Luke 19:8
And Zacchaeus stood, and said to 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.
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19:1-10 Those who sincerely desire a sight of Christ, like Zaccheus, will break through opposition, and take pains to see him. Christ invited himself to Zaccheus' house. Wherever Christ comes he opens the heart, and inclines it to receive him. He that has a mind to know Christ, shall be known of him. Those whom Christ calls, must humble themselves, and come down. We may well receive him joyfully, who brings all good with him. Zaccheus gave proofs publicly that he was become a true convert. He does not look to be justified by his works, as the Pharisee; but by his good works he will, through the grace of God, show the sincerity of his faith and repentance. Zaccheus is declared to be a happy man, now he is turned from sin to God. Now that he is saved from his sins, from the guilt of them, from the power of them, all the benefits of salvation are his. Christ is come to his house, and where Christ comes he brings salvation with him. He came into this lost world to seek and to save it. His design was to save, when there was no salvation in any other. He seeks those that sought him not, and asked not for him.The half of my goods I give to the poor - It is not necessary to understand this as affirming that this "had" been his practice, or that he said this in the way of proclaiming his own righteousness. It maybe understood rather as a purpose which he "then" formed under the teaching of Christ. He seems to have been sensible that he was a sinner. Of this he was convinced, as we may suppose, by the presence and discourse of Jesus. At first, attracted only by curiosity, or, it may be, by partial conviction that this was the Messiah, he had sought to see the Saviour; but his presence and conversation convinced him of his guilt, and he stood and openly confessed his sins, and expressed his purpose to give half his ill-gotten property to the poor. This was not a proclamation of his "own" righteousness, nor the "ground" of his righteousness, but it was the "evidence" of the sincerity of his repentance, and the confession which with the mouth is made unto salvation, Romans 10:10.

And if I have taken - His office gave him the power of oppressing the people, and it seems that he did not deny that it had been done.

By false accusation - This is the same word which in Luke 3:14 is rendered "neither accuse any falsely." The accusation seems to have been so made that the person accused was obliged to pay much greater taxes, or so that his property came into the hands of the informer. There are many ways in which this might be done, but we do not know the exact manner.

I restore him - We cannot suppose that this had been always his practice, for no man would wantonly extort money from another, and then restore him at once four times as much; but it means that he was made sensible of his guilt; perhaps that his mind had been a considerable time perplexed in the matter, and that now he was resolved to make the restoration. This was the "evidence" of his penitence and conversion. And here it may be remarked that this is "always" an indisputable evidence of a man's conversion to God. A man who has hoarded ill-gotten gold, if he becomes a Christian, will be disposed to do good with it. A man who has injured others - who has cheated them or defrauded them, "even by due forms of law," must, if he be a Christian, be willing, as far as possible, to make restoration. Zacchaeus, for anything that appears to the contrary, may have obtained this property by the decisions of courts of justice, but he now felt that it was wrong; and though the defrauded people could not "legally" recover it, yet his conscience told him that, in order to his being a true penitent, he must make restitution. One of the best evidences of true conversion is when it produces this result; and one of the surest evidences that a "professed" penitent is not a "true" one, is when he is "not" disposed to follow the example of this son of Abraham and make proper restitution.

Four-fold - Four times as much as had been unjustly taken. This was the amount that was required in the Jewish law when a sheep had been stolen, and a man was convicted of the theft by trial at law, Exodus 22:1. If he "confessed" it himself, without being "detected" and tried, he had only to restore what was stolen, and add to it a fifth part of its value, Numbers 5:6-7. The sincerity of Zacchaeus' repentance was manifest by his being willing to make restoration as great as if it had been proved against him, evincing "his sense" of the wrong, and his purpose to make full restitution. The Jews were allowed to take "no interest" of their brethren Leviticus 25:35-36, and this is the reason why that is not mentioned as the measure of the restitution. When injury of this kind is done in other places, the least that is proper is to restore the principal and interest; for the injured person has a right "to all" that his property would have procured him if it had not been unjustly taken away.

And Zacchaeus stood,.... Before Christ, in respect to him, and reverence of him; and in the presence of others, to make a public confession before them, and that they might all hear it, when come to his own house:

and said unto the Lord; that is, to "Jesus", as the Syriac and Persic versions, and some copies read; he addressed himself to Christ, and made his confession to him, as the Israelite, when he brought the basket of the firstfruits to the priest, confessed before the Lord his God, Deuteronomy 26:4. And the rather Zacchaeus directed his speech to Christ, being, as he was now convinced, the discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart; who knew the genuineness of his repentance, that it was hearty and real; and the sincerity of his expressions and resolutions, and upon what principles he acted, and proposed to do as follows:

behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor; not to make satisfaction for the sins he had committed, but to testify his sense of them, and his repentance for them, and as willing to do good with what he had gotten; which shows, that the disposition of his mind was altered, and of a covetous oppressor, he was become tender, kind, and liberal. According to an order made by the Jews in Usha, a man might not give away more than a fifth part of his estate, unless in some extraordinary cases (u); and we read of one, that gave a "third" part of his goods to the poor (w); and of another, that gave, as here, half of his mammon, or wealth (x); and another, half of his food to the poor (y); and of another, that gave away all his goods to them (z); see 1 Corinthians 13:3; to give a tenth part, was reckoned a medium (a):

and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation; or by extorting any thing from him on any pretence, by making an unjust demand upon him; or in any oppressive way, by defrauding and tricking, and by doing him any injury, in any form or manner:

I restore him fourfold: the same that was done in case of sheep stealing, Exodus 22:1 but in such a case as this, the law only required the principal, with the fifth part added to it; see Leviticus 6:5 but Zacchaeus proposes as much as in the case of theft, and which was rarely used. The Jews (b) say,

"that the manner of paying double, was more used than the manner of paying fourfold, or fivefold; for the manner of paying double was used, both in things animate and inanimate; but the manner of paying fourfold and fivefold, was used but with respect to an ox, and a sheep only.''

