“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.”
King James Version (KJV)
18:34 His lord delivered him to the tormentors - Imprisonment is a much severer punishment in the eastern countries than in ours. State criminals, especially when condemned to it, are not only confined to a very mean and scanty allowance, but are frequently loaded with clogs or heavy yokes, so that they can neither lie nor sit at ease: and by frequent scourgings and sometimes rackings are brought to an untimely end. Till he should pay all that was due to him - That is, without all hope of release, for this he could never do. How observable is this whole account; as well as the great inference our Lord draws from it: The debtor was freely and fully forgiven; He wilfully and grievously offended; His pardon was retracted, the whole debt required, and the offender delivered to the tormentors for ever. And shall we still say, but when we are once freely and fully forgiven, our pardon can never be retracted? Verily, verily, I say unto you, So likewise will my heavenly Father do to you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Mt 18:34 His lord . . . delivered him to the tormenters. This language is to be interpreted by customs that still prevail in the East, where torture is still used to compel debtors to confess where they have hidden treasures that they are suspected of having concealed. In both Greece and Rome torture was used on prisoners to compel confession, and until within a century or two it was still employed in Great Britain and Europe. Till he should pay all. As, however, he never could pay, he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment.