Matthew 25:30
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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(30) Cast ye the unprofitable servant . . .—We have had so far the special punishment of sloth, but it is not complete without the solemn and emphatic recurrence of the “darkness” and “gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 25:30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant — Who has so wickedly abused my goodness; into outer darkness — The darkness which is without the heavenly city, even the horrible darkness of hell. There, instead of the light and joy possessed by those who are admitted to the marriage- supper of the Lamb, shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth — Through the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. There shall be the weeping of the careless, thoughtless sinner, and the gnashing of teeth of the proud and stubborn. See notes on Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 22:13. But why does this servant meet with this punishment? What had he done? It is true he had not done good. But neither is he charged with doing any harm. Why, for this reason, for barely doing no harm, he is consigned to outer darkness. He is pronounced a wicked, because he was a slothful, an unprofitable servant. So mere harmlessness, on which many build their hope of salvation, was the cause of his damnation! Observe this well, reader; slothful servants, who do nothing with respect to the purpose of their being sent into the world, nothing to answer the end of their birth and baptism, who are no way serviceable to the glory of God, or the good of others, will be reckoned with as unprofitable servants. A slothful servant is a withered member in the body, a barren tree in the vineyard, an idle drone in the hive, that is good for nothing. In one sense, indeed, we are all unprofitable servants, Luke 17:10. We cannot profit God, Job 22:2; but to others, and to ourselves, it is required that we be profitable; and if we be not, Christ will not own us as his servants.

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.And cast ... - See the notes at Matthew 8:12. The spiritual meaning of the parable may be thus summed up:

1. The servants of God are not all endowed with equal gifts and talents.

2. All, whatever may be their ability, are bound to employ their talents in promoting his honor, and in a proper improvement of them.

3. By employing their talents in a proper manner, they improve and strengthen them.

4. They will be judged according to the improvements which they have made.

5. All sinners look on God as a hard master, and as unreasonable and tyrannical.

6. People will be judged not merely for "doing wrong, but for neglecting to do right."

7. If the servant who kept the talent entire without injuring it, and who returned it to his master as he received it, was nevertheless judged, condemned, and cast away, what must they expect who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness and lust the noble faculties conferred on them, and squander the property that might be employed in advancing the interests of morals and religion!

30. And cast ye—cast ye out.

the unprofitable servant—the useless servant, that does his Master no service.

into outer darkness—the darkness which is outside. On this expression see on [1359]Mt 22:13.

there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth—See on [1360]Mt 13:42.

Ver. 28-30. God often in this life deprives men and women of those gifts which he hath given them, and they do not make use of for the glory of his name, and the good of their and others’ souls, the great ends for which he hath entrusted them with them. But this seems not to be here intended, this text referring to the day of judgment: all therefore that we are to understand by this is; That no man’s gifts, whether of nature or providence, of what advantage soever they have been to him in this life, will be of any profit to him in the day of judgment, unless he hath in this life used them to the ends for which God gave them. In that day he will lose all; and the glory of heaven shall not be the portion of them that have had great talents of learning, wit, riches, honours, spiritual gifts, or any thing of that nature, but of those only who have used these things to the honour and glory of God, and to the advantage of their own and others’ souls. For all those that have been unprofitable, hell will be their portion at last, where their misery will be, as of those that live in extreme darkness, continual weeping and gnashing of teeth. The substance of what is in Matthew 25:29 we met with Matthew 13:12,

To him that hath shall be given, & c.; but I think the proverbial speech here is applied differently from the application of it there. There, him that hath seemeth to signify, him that hath an actual possession; for it is said before,

Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. So that I take that text to contain a promise of the increase of grace to those that have the seed of God; whereas the appearances of it in others shall not last, but vanish away. Here, plainly, him that hath signifieth, him that maketh a good and true use of what he hath; and thus the parable expounds it. So as the sense is, He that hath any talents from God, and maketh use of them, and improves them for the honour and glory of God, shall be rewarded with further gifts of grace or glory. But if a man hath not, that is, hath, but is as if he had not, making no use of what he hath for the glory of God, those gifts and talents which he hath shall be of no profit and advantage, but miserable disadvantage to him at last.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant,.... All the servants of Christ are unprofitable with respect to God; for no man can be profitable to him, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself, or others; or in a way of merit, since when they have done the most and best, they have done but their duty: but this man was unprofitable with respect to himself, having not improved the gift and talent bestowed on him; and with respect to men, being of no use for the conversion of sinners, or the comfort of saints, or the edifying of the body of Christ; and brought no honour to his master, and was of no service for the spreading of his Gospel, and the enlargement of his kingdom and interest; and therefore, as one good for nothing, the ministering angels are bid to take him, and cast him

into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: he shall be turned out of doors into outer darkness, to be a companion of other unhappy creatures; who are also without, bewailing their miserable condition, and reflecting on their past conduct; whilst faithful, diligent, and laborious servants will be within, partaking of a rich entertainment, prepared by their Lord, accompanied with joy unspeakable, and full of glory:

See Gill on Matthew 8:12.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:30. ἀχρεῖον, useless. Palairet renders injuriosum; Kypke, improbum. Being useless, he was both injurious and unjust. The useless man does wrong all round, and there is no place for him either in this world or in the Kingdom of God. His place is in the outer darkness.

