shame; 2. Jesus’ honor; 3. our joy.—THE SAME:—The temple-cleansing a type of the Reformation of the sixteenth century; it reminds us: 1. Of the history of the Reformation; 2. of the glory of the Reformation; 3. of the admonitions of the Reformation.—On 1. The abuses which the Reformation assailed; the principle to which it did homage; the spirit which it revealed; the reception which it found. On 2. Like the temple-cleansing, so was also the Reformation a restoration of the spiritual worship of God, the revelation of the glory of Christ, the beginning of a new development in the kingdom of God on earth. On 3. the Reformation admonishes those who desecrate the temple to repentance, those who honor the temple to zeal, those who know the Lord of the temple to continual remembrance of His deeds. Comp. John 2:22.
Luke 19:42.—We consider ourselves as obliged to retain both καίγε and σου, held as doubtful by Lachmann.
Luke 19:45.—The longer reading of the Recepta: τοὺς πωλοῦντας ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ τοὺς ἀγοράζοντας, appears to be borrowed from the parallels. [The briefer reading found in B., C, Cod. Sin., L.; accepted by Tischendorf, Meyer, Tregelles, Al-ford.—C. C. S.]
Luke 19:46.—See TISCHENDORF, ad locum. [The reading, και εσται, κ.τ.λ., at the beginning of the citation, for εστιν, at the end, is found in B., L., R. Cod. Sin. omits both the copulative and the verb. The reading of Van Oosterzee is that of Tischendorf, Meyer, Tregelles, Alford.—C. C. S.]
[Luke 19:47.—I have inserted “also” as the briefest way of conveying the force of the separation of the third nominative from the first two.—C. C. S.]
[Luke 19:48.—Revised Version of the American Bible Union.—C. C. S.]