Luke 19:12-27 and Waldenström’s Commentary

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

Paul Peter Waldenström based his comments on a Greek New Testament text which he translated into Swedish and published (2nd Edition, 1902). Tommy Carlson has translated both the Biblical text and Waldenström’s commentary from the Swedish into English for Pietisten’s readers. –MS

Verse 12 — He also said: “A certain person of noble birth1 traveled to a foreign land2 to acquire for himself3 a kingdom and then return.”

1. The similarity is borrowed from the time when the Savior was born in Palestine, regarding the conditions of ruling it. The tributary kings maintained their kingdoms from the Caesar in Rome, to whom they traveled to receive it. The Savior seems to refer to Herod the Great’s son (Matthew 2:22). The Jews protested to Caesar against installing him as king to no avail.

2. However, the Savior refers to his travel to the Father, from whom he shall receive his kingdom in order to return again and establish it.

3. He did not travel as an envoy for someone else.

Verse 13 — But he called ten of his own servants1 and gave them ten pounds2 and said to them: “Do business3 until I return.”4

1. He could be gone with confidence knowing the loyalty of his own servants to their master. They would administer the possessions left in their care. The Lord is referring to his disciples.

2. The value of the coins is much debated and perhaps is not so important to this story.

3. The servants should use the money with which to do business.

4. That is to say: do business with your money; while you are doing that I will return. The disciples should do business always thinking the Lord is already on his way back.

Verse 14 — But his compatriots1 hated him and sent out a delegation2 after him, saying: We do not want that this one3 should be our king.

1. Meaning the citizens in that country, who by means of his journey he sought to become their king. The Lord is referring to the un-believing Jews who rejected him.

2. Namely to them, from whom the man would receive the kingdom. The picture is the Roman Caesar, but the meaning alludes to God, to whom the Jews said no by their behavior. They did not want Jesus as their king.

3. This expression means contempt.

Verse 15 — And it happened when he returned after having received his kingdom,1 he said, that the servants to whom he had given the silver should be called before him so that he would know who had profited and by how much.

1. Meaning after he had been installed as the king by the Caesar. The picture alludes to the end of time when Jesus shall be installed by God as the king on earth and establish the Messianic kingdom.

Verse 16 — The first one came and said: “Lord, your one has brought in ten pounds.”1

1. Note; he does not say: “I have earned;” but rather your one has brought in.

Verse 17 — And he said to him: “Well done, you good servant; while you are1 faithful in a small thing,2 you shall govern3 ten cities.”

1. The master does not say: while you were, but rather: since you are. Since the servant received the silver, he was faithful in its administration.

2. Note how on the one hand the servant praises his master for the gift, and on the other hand, the master praises the servant’s faithfulness as a reason for the good result.

3. Vebatim: having power.

Verse 18 — And the second one came in saying: Your one, my master, has brought in five pounds.

Verse 19 — But he said even to this one: And you shall govern five cities!

Verse 20 — And another came1 saying: Lord, see (here) your money, that I have hidden in a piece of cloth!

1. Even the unfaithful servant must come forward, when the Lord comes to judge. (See Matt 25:24-27).

Verse 21 — I was afraid of you, because you are stern person; you pick up, what you have not put down, and harvest what you have sown.

Verse 22 — He said to him: From your mouth I shall judge you, you evil servant. Did you1 know that I was a stern person, who picks up what I have not put down, and harvests, what I have not sown?

1. Or: You knew.

Verse 23 — And why did you not leave my1 silver at a bank?2 Then I would have, upon my return, have received it back with interest?

1. There is in the original text an emphasis on the MY. it was not YOUR silver, with which you could do business at your pleasure, but it was MINE.

2. The word in the original text means TABLE. Money dealers worked in the town squares, yes, even in the Temple’s courtyard (see Matt. 21:12), on tables where they did their banking business.

Verse 24 — And he said to those who stood there1: Take away from him the money and give to him who has the ten pounds.2

1. That is to say, his bodyguards. Thereby is meant the angels (chapter 1:19, Matt.13:41). They will be there at the time of judgment.

2. These ten pounds is not included in the original money he received from his master. It is not the GIFTS themselves, but rather, THROUGH THE GIFTS EARNED, which provides the disciple compensation from the master.

Verse 25 — and they said to him1: Lord he has ten pounds

1. This is not to be understood that some of the listeners said to Jesus, but the Lord continues His story: The bodyguards said to the king.

Verse 26 — I1 say to you, to each and everyone, who has, shall be given more, but from them who has nothing, even that shall be taken, what he has.

1. It is the king’s word to which the Lord here alludes. Verse 25 contains a hidden meaning, through which the king’s speech has been interrupted.

Verse 27 — In addition these my enemies1, who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and slaughter2 them before me.

1. Note: 1) The Lord is rendering an account of his faithful servants; 2) he is rendering an account of the unfaithful servants; 3) and the sentence of his enemies. The Lord also separates the accounting between the servants and the sentence of his enemies.

2. The Lord is choosing these strong words to express the horror of the sentence. We use the same word in Swedish when we want to describe a horrible bloodbath. The meaning is as follows: At the return to establish the kingdom, the Lord will first hold an accounting with his disciples. Those who have faithfully managed the gift, that he himself has given them, they shall receive their reward in the kingdom. This reward shall be different, because one has earned more the other less for the Lord. That disciple, however, who has been unfaithful, and has not accomplished anything, shall lose his place as a disciple and be barred from the kingdom. Those Jews, who had scornfully rejected the Lord, shall in the horrible manner be punished. The likeness is in addition applicable on the one hand, all Christ’s disciples in all times, and on the other hand, all Christ’s enemies in all times, that is clear, but at this time it was the original disciples and the Jews.

Paul Peter Waldenström was a Swedish revival preacher, and served as editor of Pietisten from 1868-1917.

See all articles by Paul Peter Waldenström

Tommy Carlson remodels homes and is an editor of Pietisten.

See all articles by Tommy Carlson