Difference of opinion prevails as to whether this parable refers to the use of material goods for the Kingdom of God, or to the use of spiritual gifts. It is not, perhaps, possible to decide in ignorance of the historical occasion of the parable, nor is it necessary, as the same law applies.

31–46. The Day of Judgment

32. all nations] Either (1) all the nations of the world, including the Jews; or (2) all the Gentiles. The almost invariable use of τὰ ἔθνη to signify the Gentiles; the unconsciousness of service to Christ shewn by just and unjust alike; the simplicity of the standard proposed by the Judge, favour the second interpretation. On the other hand the special warning to the Apostles, and to the Jewish race, in the previous parts of the discourse render it probable that Jews and Christians are not excluded from this picture of the judgment. The unconsciousness of the judged may be referred not to ignorance of Christ, but to unconsciousness that in relieving the distressed they were actually relieving Christ. The simplicity of the standard may be intended to include what is called “natural” religion, as well as revealed religion. The nations are judged by a standard of justice which all recognise. (Read Romans 1:18-20; Romans 2:9-16.)

as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats] “The sheep and goats are always seen together under the same shepherd and in company; yet they never trespass on the domain of each other.… When folded together at night they may always be seen gathered in distinct groups; and so, round the wells they appear instinctively to classify themselves apart, as they wait for the troughs to be filled.”—Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, pp. 89, 90. The goat was not in evil repute in the East, as contrasted with the sheep; on the contrary, the he-goat was a symbol of dignity, so that the point of analogy is merely the separation between the sheep and the goats.

Matthew 25:30. Ἀχρεῖον, unprofitable) sc. now and hereafter;[1097] cf. Gnomon on Matthew 25:21, and Luke 16:11.—ἀχρεῖος is in Attic Greek written ἄχρειος, according to Eustathius.—ἐκβάλετε, κ.τ.λ., cast forth, etc.) There is a contrast between this and Matthew 25:21. The Lord Himself commands [the good servants] to enter; He desires His attendants to cast out [the unprofitable one], as in ch. Matthew 22:13.[1098]

[1097] Even though he had caused no loss to his master.—V. g.

[1098] Cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 7:24.—(I. B.)

Ἀχρεῖος, though translated by Bengel, unprofitable, useless, is not to be confounded with ἄχρηστος, which more strictly expresses that meaning. A slave that has done all that his master commands is ἀχρεῖος, not in the sense that he is worthless, useless, which could not be said of such a servant, but he is one οὗ οὐκ ἔστι χρεία, a person to whom the master owes nothing, with whom he could dispense, Acts 17:25. God receives no benefit from man for which He owes a return, Luke 17:10. Here, in Matthew 25:30, though the servant had been also ἄχρηστος, unprofitable, useless, and slothful, yet the idea conveyed by the ἀχρεῖος is not this, but its consequence: for he who is useless by doing no work is not wanted (the latter expressing the true force of ἀχρεῖος:). The ἄχρηστος, besides being useless, causes also loss to his master. See Tittm. Syn. Gr. Test.—ED.

Verse 30. - Cast ye the unprofitable servant into [the] outer darkness (Matthew 8:12). The parable merges into the real. The 'matter represented bursts through the veil under which it was delivered, and stands forth plainly and awfully. The command is issued to the ministers of the Lord's vengeance, whether earthly or angelic. The slave was truly unprofitable, as he advanced neither his master's interests nor his own, which were bound up with the other. While the faithful servants enter into the joy of the Lord, he is rejected from his presence, expelled from the kingdom of heaven, banished we know not whither. And why? Not for great ill doing, sacrilege, crime, offence against the common laws of God and man; but for neglect, idleness, omission of duty. This is a very fearful thought. Men endeavour to screen themselves from blame by minimizing their talents, ability, opportunities; this parable unveils the flimsiness of this pretence, shows that all have responsibilities, and are answerable for the use they make of the graces and faculties, be they never so small, which they possess. Spiritual indolence is as serious a sin as active wickedness, and meets with similar punishment, Our Lord's account of the last judgment terribly confirms this truth (vers. 42-45). There shall be [the] weeping and [the] gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:51). "There," viz. in the outer darkness. The remembrance of lost opportunities, wasted graces, bartered privileges, will fill the mind of the banished with terrible remorse, and make existence a very hell; and what more shall be added? Some of the Fathers have recorded a gnomic saying derived from this parable, if not an utterance of our Lord himself, "Be ye approved bankers." Matthew 25:30
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