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.

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Herod thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist (Mt 14:2-14:3)

“Herod said

To his servants.

‘This is John the Baptist.

He has been raised

From the dead.

This is why these powers

Are at work in him.’

Herod had seized John.

He had bound him.

He had put him in prison,

On account of Herodias,

His brother Philip’s wife.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς παισὶν αὐτοῦ Οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰωάνης ὁ Βαπτιστής· αὐτὸς ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αἱ δυνάμεις ἐνεργοῦσιν ἐν αὐτῷ.

Ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης κρατήσας τὸν Ἰωάνην ἔδησεν καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ ἀπέθετο διὰ Ἡρῳδιάδα τὴν γυναῖκα Φιλίππου τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ·

 

This mention of Herod and John the Baptist can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:14 and 6:17, and Luke, chapter 9:7 and 3:19-20, and here.  As if this story was not complicated enough, Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee, had already seized John the Baptist.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Herod Boethus or Philip, after he had divorced his first wife, who went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  His new wife was called Herodias.  Thus, Herod Antipas said to his children or servants (καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς παισὶν αὐτοῦ) that he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead (Οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰωάνης ὁ Βαπτιστής· αὐτὸς ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν).  How ironic since Jesus was to rise from the dead.  Herod thought the miraculous powers of John the Baptist were at work in Jesus (καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αἱ δυνάμεις ἐνεργοῦσιν ἐν αὐτῷ).  Herod knew that he had seized, bound, and, put John in jail (Ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης κρατήσας τὸν Ἰωάνην ἔδησεν καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ ἀπέθετο).  In fact, he had him killed because of his new wife Herodias, who had been the wife of his brother Philip or Herod Boethus (διὰ Ἡρῳδιάδα τὴν γυναῖκα Φιλίππου τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ).

The return from exile (Hos 11:10-11:11)

“They shall go after Yahweh.

He will roar

Like a lion.

When he roars,

His children

Shall come trembling

From the west.

They shall come trembling

Like birds

From Egypt.

They shall come trembling

Like doves

From the land of Assyria.

‘I will return them

To their homes.’

Says Yahweh.”

The compassion of Yahweh will lead the Israelites to return to Israel and Ephraim. Yahweh would roar like a lion. When his children, the Israelites, heard this roar, they would come trembling back to Israel. They would come from the west, like birds from Egypt. They would also return like trembling doves from Assyria. Yahweh said that he would return them to their homes.

The great Greek king (Dan 11:3-11:4)

“Then a warrior king

Shall arise.

He shall rule

With great dominion.

He shall take action

As he pleases.

While still rising

In power,

His kingdom

Shall be broken.

It shall be divided

Toward the four winds of heaven,

But not to his posterity,

Nor according to the dominion

With which he ruled.

His kingdom

Shall be uprooted.

It shall go to others

Besides these.”

This warrior king was Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), who had great power. He died while still young, only 32 years old. When he died, his great kingdom was divided into 4, like the 4 winds of heaven. Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy became the 4 rulers, none of whom were his children.

The prince can give only his own property (Ezek 46:18-46:18)

“The prince

Shall not take

Any of the inheritance

Of the people,

Thrusting them

Out of their property.

He shall give

His sons

Their inheritance

Out of his own property.

Thus,

None of my people

Shall be dispossessed

Of their property.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was also insistent that the prince could not take the property of others, and then give it to his sons. He could only give property to his sons from his own inheritance. He could not throw people off their own property to give to his children as gifts. No one in Israel would be dispossessed of their own property, because their property was safe from the prince or ruler.

The coming punishment for the king and his family (Jer 36:30-36:31)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh                           

Concerning King Jehoiakim

Of Judah.

‘He shall have no one

To sit upon the throne

Of David.

His dead body

Shall be cast out

To the heat

By day

As well as the frost

By night.

I will punish him,

His offspring,

As well as his servants

For their iniquity.

I will bring

On them,

On the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

On the people of Judah,

All the disasters

With which I have threatened them.

But they would not hear.’”

Yahweh delivered his judgment against King Jehoiakim and his royal family. No one in his family will ever sit on the throne of David. Actually, at his death, his son Coniah, King Jehoiachin ruled for a couple of months before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon put his uncle King Zedekiah on the throne in 598 BCE. King Jehoiakim’s dead body would lie out in the cold night and the hot day. The king, his children, and his servants would suffer for their iniquity. On top of that, Yahweh was going to bring disasters to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This will all happen because they had not listened to Yahweh.

Panic in the land (Jer 10:19-10:21)

“Woe is me!

Because of my hurt,

My wound is severe.

But I said.

‘Truly this is my punishment.

I must bear it.’

My tent is destroyed.

All my cords are broken.

My children have gone from me.

They are no more.

There is no one

To spread my tent again,

There is no one

To set up my curtains.

The shepherds are stupid.

They do not inquire of Yahweh.

Therefore they have not prospered.

All their flock is scattered.”

Jeremiah presents this lamentation about what was happening to him personally. He has been hurt and wounded. He understood that this was his punishment and that he had to bear it. His tent was destroyed with all its cords. In this sense, it is also like Second Isaiah. His children have left him. There was no one to help him with his tent and its curtains. The idea of the stupid shepherds is a reference to their rulers. They never inquired of Yahweh, so that they have not prospered. Their flocks have scattered all over the place.