Luke 16:20

ESV And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
NIV At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
NASB And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
CSB But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate.
NLT At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.
KJV And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

What does Luke 16:20 mean?

Jesus introduces the second character of His story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man, we know, dresses in fine, expensive fabrics and feasts every day (Luke 16:19). Lazarus is a beggar, starving and suffering from disease (Luke 16:21). He may be lame, as other people seem to have placed him before the wealthy man's gate in hopes he will have pity on Lazarus and at least feed him.

This Lazarus is not Lazarus of Bethany, Mary and Martha's brother, whom Jesus will raise from the dead (John 11:1–44). "Lazarus" is a variation of "Eleazar," and means "God helps." The rich man is unnamed, possibly to better allow the Pharisees to recognize themselves.

The story is not strictly a parable—an earthly story with a spiritual meaning—but there's little reason to believe it's a record of a literal event, either. Jesus knows the Pharisees have a hard time understanding His parables (Luke 8:9–10); perhaps He is more straightforward for their benefit.

A gate would be the entrance through a wall to the courtyard of a home. The word used, however, refers to a city gate or one used for temples and mansions. We don't know what kind of sores Lazarus has, but if the dogs lick them (Luke 16:21) they were probably open, which made him unclean (Leviticus 15:2–12). The rich man is inside the gate, feasting and wearing fine clothes; Lazarus lies outside, starving and suffering.
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