King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Luke 19

The conversion of Zaccheus. (1-10) The parable of the nobleman and his servants. (11-27) Christ enters Jerusalem. (28-40) Christ laments over Jerusalem. (41-48)

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The conversion of Zaccheus

1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

8 And Zacchaeus stood, 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.

9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

The parable of the nobleman and his servants

11 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.

12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

15 And 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 he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

22 And 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, and reaping that I did not sow:

23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Christ enters Jerusalem

28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.

29 And 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 disciples,

30 Saying, 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 him hither.

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And 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 voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Christ laments over Jerusalem

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And 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.

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;

46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,

48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. What sinner can despair when he sees the Saviour of mankind seeking to save him; when he beholds even a publican and a rich man, at the same time, who, as our Saviour informs us in another place, are so seldom truly converted, brought to the light of faith, and the grace of a true conversion! S. Ambrose. — Zacheus (who as a farmer of the customs, not a collector, as some falsely imagine) immediately hearkened to the interior voice of the Almighty, calling him to repentance; he made no delay, and therefore deserved immediately not only to see, but to eat, drink, and converse with Jesus. S. Cyril. — Behold here the three steps of his conversion: 1. an ardent desire of seeing Jesus; 2. the honourable reception he gave him in his house; 3. the complete restitution of all ill-acquired property.

Ver. 9. Zacheus is here styled a son of Abraham; i.e. his spiritual son, a partaker of the promises made to Abraham concerning the Messias: not that he was actually born of his seed, but because he imitated his faith; and as Abraham at the voice of God, left the land and house of his father; so Zacheus renounced his goods and possessions, by giving them to the poor. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 11. That the kingdom of God should immediately be manifested. The disciples were full of the expectation of the temporal kingdom of the Messias, though he had divers times told them he was to suffer and die on a cross. Wi. — Notwithstanding all that Jesus had said to them about his kingdom, his death, his consummation, and resurrection, they still believed that the kingdom of God was going to be manifested, and that Jesus, in this journey, would make himself be acknowledged king by the whole nation of the Jews. They could not lay aside the ideas they had formed of the personal and temporal reign of the Messias. Every thing which they could not reconcile with this standard, was completely impenetrable to them. It was a language they could not comprehend. Calmet.

Ver. 12. This parable is an exact prophetic history of what happened to Archelaus Antipas, son of Herod the great, about thirty-six years afterwards. Judea being then tributary, he was obliged to go to Rome to receive his kingdom from the hands of the emperor Augustus. The Jews, who hated him for his cruelty, sent an embassy to the emperor, to accuse him of many crimes, and disappoint him in his hopes of gaining his crown. But Augustus confirmed it to him, and sent him back to reign in Judea, where he revenged himself on those who had opposed his pretensions. With regard to the instruction, which is meant to be conveyed by this parable; this nobleman is the Son of God, who came among the Jews to take possession of the kingdom, which was his due. But being rejected and treated unworthily, and even put to a disgraceful death on the cross, he will one day come again, armed with vengeance, and inflict the effects of his anger upon them. This was partly fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, and will be completed at the general judgment. Calmet. V.

Ver. 13. Ten pieces of money, each of which was called a mna. To translate pounds, gives the English reader a false notion, the Roman coin called a mna not corresponding to our pound. Wi. — A mna was 12½ ounces, which, at five shillings per ounce, is £3 2s. 6d.

Ver. 19. All the disciples of Christ have not the same degree of honour in this world, nor in the next; because all do not make an equal use of the graces they receive. Some are in the first rank, as apostles; then those, to whom the gift of prophecy has been committed; then doctors, &c. each exalted according to his merit. For there are many mansions, and many degrees of glory, in the house of the heavenly Father. Calmet. — For there is one brightness of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; for star differeth from star in brightness. 1 Cor. xv. 41.

Ver. 34. It may here be asked, how the owners of the colt knew who the Lord was, of whom the disciples spoke? It may be answered, that perhaps they had already heard that Jesus of Nazareth, who the Jews thought was to be their temporal king, was coming about that time to Jerusalem, and that they saw from their dress, or other external marks, that they were the disciples of Jesus. Dionysius.

