Matthew 18:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:23, NIV: "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants."

Matthew 18:23, ESV: "“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants."

Matthew 18:23, KJV: "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants."

Matthew 18:23, NASB: "'For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves."

Matthew 18:23, NLT: "'Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him."

Matthew 18:23, CSB: ""For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants."

What does Matthew 18:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter has asked Jesus if he should forgive someone who sins against him up to seven times. Jesus has said no. Instead, Peter should forgive 77 times—or, possibly, 490 times—meaning Peter should plan to always forgive, with no plan to stop forgiving. Holding on to unforgiveness toward others should never be an option (Matthew 18:21–22).

To illustrate why this is true, Jesus begins a parable. As with other parables, Jesus starts by saying that the "kingdom of heaven may be compared to…" In this case, the point of comparison is also a kingdom with a powerful king. The time had come for that king to settle accounts with his servants or slaves.

In a large and prosperous country, the king would have high-ranking slaves who lived very well, better even than the free citizens of the nation. In the case of this story, those servants were able to borrow or hold money owed to the king in some way for a limited time. The time to pay up had arrived.