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Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Kingdom and Forgiveness

MT18:23 “For this reason the Realm of Heaven may be compared to a human king who wished to settle his logs[1] with his slaves. MT18:24 Having started to settle the accounts one debtor owing ten thousand talents[2] was brought forward. MT18:25 But not having the resources to pay off his debt the master commanded that he, his woman, his children, and everything they possessed, be sold so the debt could be paid.[3] MT18:26 As a result the slave fell forward prostrating himself at the feet[4] of his master, pleading, ‘Be long-suffering[5] with me and I shall pay back everything I owe you!’ MT18:27 Now the master of the slave was moved by compassion[6] and so released[7] the slave including his loan. MT18:28 However, after that slave left he found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred denarii.[8] He grabbed his fellow and began choking him, screaming: ‘Pay me everything you owe me!’ MT18:29 Now the fellow slave fell on his knees and pleaded, ‘Be long-suffering with me and I will pay back what I owe you!’ MT18:30 But the first slave was unwilling to wait and he left to have his fellow slave thrown into prison until everything he owed was repaid. MT18:31 Now the other slaves saw all this and were deeply distressed. They went to their master and clarified the whole matter so he knew everything that had happened. MT18:32 Then the master demanded the first slave appear before him, telling him, ‘Wicked slave, I released you of all your debt because you begged me so. MT18:33 Was it not necessary for you also to be charitable[9] to your fellow slave just as I had been charitable to you?’ MT18:34 And having now become extremely angry the master turned the slave over to the tormentors[10] until he had repaid everything he owed. MT18:35 Just so my heavenly Father will do to you[11] if ever you do not forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers!”[12]

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[1] Settle his logs: The Greek is LOGON and may be rendered: KJV: take account; ASV: a reckoning; RHM: settle accounts.

[2] Ten thousand talents: NEB: ran into the millions; MOF: three million pounds; MON: fifteen million dollars; PME: millions of dollars. If a slave made 16 cents a day one can see the debt was enormous.

[3] Sold so the debt could be paid: It seems impossible that a slave could repay such a debt.

[4] Fell forward prostrating himself at the feet: Or, KJV: fell down, and worshipped him; RHM: falling down began to do homage. See notes else where on PROSKUNEO or prostrate. Research also the word worship.

[5] Long-suffering: The Greek is literally “longness of spirit.” Or, KJV: have patience; WMS: give me time.

[6] Moved by compassion: Or, RIEU: sorry for him; GDSP: heart was touched; NOR: took pity on.

[7] Released: Or, KJV: loosed him; RIEU: let him go free and canceled the loan.

[8] One hundred denarii: Or, TCNT: ten pounds; MON: fifty dollars; GDSP: hundred dollars; PME: few dollars. The difference between the two debts is unthinkable. The scholar Kennedy contrasted the difference in the two debts: the later one could be carried in a pocket; the former was so huge it would require 8,600 workers each carrying 60 pounds! The larger debt was more than that of whole provinces in Judea.

[9] Charitable: Generally this word is rendered by “mercy” but we can see that this is not a matter of judging someone but canceling debt, thus charity. Or, NOR: pity. Read and meditate on James 2:13.

[10] Tormentors: The Greek is BASANISTAIS. Or, BER: scourgers; GDSP: jailers. Research the word basan and torment for the original meaning of confinement or punishment with or without torture.

[11] Just so my heavenly Father will do to you: This is a most serious matter. Those who refuse to forgive will learn a side to the Almighty they will not like. It is a mistaken notion that the Nazarene and his Father were all-forgiving all the time. This matter of forgiveness is one in which the individual chooses his own destiny. See notes on Matthew 6:14, 15 and Matthew 7:1, 2. The lesson is simple and straightforward: we have been a debt so great it is impossible to repay; therefore, we ought to reflect our appreciation in forgiving our fellows.

[12] Forgive from your hearts every one of your brothers: Or, KNX: with all his heart; BER: if each of you does not heartily forgive his brother. Read and meditate on Ephesians 4:23 and Colossians 3:13.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

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