And he called his ten servants
By whom are meant, not all mankind; for though these are all his servants of right, yet not in fact; nor the elect of God, who are called by grace; for though these are the servants of Christ, and are peculiarly his, yet all that received the pound were not such, for one of them was a wicked man; but the ministers of the Gospel, who are eminently, and in a special manner, the servants of the most high God: but as for the number "ten", this cannot regard the apostles, for they were twelve; and though they are sometimes called the eleven, after the apostasy and death of Judas, yet not the ten; and besides, there was another chose in his room; but this number being a large and perfect one, a round number, it is sometimes made use of as a certain number, for an uncertain one; see ( Matthew 25:1 ) . The call of these by their Lord, is not to be understood of the call of them by his grace, but of a call of them to the office and work of the ministry:
and delivered them ten pounds;
every one a pound: the (hnm) , "Maneh", or pound of the Hebrews, if of gold, which contained an hundred drachmas, was of the value of our money, "seventy five pounds"; if of silver, the old "Maneh", or pound, which contained sixty shekels, ( Ezekiel 45:12 ) amounted to "seven pounds ten shillings"; but the "Maneh", or pound, mentioned in the Misna F11, and which was in use in our Lord's time, contained an hundred pence, and was of the value of our money, "three pounds two shillings and six pence": and by these pounds are designed, not special grace; for they intend not any thing wrought in these servants, but something delivered to them, and what might be taken away again, which cannot be said of special grace; and besides, it is certain, that one of these servants that had the pound, was destitute of that: but gifts are meant, and these not merely natural, or the gifts of providence, as health, riches, wisdom nor only the outward means of grace, as the word and ordinances, but ministerial gifts, which are the greatest in the church, and are therefore signified by pounds; and are what may be improved or neglected, and be lost or taken away; and for which those that have them, are accountable: but though each of these servants are represented, as having every man a pound delivered to him, this must not be understood, as if the gifts of ministers were equal and alike, any more than the inequality of their rewards proves degrees in glory; for which sometimes this parable is produced:
and said unto him, occupy;
negotiate, or trade, that is, with the pounds; make use of the ministerial gifts, exercise them, lay them out, and trade with them: the ministry is a trade and merchandise, to be carried on, not in the name of the ministers of Christ, nor on their own stock, nor for themselves, but for Christ, and for the good of souls; which shows, that they must not be slothful, but laborious and diligent:
till I come:
which suggests the certainty of Christ's coming, the continuance of the Gospel ministry to that time; and that there is no rest nor ease for Christ's ministers, but a continued series of labour and service, until then; when, for their encouragement, they shall receive their reward.
F11 Peah, c. 8. sect. 5. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.