In Jesusí parable about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35, the 10,000 talents the servant owed
was most likely 600,000 times more than the 100 denarii his fellow servant owed. Consider R. S.
Kennedyís calculation to portray the vast difference between the two debts. If the 100 denarii debt were
paid in small silver coins, it could be carried in a personís pocket. The 10,000 talents debt,
however, would require an army of 8,600 carriers, each lugging 60 pounds (approaching 30 kilos)
of coins. If each of these carriers walked in single file a yard (or a meter) apart, the line
would stretch for five miles (8.6 kilometers)!
Jesus used the sum of 10,000 talents to portray an almost unimaginably enormous debt. It is commonly pointed out that in Jesusí time the total annual revenue of the province consisting of Idumaea, Judaea and Sumaria was only 600 talents.
Jesus is not unmindful, however, of how much we can be hurt. The smaller debt was not insignificant. A laborer would work a full 12 hour day to gross just 1% of it. Since people have to live off their wage, it could take years for someone to pay off this smaller, more manageable debt.