And when they had nothing to pay
Neither the lesser nor greater debtor; for though not alike in debt, yet both insolvent: man has run out his whole stock, which the God of nature gave him, in his original creation and primitive state; and is become a bankrupt and a beggar, is poor, wretched, and miserable; he has no money, he has nothing to offer for a composition, much less for payment; he has no righteousness, and if he had, it would be nothing to pay with; since that itself, even in perfection, is due to God, and cannot discharge a former debt: sin being committed against an infinite being, is in some sense an infinite debt, and requires an infinite satisfaction, which a finite creature can never give; and he is therefore liable to a prison, and that for ever: but behold the wonderful grace of God, the creditor!
he frankly forgave them both:
their whole debts, without regard to any merits of theirs, which they could not have, or any motives in them, or any conditions to be performed by them, but purely of his sovereign will, free grace, and rich mercy, though not without regard to the satisfaction of his Son; which by no means hinders the frankness of the pardon, or obscures the grace of it, but increases and illustrates it; seeing this satisfaction is of God's own finding out, providing, and accepting; and is at his own expense, and without money and price, to the debtors:
tell me therefore, which of them will love him
or "ought to love him most", as the Ethiopic version. The Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, leave out the first part of this clause, "tell me".