Matthew 25:14-30

Matthew 25:14-30
Ordinary A51


14 “For it is as if a man,A going on a journey,B summonedC hisD slavesE and entrustedF his propertyG to them; 

Notes on verse 14

A “man” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
B “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.”
C “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.
D “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).
E “slaves” = doulos. Perhaps related to “going on a journey” in v14. Perhaps from deo (see note B 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).
F “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.
G “property” = huparcho. From huop (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 oneH he gaveI five talents,J to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.K Then he went away.L, M 

Notes on verse 15

H {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
I “gave” = didomi. Related to “entrusted” in v14. See note F above.
J “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.
K “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.
L “went away” = apodemeo. Same as “going on a journey” in v14. See note B above.
M {untranslated} = eutheos. From euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked). This is directly, soon, at once.

16 The one who had received the five talents went offN at once and tradedO with them, and madeP five moreQ talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 

Notes on verses 16-17

N “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.
O “traded” = ergazomai. From ergon (work, task, action, employment). This is to work, labor, perform, toil.
P “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.
Q “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).

18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hidR his master’sS money.T 19 After a long timeU the master of those slaves came and settledV accountsW with them. 

Notes on verses 18-19

R “hid” = krupto. 18x in NT. This is to hide by covering, secret, hidden things. This is the root of the word “cryptography.”
S “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.
T “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.
U “time” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
V “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.
W “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, bringingX five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed overY to me five talents; see,Z I have made five more talents.’ 

Notes on verse 20

X “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.
Y “handed over” = paradidomi. Same as “entrusted” in v14. See note F above.
Z “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 said to him, ‘Well done,AA goodBB and trustworthyCC slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will putDD you in charge of many things; enter into the joyEE of your master.’ 

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 said 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.’ 

Notes on verses 21-23

AA “well done” = eu. 6x in NT. This is good well, well done, or rightly. It can also be a positive exclamation.
BB “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.
CC “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.
DD “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.
EE “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.

24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knewFF that you were a harshGG man, reapingHH where you did not sow,II

Notes on verse 24a

FF “knew” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience
GG “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.
HH “reaping” = therizo. From theros (summer; the heat, which implies summer); from thero (to heat). This is to gather or harvest.
II “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.

and gatheringJJ where you did not scatterKK seed; 25 so I was afraid,LL and I went and hid your talent in the ground. HereMM you have what is yours.’ 

Notes on verses 24b-25

JJ “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.”
KK “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.
LL “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.
MM “here” = idou. Same as “see” in v20. See note Z above.

26 But his master replied, ‘You wickedNN and lazyOO slave! You knew,PP did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 

Notes on verse 26

NN “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.
OO “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.
PP “knew” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.

27 Then you oughtQQ to have investedRR my money with the bankers,SS and on my return I would have receivedTT what was my own with interest.UU 

Notes on verse 27

QQ “ought” = dei. Related to “going on a journey” and “slaves” in v14. From deo (see note B 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.
RR “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.
SS “bankers” = trapezites. 1x in NT. From trapeza (a table – whether for eating or conducting business; literally, four feet; where the word “trapeze” comes from); {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 banker, bank, or money changer.
TT “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.
UU “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.

28 So takeVV the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance;WW but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthlessXX slave, throwYY him into the outer darkness,ZZ where there will be weepingAAA and gnashingBBB of teeth.’

Notes on verses 28-30

VV “take” = airo. Related to “settled” in v19. See note V above.
WW “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.
XX “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.
YY “throw” = ekballo. Related to “invested” in v27. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (see note RR above). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.
ZZ “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.
AAA “weeping” = klauthmos. 9x in NT. From klaio (to weep, lament, or sob; weeping aloud). This is weeping, lamentation, shrieks, intense pain.
BBB “gnashing” = brugmos. 7x in NT. From brucho (to bite, grind, grate teeth – in rage or pain). This is biting, grinding, grating teeth.

Image credit: “Parable of the Three Servants, or The Talents” by Jesus MAFA in Cameroon, 1973.

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