Matthew 18:24

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

And when he had begun to reckon,.... To open the book of conscience, and to bring to account by some awakening providence, and strong conviction: one was brought unto him; whether he would or no, through the force of an awakened conscience, under guilt and terror;

which owed him ten thousand talents; which must be understood, either of gold, or silver: a talent of silver contained 3,000 shekels, as appears from Exodus 38:25, and was in value of our money 375l. but a talent of gold was equal to 4,500l. of our {f} money. According to Dr. Prideaux {g}, a talent of silver was 450l. and a talent of gold, the proportion of gold to silver being reckoned as sixteen to one, was 7,200l. and according to Bishop Cumberland, a talent of silver was 353l. 11s. 10d. ob. and a talent of gold of the same weight, was 5,075l. 15s. 7d. ob. The whole, according to Dr. Hammond, was a thousand eight hundred seventy five thousand pounds, reckoning them silver talents; but if talents of gold are meant, what an immense sum must ten thousand of them be! According to some, seventy two millions sterling. The design of the phrase, is to set forth the exceeding greatness of the debt. Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads it, "ten thousand manehs", or pounds; and so the Persic version: now the value of a maneh of gold, was 75l. and of silver, 7l 10s. {h} take the sum in the least quantity and value, it was exceeding large. The Arabic version renders it a "sum of talents", without mentioning the number, and may mean an innumerable one. Mention is made of such a number of talents of silver, in Esther 3:9, which Aben Ezra says is defective, and signifies ten thousand thousand talents. The "second" Targum on the place says, that the sum of six hundred thousand zuzim, drachms, or pence (i.e. Roman ones) is ten thousand talents of silver. These "ten thousand talents" intend sins, which are called debts, in Scripture; not that they are properly so, or owing to God, for then it would be right to pay them, but because they bind over to punishment. All men owe a debt of thankfulness to God, for their beings, the preservation of them, and all the mercies of life; and a debt of obedience to the whole law, in failure of which, they are obliged to punishment: hence every sin becomes a debt, and these are numerous; indwelling sin, and the lusts thereof, are innumerable; as are actual sins and transgressions, they are more than the hairs of a man's head, and are fitly expressed, both for the weight and quantity of them, by "ten thousand talents". In this light they appear to the conscience of an awakened sinner, who sees that he has been doing nothing but sin, all the days of his life; and that he has been continually breaking the law, one precept or another of it, in thought, word, or deed: which violations of the law, even in word and deed, are risen up to so great a sum, that he is not able to give it to any nearness, and with any exactness; he cannot understand all his errors, nor express the full number of them, or declare all their aggravated circumstances; besides the swarms of corruption of internal lusts and sins, which he observes dwelling in his heart, and are as innumerable as the motes and atoms in a sunbeam. The sins of God's people, which have been all made to meet upon Christ, have been laid upon him by his Father's imputation of them to him, with his own consent, are represented in this manner; see Psalms 40:12. And indeed, if the debts of one of them amount to ten thousand talents, what must the sum of all be, put together! and how great must be the strength and power of Christ, to bear the weight of these sins, and not be broken or discouraged, and fail, as he did not! and what a rich virtue and efficacy must there be in his blood, to pay off all these debts, and make satisfaction for them, which could never have been done, if he had not done it! for, it is impossible that a person in such circumstances as here described, should ever be able to recover himself, or pay his debts, as follows.

{f} Brerewood de Nummis Heb. c. 4.
{g} Connection, Vol. 1. Preface, p. 20.
{h} Brerewood de Numuis. Heb. c. 4.