Pristine Grace

Lk 16:10-12, (GILL)
10  He that is faithful in that which is least,.... In quantity and quality, especially the latter; in that which is of little value and worth, at least when compared with other things:

is faithful also in much: in matters of greater consequence and importance: the sense of the proverb is, that, generally speaking, a man that acts a faithful part in a small trust committed to him, does so likewise in a much larger; and being tried, and found faithful in things of less moment, he is intrusted with things of greater importance; though this is not always the case: for sometimes a man may behave with great integrity in lesser matters, on purpose that he might gain greater confidence, which, when he has obtained, he abuses in the vilest manner; but because it is usually otherwise, our Lord uses the common proverb; and of like sense is the following;

and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much: that man that acts the unfaithful part in a small matter, and of little worth, generally does the same, if a greater trust is committed to him.

11  If therefore ye have not been faithful,.... This is the application of the above proverbial expressions, and seems to be directed to the disciples of Christ, though not without a view to the covetous Scribes and Pharisees, who were in hearing of it, and were disturbed at it, Lu 16:14 and the meaning is, that whereas some of them might have been unfaithful, and have acted the unjust part of gathering of riches, as Matthew, and other publicans, that were now become the followers of Christ; if therefore they should be unfaithful

in the unrighteous mammon; in the disposing of it to improper uses, which was either unrighteously gotten, and therefore called, as it sometimes was, evrd Nwmm, "mammon of ungodliness", or "ungodly mammon" [x]; or, which was fallacious, deceitful, vain, and transitory:

who will commit to your trust the true riches; or mammon? that is, how should you expect to be intrusted with the riches of grace, as the blessings and promises of the covenant of grace, the graces of the Spirit of God, which truly enrich persons, and are solid and durable? or the riches of glory, the better and more enduring substance in heaven, signified by a kingdom, and an inheritance that fadeth not away? so the Jews call the good things of another world, and say [y], that

"all the good things of this world are not twytma twbwj, "true good things", in comparison of the good things of the world to come.''

And they use the same distinction with respect to "mammon", as here:

"the holy, blessed God, they say [z], gives him, tma lv Nwmm, "mammon of truth", or true mammon; and he makes it rqv, "false", or deceitful:''

or rather the rich treasure of the Gospel is meant, called a treasure in earthen vessels, and the unsearchable riches of Christ; and is comparable to, and of more worth than gold, silver, and precious stones. And so the Syriac version renders it, "who will trust you with the truth?" with the truth of the Gospel.

[x] Targum in Hab. ii. 9. [y] Tzeror Hammor, fol. 23. 2. [z] Shemot Rabba, sect. 31. fol. 134. 4.

12  And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's,.... Which is not a man's own, but what is committed to him by another; Myrxa Nwmmb, "with the mammon of others [a]", to speak in the language of the Jews; and of mammon, our Lord is speaking, and here of another man's, of which they were only stewards, as he in the preceding parable was: hence we read [b] of Nwmm yrmwv, "keepers of mammon", who were intrusted with another's substance; and such are here supposed, which, if unfaithful in,

who shall give you that which is your own? that is, should you unjustly detain, or make an ill use of another man's substance lodged in your hands, how can you expect but that you will be dealt with in like manner by others, who will not pay you yours, they have in their possession, but convert it to their own use? A like distinction of another's and a man's own, may be observed among the Jews:

"there are (say they [c],) four sorts of men in respect of giving alms; he that would give, but would not have others give, his eye is evil, Myrxa lvb, "in that which is other men's" (i.e. as the commentator observes [d], lest the goods of others should be increased, and they get a good name); he that would that others should give, but he will not give himself, his eye is evil, wlvb, "in that which is his own"; he that gives, and would have others give, he is a "good man"; he that neither gives, nor would have others give, he is an "ungodly man";''

see Ro 5:7. Interpreters generally understand by "that which is another man's", in the first clause, the things of this world, which men are possessed of, because these are not of themselves, but from another, from God; and they are but stewards, rather than proprietors of them; and they are for the good of others, and not for themselves; and are not lasting, but in a little while will pass from them to others: and by "that which is your own", they understand the good things of grace and glory, which, when once bestowed on man, are his own property, and for his own use, and will never be alienated from him, but will always abide with him: but if he is unfaithful in the former, how should he expect the latter to be given to him?

[a] Jarchi in Pirke Abot, c. 5, sect. 13. [b] T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 53. 1. [c] Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 13. [d] Jarchi in ib.

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