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Matthew 18:23-35

Context
The Parable of the Unforgiving Slave

18:23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. 1  18:24 As 2  he began settling his accounts, a man who owed ten thousand talents 3  was brought to him. 18:25 Because 4  he was not able to repay it, 5  the lord ordered him to be sold, along with 6  his wife, children, and whatever he possessed, and repayment to be made. 18:26 Then the slave threw himself to the ground 7  before him, saying, 8  ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you everything.’ 18:27 The lord had compassion on that slave and released him, and forgave him the debt. 18:28 After 9  he went out, that same slave found one of his fellow slaves who owed him one hundred silver coins. 10  So 11  he grabbed him by the throat and started to choke him, 12  saying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ 13  18:29 Then his fellow slave threw himself down and begged him, 14  ‘Be patient with me, and I will repay you.’ 18:30 But he refused. Instead, he went out and threw him in prison until he repaid the debt. 18:31 When 15  his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were very upset and went and told their lord everything that had taken place. 18:32 Then his lord called the first slave 16  and said to him, ‘Evil slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me! 18:33 Should you not have shown mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed it to you?’ 18:34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him 17  until he repaid all he owed. 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your 18  brother 19  from your heart.”

1 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.

2 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

3 sn A talent was a huge sum of money, equal to 6,000 denarii. One denarius was the usual day’s wage for a worker. L&N 6.82 states, “a Greek monetary unit (also a unit of weight) with a value which fluctuated, depending upon the particular monetary system which prevailed at a particular period of time (a silver talent was worth approximately six thousand denarii with gold talents worth at least thirty times that much).”

4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

5 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

6 tn Grk “and his wife.”

7 tn Grk “falling therefore the slave bowed down to the ground.” The redundancy of this expression signals the desperation of the slave in begging for mercy.

8 tc The majority of mss (א L W 058 0281 Ë1,13 33 Ï it syp,h co) begin the slave’s plea with “Lord” (κύριε, kurie), though a few important witnesses lack this vocative (B D Θ 700 pc lat sys,c Or Chr). Understanding the parable to refer to the Lord, scribes would be naturally prone to add the vocative here, especially as the slave’s plea is a plea for mercy. Thus, the shorter reading is more likely to be authentic.

9 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

10 tn Grk “one hundred denarii.” The denarius was a silver coin worth about a day’s wage for a laborer; this would be about three month’s pay.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so.” A new sentence was started at this point in the translation in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences.

12 tn Grk “and he grabbed him and started choking him.”

13 tn The word “me” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

14 tn Grk “begged him, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.

15 tn Grk “Therefore when.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated.

16 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the first slave mentioned in v. 24) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Grk “handed him over to the torturers,” referring specifically to guards whose job was to torture prisoners who were being questioned. According to L&N 37.126, it is difficult to know for certain in this instance whether the term actually envisions torture as a part of the punishment or is simply a hyperbole. However, in light of the following verse and Jesus’ other warning statements in Matthew about “fiery hell,” “the outer darkness,” etc., it is best not to dismiss this as mere imagery.

18 tn Grk “his.” The pronoun has been translated to follow English idiom (the last pronoun of the verse [“from your heart”] is second person plural in the original).

19 tn Here the term “brother” means “fellow believer” or “fellow Christian” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a), whether male or female. Concerning the familial connotations, see also the note on the first occurrence of this term in v. 15.



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