Catena Aurea Commentary with Douay Rheims Bible
21. Then came Peter to him, and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”
22. Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Jerome: The Lord had said above, “See that ye despise not one of these little ones,” and had added, “If thy brother sin against thee, &c.” making also a promise, “If two of you, &c.” by which the Apostle Peter was led to ask, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” And to his question he adds an opinion, “Until seven times?”
Chrys., Hom., lxi: Peter thought that he had made a large allowance; but what answers Christ the Lover of men? it follows, “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but, Until seventy times seven.”
Aug., Serm., 83, 3: I am bold to say, that if he shall sin seventy-eight times, thou shouldest forgive him; yea, and if a hundred; and how oft soever he sin against thee, forgive him. For if Christ found a thousand sins, yet forgave them all, do not you withdraw your forgiveness. For the Apostle says, “Forgive one another, if any man hath a quarrel against any, even as God in Christ forgave you.” [Col 3:13]
Chrys.: When He says, “Until seventy times seven,” He does not limit a definite number within which forgiveness must be kept; but He signifies thereby something endless and ever enduring.
Aug.: Yet not without reason did the Lord say, “Seventy times seven;” for the Law is set forth in ten precepts; and the Law is signified by the number ten, sin by eleven, because it is passing the denary line. Seven is used to be put for a whole, because time goes round in seven days. Take eleven seven times, and you have seventy. He would therefore have all trespasses forgiven, for this is what He signifies by the number seventy-seven.
Origen: Or, because the number six seems to denote toil and labour, and the number seven repose, He says that forgiveness should be given to all brethren who live in this world, and sin in the things of this world. But if any commit transgressions beyond these things, he shall then have no further forgiveness.
Jerome: Or understand it of four hundred and ninety times, that He bids us forgive our brother so oft.
Raban.: It is one thing to give pardon to a brother when he seeks it, that he may live with us in social charity, as Joseph to his brethren; and another to a hostile foe, that we may wish him good, and if we can do him good, as David mourning for Saul.