16:1 Jesus told his disciples [the Pharisees were also listening as per 16:14]: “There was a rich man [the rich often had managers or stewards to oversee their financial affairs] whose manager was accused of wasting [squandering (as in Lk. 15:13)] his possessions.
16:2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account [people often forget that sooner or later they will have to give an account; cf. 1 Pet. 4:5] of your management [stewardship], because you cannot be manager any longer.’
16:3 “The manager said to himself [he carefully considered his options concerning the future], ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig [the manager considered his physical limitations], and I’m ashamed to beg [the manager considered his psychological limits]—
16:4 I know what I’ll do [the manager had a dramatic and sudden idea concerning how he could ingratiate himself to others] so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
16:5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors [possibly tenant farmers, merchants who received goods on promissory notes, borrowers]. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
16:6 “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil [used both for cooking and for lamps],’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’
16:7 “Then he asked the second [the manager likely continued this process of debt reduction with other tenants], ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
16:8 “The master [the “rich man” of 16:1] commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly [note that the praise was not for cheating]. For the people of this world [unbelievers] are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light [those who belong to God’s kingdom].
16:9 I tell you [this phrase connects Jesus’ words to the preceding parable], use worldly wealth [“mammona” is an Aramaic word for “riches,” money,” or “material possessions”] to [Jesus’ instructed the disciples to use money in ways that would benefit God’s kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:19-20)…] gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings [heaven].
16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little [material possessions] can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest [unfaithful or untrustworthy] with very little [worldly wealth] will also be dishonest with much.
16:11 So [note the application of the statement in the preceding verse…] if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth [temporary material wealth], who will trust you with true [real or permanent] riches?
16:12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property [material wealth], who will give you property of your own [cf. “true riches” in 16:12]?
16:13 [cf. Matt. 6:24] “No servant can serve [Gr. douleuein means to serve as a slave (Gr. doulos)] two masters [Gr. kurios]. Either he [a slave in the ancient world belonged to his owner absolutely and had no personal rights] will hate the one and love the other [attitude toward one master determined attitude toward the other], or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money [mammon: Aramaic, Syriac, and Punic word for the money-god or the devil (Robertson); denotes material possessions; refers to that which a person trusted].”
16:14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
16:20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
16:21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
16:22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
16:23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
16:24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
16:5 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
16:27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house,
16:28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
16:29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
16:30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”