The Meaning of Matthew 18:24 Explained

Matthew 18:24

KJV: And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

YLT: and he having begun to take account, there was brought near to him one debtor of a myriad of talents,

Darby: And having begun to reckon, one debtor of ten thousand talents was brought to him.

ASV: And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, that owed him ten thousand talents.

What does Matthew 18:24 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 18:21-35 - Forgiven Yet Unforgiving
Seventy times seven is illimitable forgiveness. These numbers denote the perfection of perfection; and if God asks so much of us, what is He not prepared to do! Despair of yourself, but never despair of God's forgiving mercy! The cause of soul-ruin is not sin, but the unbelief that thinks sin too great to be forgiven.
The difference between the two amounts of debt named in the parable sets forth the vast difference between our indebtedness to man and to God; and the free pardon of the king teaches us that God desires not only to forgive us, but to wipe out all memory of our sins. We could never pay all, but God will forgive all. Yet, notice that this servant forfeited the king's pardon, so that it ceased to operate. Similarly we may shut ourselves out of the benefits of Christ's death-though it has reconciled the world unto God-by an unforgiving and merciless spirit. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 18

1  Jesus warns his disciples to be humble and harmless,
7  to avoid offenses,
10  and not to despise the little ones;
15  teaches how we are to deal with our brothers when they offend us,
21  and how often to forgive them;
23  which he sets forth by a parable of the king who took account of his servants,
32  and punished him who showed no mercy to his fellow servant

Greek Commentary for Matthew 18:24

Ten thousand talents [μυριων ταλαντων]
A talent was 6,000 denarii or about a thousand dollars or 240 pounds. Ten thousand times this is about ten or twelve million dollars, an enormous sum for that period. We live today in the age of national debts of billions of dollars or even of pounds sterling. The imperial taxes of Judea, Idumea, and Samaria for one year were only 600 talents while Galilee and Perea paid 200 (Josephus, Ant. xi. 4). But oriental kings were free in the use of money and in making debts like the native kings of India today. [source]
Which owed him [ὀφειλέτης]
Lit., a debtor of ten thousand talents. [source]
Ten thousand talents []
An enormous sum; about twelve millions of dollars. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 18:24

