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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 16 - Verse 19

Verse 19. There was a certain rich man. Many have supposed that our Lord here refers to a real history, and gives an account of some man who had lived in this manner; but of this there is no evidence. The probability is that this narrative is to be considered as a parable, referring not to any particular case which had actually happened, but teaching that such cases might happen. The design of the narrative is to be collected from the previous conversation. He had taught the danger of the love of money (Lu 16:1,2); the deceitful and treacherous nature of riches (Lu 16:9-11); that what was in high esteem on earth was hateful to God (Lu 16:15); that men who did not use their property aright could not be received into heaven (Lu 16:11,12); that they ought to listen to Moses and the prophets (Lu 16:16,17); and that it was the duty of men to show kindness to the poor. The design of the parable was to impress all these truths more vividly on the mind, and to show the Pharisees that, with all their boasted righteousness and their external correctness of character, they might be lost. Accordingly he speaks of no great fault in the rich man —no external, degrading vice—no open breach of the law; and leaves us to infer that the mere possession of wealth may be dangerous to the soul, and that a man surrounded with every temporal blessing may perish for ever. It is remarkable that he gave no name to this rich man, though the poor man is mentioned by name. If this was a parable, it shows us how unwilling he was to fix suspicion on anyone. If it was not a parable, it shows also that he would not drag out wicked men before the public, but would conceal as much as possible all that had any connection with them. The good he would speak well of by name; the evil he would not injure by exposing them to public view.

Clothed in purple. A purple robe or garment. This colour was expensive as well as splendid, and was chiefly worn by princes, nobles, and those who were very wealthy. Comp. Mt 27:28. See Barnes "Isa 1:18".


Fine linen. This linen was chiefly produced of the flax that grew on the banks of the Nile, in Egypt, Pr 7:16; Eze 27:7. It was peculiarly soft and white, and was therefore much sought as an article of luxury, and was so expensive that it could be worn only by princes, by priests, or by those who were very rich, Ge 41:42; 1 Ch 15:27; Ex 28:5.


Fared sumptuously. Feasted or lived in a splendid manner.

Every day. Not merely occasionally, but constantly. This was a mark of great wealth, and, in the view of the world, evidence of great happiness. It is worthy of remark that Jesus did not charge on him any crime. He did not say that he had acquired this property by dishonesty, or even that he was unkind or uncharitable; but simply that he was a rich man, and that his riches did not secure him from death and perdition.

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