In other translations the word bag of gold is replaced with the word talent of gold. A talent is the largest measure of weight in the Jewish scale system. It was the amount that a strong male servant or worker should be able to carry comfortably. To illustrate, it would be the amount that Randy Klassen would expect his workers to be able to carry without struggling under the load.
The weight of a talent was 75 pounds. I am definitely not able to carry 75 pounds comfortably for any length of time now. I have a desk job along with games and swimming with the youth. I will be sore when working with MDS in Mississippi in a few weeks! But one summer a number of years ago I carried shingles up onto roofs for a roofing company. Once I was in shape for it, I could carry two bundles of shingles up a two story ladder for eight hours a day. Two bundles of shingles are very close to 75 pounds. If I tried that now I would most likely fall off the ladder and the have the shingles fall down on me.
Jesus loved to shock his audience. He often used what is called a hook to grab the attention of his audience. I try to do the same thing, my Paul Potts video for instance. Look how much gold Jesus said that the master gave his servants. He gave them 75 pounds of gold in each bag!!! That would have caught his audience’s attention. Matthew was a tax collector before he became a disciple of Jesus and this certainly caught his attention, as Matthew knew the value of a talent gold.
75 pounds of Gold! That is a lot of money. In today’s gold market that is worth ¾ of a million dollars. In Jesus’ day that was also known as a king’s ransom. Over a thousand years later the ransom that was paid for King Richard “the Lion Heart”, the famous king of England during the time of Robin Hood, was ransomed for a talent of gold. At talent of gold could buy you 300 young female slaves or just over 40,000 bushels of wheat. To give you a good approximate size of how much that is, the huge Paterson grain elevator just off the northwest side of the Perimeter highway has eight huge steel bins and each holds just over 20,000 bushels. Look for it as you pass by on the perimeter some time. One talent of gold buys you two of those massive bins full of wheat! That is a lot of bread.