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ered unto them his goods, rather, “ his substance:" for it appears that he gave them talents.
The phrase “ kingdom of heaven,” is printed in the Italic character, in our common bibles, to show that there is nothing answering to it in the original; and it is badly supplied in this place: for what Christ has been just speaking of in the preceding verse is the son of man; and it is undoubtedly him that he has here in view: for he is still discoursing upon the same subject as before, his coming for the destruction of the Jewish state; and his design, in the following parable, seems to be to obviate an objection which might be made to what he had said, in the preceding, of the treatment of wicked Christians; whom he had represented as condemned to punishment at his coming, under the character of foolish virgins, who took 110 oil with them to supply their lamps, and were on that account not prepared to go in with the bridegroom to the marriage-feast: for some of these Christians might plead that they enjoyed but few advantages, and that it was excusable in them if they were unprepared. To show the weakness of this excuse, he delivers a parable, from which it appears that men justly expect a return from their servants, whom they employ in traffic, in proportion to the property which they have committed to them; and even where they have bestowed little, they look for something: Thus men have different means of doing good to others, and of promoting their own religious improvement, put into their hands; some more, and others fewer, which they are expected to employ to advantage, in proportion to the degree in which they have been favoured; those who receive most being expected to do the most; and those who receive but little, to do something for themselves or others, in proportion to their ability.
15. And unto one he gave five talents; to another two, and to another one;
every man according to his se
veral ability, according to the opinion he entertained of his prudence and capacity; and straightway took his journey.
16. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18. But he that received one went, and digged in the earth, and hid his
This he did for greater security, that it might not by any means be lost.
19. After a long time, the Lord, “ the master,” of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
This is intended to represent Christ's coming for the destruction of the Jewish state, which was a day of reckoning to Christians as well as to Jews; those of them who were sincere and diligent being preserved from the calamities of that people; but those who were only nominal Christians, and negligent of their work, being punished together with them. In this parable it is said that the master was a long time before he came to reckon with his servants, which corresponds very well with the representations given of this event in the preceding parables, which have already been shown to be applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem: for in one of them, Matt. xxiv. 48, the master is represented as delaying his coming; and in the other, the bridegroom as tarrying, till all the virgins slumbered and slept. 20. 'And so he that had received five
talents came, and brought other five talents, saying, Master, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold I have gained besides them five talents more.
21. His master said unto him, Well done thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, “faithful in a little;" I will make thee ruler over many things: “ I will set thee over much.”
Enter thou into the joy of thy master.
That is, either, Be thou a favourite of thy master; or else, Come to the entertainment made for me upon the joyful occasion of my return.
22. He also that had received two talents came, and said, Master, thou deliveredst unto me two talents; behold I have gained two other talents besides them.
23. His master said unto him, Well done good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful in a little, I will set thee over much. Enter thou into the joy of thy master.
This man is rewarded in the same manner as the former servant.
24. Then he which had received the one talent came, and said, Master, I knew that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gather
ing where thou hast not strawed, “strewed," or
6 scattered.” The slothful servant excuses his idleness, by bringing a heavy charge against his master, representing him as an arbitrary and unjust man, who would expect some improvement of the talent he had given him, although he might have the misfortune to lose it; and therefore as unreasonable in his expectations as the man who hopes to reap corn where none has been sown, or to gather it into sacks where none has been scattered abroad by winnowing. To avoid the punishment which he pretends he might incur by misfortune, and through no fault of his own, he put the talent which he had received into a place of security, and returns it to his master when he comes back.
25. And I was afraid, and went, and hid thy talent in the earth. Lo there thou hast that is thine.
Had he lost the talent delivered to him, he supposes his master would have beaten him, for not restoring to him the property which he had given him; but now, as he returns it safe, he thinks he ought to be exempted from punishment, and even from blame: but the master shows, in the answer which he makes, that his motive for hiding the talent was slothfulness, and not merely a fear of losing it; in as much as he might have placed it in hands where it would have afforded profit, yet have been at the same time in perfect security. 26. ,
His master answered, and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant! Thou knewest, rather, “ didst thou know .?” that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed ?
27. Thou oughtest therefore to have
put my money to the exchangers, (6 to the bankers," and then, at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury,
co with interest." 28. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29. For unto every one that hath, i. e. " hath much,” shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, i.e.“ hath but little,” shall be taken even that which he hath.
This is a proverbial saying of our Lord, which we have already met with, Matt. xiii. 12. The meaning of it here is, that the servant who has many advantages, and improves them well, will receive still more: but he that hath few advantages, and neglects to improve them, will be deprived of the little which he possesses,
30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The master of the house coming home after long absence, an entertainment is made upon the joyful occa- . sion, which, like other entertainments in the eastern countries, was celebrated in an evening, in an apartment lighted up with lamps: here it was that the servants were called up to be reckoned with. Those who had been faithful were invited to enter into the joy of their master, i. e. to sit down at table with him : but he that had been unprofitable is ordered into the darkness that is without, where a sense of the disgrace and punishment which he suffered would make him feel the great: est anguish, such as is expressed by gnashing the teeth.