Luke 19:13
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
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(13) And delivered them ten pounds.—In this, again, we have a noticeable difference. Here we begin with equality; in Matthew 25:15 the servants start with unequal amounts, “according to their several ability.” So far as we lay stress on the difference, it implies that the trust in this case is that which all disciples of Christ have in common—viz., their knowledge of the truth and their membership in the Kingdom, and not the offices and positions that vary in degree. The pound, or mna, was, in Greek numismatics, not a coin, but a sum equal to the sixtieth part of a talent. The Greek name was probably derived from the Hebrew Maneh. According to another estimate it was equal to 25 shekels, or 100 drachmœ? or denarii. The word meets us, as far as the New Testament is concerned, in this parable only.

Occupy till I come.—The better MSS. give, “while I am coming.” The Greek verb for “occupy” occurs in this passage only in the New Testament. A compound form of it is rendered, in Luke 19:15, by “gained in trading.” The English verb meets us in Ezekiel 27:9; Ezekiel 27:16; Ezekiel 27:21-22, in the sense of “trading,” in which it is used here. (See also the Prayer Book version of Psalm 107:23.)

Luke 19:13. And he called his ten servants — This translation implies, he had neither more nor fewer than ten servants, and that they were all called: but Dr. Campbell thinks the original expression, καλεσας δε δεκα δουλους εαυτου, should rather be rendered, having called ten of his servants, and that if the sense had been as given in our translation, the expression must have been, καλεσας δε τους δεκα δουλους εαυτου. And delivered them ten pounds — Before he departed he gave each of these servants a sum of money, to be employed in trade, until he should return. The word μνα, or mina, as it is commonly called, here rendered pound, contained sixty shekels, (Ezekiel 45:12,) and therefore, according to the common calculation of the worth of a shekel, placing it at two shillings sixpence of our money, it was seven pounds ten shillings; but according to Dr. Prideaux, who sets the shekel at three shillings, the mina was nine pounds sterling. Our Lord probably chose to mention this small sum, to illustrate the munificence of the master, in bestowing on the faithful servant so great and noble a reward. The impropriety of rendering the word pound, must strike every intelligent reader. The original word should have been retained, as it is in the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14, &c., to which parable this is very similar; and the notes on which the reader is desired to consult, for the more perfect elucidation of this. By the ten servants, (a certain number being put for an uncertain,) we are to understand; 1st, The apostles and first preachers of the gospel, to whom Jesus gave endowments fitting them for their work, and from whom he expected a due improvement of those endowments in the propagation of the gospel. 2d, Those whom he should call and qualify for the work of the ministry in future ages: and, 3d, All who did or should hereafter profess to receive his gospel, and to be his disciples and servants; conferring upon them the means of grace, encouragements and advantages for improvement in holiness, and gifts and abilities for usefulness to mankind. And said unto them, Occupy till I come — Till I return to take an account of the use you have made of what has been intrusted to your management. The spiritual sense is, Use your endowments, gifts, and graces, with all your privileges and advantages, for the good of your fellow-creatures, and the glory of God, till I come to visit the nation; to destroy Jerusalem; to execute judgment on my enemies, and on those of my people in successive ages; to require your souls of you by death, and to judge mankind in the day of final accounts.

19:11-27 This parable is like that of the talents, Mt 25. Those that are called to Christ, he furnishes with gifts needful for their business; and from those to whom he gives power, he expects service. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, 1Co 12:7. And as every one has received the gift, so let him minister the same, 1Pe 4:10. The account required, resembles that in the parable of the talents; and the punishment of the avowed enemies of Christ, as well as of false professors, is shown. The principal difference is, that the pound given to each seems to point out the gift of the gospel, which is the same to all who hear it; but the talents, distributed more or less, seem to mean that God gives different capacities and advantages to men, by which this one gift of the gospel may be differently improved.Ten servants - Nothing in particular is denoted by the number "ten." It is a circumstance intended to keep up the narrative. In general, by these servants our Saviour denotes his disciples, and intends to teach us that talents are given us to be improved, for which we must give an account at his return.

Ten pounds - The word translated "pound" here denotes the Hebrew "minah," which was equal to about 15 dollars, or 3 British pounds. The pounds here denote the talents which God has given to his servants on earth to improve, and for which they must give all account in the day of judgment.

