And I was afraid
The Persic version adds, "to negotiate with thy money": he was afraid, lest by trading he should not gain what his Lord expected; and most of all, lest he should lose the talent itself; and dreaded his Lord's austerity, should that be the case, fearing that he would have no mercy on him. This was his pretence; but the true causes were sloth and earthly mindedness:
and went and hid thy talent in the earth;
that it might not be lost, though it lay useless, and turned to no account. The Arabic version renders it, "and buried thy goods in the earth": he owned the money to be his Lord's, and thought he did very well, and enough, that he preserved it, though he had not improved it; and this he hoped would be a sufficient excuse, and on which he laid the greatest stress:
lo! there thou hast that is thine:
he again acknowledges, that the gifts he had were not his own, but his master's; and whereas he had kept them entire, as he had received them, and there was the full sum he was intrusted with, he hoped no more would be required: but it is not sufficient to retain what is given, it must be made use of and improved; for every spiritual gift is given to profit with: and besides, there seems to be a degree of rudeness in these words; he does not bring the talent with him, and return it, but only signifies that he had hid it in the earth, in such a place, and "there" it was, where his Lord might take it, and have it again, if he pleased.