1 [1-8a] The parable of the dishonest steward has to be understood in the light of the Palestinian custom of agents acting on behalf of their masters and the usurious practices common to such agents. The dishonesty of the steward consisted in the squandering of his master's property (Luke 16:1) and not in any subsequent graft. The master commends the dishonest steward who has forgone his own usurious commission on the business transaction by having the debtors write new notes that reflected only the real amount owed the master (i.e., minus the steward's profit). The dishonest steward acts in this way in order to ingratiate himself with the debtors because he knows he is being dismissed from his position (Luke 16:3). The parable, then, teaches the prudent use of one's material goods in light of an imminent crisis.
2  One hundred measures: literally, "one hundred baths." A bath is a Hebrew unit of liquid measurement equivalent to eight or nine gallons.
3  One hundred kors: a kor is a Hebrew unit of dry measure for grain or wheat equivalent to ten or twelve bushels.
4 [8b-13] Several originally independent sayings of Jesus are gathered here by Luke to form the concluding application of the parable of the dishonest steward.
5 [8b-9] The first conclusion recommends the prudent use of one's wealth (in the light of the coming of the end of the age) after the manner of the children of this world, represented in the parable by the dishonest steward.
6  Dishonest wealth: literally, "mammon of iniquity." Mammon is the Greek transliteration of a Hebrew or Aramaic word that is usually explained as meaning "that in which one trusts." The characterization of this wealth as dishonest expresses a tendency of wealth to lead one to dishonesty. Eternal dwellings: or, "eternal tents," i.e., heaven. his opposed to the teachings.
7 [10-12] The second conclusion recommends constant fidelity to those in positions of responsibility.
8  The third conclusion is a general statement about the incompatibility of serving God and being a slave to riches. To be dependent upon wealth is opposed to the teachings of Jesus who counseled complete dependence on the Father as one of the characteristics of the Christian disciple (Luke 12:22-39). God and mammon: see the note on Luke 16:9. Mammon is used here as if it were itself a god.
9 [14-18] The two parables about the use of riches in ch 16 are separated by several isolated sayings of Jesus on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Luke 16:14-15), on the law (Luke 16:16-17), and on divorce (Luke 16:18).
11  John the Baptist is presented in Luke's gospel as a transitional figure between the period of Israel, the time of promise, and the period of Jesus, the time of fulfillment. With John, the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises has begun.
12 [19-31] The parable of the rich man and Lazarus again illustrates Luke's concern with Jesus' attitude toward the rich and the poor. The reversal of the fates of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22-23) illustrates the teachings of Jesus in Luke's "Sermon on the Plain" (Luke 6:20-21, 24-25).
13  The oldest Greek manuscript of Luke dating from ca. A.D. 175-225 records the name of the rich man as an abbreviated form of "Nineveh," but there is very little textual support in other manuscripts for this reading. "Dives" of popular tradition is the Latin Vulgate's translation for "rich man." (Luke 16:19-31)
15 [30-31] A foreshadowing in Luke's gospel of the rejection of the call to repentance even after Jesus' resurrection.
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 6: Angels and Devils
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 7: Human Beings and the Purpose of Life
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 8: Sanctifying Grace
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 9: Heaven
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 10: Mortal and Venial Sin