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b 4 Macc. xiii. 16; Kidl. 72 b, 1st line
• Erub, 19 a
would say nothing that was essentially divergent from, at least, the purest views entertained on the subject at that time-since otherwise the object of the Parabolic illustration would have been lost-yet, whatever He did say must, when stripped of its Parabolic details, be consonant with fact. Thus, the carrying up of the soul of the righteous by Angels is certainly in accordance with Jewish teaching, though stripped of all legendary details, such as about the number and the greetings of the Angels. But it is also fully in accordance with Christian thought of the ministry of Angels. Again, as regards the
expression Abraham's bosom,' it occurs, although not frequently, in Cant. iv. 12 Jewish writings.bi On the other hand, the appeal to Abraham as
our father is so frequent, his presence and merits are so constantly invoked ; notably, he is so expressly designated as he who receives (bapo) the penitent into Paradise, that we can see how congruous especially to the higher Jewish teaching, which dealt not in coarsely sensuous descriptions of Gan Eden, or Paradise, the phrase “ Abraham's bosom 'must have been. Nor surely can it be necessary to vindicate the accord with Christian thinking of a figurative expression, that likens us to children lying lovingly in the bosom of Abraham as our spiritual father.
2. Dives and Lazarus after death d: The great contrast' fully realised, and how to enter into the Kingdom.—Here also the main interest centres in Dives. He also has died and been buried. Thus ends all his exaltedness before men. The next scene is in Hades or Sheol, the place of the disembodied spirits before the final Judgment. It consists of two divisions : the one of consolation, with all the faithful gathered unto Abraham as their father; the other of fiery torment. Thus far in accordance with the general teaching of the New Testament. As regards the details, they evidently represent the views current at the time among the Jews. According to them, the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life were the abode of the blessed. Nay, in common belief, the words of Gen. ii. 10 : 'a river went out of Eden to water the garden,' indicated that this Eden was
distinct from, and superior to, the garden in which Adam had been 5 Vajjik. R.
originally placed. With reference to it, we read that the righteous u. 3. p. 485, in Gan Eden see the wicked in Gehinnom, and rejoice;& and,
similarly, that the wicked in Gehinnom see the righteous sitting beatified in Gan Eden, and their souls are troubled. Still more marked is the parallelism in a legend told about two wicked com
d St. Luke xvi, 23-26
e Aboth v. 20
r Ber. 34 b
32, begin ning lines 8 and 9 from top i Midr. on Eccles. i. 15, ed. Warsh. p. 81 b, about the middle
I But I do not think with Grimm (Kurzgef. Exeg. Handb. z. d. Apokr. Lief.
iv. p. 347) that the expression refers to a feast of fellowship.
DIVES AND LAZARUS AFTER DEATH.
panions, of whom one had died impenitent, while the other on seeing it had repented. After death, the impenitent in Gehinnom saw the happiness of his former companion, and murmured. When told that the difference of their fate was due to the other's penitence, he wished to have space assigned for it, but was informed that this life (the eve of the Sabbath) was the time for making provision for the next (the Sabbath). Again, it is consonant with what were the views of the Jews, that conversations could be held between dead persons, of which several legendary instances are given in the Talmud.al The Bar. 18 8 torment, especially of thirst, of the wicked, is repeatedly mentioned in Jewish writings. Thus, in one place, the fable of Tantalus is b Jer. Chag. apparently repeated. The righteous is seen beside delicious springs, and the wicked with his tongue parched at the brink of a river, the waves of which are constantly receding from him. But there is this Comp. also very marked and characteristic contrast, that in the Jewish legend 23c, at the the beatified is a Pharisee, while the sinner tormented with thirst is a Publican! Above all, and as marking the vast difference between Jewish ideas and Christ's teaching, we notice that there is no analogy in Rabbinic writings to the statement in the Parable, that there is a wide and impassable gulf between Paradise and Gehenna.
To return to the Parable. When we read that Dives in torments ' lifted up his eyes,' it was, no doubt, for help, or, at least, alleviation. Then he first perceived and recognised the reversed relationship. The text emphatically repeats here: 'And he,'-literally, this one (rai aútós), as if now, for the first time, he realised, but only to misunderstand and misapply it, how easily superabundance might minister relief to extreme need—calling (viz., upon=invoking) said: “Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus.”' The invocation of Abraham, as having the power, and of Abraham as 'Father,' was natural on the part of a Jew. And our Lord does not here express what really was, but only introduces Jews as speaking in accordance with the popular notions. Accordingly, it does not necessarily imply on the part of Dives either glorification of carnal descent (Gloriatio carnis, as Bengel has it), nor a latent idea that he might still dispose of Lazarus. A Jew would have appealed to 'Father Abraham' under such or like circumstances, and many analogous statements might be quoted in proof. But all the more telling is it, that the rich Pharisee should behold in the bosom of Abraham, whose child he specially claimed to be, what, in his sight, had been poor Lazarus, covered with moral sores, and, religiously
According to some of the commentators these were, however, dreams.
speaking, thrown down outside his gate; not only not admitted to the fellowship of his religious banquet, but not even to be fed by the crumbs that fell from his table, and to be left to the dogs. And it was the climax of the contrast that he should now have to invoke, and that in vain, his ministry, seeking it at the hands of Abraham. And here we also recall the previous Parable about making, ere it fail, friends by means of the Mamon of unrighteousness, that they may welcome us in the everlasting tabernacles.
