Matthew 25:27
You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury.
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(27) Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers.—Literally, table or counter-keepers, just as bankers were originally those who sat at their bancum, or bench. These were the bankers referred to in the Note on Matthew 25:14. In that case, if the servant had been honestly conscious of his own want of power, there would have been at least some interest allowed on the deposit.

Usury.—Better, interest; the word not necessarily implying, as usury does now, anything illegal or exorbitant. The question—What answers to this “giving to the exchangers” in the interpretation of the parable?—is, as has been said, analogous to that which asks the meaning of “them that sell” in the answer of the wise virgins in Matthew 25:9. Whatever machinery or organisation the Church possesses for utilising opportunities which individual men fail to exercise, may be thought of as analogous to the banking-system of the old world. When men in the middle ages gave to a cathedral or a college, when they subscribe largely now to hospitals or missions, doing this and nothing more, they are “giving their money to the exchangers.” It is not so acceptable an offering as willing and active service, but if it be honestly and humbly given, the giver will not lose his reward.

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.The exchangers - The "exchangers" were persons who were in the habit of borrowing money, or receiving it on deposit at a low rate of interest, to be loaned to others at higher interest. They commonly sat by "tables" in the temple, with money ready to exchange or loan. See Matthew 21:12. This money was left with the servant, not to exchange, nor to increase it by any such idle means, but by honest industry and merchandise; but since he was too indolent for that, he ought at least to have loaned it to the exchangers, that his master might have received some benefit from it.

With usury - With interest, increase, or gain. The word "usury," in our language, has a bad signification, meaning unlawful or exorbitant interest. This was contrary to the law, Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36. The original means "gain," increase, or lawful interest.

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.

Ver. 24-27. We must remember that we are in a parable, which (as other similitudes) cannot be expected in all things to agree with what it is brought to illustrate. This part of the parable doth chiefly instruct us in these two things:

1. That it is the genius of wicked men to lay the blame of their miscarriages upon others, oft times upon God himself. The unprofitable servant here pretends that the dread of his lord, as a severe man, was that which kept him from labouring, and making an improvement of the talent with which his master had intrusted him. Thus many think that if there be an election of grace, or any thing of special and distinguishing grace, and man hath not a perfect power in his own will, he shall have something to excuse himself by before God hereafter, for his not repenting, and believing God in such a case, condemning men for unbelief and impenitency, should reap where he did not sow, and gather where he did not straw.

2. Men in their excuses which they fancy, instead of excusing will but accuse and condemn themselves. The lord of the unprofitable servant tells him that the fault lay in his own sloth and wickedness, and his dread of his lord’s security was but a mere frivolous pretence and unreasonable excuse; for if he had dreaded any such thing, he would have done what he could, he would have put out his money to the exchangers, and then he should have received his own with increase.

And shall not God as justly another day reply upon those who think to excuse their lewd and wicked lives, their impenitency and unbelief, from their not being elected, not having a power of themselves to repent and believe, nor receiving his efficacious grace. O you wicked and slothful wretches! Did you suspect or fear you were not elected? Why then did you not give all diligence to make your calling and election sure? Do you plead the want of power in your own wills to repent and believe, and that I did not give you a special, effectual grace? But had you not a power to keep from the taverns and alehouses? To keep from lying, and cursing, and swearing, and open profanation of my sabbaths? Had not you a power to read, to hear, to pray? If you had to your utmost used the talents I gave you, and I had been warning in my further necessary influences of grace, you might indeed have said something; but when you made no use of the talents you had, why should I trust you with more? Faith comes by reading, hearing, praying; you had a power to these things, these talents you had. Why did you not read, hear, pray, that you might believe? If you took me to be so severe a master, why did not you do what was in your power to do, that you might find me otherwise? If you had done what lay in your power to do, in the use of those talents which I gave you for that end, you might then have blamed me if I had not given you more; but you never tried my kindness in such a case. So that you are not ruined by any severity of mine, but by your own sloth, neglect, and wickedness. Thus much this parable teacheth us, that God in the recompences at the last day of judgment will be found just, and sinners will all be found liars, and their damnation will be of themselves. 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.

Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the {e} exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

(e) Bankers who have their shops or tables set up abroad, where they lend money at interest. Usury or loaning money at interest is strictly forbidden by the Bible, Ex 22:25-27 De 23:19,20. Even a rate as low as one per cent interest was disallowed, Ne 5:11. This servant had already told two lies. First he said the master was an austere or harsh man. This is a lie for the Lord is merciful and gracious. Next he called his master a thief because he reaped where he did not sow. Finally the master said to him sarcastically why did you not add insult to injury and loan the money out at interest so you could call your master a usurer too! If the servant had done this, his master would have been responsible for his servant's actions and guilty of usury.

Matthew 25:27. ἔδει, etc., you ought in that case to have cast my silver to the money-changers, or bankers. That could have been done without trouble or risk, and with profit to the master.—ἐγὼ, apparently intended to be emphatic, suggesting a distribution of offices between servant and master = yours to put it into the bank, mine to take it out. So Field (Otium Nor.), who, following a hint of Chrys., translates: “And I should have gone (ἐλθὼν) to the bank and received back mine own (or demanded it) with interest”.—σὺν τόκῳ, literally, with offspring: a figurative name for interest on money.27. put my money] It was not thine own.

to the exchangers] i. e. “to the bankers,” literally, to those who stand at tables, (Lat. mensarii), because the bankers had tables before them. This was the very least the slave could have done, to make money in this way required no personal exertion or intelligence.

with usury] In modern language “with interest.”Matthew 25:27. Οὖν, κ.τ.λ., therefore, etc.) The goodness of the Lord remains unknown to the wicked servant, by whom it had been denied.—βαλεῖν, to have put out) The labour of digging was greater than this would have been; see Matthew 25:18.—τὸ Ἐμὸν, Mine) corresponding with τὸ Σόν, Thine, in Matthew 25:25; but in this instance the words σὺν τὀκῳ, with interest, are added.[1096]

[1096] Matthew 25:28. ἔχοντι τὰ δέκα, who hath the ten) Who was not even bound to share with him, who had the five talents. See herein how great distinctions in retributive rewards and punishments shall hereafter be made manifest.—V. g.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. Put (βαλεῖν)

Lit., throw or fling down, as one would throw a bag of coin upon the exchanger's table.

Exchangers (τραπεζίταις)

Taking their name from the table or counter at which they sat (τράπεζα). The Jewish bankers bore precisely the same name.

Usury (τόκῳ)

A very graphic word, meaning first child-birth, and then offspring. Hence of interest, which is the produce or offspring of capital. Originally it was only what was paid for the use of money; hence usury; but it became synonymous with extortionate interest. Rev., better, with interest. The Jewish law distinguished between interest and increase. In Rome very high interest seems to have been charged in early times. Practically usury was unlimited. It soon became the custom to charge monthly interest at one per cent a month. During the early empire legal interest stood at eight per cent., but in usurious transactions it was lent at twelve, twenty-four, and even forty-eight. The Jewish bankers of Palestine and elsewhere were engaged in the same undertakings. The law of Moses denounced usury in the transactions of Hebrews with Hebrews, but permitted it in dealing with strangers (Deuteronomy 23:19, Deuteronomy 23:20; Psalm 15:5).

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