on Luke 16 :9
The mammon of unrighteousness - Μαμωνα της αδικιας - literally, the mammon, or riches, of injustice. Riches promise Much, and perform Nothing: they excite hope and confidence, and deceive both: in making a man depend on them for happiness, they rob him of the salvation of God and of eternal glory. For these reasons, they are represented as unjust and deceitful. See the note on Matthew 6:24, where this is more particularly explained. It is evident that this must be the meaning of the words, because the false or deceitful riches, here, are put in opposition to the true riches, Luke 16:11; i.e. those Divine graces and blessings which promise all good, and give what they promise; never deceiving the expectation of any man. To insinuate that, if a man have acquired riches by unjust means, he is to sanctify them, and provide himself a passport to the kingdom of God, by giving them to the poor, is a most horrid and blasphemous perversion of our Lord's words. Ill gotten gain must be restored to the proper owners: if they are dead, then to their successors.
When ye fail - That is, when ye die. The Septuagint use the word εκλειπειν in this very sense, Jeremiah 42:17, Jeremiah 42:22. See the note on Genesis 25:8. So does Josephus, War, chap. iv. 1, 9.
They may receive you - That is, say some, the angels. Others, the poor whom ye have relieved will welcome you into glory. It does not appear that the poor are meant:
1. Because those who have relieved them may die a long time before them; and therefore they could not be in heaven to receive them on their arrival.
2. Many poor persons may be relieved, who will live and die in their sins, and consequently never enter into heaven themselves.
The expression seems to be a mere Hebraism: - they may receive you, for ye shall be received; i.e. God shall admit you, if you make a faithful use of his gifts and graces. He who does not make a faithful use of what he has received from his Maker has no reason to hope for eternal felicity. See Matthew 25:33; and, for similar Hebraisms, consult in the original, Luke 6:38; Luke 12:20; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 16:15.
on Luke 16 :9
I say unto you - I, Jesus, say to you, my disciples.
Make to yourselves friends - Some have understood the word "friends," here, as referring to the poor; others, to holy angels; and others, to God. Perhaps, however, the word should not be considered as referring to any particular "persons," but is used in accordance with the preceding parable; for in the application our Saviour uses the "language" appropriated to the conduct of the steward to express the "general" truth that we are to make a proper use of riches. The steward had so managed his pecuniary affairs as to secure future comfort for himself, or so as to find friends that would take care of him "beyond" the time when he was put out of the office. That is, he would not be destitute, or cast off, or without comfort, when he was removed from his office. So, says our Saviour to the publicans and those who had property, so use your property as "to secure" happiness and comfort beyond the time when you shall be removed from the present life. "Have reference," in the use of your money, to the future.
Do not use it so that it shall not avail you anything hereafter; but so employ it that, as the steward found friends, comfort, and a home by "his" wisdom in the use of it, so "you" may, after you are removed to another world, find friends, comfort, and a home - that is, may be happy in heaven. Jesus, here, does not say that we should do it "in the same way" that the steward did, for that was unjust; but only that we should "secure the result." This may be done by using our riches as we "should do;" that is, by not suffering them to entangle us in cares and perplexities dangerous to the soul, engrossing the time, and stealing away the affections; by employing them in works of mercy and benevolence, aiding the poor, contributing to the advance of the gospel, bestowing them where they will do good, and in such a manner that God will "approve" the deed, and will bless us for it. Commonly riches are a "hindrance" to piety. To many they are snares; and, instead of positively "benefiting" the possessor, they are an injury, as they engross the time and the affections, and do not contribute at all to the eternal welfare of the soul. Everything may, by a proper use, be made to contribute to our welfare in heaven. Health, wealth, talents, and influence may be so employed; and this is what our Saviour doubtless means here.
Of the mammon - "By means" of the mammon.
Mammon - A Syriac word meaning riches. It is used, also, as an idol the god of riches.
Of unrighteousness - These words are an Hebrew expression for "unrighteous mammon," the noun being used for an adjective, as is common in the New Testament. The word "unrighteous," here, stands opposed to "the true riches" in Luke 16:11, and means "deceitful, false, not to be trusted." It has this meaning often. See 1 Timothy 6:17; Luke 12:33; Matthew 6:19; Matthew 19:21. It does not signify, therefore, that they had acquired the property "unjustly," but that property was "deceitful" and not to be trusted. The wealth of the steward was deceitful; he could not rely on its continuance; it was liable to be taken away at any moment. So the wealth of the world is deceitful. We cannot "calculate" on its continuance. It may give us support or comfort now, but it may be soon removed, or we taken from "it," and we should, therefore, so use it as to derive benefit from it hereafter.
When ye fail - When ye "are left," or when ye "die." The expression is derived from the parable as referring to the "discharge" of the steward; but it refers to "death," as if God then "discharged" his people, or took them from their stewardship and called them to account.
They may receive you - This is a form of expression denoting merely "that you may be received." The plural form is used because it was used in the corresponding place in the parable, Luke 16:4. The direction is, so to use our worldly goods that "we may be received" into heaven when we die. "God" will receive us there, and we are to employ our property so that he will not cast us off for abusing it.
Everlasting habitations - Heaven, the eternal "home" of the righteous, where all our wants will be supplied, and where there can be no more anxiety, and no more removal from enjoyments, 2 Corinthians 5:1.
on Luke 16 :9
16:9 And I say to you - Be good stewards even of the lowest talents wherewith God hath intrusted you. Mammon means riches or money. It is termed the mammon of unrighteousness, because of the manner wherein it is commonly either procured or employed. Make yourselves friends of this, by doing all possible good, particularly to the children of God: that when ye fail, when your flesh and your heart faileth, when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, those of them who have gone before may receive, may welcome you into the everlasting habitations.