Messiah in Yom Kippur Chapter 13

  1. The Third Forgiveness Saying
  2. The debt of the Unmerciful Servant was impossible to repay
  3. The Forgiving King possessed greater material wealth than King Solomon
  4. Our great debt obligates us to give forgiveness to whoever has need of it
  5. The King’s practice of mercy and forgiveness was precedent-setting
  6. The Servant’s actions were disgraceful and insulting to the King
  7. The Unforgiving Servant exchanged his privileged life for a jail cell
  8. In the kingdom of Adonai forgiveness is a compulsory act

The Third Forgiveness Saying:

 

Mattai 18:23-35

{Classical and Mishnaic Hebrew}

עַל־כֵּן דּוֹמָה מַלְכוּת הַשָׁמַיִם לְמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁהָיָה יוֹרֵד לְחֶשְׁבּוֹן עִם־עֲבָדָיו׃ וְכַאֲשֶׁר הֵחֵל לְחַשֵׁב הוּבָא לְפָנָיו אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הָיָה חַיָּב לוֹ עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכְּרֵי זָהָֽב׃ וְלֹא הָיָה־לוֹ לְשָׁלֵּם וַיְצַו אֲדֹנָיו לִמְכֹּר אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ וִישַׁלֵּם׃ וַיִּפֹּל הָעֶבֶד עַל־פָּנָיו וְיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לוֹ לֵאמֹר אֲדֹנִי הַאֲרֶךְ־לִי אַפֶּךָ וַאֲשַׁלֵּם לְךָ הַכֹּל׃ וַיֶּהֱמוּ מְעֵי אֲדֹנֵי הָעֶבֶד הַהוּא וַיִּפְטְרֵהוּ וַיִּמְחֹל לוֹ אֶת חוֹבוֹ׃ וַיֵּצֵא הָעֶבֶד הַהוּא מִלְּפָנָיו וַיִּמְצָא אֶחָד מֵחֲבֵרָיו וְהוּא חַיָּב־לוֹ מֵאָה דִינָרִים וַיַּחֲזֶק־בּוֹ וַיַּחְנְקֵהוּ לֵאמֹר שַׁלֵּם אֵת אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה חַיָּב לִי׃ וַיִּפֹּל חֲבֵרוֹ לִפְנֵי רַגְלָיו וַיְבַקֵּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ לֵאמֹר הַאֲרֶךְ־לִי אַפֶּךָ וַאֲשַׁלְּמָה לְּךָ הַכֹּל׃ וְהוּא מֵאֵן וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיַּנִּיחֵהוּ בַּמִּשְׁמָר עַד שֶׁיְּשַׁלֶּם־לוֹ אֶת־חוֹבוֹ׃ וְהָעֲבָדִים חֲבֵרָיו רָאוּ אֶת־אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשָׂה וַיֵּעָצְבוּ מְאֹד וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיַּגִּידוּ לַאֲדֹנֵיהֶם אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשָׂה׃ וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו אֲדֹנָיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אַתָּה עֶבֶד בְּלִיַּעַל אֶת־כָּל־הַחוֹב הַהוּא מָחַלְתִּי לְךָ יַעַן אֲשֶׁר־בִּקַּשְׁתָּ מִמֶּנִּי׃ הֲלֹא הָיָה גַם־עָלֶיךָ לְרַחֵם עַל חֲבֵרֶךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר רִחַמְתִּי־אֲנִי עָלֶיךָ׃ וַיִּקְצֹף אֲדֹנָיו וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ בְּיַד הַנֹּגְשִׂים עַד כִּי־יְשַׁלֵּם אֶת־כָּל־חוֹבוֹ׃ כָּכָה יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם גַּם־אָבִי שֶׁבַּשָׁמָיִם אִם־לֹא תִמְחֲלוּ אִישׁ לְאָחִיו בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם׃

{Modern Hebrew)

