Luke 19:20
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
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(20) Thy pound, which I have kept ., .—Literally, which I kepti.e., all along. He had never made any effort at doing more.

Laid up in a napkin.—The smaller scale of the parable is shown in the contrast between this and the “hiding the talent in the earth,” in St. Matthew. The “napkin” (the Greek word is really Latin, sudarium) appears in Acts 19:12 as “handkerchiefs.” Such articles were naturally, then as now, used for wrapping up and concealing money which the owner wished simply to hoard.

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.A napkin - A towel. He means by it that he had not wasted it nor thrown it by carelessly, but had been "very careful" of it; so much so as to be at the pains to tie it up in a towel and put it in a safe place, as if he had been "very faithful" to his trust. So many people employ their talents, their learning, their property, their influence. They "have" them; they "keep" them; but they never "use" them in the service of the Lord Jesus; and, in regard to their influence on the church or the world, it would be the same if God had never conferred on them these talents. 15-26. (See on [1698]Mt 25:19-29.)

ten … five cities—different degrees of future gracious reward, proportioned to the measure of present fidelity.

See Poole on "Luke 19:12"

And another came,.... Who was one of the servants; had a gift, but did not use, and improve it, nor did it turn to any account:

saying, Lord; owning also the lordship and dominion of Christ, as all will confess at the last day, even those who have no interest in him, and cannot call him their Lord;

behold, here is thy pound; he owns his gifts were the Lord's, and that he had received them from him, and now returns them:

which I have kept; he had kept that which was committed to him, and that even till his Lord came; he had not lost it, though it was not increased, or was of any advantage to Christ, or the souls of men, it being neglected by him; for it was

laid up in a napkin: the Greek word, here used for a napkin, is adopted by the Jews into their language, and is used for a veil and for a linen cloth: this puts me in mind of what the Jews call, "possession by a napkin", or linen cloth: their custom is this; when they buy, or sell any thing, to use a piece of cloth they call "sudar", the word in the text, which the contractors lay hold upon, whereby they ratify and confirm the bargain (m): but this man made no use of his "sudar", or napkin, in buying and selling; he traded not at all; he wrapped up his money in it, and both lay useless; his gift lay dormant and unexercised, which was given him to profit withal.

(m) Elias in Tisbbi in voce

{6} And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

(6) Against those who idly spend their life in deliberating and in contemplation.

Luke 19:20-27. The useless servant. If in any part the parable has borrowed from the parable in Mt., it is here. The story might well have wound up with a statement as to what was to be done with the disaffected.

Luke 19:20. Ἕτερος, another[207]) who is contrasted with the two former servants.—ἘΝ) in a napkin, which affords no means of reproduction or increase.

[207] And a different character, as ἕτερος implies.—E. and T.

Verses 20, 21. - And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man; thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. This is the third class into which the servants who knew their Lord's will are roughly divided. We have, first, the devoted earnest toiler, whose whole soul was in his Master's work - great, indeed, was his reward. And, second, we have the servant who acquitted himself fairly respectably, but not nobly, not a hero in the struggle of life; he, too, is recompensed magnificently, far above his most ardent hopes, but still his reward is infinitely below that which the first brave toiler received at his Lord's hands. The third falls altogether into a different catalogue. He is a believer who has not found the state of grace offered by Jesus so brilliant as he hoped; a legal Christian, who has not tasted grace, and knows nothing of the gospel but its severe morality. It seems to him that the Lord gives very little to exact so much. "Surely," such a one argues, "the Lord should be satisfied with us if we abstain from doing ill, from squandering our talent." The Master's answer is singularly to the point: "The more thou knowest that I am austere, the more thou shouldest have tried to satisfy me!" The Christian who lacks the experience of grace ought to be the most anxious of workers. The punishment here is very different from that awarded to the enemies (ver. 27). We hear nothing of darkness and gnashing of teeth; it is simply deprivation. Still, even this modified penalty seems to tell of an eternity of regret and loss. Instead of the ten cities, or even the five, there is not even the poor pound left to the hapless condemned one, unworthy even to retain that little heritage. Luke 19:20I kept (εἶχον)

The imperfect. I was keeping while thou wert absent.

Napkin (σουδαρίῳ)

The Latin sudarium, from sudor, perspiration: a cloth for wiping off the sweat. Trench notes that the napkin which the idle servant does not need for its proper use (Genesis 3:19) he uses for the wrapping up of his pound.

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