1. Seventy times seven times: The number can be translated also as seventy-seven times. Whether it be 77 or 490 times, the pint is that there can be no limits to the willingness to forgive. The numbers allude to Gen 4: 24. “I Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy –sevenfold.
2. Ten thousand talents: A talent was a very high measure of money, worth between six thousand and ten thousand denarii, when on denarius was a day’s pay (20:2), so ten thousand talents is an astronomical sum (like a billion dollar for us), a debt so large that the servant could never repay it. (See 18:26) This huge sum must represent the total revenues of the province and the debtor must have been a high and trusted official.
3. Wife and children: Although some Biblical text assume that the Children could be sold into slavery to make up their father’s debt (2 Kg 4:1, Is 50:1, Neh 5:5) this was not the practice in Jesus’ time. In Jewish law, no one can take another’s wife in any circumstances. So the king has to be a Gentile.
4. A hundred denarii: Compared to the debt of ten thousand talents, this was a small sum that could easily be paid back if the servant had showed patience. His treatment of the fellow servant is contrasted with King’s merciful treatment.
5. At the cruel treatment of the servant, the fellow servants were very sorry. They go and ask for justice to the king. The sins of the others will cause real sorrow to the true Christian; he/she will grieve over the hard-hearted and impenitent as the Lord wept over Jerusalem.
Many of us expect our elders, teachers, parents, superiors, higher official to be lenient with us but when it comes to the treating of our subjects, we become extremely strict. We can cull out thousands of examples from our own lives. When we take charge of the position we talk about discipline and value-system whereas when the others take charge of us we talk about understanding, flexibility and concern. Jesus comes down on us quite heavily. We should learn to forgive people, for the simple reason we are forgiven unconditionally by the Lord.
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The Pulpit Commentary