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Lukas 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

16:19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple 1  and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously 2  every day. 16:20 But at his gate lay 3  a poor man named Lazarus 4  whose body was covered with sores, 5  16:21 who longed to eat 6  what fell from the rich man’s table. In addition, the dogs 7  came and licked 8  his sores.

16:22 “Now 9  the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. 10  The 11  rich man also died and was buried. 12  16:23 And in hell, 13  as he was in torment, 14  he looked up 15  and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side. 16  16:24 So 17  he called out, 18  ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus 19  to dip the tip of his finger 20  in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish 21  in this fire.’ 22  16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, 23  remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus likewise bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. 24  16:26 Besides all this, 25  a great chasm 26  has been fixed between us, 27  so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 16:27 So 28  the rich man 29  said, ‘Then I beg you, father – send Lazarus 30  to my father’s house 16:28 (for I have five brothers) to warn 31  them so that they don’t come 32  into this place of torment.’ 16:29 But Abraham said, 33  ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to 34  them.’ 16:30 Then 35  the rich man 36  said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead 37  goes to them, they will repent.’ 16:31 He 38  replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to 39  Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” 40 

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[16:19]  1 sn Purple describes a fine, expensive dye used on luxurious clothing, and by metonymy, refers to clothing colored with that dye. It pictures someone of great wealth.

[16:19]  2 tn Or “celebrated with ostentation” (L&N 88.255), that is, with showing off. Here was the original conspicuous consumer.

[16:20]  3 tn The passive verb ἐβέβλητο (ebeblhto) does not indicate how Lazarus got there. Cf. BDAG 163 s.v. βάλλω 1.b, “he lay before the door”; Josephus, Ant. 9.10.2 (9.209).

[16:20]  4 sn This is the one time in all the gospels that a figure in a parable is mentioned by name. It will become important later in the account.

[16:20]  5 tn Or “was covered with ulcers.” The words “whose body” are implied in the context (L&N 23.180).

[16:21]  6 tn Grk “to eat his fill,” but this phrase has been simplified as “to eat” for stylistic reasons.

[16:21]  7 tn The term κύνες (kunes) refers to “wild” dogs (either “street” dogs or watchdogs), not house pets (L&N 4.34).

[16:21]  8 sn When the dogs came and licked his sores it meant that he was unclean. See the negative image of Rev 22:15 that draws on this picture.

[16:22]  9 tn Grk “Now it happened that the.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

[16:22]  10 tn Grk “to Abraham’s bosom.” The phrase “carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” describes being gathered to the fathers and is a way to refer to heaven (Gen 15:15; 47:30; Deut 31:16).

[16:22]  11 tn Grk “And the.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

[16:22]  12 sn The shorter description suggests a different fate, which is confirmed in the following verses.

[16:23]  13 sn The Greek term Hades stands for the Hebrew concept of Sheol. It is what is called hell today. This is where the dead were gathered (Ps 16:10; 86:13). In the NT Hades has an additional negative force of awaiting judgment (Rev 20:13).

[16:23]  14 sn Hades is a place of torment, especially as one knows that he is separated from God.

[16:23]  15 tn Grk “he lifted up his eyes” (an idiom).

[16:23]  16 tn Grk “in his bosom,” the same phrase used in 16:22. This idiom refers to heaven and/or participation in the eschatological banquet. An appropriate modern equivalent is “at Abraham’s side.”

[16:24]  17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous actions in the narrative.

[16:24]  18 tn Grk “calling out he said”; this is redundant in contemporary English style and has been simplified to “he called out.”

[16:24]  19 sn The rich man had not helped Lazarus before, when he lay outside his gate (v. 2), but he knew him well enough to know his name. This is why the use of the name Lazarus in the parable is significant. (The rich man’s name, on the other hand, is not mentioned, because it is not significant for the point of the story.)

[16:24]  20 sn The dipping of the tip of his finger in water is evocative of thirst. The thirsty are in need of God’s presence (Ps 42:1-2; Isa 5:13). The imagery suggests the rich man is now separated from the presence of God.

[16:24]  21 tn Or “in terrible pain” (L&N 24.92).

[16:24]  22 sn Fire in this context is OT imagery; see Isa 66:24.

[16:25]  23 tn The Greek term here is τέκνον (teknon), which could be understood as a term of endearment.

[16:25]  24 tn Or “in terrible pain” (L&N 24.92). Here is the reversal Jesus mentioned in Luke 6:20-26.

[16:26]  25 tn Grk “And in all these things.” There is no way Lazarus could carry out this request even if divine justice were not involved.

[16:26]  26 sn The great chasm between heaven and hell is impassable forever. The rich man’s former status meant nothing now.

[16:26]  27 tn Grk “between us and you.”

[16:27]  28 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the rich man’s response to Abraham’s words.

[16:27]  29 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the rich man, v. 19) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

[16:27]  30 tn Grk “Then I beg you, father, that you send him”; the referent (Lazarus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

[16:28]  31 sn To warn them. The warning would consist of a call to act differently than their dead brother had, or else meet his current terrible fate.

[16:28]  32 tn Grk “lest they also come.”

[16:29]  33 tn Grk “says.” This is one of the few times Luke uses the historical present.

[16:29]  34 tn Or “obey”; Grk “hear.” This recalls the many OT texts calling for a righteous heart to respond to people in need (Deut 14:28-29; Isa 3:14-15; Amos 2:6-8; Mic 2:1-2; Zech 7:9-10).

[16:30]  35 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

[16:30]  36 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the rich man, v. 19) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

[16:30]  37 sn If someone from the dead goes to them. The irony and joy of the story is that what is denied the rich man’s brothers, a word of warning from beyond the grave, is given to the reader of the Gospel in this exchange.

[16:31]  38 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

[16:31]  39 tn Or “obey”; Grk “hear.” See the note on the phrase “respond to” in v. 29.

[16:31]  40 sn The concluding statement of the parable, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead, provides a hint that even Jesus’ resurrection will not help some to respond. The message of God should be good enough. Scripture is the sign to be heeded.

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