Matthew 18:26
The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
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(26) Fell down, and worshipped him.—The word implies simply the prostrate homage of a servant crouching before his master.

I will pay thee all.—The promise was, under such circumstances, an idle boast, but it describes with singular aptness the first natural impulse of one who is roused to a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. He will try to balance the account as by a series of instalments; he will score righteous acts in the future as a set-off against the transgressions of the past. In theological language, he seeks to be “justified by works.”

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.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him - This does not mean that he paid him religious homage, but that in a humble, reverent, and earnest manner he entreated him to have patience with him. He prostrated himself before his lord, as is customary in all Eastern nations when subjects are in the presence of their king. See the notes at Matthew 2:2. 26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him—or did humble obeisance to him.

saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all—This was just an acknowledgment of the justice of the claim made against him, and a piteous imploration of mercy.

See Poole on "Matthew 18:35".

The servant therefore fell down,.... At his feet, upon his knees, or on his face, to the ground; not being able to stand before him, or look him in the face, and much less to answer the demands of his law and justice; but owned the debt, and his present inability to pay,

and worshipped him: the Vulgate Latin reads it, "prayed", or entreated him,

saying, Lord have patience with me; give me but time, spare me a little longer, send me not to prison, and I will pay thee all: a very weak and foolish promise, but what is usual for men in such circumstances to make. Thus men, under guilt, and dreadful apprehensions of wrath and ruin, frequently promise, that if their lives are but spared, what they will do for God, and in a religious way; and very foolishly and ignorantly imagine, that by their humiliation and tears, their prayers and other services by their good lives and conversations, for the future, they shall be able to make compensation to God for all the iniquities they have been guilty of: which shows them to be exceeding ignorant of the nature of sin, which is committed against an infinite being, and therefore reconciliation for it cannot be made by finite creature; as also of the nature of their duties and services, which, when performed, in ever so good a manner, can never make satisfaction for past offences, these being duties they are obliged to perform; and would have been equally obliged thereunto if they had never offended; and likewise betrays great vanity, pride, boasting, and conceit of themselves, and abilities, as that they shall be able, in a little time to pay all, when they have nothing at all to pay with: and was patience to be exercised towards them ever so long, they would still be in the same condition, and in no better capacity to make payment; but, on the contrary, would still run a larger score, and be more and more in debt. Indeed, the patience and longsuffering of God to his people is salvation; not that by giving them time, and bearing with them, they discharge their debts, and work out their salvation; but waiting upon them to be gracious to them, he brings them to repentance, to a sense of themselves and sins, and to an acknowledgment of them, and leads them, by faith, to his Son for righteousness, forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life; but as for others, his patience towards them, and forbearance of them, issue in their everlasting destruction, which, by their iniquities, they are fitted for.

The servant therefore fell down, and {n} worshipped him, saying, Lord, {o} have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

(n) This was a polite reverence which was very common in the East.

(o) Yield not too much to your anger against me: so is God called in the Scripture, slow to anger, that is to say, gentle, and one that refrains his fierce wrath, Ps 86:5; patient and of great mercy.

Matthew 18:26. μακροθύμησον: a Hellenistic word, sometimes used in the sense of deferring anger (Proverbs 19:11 (Sept[106]), the corresponding adjective in Psalm 86:15; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). That sense is suitable here, but the prominent idea is: give me time; wrath comes in at a later stage (Matthew 18:34).—πάντα ἀποδώσω: easy to promise; his plea: better wait and get all than take hasty measures and get only a part.

[106] Septuagint.

26. worshipped him] The imperfect tense in the original denotes persistence.

Matthew 18:26. Μακροθύμησον, have patience) Do not act hastily towards me.—πάντα, all) The servant could not procure so large a sum in the whole period of the world’s existence; he merely exhibits, therefore, his contrition.

Verse 26. - Worshipped him. Prostrated himself before the monarch, and in this abject attitude sued for mercy. Have patience with me. Be long suffering in my case; give me time. And I will pay thee all. In his terror and anguish, he promises impossible things; even the revenues of a province would not in any convenient time supply this deficiency. The scene is very true to life. To save himself from a present difficulty, a debtor will make any promise that occurs to him, without considering whether he will ever be in a position to fulfil it. The defaulter in the parable must have thought well of the king's generosity and tenderheartedness to make such a proposition at this extreme moment. If we take the spiritual sense of the parable, we see that no sinner could offer to pay, much less pay, the debt due from him to his Lord, "so that must be let alone forever" (Psalm 49:8). Matthew 18:26
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