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English Bible Dictionary

Zacchaeus

 

(pure), a tax-collector near Jericho, who, being short in stature climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to obtain a sight of Jesus as he passed through that place. (Luke 19:1-10) Zacchaeus was a Jew, as may be inferred from his name and from the fact that the Saviour speaks of him expressly as "a son of Abraham." The term which designates his office -"the chief among the publicans" -is unusual, but describes him, no doubt, as the superintendent of customs or tribute in the district of Jericho, where he lived, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The office must have been a lucrative one in such a region, and it is not strange that Zacchaeus is mentioned by the evangelists as a rich man. The Saviour spent the night probably in the house of Zacchaeus, and the next day pursued his journey. He was in the caravan from Galilee which was going to Jerusalem to keep the Passover.

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