16:19 rich man. Whether or not this is an actual event or intended as a parable, it is clear that its description of life after death is intensely real and relevant.
16:20 beggar named Lazarus. One indication that Jesus was relating a real event is that the name of the beggar is given. No other parable includes personal names. At the same time the rich man is left unnamed, suggesting that personal identities are forgotten in hell. “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot” (Proverbs 10:7).
16:20 laid. Lazarus was “laid” (literally “thrown down”) daily at the rich man’s gate.
16:22 carried by the angels. When a believer dies, he does not die alone. Angels have guarded him in life (Hebrews 1:14), and they will accompany his spirit in death, transporting him to the presence of the Lord. “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place” (Psalm 68:17).
16:22 Abraham’s bosom. In the age before the cross and Christ’s victory over sin and death, the spirits of Jewish believers were transported, not to heaven, but to a separate compartment in the great pit at the heart of the earth, there to rest in peace awaiting the coming of Christ “and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). This company of faithful was apparently under the care of “Father Abraham” (Luke 16:24).