Take a discount (Lk 16:7-16:7)

“Then the manager

Asked another debtor.

‘How much do you owe?’

He replied.

‘A hundred containers

Of wheat.’

The manager said to him.

‘Take your bill!

Make it eighty!’”

 

ἔπειτα ἑτέρῳ εἶπεν Σὺ δὲ πόσον ὀφείλεις; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἑκατὸν κόρους σίτου. λέγει αὐτῷ Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα καὶ γράψον ὀγδοήκοντα.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the house manager asked another debtor (ἔπειτα ἑτέρῳ εἶπεν) how much did he owe his master (Σὺ δὲ πόσον ὀφείλεις).  This debtor replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that he owed 100 cors or containers of wheat (Ἑκατὸν κόρους σίτου).  Once again, Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term κόρους that means a cor, about 15 bushels, a dry measure, equivalent to 120 gallons.  This dishonest manager then told him (λέγει αὐτῷ) to take his bill (Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα) and make it 80 cors (καὶ γράψον ὀγδοήκοντα).  This was only a 20% discount or a reduction from 1,500 bushels to 1,200 bushels of wheat.  This corrupt manager was not as kind to this debtor, compared to the first debtor.  Is debt a good thing to have?

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He forgave both of them (Lk 7:42-7:42)

“When they could not pay,

He cancelled

The debt

For both of them.

Now which of them

Will love him more?”

 

μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν ἀποδοῦναι ἀμφοτέροις ἐχαρίσατο. τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν;

 

Luke continued this unique comparison that Jesus was making.  Jesus said that when both of these debtors could not pay their debt (μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν ἀποδοῦναι), this creditor cancelled both their debts (ἀμφοτέροις ἐχαρίσατο).  Then Jesus asked which of these two debtors would love this creditor more (τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον ἀγαπήσει αὐτόν)?  This was a simple question.  If someone forgave you $125.00 or $12.50, would you be happy?  Obviously, the one with the larger amount would be happier and love the creditor more.  Notice that both of them could not pay their debt.  Have you ever been unable to pay a debt?

The unforgiving slave was tortured (Mt 18:32-18:34)

“Then his lord

Summoned him.

He said to him.

‘You wicked slave!

I forgave you

All that debt

Because you pleaded with me.

Should not you

Have had mercy

On your fellow slave,

As I had mercy on you?’

In anger,

His lord handed him over

To be tortured

Until he would pay

His entire debt.”

 

τότε προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ λέγει αὐτῷ Δοῦλε πονηρέ, πᾶσαν τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἐκείνην ἀφῆκά σοι, ἐπεὶ παρεκάλεσάς με·

οὐκ ἔδει καὶ σὲ ἐλεῆσαι τὸν σύνδουλόν σου, ὡς κἀγὼ σὲ ἠλέησα;

καὶ ὀργισθεὶς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν τοῖς βασανισταῖς ἕως οὗ ἀποδῷ πᾶν τὸ ὀφειλόμενον αὐτῷ.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This forgiving lord king summoned his unforgiving slave (τότε προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος).  He called him a wicked or evil slave (αὐτοῦ λέγει αὐτῷ Δοῦλε πονηρέ).  The king reminded him that he had forgiven all his debt (πᾶσαν τὴν ὀφειλὴν ἐκείνην ἀφῆκά σοι) because he had begged or pleaded with him (ἐπεὶ παρεκάλεσάς με).  Why did he not show the same mercy to his fellow slave that he had shown to him (οὐκ ἔδει καὶ σὲ ἐλεῆσαι τὸν σύνδουλόν σου, ὡς κἀγὼ σὲ ἠλέησα)?  Then the angry king and lord ordered him handed him over to a torturing jailer (καὶ ὀργισθεὶς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν τοῖς βασανισταῖς) until he would pay off his entire debt (ἕως οὗ ἀποδῷ πᾶν τὸ ὀφειλόμενον αὐτῷ).  He could never pay off his enormous debt, so that he would be tortured every day of his life instead of originally being sold with all his possessions, as was the original punishment.  He just had too much debt.  With a little mercy, he would have been okay.

The servant slave owed ten thousand talents (Mt 18:24-18:25)

“When he began

The reckoning,

The one who owed him

Ten thousand talents

Was brought to him.

He could not pay it.

His lord ordered him

To be sold,

With his wife

And children,

With all his possessions.

Thus,

Some payment

Would be made.”

 

ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων.

μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This king began to settle his accounts (ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν).  This first servant or slave owed the king 10,000 talents (προσήχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων), an unbelievable sum.  A talent was about 60 mina, 10,000 denarii, or 3,000 shekels.  Thus, in current money that would be about $1,500 for a talent.  The amount owed would have been approximately $15,000,000.00, that’s right 15 million dollars.  There was no way that he could have acquired that much in debt, and certainly no way to repay it (μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι).  Thus, it is called a parable story.  This lordly king decided and commanded that the best way to get this debt off his books was sell him, his wife, his children, and all their possessions (ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει,).  This would make a small payment (καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι) to this enormous debt, but not very much.  Things did not look good for this servant slave with the large debt.

The Sabbath (Neh 10:31-10:31)

“If the peoples of the land bring in merchandise or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. We will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.”

They would do no business on the Sabbath. They would keep holy the Sabbath, which was Saturday. They would not buy from the peoples of the land any grain or merchandise on the Sabbath or holy days. They would forgo crops on the 7th year, the Sabbath year. Finally, they would forgive debts. This was based on Leviticus, chapter 25. This was the beginning of the new Sabbath day regulations.