1 All the publicans - That is, all who were in that place.
It seems our Lord was in some town of Galilee of the Gentiles, from whence
he afterward went to Jerusalem, Lu 17:11.
3 He spake - Three parables of the same import: for the sheep, the piece
of silver, and the lost son, all declare (in direct contrariety to the
Pharisees and scribes) in what manner God receiveth sinners.
4 Leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness - Where they used to feed:
all uncultivated ground, like our commons, was by the Jews termed wilderness
or desert. And go after - In recovering a lost soul, God as it were labours.
May we not learn hence, that to let them alone who are in sin, is both
unchristian and inhuman! Mt 18:12.
7 Joy shall be - Solemn and festal joy, in heaven - First, in our blessed
Lord himself, and then among the angels and spirits of just men, perhaps
informed thereof by God himself, or by the angels who ministered to them.
Over one sinner - One gross, open, notorious sinner, that repenteth - That
is, thoroughly changed in heart and life; more than over ninety and nine
just persons - Comparatively just, outwardly blameless: that need not such
a repentance - For they need not, cannot repent of the sins which they
never committed. The sum is, as a father peculiarly rejoices when an extravagant
child, supposed to be utterly lost, comes to a thorough sense of his duty;
or as any other person who has recovered what he had given up for gone,
has a more sensible satisfaction in it, than in several other things equally
valuable, but not in such danger: so do the angels in heaven peculiarly
rejoice in the conversion of the most abandoned sinners. Yea, and God himself
so readily forgives and receives them, that he may be represented as having
part in the joy.