Occupy till I come - The word "occupy" here means not merely to "possess," as it often does in our language, but to "improve," to employ "in business," for the purpose of increasing it or of making "profit" on it. The direction was to use this money so as to gain "more" against his return. So Jesus commands his disciples to "improve" their talents; to make the most of them; to increase their capability of doing good, and to do it "until" he comes to call us hence, by death, to meet him. See 1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7.

13. Occupy—"negotiate," "do business," with the resources entrusted. See Poole on "Luke 19:12"

And he called his ten servants,.... By whom are meant, not all mankind; for though these are all his servants of right, yet not in fact; nor the elect of God, who are called by grace; for though these are the servants of Christ, and are peculiarly his, yet all that received the pound were not such, for one of them was a wicked man; but the ministers of the Gospel, who are eminently, and in a special manner, the servants of the most high God: but as for the number "ten", this cannot regard the apostles, for they were twelve; and though they are sometimes called the eleven, after the apostasy and death of Judas, yet not the ten; and besides, there was another chose in his room; but this number being a large and perfect one, a round number, it is sometimes made use of as a certain number, for an uncertain one; see Matthew 25:1. The call of these by their Lord, is not to be understood of the call of them by his grace, but of a call of them to the office and work of the ministry:

and delivered them ten pounds; every one a pound: the "Maneh", or pound of the Hebrews, if of gold, which contained an hundred drachmas, was of the value of our money, "seventy five pounds"; if of silver, the old "Maneh", or pound, which contained sixty shekels, Ezekiel 45:12 amounted to "seven pounds ten shillings"; but the "Maneh", or pound, mentioned in the Misna (k), and which was in use in our Lord's time, contained an hundred pence, and was of the value of our money, "three pounds two shillings and six pence": and by these pounds are designed, not special grace; for they intend not any thing wrought in these servants, but something delivered to them, and what might be taken away again, which cannot be said of special grace; and besides, it is certain, that one of these servants that had the pound, was destitute of that: but gifts are meant, and these not merely natural, or the gifts of providence, as health, riches, wisdom, &c. nor only the outward means of grace, as the word and ordinances, but ministerial gifts, which are the greatest in the church, and are therefore signified by pounds; and are what may be improved or neglected, and be lost or taken away; and for which those that have them, are accountable: but though each of these servants are represented, as having every man a pound delivered to him, this must not be understood, as if the gifts of ministers were equal and alike, any more than the inequality of their rewards proves degrees in glory; for which sometimes this parable is produced:

and said unto him, occupy; negotiate, or trade, that is, with the pounds; make use of the ministerial gifts, exercise them, lay them out, and trade with them: the ministry is a trade and merchandise, to be carried on, not in the name of the ministers of Christ, nor on their own stock, nor for themselves, but for Christ, and for the good of souls; which shows, that they must not be slothful, but laborious and diligent:

till I:come: which suggests the certainty of Christ's coming, the continuance of the Gospel ministry to that time; and that there is no rest nor ease for Christ's ministers, but a continued series of labour and service, until then; when, for their encouragement, they shall receive their reward.

(k) Peah, c. 8. sect. 5. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

{5} And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

(5) There are three sorts of men in the Church: the one sort fall from Christ whom they do not see; the other, according to their God given position, bestow the gifts which they have received from God to his glory, with great pains and diligence; the third live idly and do no good. As for the first, the Lord when he comes will justly punish them in his time; the second he will bless according to the pains which they have taken; and as for the slothful and idle persons, he will punish them like the first.

Luke 19:13. δέκα δ., ten, a considerable number, pointing to an extensive household establishment.—δέκα μνᾶς, ten pounds, not to each but among them (Luke 19:16). A Greek pound = about £3 or £4; a Hebrew = nearly double; in either case a small sum compared with the amounts in Matthew 15. The purpose in the two parables is entirely different. In the Talents the master divides his whole means among his servants to be traded with, as the best way of disposing of them during his absence. In the Pounds he simply gives a moderate sum, the same to all, with a view to test fidelity and capacity, as he desires to have tested men for higher service when the time comes. The amount may suit the master’s finances, and though small it may just on that account the better test character and business talent.—πραγματεύσασθε, trade with, here only in the Scriptures, found in Plutarch.—ἔρχομαι: with ἕως (T.R.) = until I come back, with ἐν ᾧ (W.H[150]) = while I go (to the far country); perhaps it is used pregnantly to include going and returning.