על כן דומה מלכות השמים למלך בשר ודם שרצה לערך חשבון עם עבדיו. כאשר החל לחשב הובא לפניו איש שהיה חיב לו עשרת אלפים ככרי כסף. כיון שלא היה לו לשלם צוה אדוניו למכר אותו ואת אשתו ואת בניו ואת כל אשר לו כדי שישלם החוב. כרע העבד והשתחוה לו באמרו, אנא, היה סבלן כלפי ואשלם לך את הכל. נכמרו רחמי האדון על העבד ההוא, פטר אותו וותר לו על החוב. כשיצא העבד ההוא מצא את אחד מחבריו העבדים שהיה חיב לו מאה דינרים. תפס אותו בגרונו ואמר, שלם מה שאתה חיב! נפל חברו לרגליו ובקש מאתו, אנא, היה סבלן כלפי ואשלם לך. אלא שהוא לא הסכים ועוד הלך והשליך אותו לכלא עד אשר ישלם את החוב. כשראו חבריו העבדים את הנעשה התעצבו מאד ובאו וספרו לאדונם את כל אשר היה. אז קרא לו אדוניו ואמר לו, עבד רשע, את כל החוב ההוא מחלתי לך משום שבקשת ממני. האם לא היית צריך גם אתה לרחם על חברך העבד כשם שאני רחמתי עליך? ובכעסו מסר אותו אדוניו לנוגשים עד אשר ישלם את החוב כלו. פ

עַל כֵּן דּוֹמָה מַלְכוּת הַשָּׁמַיִם לְמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁרָצָה לַעֲרֹךְ חֶשְׁבּוֹן עִם עֲבָדָיו. כַּאֲשֶׁר הֵחֵל לְחַשֵּׁב הוּבָא לְפָנָיו אִישׁ שֶׁהָיָה חַיָּב לוֹ עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכְּרֵי כֶּסֶף. כֵּיוָן שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה לוֹ לְשַׁלֵּם צִוָּה אֲדוֹנָיו לִמְכֹּר אוֹתוֹ וְאֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּשֻׁלַּם הַחוֹב. כָּרַע הָעֶבֶד וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוָה לוֹ בְּאָמְרוֹ, אָנָּא, הֱיֵה סַבְלָן כְּלַפַּי וַאֲשַׁלֵּם לְךָ אֶת הַכֹּל. נִכְמְרוּ רַחֲמֵי הָאָדוֹן עַל הָעֶבֶד הַהוּא, פָּטַר אוֹתוֹ וּוִתֵּר לוֹ עַל הַחוֹב. כְּשֶׁיָּצָא הָעֶבֶד הַהוּא מָצָא אֶת אֶחָד מֵחֲבֵרָיו הָעֲבָדִים שֶׁהָיָה חַיָּב לוֹ מֵאָה דִּינָרִים. תָּפַס אוֹתוֹ בִּגְרוֹנוֹ וְאָמַר, שַׁלֵּם מַה שֶּׁאַתָּה חַיָּב! נָפַל חֲבֵרוֹ לְרַגְלָיו וּבִקֵּשׁ מֵאִתּוֹ, אָנָּא, הֱיֵה סַבְלָן כְּלַפַּי וַאֲשַׁלֵּם לְךָ. אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא לֹא הִסְכִּים וְעוֹד הָלַךְ וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אוֹתוֹ לַכֶּלֶא עַד אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁלֵּם אֶת הַחוֹב. כְּשֶׁרָאוּ חֲבֵרָיו הָעֲבָדִים אֶת הַנַּעֲשֶׂה הִתְעַצְּבוּ מְאֹד וּבָאוּ וְסִפְּרוּ לַאֲדוֹנָם אֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר הָיָה. אָז קָרָא לוֹ אֲדוֹנָיו וְאָמַר לוֹ, עֶבֶד רָשָׁע, אֶת כָּל הַחוֹב הַהוּא מָחַלְתִּי לְךָ מִשּׁוּם שֶׁבִּקַּשְׁתָּ מִמֶּנִּי הַאִם לֹא הָיִיתָ צָרִיךְ גַּם אַתָּה לְרַחֵם עַל חֲבֵרְךָ הָעֶבֶד כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֲנִי רִחַמְתִּי עָלֶיךָ? וּבְכַעֲסוֹ מָסַר אוֹתוֹ אֲדוֹנָיו לַנּוֹגְשִׂים עַד אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁלֵּם אֶת הַחוֹב כֻּלּוֹ. כָּכָה גַּם אָבִי שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם אִם לֹא תִּמְחֲלוּ אִישׁ לְאָחִיו בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם. פ

