According to Luke 19:1-48

19  He then entered Jerʹi·cho and was passing through.  Now a man named Zac·chaeʹus was there; he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.  Well, he was trying to see who this Jesus was, but he could not see because of the crowd, since he was short.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree* in order to see him, for he was about to pass that way.  Now when Jesus got to the place, he looked up and said to him: “Zac·chaeʹus, hurry and get down, for today I must stay in your house.”  With that he hurried down and joyfully welcomed him as a guest.  When they saw this, they were all muttering: “He went as a guest to the house of a man who is a sinner.”+  But Zac·chaeʹus stood up and said to the Lord: “Look! The half of my belongings, Lord, I am giving to the poor, and whatever I extorted from anyone, I am restoring four times over.”+  At this Jesus said to him: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10  For the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.”+ 11  While they were listening to these things, he told another illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear instantly.+ 12  So he said: “A man of noble birth traveled to a distant land+ to secure kingly power for himself and to return. 13  Calling ten of his slaves, he gave them ten miʹnas and told them, ‘Do business with these until I come.’+ 14  But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him to say, ‘We do not want this man to become king over us.’ 15  “When he eventually got back after having secured the kingly power, he summoned the slaves to whom he had given the money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by their business activity.+ 16  So the first one came forward and said, ‘Lord, your miʹna gained ten miʹnas.’+ 17  He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because in a very small matter you have proved yourself faithful, hold authority over ten cities.’+ 18  Now the second came, saying, ‘Your miʹna, Lord, made five miʹnas.’+ 19  He said to this one as well, ‘You too be in charge of five cities.’ 20  But another one came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your miʹna that I kept hidden away in a cloth. 21  You see, I was in fear of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and you reap what you did not sow.’+ 22  He said to him, ‘By your own words I judge you, wicked slave. You knew, did you, that I am a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?+ 23  So why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my coming, I would have collected it with interest.’ 24  “With that he said to those standing by, ‘Take the miʹna from him and give it to the one who has the ten miʹnas.’+ 25  But they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten miʹnas!’— 26  ‘I say to you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.+ 27  Moreover, bring these enemies of mine here who did not want me to become king over them and execute them in front of me.’” 28  After he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29  And when he got near to Bethʹpha·ge and Bethʹa·ny at the mountain called Mount of Olives,+ he sent two of the disciples,+ 30  saying: “Go into the village that is within sight, and after you enter it, you will find a colt tied, on which no man has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31  But if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you must say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32  So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had said to them.+ 33  But as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them: “Why are you untying the colt?” 34  They said: “The Lord needs it.” 35  And they led it to Jesus, and they threw their outer garments on the colt and seated Jesus on it.+ 36  As he moved along, they were spreading their outer garments on the road.+ 37  As soon as he got near the road down the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and to praise God with a loud voice because of all the powerful works they had seen, 38  saying: “Blessed is the one coming as the King in Jehovah’s name! Peace in heaven, and glory in the heights above!”*+ 39  However, some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him: “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”+ 40  But in reply he said: “I tell you, if these remained silent, the stones would cry out.” 41  And when he got nearby, he viewed the city and wept over it,+ 42  saying: “If you, even you, had discerned on this day the things having to do with peace+—but now they have been hidden from your eyes.+ 43  Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification of pointed stakes and will encircle you and besiege you* from every side.+ 44  They will dash you and your children within you to the ground,+ and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you,+ because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.” 45  Then he entered the temple and started to throw out those who were selling,+ 46  saying to them: “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’+ but you have made it a cave of robbers.”+ 47  He continued teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal ones of the people were seeking to kill him;+ 48  but they did not find any way to do this, for the people one and all kept hanging on to him to hear him.+


Or “a fig-mulberry tree.”
Or “in the highest places.”
Or “hem you in; distress you.”

