16 Jesus now told this story to his disciples: “A rich man hired an accountant to handle his affairs, but soon a rumor went around that the accountant was thoroughly dishonest.
2 “So his employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about your stealing from me? Get your report in order, for you are to be dismissed.’
3 “The accountant thought to himself, ‘Now what? I’m through here, and I haven’t the strength to go out and dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 I know just the thing! And then I’ll have plenty of friends to take care of me when I leave!’
5-6 “So he invited each one who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ ‘My debt is 850 gallons of olive oil,’ the man replied. ‘Yes, here is the contract you signed,’ the accountant told him. ‘Tear it up and write another one for half that much!’
7 “‘And how much do you owe him?’ he asked the next man. ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the accountant said, ‘take your note and replace it with one for only 800 bushels!’
8 “The rich man had to admire the rascal for being so shrewd.[a] And it is true that the citizens of this world are more clever in dishonesty* than the godly* are. 9 But shall I tell you to act that way, to buy friendship through cheating? Will this ensure your entry into an everlasting home in heaven?[b] 10 No! For unless you are honest in small matters, you won’t be in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s money, why should you be entrusted with money of your own?
13 “For neither you nor anyone else can serve two masters. You will hate one and show loyalty to the other, or else the other way around—you will be enthusiastic about one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, naturally scoffed at all this.
15 Then he said to them, “You wear a noble, pious expression in public, but God knows your evil hearts. Your pretense brings you honor from the people, but it is an abomination in the sight of God. 16 Until John the Baptist began to preach, the laws of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But John introduced the Good News that the Kingdom of God would come soon. And now eager multitudes are pressing in. 17 But that doesn’t mean that the Law has lost its force in even the smallest point. It is as strong and unshakable as heaven and earth.
18 “So anyone who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
19 “There was a certain rich man,” Jesus said, “who was splendidly clothed and lived each day in mirth and luxury. 20 One day Lazarus, a diseased beggar, was laid at his door. 21 As he lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22 Finally the beggar died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham in the place of the righteous dead.[c] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went into hell.[d] There, in torment, he saw Lazarus in the far distance with Abraham.
24 “‘Father Abraham,’ he shouted, ‘have some pity! Send Lazarus over here if only to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us, and anyone wanting to come to you from here is stopped at its edge; and no one over there can cross to us.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘O Father Abraham, then please send him to my father’s home— 28 for I have five brothers—to warn them about this place of torment lest they come here when they die.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘The Scriptures have warned them again and again. Your brothers can read them any time they want to.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham, they won’t bother to read them. But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even though someone rises from the dead.’”[e]
- Luke 16:8 The rich man had to admire the rascal for being so shrewd, or “Do you think the rich man commended the scoundrel for being so shrewd?” in dishonesty, implied. godly, literally, “sons of the light.”
- Luke 16:9 Will this ensure your entry into an everlasting home in heaven? literally, and probably ironically, “Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it shall fail you, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.” Some commentators would interpret this to mean: “Use your money for good, so that it will be waiting to befriend you when you get to heaven.” But this would imply the end justifies the means, an unbiblical idea.
- Luke 16:22 to be with Abraham in the place of the righteous dead, literally, “into Abraham’s bosom.”
- Luke 16:23 into hell, literally, “into Hades.”
- Luke 16:31 even though someone rises from the dead. Even Christ’s resurrection failed to convince the Pharisees, to whom he gave this illustration.