Matthew 18:25
But for as much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) His lord commanded him to be sold.—The framework of the parable was necessarily drawn from human laws, and, except as indicating the sentence of condemnation passed upon the sinner himself, there is no occasion of pressing the details as we unfold the spiritual meaning that lies below the imagery.

18:21-35 Though we live wholly on mercy and forgiveness, we are backward to forgive the offences of our brethren. This parable shows how much provocation God has from his family on earth, and how untoward his servants are. There are three things in the parable: 1. The master's wonderful clemency. The debt of sin is so great, that we are not able to pay it. See here what every sin deserves; this is the wages of sin, to be sold as a slave. It is the folly of many who are under strong convictions of their sins, to fancy they can make God satisfaction for the wrong they have done him. 2. The servant's unreasonable severity toward his fellow-servant, notwithstanding his lord's clemency toward him. Not that we may make light of wronging our neighbour, for that is also a sin against God; but we should not aggravate our neighbour's wronging us, nor study revenge. Let our complaints, both of the wickedness of the wicked, and of the afflictions of the afflicted, be brought to God, and left with him. 3. The master reproved his servant's cruelty. The greatness of sin magnifies the riches of pardoning mercy; and the comfortable sense of pardoning mercy, does much to dispose our hearts to forgive our brethren. We are not to suppose that God actually forgives men, and afterwards reckons their guilt to them to condemn them; but this latter part of the parable shows the false conclusions many draw as to their sins being pardoned, though their after-conduct shows that they never entered into the spirit, or experienced the sanctifying grace of the gospel. We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.His lord commanded him to be sold ... - By the laws of the Hebrews they were permitted to sell debtors, with their wives and children, into servitude for a time sufficient to pay a debt. See 2 Kings 4:1; Leviticus 25:39-46; Amos 8:6. 25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made—(See 2Ki 4:1; Ne 5:8; Le 25:39). See Poole on "Matthew 18:35". But forasmuch as he had not to pay,.... Every sinner is insolvent; sinful man has run out the whole stock of nature, and is become a bankrupt, and has nothing to offer by way of composition; nor has he any righteousness to answer for him, nor any works of righteousness which deserve that name: and if he had, these are nothing in point of payment: for a debt of sin cannot be discharged by a debt of obedience; since God has a prior right to the latter; and in paying it, a man does but what is his duty. Sin being committed against an infinite God, contracts the nature of an infinite debt, which cannot be paid off by a finite creature. Christ only was able to pay this debt, and he has done it for his people; and without an interest in his blood, righteousness, and satisfaction, every debtor is liable to be cast, and will be cast into the prison of hell, there to lie till the uttermost farthing of the ten thousand talents is paid, which will be to all eternity. We see what a sad condition sin has brought men into; it has stripped them of their estates and possessions; it has reduced them to want and beggary; it exposes them to a prison; to the just resentments of their creditor; to the wrath of God, and the curses of the law; and what little reason there is to think, yea, how impossible it is, that a man should be able to merit anything at the hands of God, to whom he is so greatly indebted: he must first pay his debts, which is a thing impracticable, before he can pretend to do anything deserving the notice of God; and even was he set free, and clear of all his debts, and entered upon a new life of obedience, and this strictly attended to, without contracting any debts for the future, yet all this would be but what is due to God, and could merit nothing of him; see Luke 17:10. We see also from hence, how much the saints are obliged to Christ Jesus, and how thankful they should be to him, who became a surety for such insolvent creatures; has paid all their debts for them, and procured for them every blessing of grace they stand in need of: but think, O sinner, what thou wilt be able to say and do, when God comes to reckon with thee, and thou hast nothing to pay, nor any to pay for thee, or be thy surety; a prison must be thy portion ever.

His Lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had; according to the Jewish laws, in such a case: of a man's being sold, or selling himself when poor, see Leviticus 25:47, for the law in Exodus 22:3, referred to by some as an instance of this, respects the selling of a man for theft, and not for debt. Of the selling of a man's wife for the payment of his debts, I do not remember to have read any law concerning it, or instances of it; but of children being taken for bondmen by the creditor, for their father's debts, mention is made, 2 Kings 4:1. These children, by the Jewish writers (i), are said to be the children of Obadiah, who contracted the debt to feed the prophets in a cave, when they were persecuted by Jezebel; and the creditor, according to them, was Jehoram, the son of Ahab, who lent him money on usury for this purpose, in his father's time; and now Obadiah being dead, he takes his children for the debt, and makes them bondmen; see also Nehemiah 5:5. There seems to be an allusion to this practice, in Isaiah 50:1, and it was not only the custom of the Jews to come upon children for the debts of parents, but of other nations: with the Athenians, if a father could not pay his debts, the son was obliged to pay, and in the mean while to be kept in bonds till he did (k): and as Grotius, in 2 Kings 4:1 proves from Plutarch and Dionysius Halicarnassensis, children were sold by the creditors of their parents, as in Asia, at Athens, and at Rome. Now this expresses the state of bondage, sin, as a debt, brings men into; they become slaves to their own lusts, vassals of Satan, and in bondage to the law; and also the ruin and destruction it exposes them to; as, the curse and condemnation of the law, the wrath of God, eternal death, even the destruction of body and soul in hell:

and payment to be made by punishment, which will always be making, and never finished. This order of the king was not intended to be executed, as the sequel shows; but declares the will of God, that the sad and woeful condition of man should be set before him by the ministers of the word; signifying what his state is, how deserving of vengeance, and what must be his portion, if grace prevent not: the view of which is to vindicate the rights of law and justice, to express the sinner's deserts, and move him to apply to the Lord for grace and mercy, which effect it had.

(i) Targum Jon. in loc. Tanchuma in Abarbinel in loc. Jarchi, Kimchi & Laniado in ib. (k) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 10.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 18:25. πραθῆναιἔχει: the order is given that the debtor be sold, with all he has, including his wife and children; hard lines, but according to ancient law, in the view of which wife and children were simply property. Think of their fate in those barbarous times! But parables are not scrupulous on the score of morality.—καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι: the proceeds of sale to be applied in payment of the debt.25. he had not to pay] He had wasted in extravagance the provincial revenues, or the proceeds of taxation.Matthew 18:25. Ἐκέλευσεν, κ.τ.λ., he commanded, etc.) The Lord shows His right, but does not use it: the servant, however, abuses whatever right he possesses.—ὅσα εἶχε, all that he had) The peculium,[842] which, indeed, itself belonged to the Lord.

[842] Amongst the Romans, slaves had a certain allowance granted them for their sustenance, commonly four or five pecks of grain a month, and five denarii. They likewise had a daily allowance. Whatever they saved of these, or procured by any other means, with their masters’ consent, was called their PECULIUM. This money, with their masters’ permission, they put out at interest, or sometimes purchased with it a slave for themselves, from whose labours they might make profit. Such a slave was called servi vicarius, and formed part of the PECULIIM, with which also slaves sometimes purchased their own freedom. See Adams’s Roman Antiquities in voc.—(I. B.)Verse 25. - He had not to pay. He was absolutely bankrupt, and had no means whatever of meeting the deficit. To be sold. The Jewish Law ordered such process in the case of an impecunious debtor (see Exodus 22:3; Leviticus 25:39, 41; and the concrete case in 2 Kings 4:1; comp. also Isaiah 50:1; Psalm 44:12). But this law was mitigated by the enactment of the jubilee, which in the course of time restored the bondman to liberty. The instance in the parable appertains rather to Oriental depotism than to the proceedings under Mosaic legislation (see ver. 34, which is not in accordance with Jewish practice). The king, by this severity, may have desired to make the defaulter feel the weight of his debt, and to bring him to repentance, as we see that he was ready to accept the submission of the debtor, and to grant him forgiveness (St. Chrysostom). Payment to be made. The verb is put impersonally. Of course, the sale of himself, wife, family, possessions, would not produce enough to satisfy the debt; but the command is to the effect that the proceeds should be taken on account of the debt. The parable; must not be pressed in all its details; a false impression is often produced by fixing spiritual or allegorical meaning upon the unimportant accessories, which, in fact, merely give vividness to the offered picture. The sale of wife and children is of this character, though it may be said generally and experimentally that a man's sins react on his family in some sort, lowering position and reputation, and reducing to poverty etc.; but this result has no bearing on the lessening of the original debt. To be sold

According to the law of Moses: Exodus 2:3; Leviticus 25:39, Leviticus 25:47.

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