Study Notes

Zacchaeus: From a Hebrew name, possibly from a root word meaning “clean; pure.” As a chief tax collector, it seems that Zacchaeus was over other tax collectors in and around Jericho. The district around this city was fertile and productive, yielding considerable tax revenue. Zacchaeus was rich, and his own words (Lu 19:8) indicate that he used questionable practices to accumulate at least part of his wealth.

accuse anybody falsely: The Greek term translated “accuse . . . falsely” (sy·ko·phan·teʹo) used here is rendered “extorted” or “extorted by false accusation” at Lu 19:8. (See study note on Lu 19:8.) The literal meaning of the verb has been explained to be “to take by fig-showing.” There are various explanations of the origin of this word. One is that in ancient Athens, the exporting of figs from the province was prohibited. Therefore, someone who denounced others by accusing them of attempting to export figs was termed a “fig-shower.” The term came to designate a person who accused others falsely for the sake of gain, or a blackmailer.

extorted: Or “extorted by false accusation.”​—See study note on Lu 3:14.

four times over: Zacchaeus could likely calculate from his tax records just how much he had received from various Jews, and he vowed to make a fourfold restitution. That is even more than God’s Law required. In such cases of repentance and admission of guilt, the Law ordered that the defrauder pay back the full amount and “add to it a fifth [that is, 20 percent] of its value,” but Zacchaeus said that he would repay four times the amount. As fruitage of his repentance, he thus showed not only love for the poor but also justice toward oppressed ones.​—Le 6:2-5; Nu 5:7.

illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.

illustration: Or “parable.”​—See study note on Mt 13:3.

Kingdom: First occurrence of the Greek word ba·si·leiʹa, which refers to a royal government as well as to the territory and peoples under the rule of a king. Of the 162 occurrences of this Greek word in the Christian Greek Scriptures, 55 can be found in Matthew’s account and most of them refer to God’s heavenly rule. Matthew uses the term so frequently that his Gospel might be called the Kingdom Gospel.​—See Glossary, “God’s Kingdom.”

the Kingdom: In the Bible, the term “kingdom” is used in several different ways, including “the region or country governed by a king,” “kingly power,” “a realm,” and “being ruled by a king.” Here it is evidently used in the sense of receiving the benefits or blessings of being ruled by God’s Kingdom and enjoying life within its realm.

to secure kingly power: Or “to secure a kingdom.” The Greek word ba·si·leiʹa, most often rendered “kingdom,” has a broad meaning and often refers to a royal government as well as to the territory and peoples under the rule of a king. (See study notes on Mt 3:2; 25:34.) It may also signify kingship, the royal office or position of the king, with its accompanying dignity, power, and authority. In the Roman Empire, it was not uncommon for a person of noble birth to travel to Rome in quest of kingly power. Jesus’ parable may well have reminded his listeners of Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great. Before Herod the Great died, he designated Archelaus as heir to rulership over Judea and other areas. However, to secure the rulership, Archelaus first made the long journey to Rome in order to get the approval of Caesar Augustus.

minas: A Greek mina was not a coin but a unit of weight of some 340 g (10.9 oz t) and, according to ancient Greek writers, was reckoned to have a monetary value equal to 100 drachmas. Since the drachma was worth nearly as much as a denarius, a mina was a considerable sum. (See Glossary, “Denarius.”) A Greek mina was different from the Hebrew mina.​—See Glossary, “Mina,” and App. B14.

to secure kingly power: Or “to secure a kingdom.” The Greek word ba·si·leiʹa, most often rendered “kingdom,” has a broad meaning and often refers to a royal government as well as to the territory and peoples under the rule of a king. (See study notes on Mt 3:2; 25:34.) It may also signify kingship, the royal office or position of the king, with its accompanying dignity, power, and authority. In the Roman Empire, it was not uncommon for a person of noble birth to travel to Rome in quest of kingly power. Jesus’ parable may well have reminded his listeners of Archelaus, a son of Herod the Great. Before Herod the Great died, he designated Archelaus as heir to rulership over Judea and other areas. However, to secure the rulership, Archelaus first made the long journey to Rome in order to get the approval of Caesar Augustus.

money: Lit., “silver,” that is, silver used as money.

the kingly power: Or “the kingdom.”​—See study note on Lu 19:12.

money: See study note on Mt 25:18.

money: Lit., “silver,” that is, silver used as money.

