The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Matthew and Money
There are two extreme schools of thought as to the means by which the books of the Bible were composed. The one, which we might call the “dictation” school, implies that the authors were really no more than “secretaries” who wrote down, word for word, what God spoke to them. The other extreme declares that the authors compiled and arranged and edited various materials, part written and part oral, from many older sources. Since these sources were not necessarily “inspired” in any regular sense of the word, and since the compiler was at liberty to “pick and choose”, therefore the final result could scarcely be considered the infallible “word of God”. An “advancement” (?) upon this second school of thought is that the gospels, for example, did not take their final forms until some time in the second century, after later disciples “tinkered around” with their predecessors’ stories.
The Unforgiving Debtor
After his very blunt counsel regarding the resolving of differences between brethren, the Lord used the opportunity to emphasize that there is an even better way through such difficulties: Let a man foster in his mind such a spirit of toleration and forgiveness that no offence is felt!
The Unjust Steward
By common consent it is the most perplexing parable of all. Yet in fact the perplexity is more in the comment with which Jesus followed on. The story itself is as vivid and fascinating in its detail as any told by Jesus.
Various regulations as to the relation between debtor and creditor are laid down in the Scriptures.
det, det ́ẽr: It is difficult nowadays to think of debt without associating with it the idea of interest, and even usury. Certain it is that this idea is associated with the Old Testament idea of the word, at least in the later period of Old Testament history. This is true of the New Testament entire. The Hebrew word (נשׁי, neshī) always carries with it the idea of “biting interest” (compare 2 Kings 4:7). The Greek words δάνειον, dáneion (Matthew 18:27), and ὀφειλή, opheilḗ (Matthew 18:32), may point only to the fact of indebtedness; the idea of interest, however, is clearly taught in the New Testament (compare Matthew 25:27).
Debtor, (חוֹב, chob, debt, Ezekiel 18:7; χρεωφειλέτης, ower of money, Luke 7:41; 16:5;. elsewhere simply ὀφειλέτης. See generally the prop. Hebrew words לָוָה נָשָׁא, G, Gesenius, Thes. eb. p. 920. The Mosaic laws respecting pecuniary obligations differ in many points from those of modern nations, but this is no proof that they were not suitable to the people for whom they were designed, and it is certain that they are pervaded by a spirit of kindness to the debtor to which no parallel is to be found in the codes of antiquity. SEE LOAN. Though they at least tacitly allow of the sale of a debtor as a slave (Leviticus 25:39-40), they also direct that his treatment shall be that of “an hired servant and a sojourner,” while the law of the Twelve Tables authorized putting an insolvent debtor to death, and both Grecian and Roman history abound with instances of the disturbances caused in those states by the severity with which this class was dealt with. The laws of Moses are, however, by no means regardless of the rights of creditors, as we find that persons who had property due to them might, if they chose, secure it either by means of a mortgage, or by a pledge, or by a bondsman or surety. The chief provisions in the Scripture on the subject are the following:
Surety, (some form of עָרִב, arb, to barter, and especially to deposit a pledge, either in money, goods, or in part payment, as security for a bargain; ἔγγυος). “Suretyship” in the A. V. is usually the rendering for תּוֹקעַי, tokeim, literally in marg. “those that strike (hands),” from תָּקִע, to strike (Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 1517). The phrase: תּשׂוּמֶת יָד, tesumeth yad. (Sept. παραθήκη), “depositing in the hand,” i.e. giving in pledge, may be understood to apply to the act of pledging, or virtual, though not personal, surety ship (Leviticus 6:2; Hebrews 5:14]). In the entire absence of commerce, the law laid down no rules on the subject of surety ship; but it is evident that in the time of Solomon, mercantile dealings had become so multiplied that surety ship in the commercial sense was common (Proverbs 6:1; 12:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26; 27:13). But in older times the notion of one mall becoming a surety for a service to be discharged by another was in full force (see Genesis 44:32), and it is probable that the same form of undertaking existed, viz. the giving the hand to (striking hands with), not, as Michaelis represents, the person who was to discharge the service in ‘the commercial sense’ the debtor—but the person to whom it was due, the creditor (Job 17:3; Proverbs 6:1; Michaelis, Laws of Moses, § 151, 2, 322, ed. Smith). The surety, of course, became liable for his client’s debts in case of his failure. In later Jewish times the system had become common, and caused much distress in many instances, yet the duty of surety ship in certain cases is recognized as valid (Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 8:13; 29 14, 145, 16,18, 19). SEE PLEDGE.