Matthew 18:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 18:30, NIV: "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt."

Matthew 18:30, ESV: "He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt."

Matthew 18:30, KJV: "And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt."

Matthew 18:30, NASB: "'But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed."

Matthew 18:30, NLT: "But his creditor wouldn't wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full."

Matthew 18:30, CSB: "But he wasn't willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed."

What does Matthew 18:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Two servants face each other, one on his knees begging for an extension on a loan amount of about 100 days' wages. The other servant has just been forgiven a debt of, roughly, several thousand lifetimes of wages by the king after begging for an extension on the loan (Matthew 18:23–29). What will the man do?

Famously, he refuses to forgive his fellow servant's debt or even to extend the loan. Instead, he has the other man put in debtor's prison until he is able to pay back the full amount of the loan. Debtor's prisons don't exist in many places these days. Then it was a strategy to force a person's family or friends to come up with cash to get them out of prison, since they could not earn money themselves to pay their way out from prison.

This shocking twist in Jesus' parable turns those of us in the audience from rooting for the servant stuck in impossible debt to rooting against a man that is so ungrateful he will not spare another from the fate he just escaped himself. The meaning behind Jesus' parable is creeping closer.