Turning back to the Scripture here, we aren’t told specifically of the relationship between the rich man and Lazarus. We don’t know if the rich man mistreated the beggar, or if he simply ignored his presence outside the gate. What we do know though is that he knew of Lazarus, and that he apparently had no concern for his state of being…
The wealthy man stayed in the lap of luxury while the beggar wasted away in pain, agony, and pitiful destitution. I cannot help but draw a sharp connection with Christ’s words in Matthew 25: 42 and 43:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
Friends, how many times do we ourselves ignore those who could use a hand, even if its a simple as a drink, a meal, some clothing, even just a moment of our time? God help us.
Outside the gate, poor Lazarus lingered, his sores weeping and festering.
We read in the Word how “the dogs came and licked his sores.” Now, some scholars suspect that these were the rich man’s dogs, well fed and kept healthy by the man’s wealth, while poor Lazarus lingered in the street. They claim, in this light, that the dogs may have been showing the beggar more mercy than the rich man, soothing his weeping wounds the only way they could.
Another interpretation however is a bit more chilling…
I apologize if you are a dog lover, but canines typically were not held in high regard across the Scriptures. Dogs were not well-liked. They were often associated with evil, violence, scavenging. Taken in that light, the reference of these dogs may be yet another hardship for poor Lazarus.
His bloody, weeping sores attracting dark, loathsome scavengers. They came upon him, licking this wounds, growing excited by an easy, defenseless meal. It may be that this was how Lazarus met his end, for in the very next verse we read that:
“… it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried”
“Hell & the Rich Man” continues next time…
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