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Luke 16:23-26

Context
16:23 And in hell, 1  as he was in torment, 2  he looked up 3  and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side. 4  16:24 So 5  he called out, 6  ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus 7  to dip the tip of his finger 8  in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish 9  in this fire.’ 10  16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, 11  remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus likewise bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. 12  16:26 Besides all this, 13  a great chasm 14  has been fixed between us, 15  so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’

1 sn The Greek term Hades stands for the Hebrew concept of Sheol. It is what is called hell today. This is where the dead were gathered (Ps 16:10; 86:13). In the NT Hades has an additional negative force of awaiting judgment (Rev 20:13).

2 sn Hades is a place of torment, especially as one knows that he is separated from God.

3 tn Grk “he lifted up his eyes” (an idiom).

4 tn Grk “in his bosom,” the same phrase used in 16:22. This idiom refers to heaven and/or participation in the eschatological banquet. An appropriate modern equivalent is “at Abraham’s side.”

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous actions in the narrative.

6 tn Grk “calling out he said”; this is redundant in contemporary English style and has been simplified to “he called out.”

7 sn The rich man had not helped Lazarus before, when he lay outside his gate (v. 2), but he knew him well enough to know his name. This is why the use of the name Lazarus in the parable is significant. (The rich man’s name, on the other hand, is not mentioned, because it is not significant for the point of the story.)

8 sn The dipping of the tip of his finger in water is evocative of thirst. The thirsty are in need of God’s presence (Ps 42:1-2; Isa 5:13). The imagery suggests the rich man is now separated from the presence of God.

9 tn Or “in terrible pain” (L&N 24.92).

10 sn Fire in this context is OT imagery; see Isa 66:24.

11 tn The Greek term here is τέκνον (teknon), which could be understood as a term of endearment.

12 tn Or “in terrible pain” (L&N 24.92). Here is the reversal Jesus mentioned in Luke 6:20-26.

13 tn Grk “And in all these things.” There is no way Lazarus could carry out this request even if divine justice were not involved.

14 sn The great chasm between heaven and hell is impassable forever. The rich man’s former status meant nothing now.

15 tn Grk “between us and you.”



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