16:1 Jesus 1 also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who was informed of accusations 2 that his manager 3 was wasting 4 his assets. 16:2 So 5 he called the manager 6 in and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? 7 Turn in the account of your administration, 8 because you can no longer be my manager.’ 16:3 Then 9 the manager said to himself, ‘What should I do, since my master is taking my position 10 away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig, 11 and I’m too ashamed 12 to beg. 16:4 I know 13 what to do so that when I am put out of management, people will welcome me into their homes.’ 14 16:5 So 15 he contacted 16 his master’s debtors one by one. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 16:6 The man 17 replied, ‘A hundred measures 18 of olive oil.’ The manager 19 said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ 20 16:7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ The second man 21 replied, ‘A hundred measures 22 of wheat.’ The manager 23 said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 24 16:8 The 25 master commended the dishonest 26 manager because he acted shrewdly. 27 For the people 28 of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries 29 than the people 30 of light. 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by how you use worldly wealth, 31 so that when it runs out you will be welcomed 32 into the eternal homes. 33
16:10 “The one who is faithful in a very little 34 is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 16:11 If then you haven’t been trustworthy 35 in handling worldly wealth, 36 who will entrust you with the true riches? 37 16:12 And if you haven’t been trustworthy 38 with someone else’s property, 39 who will give you your own 40 ? 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate 41 the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise 42 the other. You cannot serve God and money.” 43
16:14 The Pharisees 44 (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed 45 him. 16:15 But 46 Jesus 47 said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, 48 but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized 49 among men is utterly detestable 50 in God’s sight.
16:16 “The law and the prophets were in force 51 until John; 52 since then, 53 the good news of the kingdom of God 54 has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it. 55 16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tiny stroke of a letter 56 in the law to become void. 57
16:19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple 59 and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously 60 every day. 16:20 But at his gate lay 61 a poor man named Lazarus 62 whose body was covered with sores, 63 16:21 who longed to eat 64 what fell from the rich man’s table. In addition, the dogs 65 came and licked 66 his sores.
16:22 “Now 67 the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. 68 The 69 rich man also died and was buried. 70 16:23 And in hell, 71 as he was in torment, 72 he looked up 73 and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side. 74 16:24 So 75 he called out, 76 ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus 77 to dip the tip of his finger 78 in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish 79 in this fire.’ 80 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, 81 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. 82 16:26 Besides all this, 83 a great chasm 84 has been fixed between us, 85 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 86 the rich man 87 said, ‘Then I beg you, father – send Lazarus 88 to my father’s house 16:28 (for I have five brothers) to warn 89 them so that they don’t come 90 into this place of torment.’ 16:29 But Abraham said, 91 ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to 92 them.’ 16:30 Then 93 the rich man 94 said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead 95 goes to them, they will repent.’ 16:31 He 96 replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to 97 Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” 98
[16:1] 2 tn These are not formal legal charges, but reports from friends, acquaintances, etc.; Grk “A certain man was rich who had a manager, and this one was reported to him as wasting his property.”
[16:3] 11 tn Here “dig” could refer (1) to excavation (“dig ditches,” L&N 19.55) or (2) to agricultural labor (“work the soil,” L&N 43.3). In either case this was labor performed by the uneducated, so it would be an insult as a job for a manager.
[16:3] sn To beg would represent a real lowering of status for the manager, because many of those whom he had formerly collected debts from, he would now be forced to beg from.
[16:6] 18 sn A measure (sometimes translated “bath”) was just over 8 gallons (about 30 liters). This is a large debt – about 875 gallons (3000 liters) of olive oil, worth 1000 denarii, over three year’s pay for a daily worker.
[16:6] 20 sn The bill was halved (sit down quickly, and write fifty). What was the steward doing? This is debated. 1) Did he simply lower the price? 2) Did he remove interest from the debt? 3) Did he remove his own commission? It is hard to be sure. Either of the latter two options is more likely. The goal was clear: The manager would be seen in a favorable light for bringing a deflationary trend to prices.
[16:7] 22 sn The hundred measures here was a hundreds cors. A cor was a Hebrew dry measure for grain, flour, etc., of between 10-12 bushels (about 390 liters). This was a huge amount of wheat, representing the yield of about 100 acres, a debt of between 2500-3000 denarii.
[16:8] 26 sn Is the manager dishonest because of what he just did? Or is it a reference to what he had done earlier, described in v. 1? This is a difficult question, but it seems unlikely that the master, having fired the man for prior dishonesty, would now commend those same actions. It would also be unusual for Jesus to make that point of the story the example. Thus it is more likely the reference to dishonesty goes back to the earliest events, while the commendation is for the cleverness of the former manager reflected in vv. 5-7.
[16:8] 27 sn Where this parable ends is debated: Does it conclude with v. 7, after v. 8a, after v. 8b, or after v. 9? Verse 8a looks as if it is still part of the story, with its clear reference to the manager, while 8b looks like Jesus’ application, since its remarks are more general. So it is most likely the parable stops after v. 8a.
[16:9] 31 tn Grk “unrighteous mammon.” Mammon is the Aramaic term for wealth or possessions. The point is not that money is inherently evil, but that it is often misused so that it is a means of evil; see 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19. The call is to be generous and kind in its use. Zacchaeus becomes the example of this in Luke’s Gospel (19:1-10).
[16:13] sn The term money is used to translate mammon, the Aramaic term for wealth or possessions. The point is not that money is inherently evil, but that it is often misused so that it is a means of evil; see 1 Tim 6:6-10, 17-19. God must be first, not money or possessions.
[16:15] 48 tn Grk “before men.” The contrast is between outward appearance (“in people’s eyes”) and inward reality (“God knows your hearts”). Here the Greek term ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used twice in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, but “men” has been retained in the text to provide a strong verbal contrast with “God” in the second half of the verse.
[16:16] 51 tn There is no verb in the Greek text; one must be supplied. Some translations (NASB, NIV) supply “proclaimed” based on the parallelism with the proclamation of the kingdom. The transitional nature of this verse, however, seems to call for something more like “in effect” (NRSV) or, as used here, “in force.” Further, Greek generally can omit one of two kinds of verbs – either the equative verb or one that is already mentioned in the preceding context (ExSyn 39).
[16:16] 55 tn Many translations have “entereth violently into it” (ASV) or “is forcing his way into it” (NASB, NIV). This is not true of everyone. It is better to read the verb here as passive rather than middle, and in a softened sense of “be urged.” See Gen 33:11; Judg 13:15-16; 19:7; 2 Sam 3:25, 27 in the LXX. This fits the context well because it agrees with Jesus’ attempt to persuade his opponents to respond morally. For further discussion and details, see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1352-53.
[16:18] 58 sn The examples of marriage and divorce show that the ethical standards of the new era are still faithful to promises made in the presence of God. To contribute to the breakup of a marriage, which involved a vow before God, is to commit adultery. This works whether one gets a divorce or marries a person who is divorced, thus finalizing the breakup of the marriage. Jesus’ point concerns the need for fidelity and ethical integrity in the new era.
[16:22] 67 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.
[16:23] 71 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] 74 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] 77 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] 78 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.
[16:30] 95 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] 98 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.