[150] Westcott and Hort.

13. his ten servants] Rather, ten servants of his own; for such a noble would count his servants by hundreds.

ten pounds] The mina was 100 drachmas (Luke 15:8), and was worth £3. 6s. 8d. in nominal value. The word is a corruption of the Hebrew maneh. (2 Chronicles 9:16.) A comparison of this parable with that of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) will shew the wide diversities between the two. Archelaus did actually leave money in the charge of some of his servants, especially entrusting Philippus to look after his pecuniary interests in his absence.

Occupy] Rather, Trade, negotiamini. Psalm 107:23, “that...occupy their business in great waters” (Prayer-Book). For the command see 1 Peter 4:10.

till I come] Another reading (ἐν ᾧ, א, A, B, D, &c.) would mean ‘while I am on my journey,’ but would involve a very dubious sense of erchomai.

Luke 19:13. Δέκα, ten) To the several servants a pound[206] a-piece.—πραγματεύσασθε, trade with this [Engl. Ver. occupy]) This commandment accords in sense with that noted one, γίνεσθε καλοὶ τραπεζῖται, be good bankers (Make the most of your money).—ἔρχομαι, I come) “I come,” He says; not, “I return.” The second Advent is much the more solemn [more attended with outward state and majesty] of the two. [Therefore the first Advent is so eclipsed by the second, that the latter is not called His return, but His coming.]

[206] Mina, strictly L.4, Is. 3d. in Attic coinage.—E. and T.

Verse 13. - And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. No doubt when our Lord spoke these parables he considerably enlarged the details, made many parts of the framework clearer than the short reports which we possess can possibly do. The meaning of the great noble's action here is that he wished to test his servants - to try their various capabilities and dispositions, intending, when he should return from his long journey, having received his kingdom, to appoint them to high offices in the administration, to such positions, in fact, as their action in regard to the small deposit now entrusted to them should show themselves capable of filling. The Greek verb rendered "occupy" (πραγματεύσασθε) occurs here only in the New Testament: a compound form of it is rendered (ver. 15) by "gained by trading." Luke 19:13His ten servants (δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ)

Rev., rightly, changes to ten servants of his, since the his is emphatic; lit., his own. Moreover, it would be absurd to suppose that this nobleman, of consequence enough to be raised to a royal dignity, had but ten servants. The number of slaves in a Roman household was enormous, sometimes reaching hundreds. Toward the end of the Republic, it was considered reprehensible not to have a slave for every sort of work.

Pounds (μνᾶς)

Minas. Between sixteen and eighteen dollars apiece. Meyer very aptly remarks: "The small sum astonishes us. Compare, on the other hand, the talents (Matthew 25). But in Matthew, the Lord transfers to his servant his whole property; here he has only devoted a definite sum of money to the purpose of putting his servants to the proof therewith; and the smallness of the amount corresponds to what is so carefully emphasized in our parable, viz., the relation of faithfulness in the least to its great recompense (Luke 19:17); which relation is less regarded in the parable in Matthew" ("Commentary on Luke").

Occupy (πραγματεύσασθε)

The word occupy has lost the sense which it conveyed to the makers of the A. V. - that of using or laying out what is possessed. An occupier formerly meant a trader. Occupy, in the sense of to use, occurs Judges 16:11 : "new ropes that never were occupied;" which Rev. changes to wherewith no work hath been done. Compare the Prayer-Book version of the Psalter, Psalm 107:23 : "occupy their business in great waters." So Latimer, "Sermons," "He that occupieth usury." Rev., trade ye. Wyc., merchandise ye. Tynd., buy and sell. See on traded, Matthew 25:16.

Till I come (ἕως ἔρχομαι)

It is strange that the Rev. follows this reading without comment, while the Revisers' text takes no notice whatever of the reading of four of the leading manuscripts, which is adopted by both Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort; ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι, "while I come," a condensed form of expression for while I go and return.

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