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.

Advertisements

The unforgiving servant slave (Mt 18:28-18:30)

“But that same slave,

As he went out,

Came upon

One of his fellow slaves.

He owed him

A hundred denarii.

He seizing him.

He started choking him.

He said.

‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down.

He pleaded with him.

‘Have patience with me!

I will pay you.’

But he refused.

Then he went.

He threw him in prison

Until he would pay the debt.”

 

ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ, ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια, καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν ἔπνιγεν λέγων Ἀπόδος εἴ τι ὀφείλεις.

πεσὼν οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος αὐτοῦ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί, καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι.

ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν, ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν ἕως ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  Just as this servant slave was leaving his master (ἐξελθὼν δὲ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) after having a $15,000,000 debt forgiven, he ran into a fellow slave (εὗρεν ἕνα τῶν συνδούλων αὐτοῦ).  This fellow slave owed him a hundred denarii (ὃς ὤφειλεν αὐτῷ ἑκατὸν δηνάρια), about $150.00.  He seized him or took hold of him (καὶ κρατήσας αὐτὸν).  He started to choke him by the throat (ἔπνιγεν) and told him to pay what he owed (λέγων Ἀπόδος εἴ τι ὀφείλεις).  Obviously, he was using strong arm tactics to intimidate his fellow slave.  This fellow slave responded by using the same routine and words as he had just done to the king.  Then his fellow slave fell down (πεσὼν οὖν ὁ σύνδουλος αὐτοῦ).  He pleaded with him (παρεκάλει αὐτὸν λέγων) to have patience with him (Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί) because he was going to pay it back to him (καὶ ἀποδώσω σοι).  However, the result was completely different.  Instead of forgiving his fellow slave, he refused to do that (ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἤθελεν).  He threatened him (ἀλλὰ ἀπελθὼν) and put him in jail or prison (ἔβαλεν αὐτὸν εἰς φυλακὴν) until he would pay off his debt (ἕως ἀποδῷ τὸ ὀφειλόμενον).

The sword of the Israelite redeemer (Jer 50:34-50:37)

“Their Redeemer is strong.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.

He will surely plead

Their cause.

He may give rest

To the earth.

But he will give unrest

To the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

Says Yahweh.

‘A sword against

The Chaldeans!

The inhabitants of Babylon!

Her officials!

Her sages!

The diviners!

Thus they may

Become fools!

A sword against

Her warriors!

Thus they may be destroyed!

A sword against

Her horses!

Her chariots!

All the foreign troops

In her midst!

Thus they may

Become women!

A sword against

All her treasures!

Thus they may be plundered!’”

Yahweh was the strong redeemer of Israel and Judah. He was going to bring the sword or death to the Babylonians. He was going to give the Israelites and Judeans a rest since he pleaded their case. However, the Babylonians were not going to be as lucky, since he was going to bring them unrest. The destroying sword would come up against the Chaldeans and all the people who lived in Babylon. All their officials and wise men would suffer death by the sword also. The foolish diviners and the warriors would be destroyed. Their horses, their chariots, and the foreign troops there would be wiped out by the sword. These strong fighters would become like women. The Babylonian treasures would be plundered. Watch out for the sword of this redeemer!

Jeremiah wants to go to the palace jail (Jer 37:20-37:21)

“‘Now please hear me!

My lord king!

Be good enough

To listen to my plea!

Do not send me

Back to the house

Of the secretary Jonathan

To die there.’

So King Zedekiah gave orders.

They committed Jeremiah

To the court of the guard.

A loaf of bread

Was given him daily

From the bakers’ street,

Until all the bread of the city

Was gone.

So Jeremiah remained

In the court of the guard.”

Jeremiah did not want to go back to the dungeon cell in the house of the secretary Jonathan. Thus he pleaded with the king to get out of there. King Zedekiah granted his request. He was going to be kept in a semi-house arrest in the court of the guard, a real prison attached to the royal palace. There he would get a fresh loaf of bread from the common baker’s street area daily, until there were no more provisions in the city. Thus Jeremiah got better living conditions, if not released.

The response of Jeremiah (Jer 14:13-14:13)

“Then I said.

‘O Yahweh God!

Here are what the prophets

Said to them.

‘You shall not see the sword.

You shall not have famine.

But I will give you

True peace

In this place.’”

Jeremiah pleaded with Yahweh, his God. He reminded him that the prophets had told the people that Judah would be a place of true peace. Thus no one would see the sword or suffer from a famine.

The prosperous wicked people (Jer 12:1-12:3)

“Yahweh!

You will be in the right

When I complain to you.

But let me plead my case

Before you?

Why does the way of the guilty prosper?

Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

You plant them.

They take root.

They grow.

They bring forth fruit.

You are near in their mouths.

Yet you are far from their hearts.

Yahweh!

You know me!

You see me!

You test me!

My heart is with you.

Pull them out

Like sheep for the slaughter!

Set them apart

For the day of slaughter.”

Jeremiah wanted to know why the wicked ones prospered. Much like Job, and the sapiential literature, this was the question of why do bad or evil people succeed? Jeremiah pleaded his case before Yahweh. Yahweh was the one who planted them and gave them roots. Thus they have grown and born fruit. They say the right things, but their hearts are not in it. Jeremiah complained that Yahweh knew what kind of person he was, since Yahweh knew, saw, and tested him. His heart was with Yahweh. Now he wanted these wicked guilty people to be pulled out and put to slaughter like sheep. Jeremiah was not happy about these prosperous wicked people.

The hope of a quick response (Ps 69:16-69:18)

“Answer me!,

Yahweh!

Your steadfast love is good.

According to your abundant mercy,

Turn to me!

Do not hide your face from your servant!

I am in distress!

Make haste to answer me!

Draw near to me!

Redeem me!

Set me free

Because of my enemies!”

Now there is a change in tone. No longer is David waiting for a response. Now he wanted an answer right away. He pleaded to the goodness of God, his love for him, and his great mercy. He was in distress. He did not want God to hide his face from him. He wanted a hasty response. He wanted God close to him. He wanted God to see him so that he could be freed from his enemies. He wanted to be redeemed.