|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.
Verse 27. - Thou oughtest therefore, etc. Your conception of my character ought to have made you more diligent and scrupulous; and if you were really afraid to rust any risks with my money or invest it in any hazardous speculation, there were many ordinary and safe methods of employing it which would have yielded some profit, and some of these you would have adopted had you been faithful and earnest. The return might have been trifling in amount, but the lord shows that he is not grasping and harsh by being willing to accept even this in token of the servant's labour. To have put (βαλείν). The term means to have thrown the money, as it were, on the banker's table. This would have been less trouble than digging a hole to bury it. Exchangers; τραπεζίταις: numulariis; bankers. In St. Luke (Luke 19:23) we find ἐπὶ τράπεζαν, with the same meaning. These money changers or bankers (for the business seems always to have combined the two branches) were a numerous class in Palestine, and wherever the Jewish community was established. They received deposits at interest, and engaged in transactions such as are usual in modern times. With usury (σὺν τόκῳ, with interest). At one time, law had forbidden usurious transactions between Israelites, though the Gentile was left to the mercy of his creditor (Deuteronomy 23:19, 20); but later such limitations were not observed. The rate of interest varied from four to forty per cent. The spiritual interpretation of this feature of the parable has most unnecessarily exercised the ingenuity of commentators. Some see in the bankers an adumbration of the religious societies and charitable institutions, by means of which persons can indirectly do some work for Christ, though unable personally to undertake such enterprises. Olshausen and Trench regard them as the stronger characters who, by example and guidance, lead the timid and hesitating to employ their gifts aright. But it is more reasonable to consider this detail of the parable as supplementary to its chief purpose, and not to be pressed in the interpretation. The Lord is simply concerned to show that all talents, great or small, must be used in his service according to opportunities; and that, whether the return be large or little, it is equally acceptable, if it show a willing mind and real fidelity in the agent. In illustration he uses two cases which yield most profit, and one which produces the least. Nothing can he inferred hence concerning the morality of usury. Christ draws his picture from the world as he finds it, pronouncing no opinion on its ethical bearing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers,.... "Trapezites", or "tablets", the same whom the Jews (z) call and is the same word which is here used in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; who were so called from the table that stood before them, on which they told, and paid their money, and the exchange and use: hence all the Oriental versions here read, "thou shouldest have put my money to, or on the table"; put it into the hand of these bankers, where it would have been not only safe, as in the earth, where it was hid, but also would have made some increase, and would have been returned with profit,
and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury: this is said not so much to encourage usury, though it may be lawful; and it seems to have been a practice in those times to put money out to use upon a reasonable interest; but to reprove the sloth and inactivity of this servant, upon his own reasonings, and the character he had given of his master,
(z) Maimon. Hilch. Shekalim, c. 1. sect. 9. & c. 2. sect. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers—the bankers.
and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury—interest.
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