It should be remembered that Dives now limits his request to the humblest dimensions, asking only that Lazarus might be sent to dip the tip of his finger in the cooling liquid, and thus give him even the smallest relief. To this Abraham replies, though in a tone of pity: 'Child, yet decidedly, showing him, first, the rightness of the present position of things; and, secondly, the impossibility of any alteration, such as he had asked. Dives had, in his lifetime, received his good things; that had been his things, he had chosen them as his part, and used them for self, without communicating of them. And Lazarus had received evil things. Now Lazarus was comforted, and Dives in torment. It was the right order—not that Lazarus was comforted because in this world he had suffered, nor yet that Dives was in torment because in this world he had had riches. But Lazarus received there the comfort which had been refused to him on earth, and the man who had made this world his good, and obtained there his portion, of which he had refused even the crumbs to the most needy, now received the meet reward of his unpitying, unloving, selfish life. But, besides all this, which in itself was right and proper, Dives had asked what was impossible: no intercourse could be held between Paradise and Gehenna, and on this account ' a great and impassable chasm existed between the two, so that, even if they would, they could not, pass from heaven to hell, nor yet from hell to those in bliss. We would suggest thatalthough doctrinal statements should not be drawn from Parabolic illustrations, at least, so far as this Parable goes—it seems to preclude the hope of a gradual change or transition after a life lost in the service of sin and self.
3. Application of the Parable," showing how the Law and the Prophets cannot fail, and how we must now press into the Kingdom. It seems a strange misconception on the part of some commentators, that the next request of Dives indicates a commencing change of
* St. Luke Ivi. 27-31
The exact rendering in ver. 26 is : ' in order that (8ws, so also in ver. 28) they who would pass from hence to you,' &c.
THE FINAL REQUEST OF DIVES.
mind on his part. To begin with, this part of the Parable is only intended to illustrate the need, and the sole means of conversion to God—the appeal to the Law and the Prophets being the more apt that the Pharisees made their boast of them, and the refusal of any special miraculous interposition the more emphatic, that the Pharisees had been asking for a sign from heaven. Besides, it would require more than ordinary charity to discover a moral change in the desire that bis brothers might not be converted, but not come to that place of torment!
Dismissing, therefore, this idea, we now find Dives pleading that Lazarus might be sent to his five brothers, who, as we infer, were of the same disposition and life as himself had been, to testify unto them'-the word implying more than ordinary, even earnest, testimony. Presumably, what he so earnestly asked to be attested was, that he, Dives, was in torment; and the expected effect, not of the testimony but of the mission of Lazarus, whom they are supposed to have a ver. 30 known, was, that these, his brothers, might not come to the same place. At the same time, the request seems to imply an attempt at self-justification, as if, during his life, he had not had sufficient warning. Accordingly, the reply of Abraham is no longer couched in a tone of pity, but implies stern rebuke of Dives. They need no witness-bearer: they have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. If testimony be needed, theirs has been given, and it is sufficient—a reply this, which would specially appeal to the Pharisees. And when Dives, now, perhaps, as much bent on self-justification as on the message to his brothers, remonstrates that, although they had not received such testimony, yet “if one come to them from the dead,' they would repent, the final, and, as alas, history has shown since the Resurrection of Christ, the true answer is, that “if they hear not (give not hearing to] Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be influenced' [moved: their intellects to believe, their wills to repent], if one rose from the dead.'
And here the Parable, and the warning to the Pharisees, abruptly break off. When next we hear the Master's voice, it is in loving bch. xvii. application to the disciples of some of the lessons which were implied in what He had spoken to the Pharisees.
This is the real meaning of the verb zeitw in the passive voice. The rendering persuade’ is already Targumicgiving it the sense of moving or influen
cing the intellect. To us the other sense, that of influencing the will to repentance, seems more likely to have been intended.
THREE LAST PARABLES OF THE PERAN SERIES :
SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN-THE UN
(St. Luke xviii. 1-14; St. Matt. xviii. 23-35.)
. St. Luke xi. 5 &c.
Comp. St. Luke xviii. 7, 8
If we were to seek confirmation of the suggestion, that these last and the two preceding Parables are grouped together under a common viewpoint, such as that of Righteousness, the character and position of the Parables now to be examined would supply it. For, while the Parable of the Unjust Judge evidently bears close affinity to those that had preceded—especially to that of him who persisted in his request for bread it evidently refers not, as the other, to man's present need, but to the Second Coming of Christ. The prayer, the perseverance, the delay, and
perseverance, the delay, and the ultimate answer of which it speaks, are all connected with it. Indeed, it follows on
what had passed on this subject immediately before—first, between • xvii. 20, 21 the Pharisees and Christ, and then between Christ and the disciples.
Again, we must bear in mind that between the Parable of Dives and Lazarus and that of the Unjust Judge, not, indeed, a great interval of time, but most momentous events, had intervened. These were: the visit of Jesus to Bethany, the raising of Lazarus, the Jerusalem council against Christ, the flight to Ephraim, a brief stay and preaching there, and the commencement of His last journey to Jerusalem. During this last slow journey from the borders of Galilee to Jerusalem, we suppose the Discourses 8 and the Parable about the Coming of the Son of Man to have been spoken. And although such utterances will be best considered in connection with Christ's later and full Discourses about “The Last Things,' we readily perceive, even at this stage, how, when He set His Face towards Jerusalem, there to be offered up, thoughts and words concerning the ‘End’ may have entered into all His teaching, and so have given occasion for the questions of the Pharisees and disciples, and for the answers of Christ, alike by Discourse and in Parable.
The most common and specious, but also the most serious mis
e St. John xi.
f St. Luke