Wednesday, August 15, 2012


16 ALSO [JESUS] said to the disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a manager of his estate, and accusations [against this man were brought] to him, that he was sqaundering his [master's] possesions.
2 And he called him and said to him, What is that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management [of my affairs], for you can be [my] manager no longer.
3 And the manager of the estate said to himself, What shall I do, seeing that my master is taking the management away from me? I am not able to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
4 I have come to know what I will do, so that they [my master's debtors] may accept and welcome me into their houses when I am put out of the management.
5 So he summoned his master's debtors one by one, and he said to the first, How much do you owe my master?
6 He said, A hundred measures [about nine hundred gallons] of oil. And he said to him, Take back your written acknowledgement of obligation, and sit down quickly and write fifty [about four hundred fifty gallons].
7 After that he said to another, And how much do you owe? He said, A hundred measures [about nine hundred bushels] of wheat. He said to him, Take back your written acknowledgement of obligation, and write eighty [about seven hundred bushels].
8 And [his] master praised the dishonest (unjust) manager for acting shrewdly and prudently; for the sons of this age are shrewder and more prudent and wiser in [relation to] their own generation-that is, to their own age and kind-than are the sons of light.
9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon [that is, deceitful riches, money, possessions], so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into everlasting habitations (dwellings).
10 He who is faithful in a very little [thing], is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing], is dishonest and unjust also in much.
11 Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the [case of] the unrighteous mammon-the deceitful riches, money, possessions-who will entrust to you true riches?
12 And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another [whether God or man], who will give you that which is your own [that is, the true riches]?
13 No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon-riches, that is, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely.
(Luke 16:1-13; Amplified Bible).

1-4 "Manager" is a broad term for an employee or agent who has was entrusted with the management of funds or property. Mismanagement was possible because strict accounts were not always kept. When word came from others (v.2), he had to "give an account." The manager's plight (v.3) was that he had a respectable "desk job" but could do little else. His decision, therefore, is made with a view to his personal security after his dismissal.

5-8 As already noted, the bills may have been written in terms of commodities rather than cash, perhaps in order to hide the actual amount of interest. The amounts owed were large; the wheat is said to be equal to the yield of about one hundred acres. The actual value of the reduction in each case has been computed to equal about sixteen month's wages for a day laborer. The meaning of v.8a, as noted above, is not that a manager is commended for an act of dishonesty but that a dishonest manager is commended for an act of prudence.

8b-9 The contrast between those who belong to this age and those who belong to the light (v.8b) is a familiar one (cf. Eph 5:8; 1Thess 5:5; 1John 1:5-7). Christians do not belong to this evil age, but they can nevertheless make responsible use of "worldly wealth" (v.9). The "friends" may not refer to any particular people but simply be part of the parable's imagery. Usually they have been understood as being poor people, for whom Jesus had a deep concern and to whom we are here urged to give alms (cf. Lk 12:33). "Wordly wealth" should not be stored up for oneself (cf. lk 12:21), since one day it will be "gone."

10-13 The theme of stewardship is now discussed in terms of trustworthiness as over against dishonesty. "Worldly wealth" (v.11) appears for the second time (cf. v.9). The propery here is "someone else's," presumably God's, in contrast to the parable's imagery in which the amount forgiven was the manager's own commission. Verse 13 (cf. Matt 6:24) is also appropriate to the context (the Greek word earlier translated "worldly wealth" is now translated "money"). Though one may have both God and money, we cannot serve them both.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 2: New Testament].



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