Matthew 25:15 According to his several ability [kata tēn idian dunamin)]
According to his own ability. Each had all that he was capable of handling. The use that one makes of his opportunities is the measure of his capacity for more. One talent represented a considerable amount of money at that time when a denarius was a day‘s wage. See note on Matthew 18:24 for the value of a talent. [source]
Luke 13:4 Sinners [ὀφειλέται]
Lit., debtors. Possibly with reference to the figure at the close of the last chapter. Compare Matthew 5:25; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:24; Luke 11:4. [source]
Luke 13:4 Offenders [οπειλεται]
Literally, debtors, not sinners as in Luke 13:2 and as the Authorized Version renders here. See note on Luke 7:41; Luke 11:4; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:24-34. [source]
Luke 13:4 debtors []
, not sinners as in Luke 13:2 and as the Authorized Version renders here. See note on Luke 7:41; Luke 11:4; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:24-34. [source]
1 Peter 3:18 For sins [περι αμαρτιων]
“Concerning sins” (not his, but ours, 1 Peter 1:18). Περι — Peri (around, concerning) with αμαρτιας — hamartias in the regular phrase for the sin offering (Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 6:30), though υπερ αμαρτιας — huper hamartias does occur (Ezekiel 43:25). So in the N.T. we find both περι αμαρτιων — peri hamartiōn (Hebrews 5:3) and υπερ αμαρτιων — huper hamartiōn (Hebrews 5:1).Once (απαχ — hapax). Once for all (Hebrews 9:28), not once upon a time (ποτε — pote).The righteous for the unrighteous Literally, “just for unjust” (no articles). See 1 Peter 2:19 for the sinlessness of Christ as the one perfect offering for sin. This is what gives Christ‘s blood value. He has no sin himself. Some men today fail to perceive this point.That he might bring us to God (ινα ημας προσαγαγηι τωι τεωι — hina hēmās prosagagēi tōi theōi). Purpose clause with ινα — hina with second aorist active subjunctive of προσαγω — prosagō and the dative case τωι τεωι — tōi theōi The MSS. vary between ημας — hēmās (us) and υμας — humās (you). The verb προσαγω — prosagō means to lead or bring to (Matthew 18:24), to approach God (cf. προσαγωγην — prosagōgēn in Ephesians 2:18), to present us to God on the basis of his atoning death for us, which has opened the way (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 10:19.)Being put to death in the flesh First aorist passive participle of τανατοω — thanatoō old verb (from τανατος — thanatos death), to put to death. Σαρκι — Sarki is locative case of σαρχ — sarx quickened in the spirit First aorist passive participle of ζωοποιεω — zōopoieō rare (Aristotle) verb (from ζωοποιος — zōopoios making alive), to make alive. The participles are not antecedent to απετανεν — apethanen but simultaneous with it. There is no such construction as the participle of subsequent action. The spirit of Christ did not die when his flesh did, but “was endued with new and greater powers of life” (Thayer). See 1 Corinthians 15:22 for the use of the verb for the resurrection of the body. But the use of the word πνευματι — pneumati (locative case) in contrast with σαρκι — sarki starts Peter‘s mind off in a long comparison by way of illustration that runs from 1 Peter 3:19-22. The following verses have caused more controversy than anything in the Epistle. [source]
1 Peter 3:18 The righteous for the unrighteous [δικαιος υπερ αδικων]
Literally, “just for unjust” (no articles). See 1 Peter 2:19 for the sinlessness of Christ as the one perfect offering for sin. This is what gives Christ‘s blood value. He has no sin himself. Some men today fail to perceive this point.That he might bring us to God (ινα ημας προσαγαγηι τωι τεωι — hina hēmās prosagagēi tōi theōi). Purpose clause with ινα — hina with second aorist active subjunctive of προσαγω — prosagō and the dative case τωι τεωι — tōi theōi The MSS. vary between ημας — hēmās (us) and υμας — humās (you). The verb προσαγω — prosagō means to lead or bring to (Matthew 18:24), to approach God (cf. προσαγωγην — prosagōgēn in Ephesians 2:18), to present us to God on the basis of his atoning death for us, which has opened the way (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 10:19.)Being put to death in the flesh First aorist passive participle of τανατοω — thanatoō old verb (from τανατος — thanatos death), to put to death. Σαρκι — Sarki is locative case of σαρχ — sarx quickened in the spirit First aorist passive participle of ζωοποιεω — zōopoieō rare (Aristotle) verb (from ζωοποιος — zōopoios making alive), to make alive. The participles are not antecedent to απετανεν — apethanen but simultaneous with it. There is no such construction as the participle of subsequent action. The spirit of Christ did not die when his flesh did, but “was endued with new and greater powers of life” (Thayer). See 1 Corinthians 15:22 for the use of the verb for the resurrection of the body. But the use of the word πνευματι — pneumati (locative case) in contrast with σαρκι — sarki starts Peter‘s mind off in a long comparison by way of illustration that runs from 1 Peter 3:19-22. The following verses have caused more controversy than anything in the Epistle. [source]
1 Peter 3:18 That he might bring us to God [ινα ημας προσαγαγηι τωι τεωι]
Purpose clause with ινα — hina with second aorist active subjunctive of προσαγω — prosagō and the dative case τωι τεωι — tōi theōi The MSS. vary between ημας — hēmās (us) and υμας — humās (you). The verb προσαγω — prosagō means to lead or bring to (Matthew 18:24), to approach God (cf. προσαγωγην — prosagōgēn in Ephesians 2:18), to present us to God on the basis of his atoning death for us, which has opened the way (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 10:19.) [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 18:24 mean?

Having begun then he to settle was brought one to him a debtor of ten thousand talents
ἀρξαμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ συναίρειν προσηνέχθη εἷς αὐτῷ ὀφειλέτης μυρίων ταλάντων

ἀρξαμένου  Having  begun 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: ἄρχω  
Sense: to be the first to do (anything), to begin.
συναίρειν  to  settle 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: συναίρω  
Sense: to take up together with another or others.
προσηνέχθη  was  brought 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: προσφέρω  
Sense: to bring to, lead to.
εἷς  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
αὐτῷ  to  him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
ὀφειλέτης  a  debtor 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ὀφειλέτης  
Sense: one who owes another, a debtor.
μυρίων  of  ten  thousand 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: μύριοι 
Sense: innumerable, countless.
ταλάντων  talents 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: τάλαντον  
Sense: the scale of a balance, a balance, a pair of scales.