Therefore, the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a certain king of flesh and blood who was going down to settle accounts with his servants. When he had began to settle a man was brought before him who was indebted to him for ten thousand kikkarim (talents) of *gold. But since he did not have any way to repay, his master commanded to sell him, along with his wife and children and all that was his, for repayment to be made. The servant fell down on his face (prostrated himself before him), saying, “Master, be slow to anger with me, and I will repay everything to you.” The master of that servant was moved with compassion, so he released him and pardoned him of his debt. That servant went out from before him and found one of his fellows who owed him a hundred denarim. He grabbed him by the throat and (began to) choke him, saying, “Pay what you owe!” His fellow (servant) fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, “Be slow to anger with me, that I may repay everything to you!” But he was unwilling, and he went and left him in prison until he should pay back his debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were very upset, so they came and told their master everything that had been done. The master called to him and said to him, “You wicked servant! I pardoned your whole debt in response to your request to me. Should not you also have shown mercy to your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” His master became angry and gave him over to the torturers until he should repay his whole debt.

The Nimshal (נמשל):

 כָּכָה יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם גַּם־אָבִי שֶׁבַּשָׁמָיִם אִם־לֹא תִמְחֲלוּ אִישׁ לְאָחִיו בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם׃

ככה גם אבי שבשמים יעשה לכם אם לא תמחלו איש לאחיו בכל לבבכם. פ

“My Father who is in heaven will do the same to you, if you do not completely pardon (forgive) one another with all your heart.”

The Unmerciful Servant:

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king of flesh and blood who was going down to settle accounts with his servants. When he had began to settle a man was brought before him who was indebted to him for ten thousand kikkarim (talents) of gold. But since he did not have any way to repay, his master commanded to sell him, along with his wife and children and all that was his, for repayment to be made. The servant fell down on his face (prostrated himself before him), saying, “Master, be slow to anger with me, and I will repay everything to you.” The master of that servant was moved with compassion, so he released him and pardoned him of his debt. That servant went out from before him and found one of his fellows who owed him a hundred denarim. He grabbed him and (began to) choke him, saying, “Pay me what you owe me!” His fellow (servant) fell down at his feet and entreated him, saying, “Be slow to anger with me, that I may repay everything to you!” But he refused (was unwilling), and he went and left him in prison until he should pay back his debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were very upset, so they came and told their master all that had been done. The master called to him and said to him, “You worthless servant! I pardoned your whole debt in response to your request to me. Was it not incumbent upon you to show mercy to your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?” His master became angry and gave him over to the torturers until he should repay his whole debt. “My Father who is in heaven will do the same to you, if you do not completely pardon (forgive) others from your heart.”

The debt of the Unmerciful Servant was impossible to repay:

The Third Forgiveness Saying of the Messiah tells us of an amount owed by an unmerciful servant that is an extremely large sum. Ten thousand talents was an amount equal to sixty million denarim (denarii) and one denari was a normal daily wage. Contrast this amount with Herod’s annual income, which was nine hundred talents. Solomon’s temple, world renowned for the massive amount of gold it contained, possessed an amount of just over eight thousand talents (1 Chronicles 29:4-7). Incredibly, this man owed ten thousand talents. An ancient talent normally weighed between seventy-five to one hundred and ten pounds. So the forgiven amount was just over twelve million ounces of gold!

The Forgiving King possessed greater material wealth than King Solomon:

The story setting is placed at the court of an oriental potentate, where gold flows like water and the courtiers are called ‘servants.’ The debtor to the king was likely a man of high rank. Ancient kings assigned provincial governors to collect their taxes and administer their affairs throughout their kingdoms. For this king to have forgiven the vast sum of ten thousand talents, he would have had to be a person who possessed greater material wealth than King Solomon. This extreme degree of material affluence, existing on such a grand scale, would not have escaped the notice of the Jewish populace of Messiah’s day. More inspiring was the King’s extreme generosity, compassion, and forgiveness. In a very real sense the debt forgiven was nonetheless a debt owed to the ‘Forgiving King’ himself.