money: See study note on Mt 25:18.

bank: In the parable of the minas in Luke’s Gospel, as well as in the illustration about the talents in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus referred to a bank and to bankers who give interest on money deposited with them. (Mt 25:14-30; Lu 19:12-27) The Greek word traʹpe·za, here rendered “bank,” literally means “table.” (Mt 15:27) When associated with financial operations, such as the money changers, this word refers to a table or a counter for displaying coins. (Mt 21:12; Mr 11:15; Joh 2:15) During the first century C.E., moneylenders, or bankers, were prominent in Israel and surrounding nations.

interest: The Law forbade the Israelites to charge interest on loans to needy fellow Jews. (Ex 22:25) But interest was specifically allowed on loans to foreigners, likely for business ventures. (De 23:20) It seems that in Jesus’ day, it was common to receive interest on funds deposited with moneylenders.

—: The em dash helps the reader to see that there is a change of speaker, since this is not specifically indicated in the text. In verse 26, the master of the slaves is speaking.

Bethphage: The name of this village on the Mount of Olives comes from Hebrew, probably meaning “House of the Early Figs.” Tradition locates it between Jerusalem and Bethany on the SE slope of the Mount of Olives, near the peak, about 1 km (less than 1 mi) from Jerusalem.​—Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29; see App. A7, Map 6.

Bethany: A village on the ESE slope of the Mount of Olives at a distance of about 3 km (2 mi) from Jerusalem. (Joh 11:18) The home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, located in this village, appears to have been Jesus’ base in Judea. (Joh 11:1) Today the site is marked by a small village with an Arabic name meaning “The Place of Lazarus.”

Bethphage: See study note on Mt 21:1.

Bethany: See study note on Mt 21:17.

a donkey tied and a colt with her: Only Matthew’s account mentions both the donkey and its colt. (Mr 11:2-7; Lu 19:30-35; Joh 12:14, 15) Evidently, since Jesus rode only on the colt, Mark, Luke, and John mention only one animal.​—See study note on Mt 21:5.

a colt: That is, a young donkey. The accounts of Mark, Luke (19:35), and John (12:14, 15) mention only one animal, the colt, when describing this event. Matthew’s account (21:2-7) adds the detail that the parent donkey was also present.​—See study notes on Mt 21:2, 5.

Jehovah’s: In this quote from Ps 118:26, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

the stones would cry out: As the context shows, Jesus was speaking about the particular declaration his disciples were making and to which the Pharisees objected. (Lu 19:37-39) The disciples were using the words recorded at Ps 118:26. That prophetic psalm was certain to be fulfilled on this occasion, for Jehovah’s words do not return to him “without results.” (Isa 55:11) If the disciples had been forced to be silent at this time, the literal stones would have cried out in order to fulfill this prophecy.

wept: The Greek word for “wept” often refers to weeping audibly.

fortification of pointed stakes: Or “palisade.” The Greek word khaʹrax occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It has been defined as a “pointed stick or post used to fence in an area; stake” and also as a “military installation involving the use of stakes; palisade.” Jesus’ words came true in the year 70 C.E. when the Romans, commanded by Titus, erected a siege wall, or palisade, around Jerusalem. Titus’ objective was threefold​—to prevent the Jews from fleeing, to encourage their surrender, and to starve the inhabitants into submission. To provide materials for the construction of this fortification around Jerusalem, Roman troops stripped the countryside of trees.

by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone: Jesus’ prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in 70 C.E. when the Romans demolished Jerusalem and its temple. Apart from a few sections of the wall, the city was completely leveled.

they will not leave a stone upon a stone: See study note on Mt 24:2.

the time of your being inspected: Or “the appointed time of your inspection.” The Greek word e·pi·sko·peʹ (inspection; visitation) is related to the words e·piʹsko·pos (overseer) and e·pi·sko·peʹo (watch over; watch carefully) and can have a positive or a negative connotation. For unfaithful Jews, who did not discern this time of inspection in connection with Jesus’ earthly ministry, it would result in adverse judgment by God. However, those who did discern this time of inspection and took advantage of it to repent and show faith in God would have God’s approval. The same Greek word is used in the Septuagint at Isa 10:3 and Jer 10:15 to render a Hebrew expression for “day of reckoning (punishment).”