Ver. 40. The stones. This is a proverb, as if he had said: God has resolved to glorify me this day, in order to fulfil the prophecies. Nothing can hinder the execution of his decrees; if men were silent, he would make even the stones to speak. Calmet. — At the crucifixion of our Redeemer, when his friends were silent through fear, the very stones and rocks spoke in his defence. Immediately after he expired, the earth was moved, the rocks split, and the monuments of the dead opened. V. Bede. — Nor is it any wonder if, contrary to nature, the rocks bespeak the praises of the Lord, since he was even praised by a multitude, much more insensible than the rocks themselves, in crucifying him only a few days after, whom they now salute with Hosannahs of joy. S. Ambrose.

Ver. 41. He wept. S. Epiphanius tells us, that some of the orthodox of his time, offended at these words, omitted them in their copies, as if to shed tears, were a weakness unworthy of Christ: but this true reading of the evangelist is found in all copies, and received by all the faithful; and the liberty which those who changed them took, was too dangerous ever to be approved of by the Church. Neither do these tears argue in Jesus Christ any thing unworthy of his supreme majesty or wisdom. Our Saviour possessed all the human passions, but not the defects of them. The Stoics, who condemned the passions in their sages, laboured to make statues or automata of man, not philosophers. The true philosopher moderates and governs his passions; the Stoic labours to destroy them, but cannot effect his purpose. And when he labours to overcome one passion, he is forced to have recourse to another for help. Calmet. — Our Saviour is said to have wept six times, during his life on earth: 1st, At his birth, according to many holy doctors; 2ndly, at his circumcision, according to S. Bernard and others; 3rdly, when he raised Lazarus to life, as is related in S. John, c. xi.; 4thly, in his entry into Jerusalem, described in this place; 5thly, during his agony in the garden, just before his apprehension, when, as S. Luke remarks, (C. xxii.) his sweat was as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground; and 6thly, during his passion, when he often wept, on account of his great distress of mind, occasioned principally by the knowledge he had of the grievousness of men’s sins, and the bad use they would make of the redemption he was, through so many sufferings, procuring for them. Dionysius.

Ver. 42. If thou also hadst known. It is a broken sentence, as it were in a transport of grief; and we may understand, thou wouldst also weep. Didst thou know, even at this day, that peace and reconciliation which God still offers to thee. Wi. — What can be more tender than the apostrophe here made use of by our Saviour! Hadst thou but known, &c. that is, didst thou but know how severe a punishment is about to be inflicted upon thee, for the numberless transgressions of thy people, thou likewise wouldst weep; but, alas! hardened in iniquity, thou still rejoicest, ignorant of the punishment hanging over thy head. Just men have daily occasion to bewail, like our blessed Redeemer, the blindness of the wicked, unable to see, through their own perversity, the miserable state of their souls, and the imminent danger they are every moment exposed to, of losing themselves for ever. Of these, Solomon cries out; (Prov. ii. 13.) They leave the right way, and walk through dark ways. We ought to imitate this compassion of our blessed Redeemer; and, as he wept over the calamities of the unfortunate Jerusalem, though determined on his destruction; so we ought to bewail the sins not only of our friends, but likewise of our enemies, and daily offer up our prayers for their conversion. D. Dionysius.

Ver. 43. And compass thee, &c. Christ’s prophecy is a literal description of what happened to Jerusalem, under Titus. Wi.

Ver. 48. All the people, as they heard him with so great attention. So Virgil said:

–pendetque iterum narrantis ab ore. Wi.

The original Greek, exekremato autou akouon, shews how eagerly they catched the words that dropped from his sacred lips, all enraptured with the wisdom of his answers, and the commanding superiority of his doctrines. Seneca (Controv ix. 1.) uses a similar turn of expression: Ex vultu discentis pendent omnium vultus. The chief priests and rulers were all apprehension lest the people, who followed Jesus with such avidity, and who had conceived such high sentiments of his character, might prevent the execution of their murderous designs. . . .