Our great debt obligates us to give forgiveness to whoever has need of it:

The story of the Unforgiving Servant is a deconstructing one. It addresses our too often taken-for-granted false-assumption that forgiveness is a preferential option and not a Divine compulsory act. The story opens us up to the possibility that our own personal experience of Divine forgiveness has been so great that we are morally obligated to give forgiveness to whoever has need of it. This redemptive story of Messiah revises our thinking and re-authors our lives. The truth is:

We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying.

The Messiah the King’s payment of our inestimable debt of sin to God has re-storied our lives. It has inverted our sense of entitlement. No temporal debt owed to us can ever in any way compare to the eternal debt we owe the Messiah our Redeemer. Our debt to the heavenly Father for His Salvation—the Messiah Yeshua’s name means, “Salvation of Adonai (the LORD)”—has placed such a severe obligation upon us that others are entitled to obtain whatever forgiveness they need from us.

The King’s practice of mercy and forgiveness was precedent-setting:

The unmerciful servant who owed ten thousand talents or twenty million ounces of gold, could not bring himself to forgive his fellow servant who owed one hundred denarii (roughly three months’ pay for an average laborer). This decision greatly and cruelly harmed the humble servant, his wife, and children. It harmed the innocent observers, who also were employed in the service of the Forgiving King. These loyal servants grievously watched as their ruler’s (inspiring) precedent-setting act of compassion and generosity was completely discounted; ignored by one of the king’s highest ranking servant-governors. The generous and compassionate act of mercy of the Forgiving King toward his high ranking servant obligated not just the governor but all of the kings’ servants to do likewise. Therefore, the central Message here is:

By accepting the forgiveness of God’s *Divine Redemption we are obligated to forgive all others who have need of our forgiveness.

*Divine Redemption (1, 2, 3, 4).

The Servant’s actions were disgraceful and insulting to the King:

The high ranking servant’s blatant public insensitivity to the preferences of the Forgiving King was insulting and disgraceful. The unmerciful servant in his impudence, self-importance, and lack of compassion and mercy had harmed the Good King‘s name, reputation, and word. The reputation of a king is enhanced by the loyal behavior of his subjects. A subordinate, especially one of the high rank and privilege enjoyed by this man, should have known that he more than others was expected to live his life and administer his affairs in perfect accord with his king’s noble words and deeds.

The Unforgiving Servant exchanged his privileged life for a jail cell:

By injuring the king’s good name the unforgiving servant had harmed (grieved) the Forgiving One and His King (our Messiah) and all of the subjects of *His domain. Most of all the ungrateful one harmed himself. For out of his own hardness of heart he constructed the very means for his own permanent and tortuous imprisonment. Permanent because his debt was too high to ever be repaid. Tortuous, for after his sentencing he no doubt perpetually rehearsed in his mind the privileged life he once enjoyed but had so foolishly lost. And for what did the unforgiving servant give up his previous privileged existence? The self-satisfaction of punishing another lesser servant for a small debt that could have been easily forgiven. In his extreme foolishness the unmerciful servant permanently lost his former privileged place in a kingdom characterized by compassion, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, and affluence. This he foolishly exchanged for the deprivation, hardship, and depressing reality of living the rest of his life in a jail cell of his own making.

*The Forgiving One is God.

In the kingdom of Adonai forgiveness is a compulsory act:

This story is a somber warning to all of us: that if we fail to embrace forgiveness in our hearts for others we will inevitably subsist in a prison of our own hard-heart’s making. This is because in the kingdom of heaven the practice of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness is not optional. It is universally required:

For in the kingdom of Adonai Avinu (our Father) forgiveness is a compulsory act!

Those subjects of The Forgiving King who foolishly persist in practicing vengeance, anger, wrath, malice, bitterness and unforgiveness will ultimately incur the wrath of Adonai. In the exact measures that these ungrateful servants have ruthlessly punished others so will their punishment be. Divine Forgiveness or Judgment? The decision is really up to you and me.

Messiah in Yom Kippur Chapter 14 >>