Then said he to another, and how much owest thou?
&c.] To my Lord, as before:
and he said, an hundred measures of wheat,
or "cors of wheat"; the same with "homers", ( Ezekiel 45:14 ) the same quantity as in ( Ezra 7:22 ) where, as here, they are called an hundred measures of wheat; and were, as Jarchi on the place observes, (twxnml) , "for the meal, or flour offerings": according to the above writer F14, this measure held five bushels, and five gallons; so that the whole was five hundred, sixty bushels, and a half: some make the measure to hold eight bushels and a half; and others, fourteen bushels and a pottle, which greatly increases the quantity.
And he said unto him, take thy bill and write fourscore.
The Persic version reads "seventy". Inasmuch now as oil and wheat were things expended in the observance of the ceremonial law, and these men's debts lay in them, it may have regard to the deficiency of the Jews in those things: wherefore by "the bill" may be meant the law; and which is sometimes called by the same name as here, (gramma) , the "writing", or "letter", ( 2 Corinthians 3:6 ) ( Romans 2:29 ) ( 7:6 ) and is so called, not merely because it was written in letters; but because it is a mere letter, showing only what is to be done and avoided, without giving strength to perform, or pointing where it is to be had; and it is so, as obeyed by an unregenerate man; and as abstracted from the spirituality of it; and as weak, and without efficacy, to quicken, justify, or sanctify: and whereas the steward, the Scribes and Pharisees, ordered the debtors to write a lesser sum; this may regard the lessening, and even laying aside of many things in the law, after the destruction of the temple; as particularly the daily sacrifice, and other things; see ( 9:27 ) ( Hosea 3:4 ) and the doctrine of the Pharisees was always a curtailing of the law, and making less of it than it was; as appears from the glosses they put upon it, refuted by our Lord in ( Matthew 5:1-48 ) . They compounded the matter with the people, as some men do now, and taught them, that an imperfect righteousness would do in the room of a perfect one: a doctrine very pleasing to men, and which never fails of gaining an access into the hearts and houses of carnal men; though very injurious to God, and to his divine perfections, particularly his justice and holiness; as the methods this steward took were unjust to his Lord, though very agreeable to his debtors, and were well calculated to answer the end he proposed, an after provision for himself. I am much indebted to a learned writer F15, whose name is in the margin, for several thoughts and hints in the explanation of this parable; and also of that of the rich man and Lazarus, in the latter part of this chapter.
F14 Moses & Aaron, l. 6. c. 9.
F15 Teelnianni Specimen Explicat. Parabolarum.