Lazarus and Eleazar

The story of the rich man (classically called “Dives”) and Lazarus has been the stuff of late night discussions and debates. Was it an account of real events and real people or a parable? Our rule of thumb is the statement in Matthew 13.34 that Jesus did not teach anything apart from by parables. The reason for parables seems to be to both obscure meaning AND to disclose meaning! So if we grant that this is probably not intended as a literal account then we are curious as to why the one character is given a name in the story. “Dives,” incidentally is simply the Latin term for “rich man” so that can be set aside in our query. Why does Jesus name the beggar? When we search for some clues in the Scriptures we come across a namesake in the household of Abraham. Genesis 15.1 is an account of Abraham’s prayer in which he says that his heir apparent is Eleazar. This is the origin of the name Lazarus. Here is material for our study. Given the back story of the dismissal of the entitlement of the Jewish religion of the day, who claimed their rights on the basis of their father being Abraham is this story an irony about who is to be found in Abraham’s bosom in Paradise? Think on it 🙂