19 There was a certain rich man - Very probably a Pharisee,
and one that justified himself before men; a very honest, as well as honourable
gentleman: though it was not proper to mention his name on this occasion:
who was clothed in purple and fine linen - and doubtless esteemed on this
account, (perhaps not only by those who sold it, but by most that knew
him,) as encouraging trade, and acting according to his quality: And feasted
splendidly every day - And consequently was esteemed yet more, for his
generosity and hospitality in keeping so good a table.
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, (according to the Greek
pronunciation) or Eleazer. By his name it may be conjectured, he was of
no mean family, though it was thus reduced. There was no reason for our
Lord to conceal his name, which probably was then well known. Theophylact
observes, from the tradition of the Hebrews, that he lived at Jerusalem.
Yea, the dogs also came and licked his sores - It seems this circumstance
is recorded to show that all his ulcers lay bare, and were not closed or
22 And the beggar - Worn out with hunger, and pain, and want of all
things, died: and was carried by angels (amazing change of the scene!)
into Abraham's bosom - So the Jews styled paradise; the place where the
souls of good men remain from death to the resurrection. The rich man also
died, and was buried - Doubtless with pomp enough, though we do not read
of his lying in state; that stupid, senseless pageantry, that shocking
insult on a poor, putrefying carcass, was reserved for our enlightened
23 He seeth Abraham afar off - And yet knew him at that distance: and
shall not Abraham's children, when they are together in paradise, know
24 Father Abraham, have mercy on me - It cannot be denied, but here
is one precedent in Scripture of praying to departed saints: but who is
it that prays, and with what success? Will any, who considers this, be
fond of copying after him?
25 But Abraham said, Son - According to the flesh. Is it not worthy
of observation, that Abraham will not revile even a damned soul? and shall
living men revile one another? Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good
things - Thou didst choose and accept of worldly things as thy good, thy
happiness. And can any be at a loss to know why he was in torments? This
damnable idolatry, had there been nothing more, was enough to sink him
to the nethermost hell.
26 Beside this there is a great gulf fixed - Reader, to which side of
it wilt thou go?
28 Lest they also come into this place - He might justly fear lest their
reproaches should add to his own torment.
31 Neither will they be persuaded - Truly to repent: for this implies
an entire change of heart: but a thousand apparitions cannot, effect this.
God only can, applying his word.