I was recently reading to my children from a Bible storybook, which included the parable of the 10 Talents, specifically Luke 19:11-24 (roughly - it's very paraphrased).

After telling that the third man "made no money", this story said something like "The king was angry and greedy", then went on to say "Jesus was saying God's kingdom would be nothing like this."

I've never heard this interpretation before. Is there some actual scholarship behind it, or is this just a bad attempt to make a harsh story kid-friendly?

Update Here are some specifics about the text. It starts with "Jesus taught the people in Jericho about earthly kingdoms through telling a story called a parable." It concludes with: "The third servant came forward, but hadn't made any more money. The king was angry and greedy. Jesus told the people this story because God's kingdom would be nothing like this man's kingdom."

This is the Deep Blue Bible Storybook by Abingdon Press - https://www.abingdonpress.com/product/9781501848612/

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    if you get a chance could you edit with the specific phrasing from the book? or even the title and author?
    – depperm
    Jan 7 '20 at 14:24
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    Would it not be better to read the original narrative from the bible to the children ?
    – Nigel J
    Jan 8 '20 at 2:37
  • @depperm - Sure thing, hopefully later today.
    – thelr
    Jan 8 '20 at 12:41
  • @NigelJ - Of course there is benefit to read the original, but the children in question are 6 and 4. It greatly improves their comprehension to be able to read the stories with age-appropriate vocabulary and illustrations that help hold their attention. Our 6 year old will often ask for more information, and we'll turn to full translation of the bible to see how it does (or sometimes doesn't) answer the question.
    – thelr
    Jan 8 '20 at 12:43
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    Makes me wonder if that Bible was written by IBM's Deep Blue who is its positronic brain has invented a new sense of scripture. The banal sense...
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 9 '20 at 19:18

Oh, dear! Once we realise that this parable is about the coming kingdom of God, whose King is Christ Jesus, then any suggestion that “the king was angry and greedy” should ring spiritual alarm bells! The parable contains warnings that Christians should heed, but trying to “soft-pedal” the message simply detracts from the reality that if we claim to be subjects of the coming King, then we have a responsibility to give him of our very best.

Remember that it is the nobleman who leaves in order to be made King. During his absence his servants are given responsibility for making a financial profit on the money he gives them. When the nobleman returns, he has become King. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that he was going to die there (Luke 18:33). He used this parable to show that the long-awaited kingdom was not going to happen any time soon, that it was some time future. During the absence of the nobleman his servants and his subjects react differently. Here is one take on the parable:

In this parable, Jesus teaches several things about the Millennial Kingdom and the time leading up to it. As Luke 19:11 indicates, Jesus’ most basic point is that the kingdom was not going to appear immediately. There would be a period of time, during which the king would be absent, before the kingdom would be set up.

The nobleman in the parable is Jesus, who left this world but who will return as King some day. The servants the king charges with a task represent followers of Jesus. The Lord has given us a valuable commission, and we must be faithful to serve Him until He returns. Upon His return, Jesus will ascertain the faithfulness of His own people (see Romans 14:10–12). There is work to be done (John 9:4), and we must use what God has given us for His glory. There are promised rewards for those who are faithful in their charge. Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-ten-minas.html

The moral of the story is that when Christ Jesus returns as King he will judge those who scorn and reject Him but reward those who faithfully and gladly obey His instructions.

  • "Once we realise that this parable is about the coming kingdom of God, whose King is Christ Jesus, then any suggestion that “the king was angry and greedy” should ring spiritual alarm bells!" Exactly! That's why I made the post - I wanted to see if there was a widely-accepted alternate interpretation I'd never heard. That's not looking likely, though. Thanks for the answer!
    – thelr
    Jan 9 '20 at 18:33
  • To be fair to the text, it distances the subject of the parable from God's kingdom - more info in an update I just posted to the question.
    – thelr
    Jan 9 '20 at 18:43
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    This is right, but I'm not sure this qualifies as answer (it might be better if it were edited into the question as the standard interpretation for contrast). This might be a very hard question to answer.
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 9 '20 at 19:14

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