Matthew 25:14-30

Matthew 25:14-30
Proper 28A


14 “For it is as if a man,I going on a journey,II summonedIII

Notes on verse 14a

I “man” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
II “going on a journey” = apodemeo.  6x in NT. From apodemos (to go abroad, sojourn in a foreign country); {from apo (from, away from) + demos (district, multitude, rabble, assembly; Greeks bound by similar laws or customs); {from deo (to tie, bind, compel, declare unlawful)}}. This is to travel abroad, be away from home. This word shares a root with “democracy” and “Nicodemus.”
III “summoned” = kaleo. Related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud.

hisIV slavesV and entrustedVI his propertyVII to them; 

Notes on verse 14b

IV “his” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
V “slaves” = doulos. Related to “going on a journey” in v14. Perhaps from deo (see note II above). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
VI “entrusted” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.
VII “property” = huparcho. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or be ready, to exist or possess. It is what one already has or possesses.

15 to oneVIII he gaveIX fiveX talents,XI

Notes on verse 15a

VIII {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
IX “gave” = didomi. Related to “entrusted” in v14. See note VI above.
X “five” = pente. This is five. It may be symbolically associated with the Temple or redemption.
XI “talents” = talanton. 14x in NT– all in Matthew 18 & Matthew 25 in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant and the Parable of the Talents. Perhaps from tlao (to bear). This is a balance as an amount that is weighed to make up a talent. A talent was around 3,000 shekels. A silver talent could be exchanged for around 6,000 denarii and gold ones about thirty times more.

to another two,XII to another one,XIII to eachXIV according to his ability.XV

Notes on verse 15b

XII “two” = duo. This is two or both.
XIII “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
XIV “each” = hekastos. Perhaps from hekas (separate). This is each one, any, every. It is every individual as a distinct entity as opposed to those counted as a group in small sets.
XV “ability” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.

Then he went away.XVI At onceXVII 16 the one who had receivedXVIII the five talents went offXIX

Notes on verses 15c-16a

XVI “went away” = apodemeo. Same as “going on a journey” in v14. See note II above.
XVII “at once” = eutheos. From euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked); {perhaps from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish)}. This is directly, soon, at once.
XVIII “received” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
XIX “went off” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.

and tradedXX with them and madeXXI five moreXXII talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went offXXIII and dugXXIV a hole in the groundXXV

Notes on verses 16b-18a

XX “traded” = ergazomai. From ergon (work, task, action, employment). This is to work, labor, perform, toil.
XXI “made” = kerdaino. 17x in NT. From kerdos (profit, gain, advantage). This is to gain, win, or acquire. It is a word from the sphere of bartering and trading. Figuratively, it can mean trading up.
XXII “more” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
XXIII “went off” = aperchomai. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (to come or go). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
XXIV “dug” = orusso. 3x in NT. This is to dig, burrow, or excavate.
XXV “ground” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.

and hidXXVI his master’sXXVII money.XXVIII 

Notes on verse 18b

XXVI “hid” = krupto. 18x in NT. This is to hide by covering, secret, hidden things. This is the root of the word “cryptography.”
XXVII “master’s” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XXVIII “money” = argurion. From arguros (silver, whether the metal itself or things made from silver); from argos (shining). This is silver, which implies money – shekel, drachma, etc.

19 After a longXXIX timeXXX the master of those slaves cameXXXI and settledXXXII accountsXXXIII with them. 

Notes on verse 19

XXIX “long” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
XXX “time” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
XXXI “came” = erchomai. Related to “went off” in v18. See note XXIII above.
XXXII “settled” = sunairo. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + airo (to lift up in a literal or figurative sense; to lift, carry, or raise; take away or remove; figuratively, raising the voice or level of suspense; sailing off as raising the anchor; atonement of sin as lift/remove sin). This is to take up together, which would be making a reckoning or comparing accounts. It is to settle or compute.
XXXIII “accounts” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.

20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward,XXXIV bringingXXXV five more talents, saying,XXXVI ‘Master, you handed overXXXVII to me five talents; see,XXXVIII I have made five more talents.’ 

Notes on verse 20

XXXIV “came forward” = proserchomai. Related to “went off” in v18 & “came” in v19. From pros (for, at, towards) + erchomai (see note XXIII above). This is to approach, draw near, come up to. It is also used figuratively to mean worship.
XXXV “bringing” = prosphero. From pros (at, to, with, towards, advantageous for) + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense). This is to offer gifts or sacrifices, to bring up.
XXXVI “saying” = lego. Related to “accounts” in v19. See note XXXIII above.
XXXVII “handed over” = paradidomi. Same as “entrusted” in v14. See note VI above.
XXXVIII “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.

21 His master saidXXXIX to him, ‘Well done,XL goodXLI and trustworthyXLII slave; you have beenXLIII trustworthy in a few things;XLIV

Notes on verse 21a

XXXIX “said” = phemi. From phao (to shine). This is to declare, say, or use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view.
XL “well done” = eu. Related to “at once” in v15. 6x in NT. See note XVII above
XLI “good” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.
XLII “trustworthy” = pistos. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true. It is a fullness of faith. This is the same root as the word “faith” in Greek.
XLIII “been” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
XLIV “few things” = oligos. This is few or small – it can be a short time or extent, low light, amount, or worth.

I will putXLV you in charge of many things;XLVI enterXLVII into the joyXLVIII of your master.’ 

Notes on verse 21b

XLV “put” = kathistemi. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to appoint, set in order or set in place, constitute, give standing or authority, put in charge, designate.
XLVI “many things” = polus. Same as “long” in v19. See note XXIX above.
XLVII “enter” = eiserchomai. Related to “went off” in v18 & “came” in v19 & “came forward” in v20. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (see note XXIII above). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.
XLVIII “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.

