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Verse 2. A man named Zaccheus. The name Zaccheus is Hebrew, and shows that this man was a Jew. The Hebrew name properly means pure, and is the same as Zacchai in Ezr 2:9; Ne 7:14. The publicans, therefore, were not all foreigners.

Chief among the publicans. Who presided over other tax-gatherers, or who received their collections and transmitted them to the Roman government

He was rich. Though this class of men was despised and often infamous, yet it seems that they were sometimes wealthy. They sustained, however, the general character of sinners, because they were particularly odious in the eyes of the Jews. See Barnes "Lu 19:7".

The evangelist has thought it worthy of record that he was rich, perhaps, because it was so unlikely that a rich man should follow so poor and despised a personage as Jesus of Nazareth, and because it was so unusual a thing during his personal ministry. Not many rich were called, but God chiefly chose the poor of this world. Compare 1 Co 1:26-29.

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