But he that had received one went and dig in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that had received one . . .—There is something strikingly suggestive in the fact that those who had received the higher sums were “good and faithful,” and that it was left to the man who had received the smallest to fail in his duty. Failure in the use of wider opportunities brings with it a greater condemnation; but it is true, as a fact of human nature which our Lord thus recognised, that in such cases there is commonly less risk of failure. The very presence of the opportunities brings with it a sense of responsibility. So faithfulness in a very little receives its full reward, but the consciousness of having but a little, when men do not believe in their Master’s wisdom and love in giving them but a little, tempts to discontent and so to sloth on the one hand, and on the other, as with Judas, to hasty and unscrupulous greed of immediate gain.
1. On the plea that they do not occupy a high station.
2. That they have slender abilities, and can do little good.
3. As it was in this case, that God had not given them as much as he did others, and they will therefore do nothing.
These pleas are without foundation; because:
1. God does not require us to do as much as those who have greater abilities; but this is not a reason why we should do nothing, 2 Corinthians 8:12.
2. Any situation is honorable, and may be useful, where God has placed us; and though humble, yet in that we may do much good, 1Co. 12:11-31.
3. People of slender abilities may often do more good in the world than people of much greater talents. It is rather a warm heart than a strong head which is required to do good. A humble Christian, by his life, example, and conversation, may often do much more good than "is" done by those in more elevated stations and with far greater gifts.
We are not to suppose by this, however, that our Saviour meant to teach that only those of feeble talents neglected their duty. The parable does not require us to do this; and the Fact is, perhaps, that those most highly endowed are the farthest from properly improving their talents.
went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's money. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "silver", and the Ethiopic, "gold"; but whether these talents were silver or gold, is not certain. Where he buried it; that is, he neglected the gift that was in him, he made no use of it, either to his own advantage, or to the good of others, and the interest of his Lord; he either never went into the ministry, or if he did, he left it as Demas did, having too great affection for the world, and the things of it: he minded earth and earthly things, and employed himself in them, and not in his master's work and service. The phrase seems to point out the earthly mindedness of the man, his worldly disposition, and his eager pursuit after the things of life; which were the reason why he disregarded his talent, and made no use of his ministerial gifts: he could not deny worldly self, nor leave all to follow Christ; but rather than drop the world, he chose to bury his talent in it: it was his Lord's money and not his own, and he was accountable to him for it, and should have used it in another manner.But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 25:18. Ἀπελθών] he went away, removed to a distance. How entirely different in the case of the two first, Matthew 25:16! They started upon a journey (πορευθ.).
ὤρυξεν ἐν τ. γῇ] he digged, i.e. he made a hole in the earth. The reading γῆν, which Tisch. adopts, following B L א (C*: τὴν γῆν), but from which the vss. deviate, would mean: he dug up the earth (Plat. Euthyd. p. 288 E).
τὸ ἀργύρ. τοῦ κυρ. αὐτ.] brings out emphatically the idea of responsibility and dereliction of duty.Matthew 25:18. ὤρυξεν γῆν, dug up the earth, and hid the silver of his master. Not dishonest—the master had not misjudged as to that—but indolent, unenterprising, timid. What he did was often done for safety. The master might have done it himself, but he wanted increase as well as safety. In Lk.’s parable the same type of man buries his pound in a napkin. A talent was too large to be put up that way.Matthew 25:18. Ἀπέκρυψε, hid) sc. in the earth; see Matthew 25:25.Verse 18. - He that had received one (τὸ ἕν, the one talent). Limited opportunities do not condone neglect. This third servant was as much bound to put out to interest his little capital as the first was his larger means. Went; went away. He too was not altogether idle; he in some sort exerted himself, not indeed actually in evil (as the servant in Matthew 24:48, 49), but yet not practically in his lord's service. Hid his lord's money. He thought the amount so small, or his master so rich, that it was of no consequence what was done with it; it was not worth the trouble of traffic. So, like all Easterns, he buried the little treasure in the ground, to keep it safe till his lord should ask tot it. recognizing that it was not his own to treat as he liked, but that it still belonged to him who had entrusted it to his care. The man had some special grace, but he never exercised it, never let it shine before men, or bring forth the fruit of good works.
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