From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).
32. little flock, &c.—How sublime and touching a contrast between this tender and pitying appellation, "Little flock" (in the original a double diminutive, which in German can be expressed, but not in English)—and the "good pleasure" of the Father to give them the Kingdom; the one recalling the insignificance and helplessness of that then literal handful of disciples, the other holding up to their view the eternal love that encircled them, the everlasting arms that were underneath them, and the high inheritance awaiting them!—"the kingdom"; grand word; then why not "bread" (Lu 12:31 [Bengel]). Well might He say, "Fear not!"
33, 34. Sell, &c.—This is but a more vivid expression of Mt 6:19-21 (see on Mt 6:19-21).
35-40. loins … girded—to fasten up the long outer garment, always done before travel and work (2Ki 4:29; Ac 12:8). The meaning is, Be in readiness.
lights, &c.—(See on Mt 25:1).
36. return from the wedding—not come to it, as in the parable of the virgins. Both have their spiritual significance; but preparedness for Christ's coming is the prominent idea.
37. gird himself, &c.—"a promise the most august of all: Thus will the Bridegroom entertain his friends (nay, servants) on the solemn Nuptial Day" [Bengel].
38. second … third watch—To find them ready to receive Him at any hour of day or night, when one might least of all expect Him, is peculiarly blessed. A servant may be truly faithful, even though taken so far unawares that he has not everything in such order and readiness for his master's return as he thinks is due to him, and both could and would have had if he had had notice of the time of his coming, and so may not be willing to open to him "immediately," but fly to preparation, and let his master knock again ere he admit him, and even then not with full joy. A too common case this with Christians. But if the servant have himself and all under his charge in such a state that at any hour when his master knocks, he can open to him "immediately," and hail his "return"—that is the most enviable, "blessed" servant of all.
41-48. unto us or even to all?—us the Twelve, or all this vast audience?
42. Who then, &c.—answering the question indirectly by another question, from which they were left to gather what it would be:—To you certainly in the first instance, representing the "stewards" of the "household" I am about to collect, but generally to all "servants" in My house.
faithful and wise—Fidelity is the first requisite in a servant, wisdom (discretion and judgment in the exercise of his functions), the next.
steward—house steward, whose it was to distribute to the servants their allotted portion of food.
shall make—will deem fit to be made.
44. make him ruler over all he hath—will advance him to the highest post, referring to the world to come. (See Mt 25:21, 23).
45. begin to beat, &c.—In the confidence that his Lord's return will not be speedy, he throws off the role of servant and plays the master, maltreating those faithful servants who refuse to join him, seizing on and revelling in the fulness of his master's board; intending, when he has got his fill, to resume the mask of fidelity ere his master appear.
46. cut him in sunder—a punishment not unknown in the East; compare Heb 11:37, "sawn asunder" (1Sa 15:33; Da 2:5).
the unbelievers—the unfaithful, those unworthy of trust (Mt 24:51), "the hypocrites," falsely calling themselves "servants."
48. knew not—that is knew but partially; for some knowledge is presupposed both in the name "servant" of Christ, and his being liable to punishment at all.
many … few stripes—degrees of future punishment proportioned to the knowledge sinned against. Even heathens are not without knowledge enough for future judgment; but the reference here is not to such. It is a solemn truth, and though general, like all other revelations of the future world, discloses a tangible and momentous principle in its awards.
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