“About five o’clock,
The eleventh hour,
The landowner went out.
He found others standing around.
He said to them.
‘Why are you standing here
Idle all day?’
They said to him.
‘Because no one
Has hired us.’
He said to them.
‘You also go
Into the vineyard.’
περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ἐξελθὼν εὗρεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί;
λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο. λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα.
This parable is unique to Matthew. This landowner of the vineyard went (ἐξελθὼν) to the market square at about 5:00 PM, the eleventh hour (περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην). He found some people still standing around (εὗρεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας) in the square. The landowner asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) why were they standing around idle all day (Τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί). They said to him (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) that no one had hired them (Ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο). Thus. he told them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) to go to work in his vineyard (Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα). The Greek Orthodox text added the phrase about the earlier group. He simply said that they would receive what was right, just, or fair (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον λήψεσθε). Remember, the first group had been working 11 hours before this last group began to work.
“‘O that my head were a spring of water!
O that my eyes were a fountain of tears!
Thus I might weep day and night
For the slain of my poor people!
O that I had in the desert
A traveler’s lodging place!
Thus I might leave my people!
Thus I might go away from them!
They are all adulterers.
They are a band of traitors.
They bend their tongue
They have grown strong in the land
Because of falsehood,
Not because of truth.
They proceed from evil to evil.
They do not know me.’
Jeremiah has another oracle of Yahweh that speaks out about his lament over the corruption in Judah. Yahweh wished that he had a head with a spring of water or fountain of tears in his eyes, so that he could weep all day and night for the dead people of Judah. He wished that he had a lodging place in the desert so that he could get away from his poor people. They were all adulterers and traitors. They bent their tongues like bows with all their falsehood, instead of truth. They simply went from one evil to another evil. They did not even know Yahweh. It was a terrible scene. There is a slight discrepancy of the verse numbers since this first verse in the Jerusalem Bible is the last of the preceding chapter. However, I will follow the Revised Standard edition numbering for this chapter.
“Make me to know your ways!
Teach me your paths!
Lead me in your truth!
You are the God of my salvation.
For you I wait all day long.”
David wanted Yahweh to teach him the true paths of the way of Yahweh. He wanted to be taught. Yahweh was his God of salvation. He waited all day long for him.