temple: Probably referring to the part of the temple area known as the Court of the Gentiles.​—See App. B11.

temple: See study note on Mt 21:12.

throw out those who were selling: On Nisan 10, 33 C.E., Jesus cleanses the temple a second time. This occasion is described in the Gospels of Matthew (21:12-17), Mark (11:15-18), and Luke. The first cleansing took place in connection with the Passover of 30 C.E. and is described at Joh 2:13-17.

cave of robbers: Or “den of thieves.” Jesus here alludes to Jer 7:11. He likely called the merchants and money changers “robbers” because they made unjust profit from selling animals for sacrifice and charged exorbitant fees for exchanging currencies. Jesus was also indignant that Jehovah’s house of prayer, or place of worship, had been wrongly turned into a center for commercial activity.

cave of robbers: See study note on Mt 21:13.


Sycamore Tree
Sycamore Tree

The sycamore tree, or fig-mulberry tree (Ficus sycomorus), is mentioned once in the Christian Greek Scriptures, in the account of Jesus’ visit to Jericho in the spring of 33 C.E. (Lu 19:1-10) This tree belongs to the same family as the common fig tree and the mulberry tree, but it differs from the North American sycamore. The tree’s fruit is like that of the common fig tree. The tree grows to a height of 10 to 15 m (33 to 50 ft), is strong, and may live for several hundred years. Sycamore trees grew in the Jordan Valley, and the Hebrew Scriptures also show that they were abundant in the Shephelah between the coastal plains and the Judean hills. (1Ki 10:27; 2Ch 1:15; 9:27) The tree is an evergreen, and its thick, wide-spreading foliage provides good shade. For that reason, the tree was frequently planted along roadsides. The tree has a short, stout trunk with lower limbs that branch out close to the ground, so it would have been easy for a short-statured man like Zacchaeus to climb it.

Bethphage, the Mount of Olives, and Jerusalem
Bethphage, the Mount of Olives, and Jerusalem

This short video follows a path approaching Jerusalem from the east, from the village of modern-day et-Tur—thought to correspond to the Biblical Bethphage—to one of the higher points on the Mount of Olives. Bethany lies east of Bethphage on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. When in Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples customarily spent the night at Bethany, today marked by the town of el-ʽAzariyeh (El ʽEizariya), an Arabic name meaning “The Place of Lazarus.” Jesus undoubtedly stayed at the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. (Mt 21:17; Mr 11:11; Lu 21:37; Joh 11:1) When traveling from their home to Jerusalem, Jesus may have followed a route similar to the one shown in the video. On Nisan 9, 33 C.E., when Jesus rode the colt of a donkey over the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, he may well have done so from Bethphage, following the road to Jerusalem.

1. Road from Bethany to Bethphage

2. Bethphage

3. Mount of Olives

4. Kidron Valley

5. Temple Mount

Colt, or Young Donkey
Colt, or Young Donkey

The donkey is a hard-hoofed animal of the horse family, distinguished from the horse by its smaller size, shorter mane, longer ears, and shorter tail-hair, with only the end half of the tail having a brush. Although the donkey’s stupidity and stubbornness are proverbial, its intelligence is actually considered to be superior to that of the horse, and it is usually a patient creature. Both men and women, even prominent Israelites, rode donkeys. (Jos 15:18; Jg 5:10; 10:3, 4; 12:14; 1Sa 25:42) Solomon, the son of David, rode to his anointing on his father’s she-mule, a hybrid offspring of a male donkey. (1Ki 1:33-40) It was therefore most appropriate that Jesus, the one greater than Solomon, fulfill the prophecy of Zec 9:9 by riding, not on a horse, but on a young donkey.

Stones From the Temple Mount
Stones From the Temple Mount

These stones, found on the southern part of the Western Wall, are believed to have been part of the structures on the first-century temple mount. They have been left here as a grim reminder of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Romans.