Matthew 18:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:25, NIV: "Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt."

Matthew 18:25, ESV: "And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made."

Matthew 18:25, KJV: "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made."

Matthew 18:25, NASB: "'But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made."

Matthew 18:25, NLT: "He couldn't pay, so his master ordered that he be sold--along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned--to pay the debt."

Matthew 18:25, CSB: "Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt."

What does Matthew 18:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus is telling a parable to illustrate why those who follow Him must be ready and willing to forgive everyone for everything. He has described a king who is owed the impossible figure of 10,000 talents by a servant. Jesus has named this number as a kind of hyperbole. It may have made those who were listening chuckle because it was so impossibly, astronomically large. A common laborer would earn about one talent over the course of twenty years; the figure Jesus mentioned could be the modern equivalent of million or even billions of dollars (Matthew 18:23–24). Nobody could come close to paying this.

However, since the man could not pay, the king decided to get what he could. He ordered that the servant be sold into slavery, along with his wife and children and all he owned, so some payment could be made. It was a common practice in ancient times to sell into slavery those who owed more than they could pay, although the Jewish people did not practice this.

The king's take for such a sale would have been tiny in comparison to what was owed. The price for a slave was 2,000 days' wages at the most. Even if the king got that price for each member of the servant's family, it would have come nowhere near to a fraction of a percent of the amount owed.