This was done by Zacchaeus, to show the truth and reality of his repentance; for with that nation,

"the repentance of shepherds, and of collectors, and of "publicans", is said (c) to be very difficult:''

the reason given by the gloss is, because they rob many, and do not know who to return to.

(u) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 50. 1. & Maimon. in Misn. Peah, c. 1, sect 1.((w) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 44. 1.((x) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 67. 2.((y) Juchasin, fol. 105. 2.((z) T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 2.((a) Maimon. Hilch. Mattanot Anayim, c. 7. sect. 5. (b) Misna Bava Kama, c. 7. sect. 1.((c) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 94. 2.

{3} 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 {b} false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

(3) The example of true repentance is known by the effect.

(b) By falsely accusing any man: and this agrees most fitly to the master of the tax gatherers: for commonly they have this practice among them when they rob and spoil the commonwealth, that they claim to be concerned for nothing else except the profit of the commonwealth, and under this pretence they are thieves, and to such an extent that if men reprove them and try to redress their robbery and thievery, they cry out that the commonwealth is hindered.

Stood (σταθεὶς)

See on Luke 18:11. Describing a formal act, as of one who is about to make a solemn declaration. He was like the Pharisee in attitude, but not in spirit. The more formal word for standing, applied to the Pharisee in the temple, is here used of the publican.

Igive

Not, It is my practice to give. Zacchaeus' statement is not a vindication, but a vow. "I now give by way of restoration."

If I have taken anything by false accusation (εἴ τι ἐσυκοφάντησα)

If - anything does not state a merely possible case, as if Zacchaeus were unconscious of any such extortion; but is a milder way of saying "Whatever I have taken." See on Luke 3:14. It is an odd coincidence, nothing more, that the fig-mulberry (sycamore) should occur in connection with the fig-shewer (sycophant). It was common for the publicans to put a fictitious value on property or income, or to advance the tax to those unable to pay, and then to charge usurious interest on the private debt. On the harsh exaction of such debts, see Matthew 18:28; Luke 12:58.

Fourfold

The restoration required of a thief (Exodus 22:1).

8-10. stood—before all.

said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord—Mark how frequently Luke uses this title, and always where lordly authority, dignity, or power is intended.

if I have—that is, "so far as I have," for evidently the "if" is so used (as in Php 4:8).

taken by false accusation—defrauded, overcharged (Lu 3:12, 13).

fourfold—The Roman law required this; the Jewish law, but the principal and a fifth more (Nu 5:7). There was no demand made for either; but, as if to revenge himself on his hitherto reigning sin (see on [1696]Joh 20:28), and to testify the change he had experienced, besides surrendering the half of his fair gains to the poor, he voluntarily determines to give up all that was ill-gotten, quadrupled. He gratefully addressed this to the "Lord," to whom he owed the wonderful change.

The half of my goods I give to the poor - Probably he had already done so for some time past; though it is generally understood that the expressions only refer to what he now purposed to do.

If I have taken any thing - by false accusation - Εσυκοφαντησα, from συκον, a fig, and φαινω, I show or declare; for among the primitive Athenians, when the use of that fruit was first found out, or in the time of a dearth, when all sorts of provisions were exceedingly scarce, it was enacted that no figs should be exported from Attica; and this law (not being actually repealed, when a plentiful harvest had rendered it useless, by taking away the reason of it) gave occasion to ill-natured and malicious fellows to accuse all persons they found breaking the letter of it; and from them all busy informers have ever since been branded with the name of sycophants. Potter's Antiq. vol. i. c. 21, end.

I restore him fourfold - This restitution the Roman laws obliged the tax-gatherers to make, when it was proved they had abused their power by oppressing the people. But here was no such proof: the man, to show the sincerity of his conversion, does it of his own accord. He who has wronged his fellow must make restitution, if he have it in his power. He that does not do so cannot expect the mercy of God. See the observations at the end of Genesis 42 (note), and Numbers 5:7 (note).

19:8 And Zaccheus stood - Showing by his posture, his deliberate, purpose and ready mind, and said, Behold, Lord, I give - I determine to do it immediately. 19:8 Zacchaeus stood, and said. The record is silent as what had wrought so great a change. No doubt the Lord had preached to him.

Half of my goods, I give to the poor. What greater proof of a change of heart! His heart had been on riches; now at once he consecrates one-half to the relief of suffering.

If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation. He no doubt had, if half that is stated of the publicans was true.

I restore him fourfold. Not only what he has taken, but four times as much. No repentance that does not lead to restitution is genuine. If what thou hast taken wrongfully cannot be restored to those who were wronged, give it to God; the poor are God's receivers.

Luke 19:7
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