22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 

23 His master saidXLIX to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 

24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knewL that you were a harshLI man, reapingLII

Notes on verses 22-24a

XLIX “said” = phemi. Same as “said” in v21. See note XXXIX above.
L “knew” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
LI “harsh” = skleros. 6x in NT. From skello (to dry) OR from the base of skelos (leg); {perhaps from skello (to parch)}. This is hard because dried, rough, difficult, fierce, harsh. It can also be stubborn or unyielding – unyieldingly hard. This is where the word “sclera” comes from.
LII “reaping” = therizo. From theros (summer; the heat, which implies summer); from thero (to heat). This is to gather or harvest.

where you did not sowLIII and gatheringLIV where you did not scatter,LV 

Notes on verse 24b

LIII “sow” = speiro. Probably from spao (to pull or draw like one draws a sword). This is sowing a seed or scattering. It is sowing in a literal or figurative sense.
LIV “gathering” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
LV “scatter” = diaskorpizo. 9x in NT. From dia (through, on account of, across, thoroughly) + skorpizo (to scatter, distribute, dissipate, waste). This is to separate or disperse. Figuratively, it can be squander or waste.

25 so I was afraid,LVI and I wentLVII and hid your talent in the ground. HereLVIII you haveLIX what is yours.’ 

Notes on verse 25

LVI “was afraid” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.
LVII “went” = aperchomai. Same as “went off” in v18. See note XXIII above.
LVIII “here” = idou. Same as “see” in v20. See note XXXVIII above.
LIX “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.

26 But his master replied, ‘You wickedLX and lazyLXI slave! You knew,LXII did you, that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I did not scatter? 

Notes on verse 26

LX “wicked” = poneros. From poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome. Properly, it is something that bears pain – it emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
LXI “lazy” = okneros. 3x in NT. From okneo (to delay, be slow, hesitate from doing something; figuratively, to loath); from oknos (shrinking or hesitation). This is being late because of hesitation. Figuratively, it could be reluctant or lazy, one who drags their feet or is unwilling or unprepared. Figuratively, one who is indolent, irksome, or grievous.
LXII “knew” = eido. Related to “see” in v20. See note XXXVIII above.

27 Then you oughtLXIII to have investedLXIV my money with the bankers,LXV and on my returnLXVI

Notes on verse 27a

LXIII “ought” = dei. Related to “going on a journey” and “slaves” in v14. From deo (see note II above). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
LXIV “invested” = ballo. This is to throw, cast, rush, place, or drop. It is throwing, but it could be with more or less velocity and with more or less force/violence.
LXV “bankers” = trapezites. 1x in NT. From trapeza (a table – whether for eating or conducting business; literally, four feet); {probably from tessares (four; figuratively, can mean total inclusion or universality) + peze (by foot or land) or pezos (by foot or land); {from pous (foot)}}. This is a money-changer or a bank.
LXVI “return” = erchomai. Same as “came” in v19. See note XXXI above.

I would have receivedLXVII what was my own with interest.LXVIII 28 So takeLXIX the talent from him, and give it to the one withLXX the tenLXXI talents. 

Notes on verses 27b-28

LXVII “received” = komizo. 10x in NT. From komeo (to tend or take care of). This is to carry, bring, recover, or recompense. It is receiving something that was lost or promised. Also, to provide for – as carrying someone out of harm’s way.
LXVIII “interest” = tokos. 2x in NT. From tikto (to produce, bring forth, beget). This is bringing forth or birth. Figuratively, it can refer to interest or usury.
LXIX “take” = airo. Related to “settled” in v19. See note XXXII above.
LXX “with” = echo. Same as “have” in v25. See note LIX above.
LXXI “ten” = deka. This is ten, a number associated with perfection (to a lesser extent than the number seven). It is where “decade” and “decathlon” come from.

29 For to allLXXII those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance,LXXIII but from those who have nothing,LXXIV even what they have will be taken away.LXXV 30 As for this worthlessLXXVI slave, throwLXXVII him

Notes on verses 29-30a

LXXII “all” = pas. This is all or every.
LXXIII “have an abundance” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
LXXIV “have nothing” = me + echo. Literally, “not having.” Echo is the same as “have” in v25. See note LIX above.
LXXV “taken away” = airo. Same as “take” in v28. See note LXIX above.
LXXVI “worthless” = achreios. 2x in NT. From a (not, without) + chreios (useful) OR from a (not, without) + derivative of chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary); {from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request)}. This is unneeded, unprofitable, unworthy. It can also mean useless.
LXXVII “throw” = ekballo. Related to “invested” in v27. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (see note LXIV above). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.

into the outerLXXVIII darkness,LXXIX where there will be weepingLXXX and gnashingLXXXI of teeth.’LXXXII

Notes on verse 30b

LXXVIII “outer” = exoteros. 3x in NT – all in Matthew about the “outer darkness.” From exo (outside, foreign, away); from ek (from, from out of). This is outer, external, or exterior.
LXXIX “darkness” = skotos. Perhaps from the base of skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it. This can also mean obscurity.
LXXX “weeping” = klauthmos. 9x in NT. From klaio (to weep, lament, or sob; weeping aloud). This is weeping, lamentation, shrieks, intense pain.
LXXXI “gnashing” = brugmos. 7x in NT. From brucho (to bite, grind, grate teeth – in rage or pain). This is biting, grinding, grating teeth.
LXXXII “teeth” = odous. 12x in NT. Perhaps from esthio (to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust); {akin to edo (to eat)}. This is a tooth. Figuratively, it can be recompense.

Image credit: “The One who Stares into the Void” by Nina Kossman, 2019.

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