The parable about the rented vineyard (Lk 20:9-20:9)

“Jesus began

To tell the people

This parable.

‘A man planted

A vineyard.

He leased it

To tenants.

He went to another country

For a long time.’”

 

Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην. ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus began to tell the people another parable (Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) about a certain man who planted a vineyard (ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then leased it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  However, he went abroad to another country for a long time (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς).  This parable about the absentee vineyard landowner can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Mark, chapter 12:1, with more details about this vineyard.  Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables (Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν).  This story was about a male landowner who planted a vineyard (ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν).  He then put a fence around this vineyard (καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν) and dug a wine press (καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον), so that it was a very nice vineyard.  This story is reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard from Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν).  Matthew also indicated that Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον).  This seemed like a very nice vineyard, much like in Mark.  However, this landowner also leased or rented this land to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem.  Have you had a problem with tenants?

Herod wants to kill Jesus (Lk 13:31-13:31)

“At that very hour.

Some Pharisees came

Near to Jesus.

They said to him.

‘Get away from here!

Herod wants

To kill you.’”

 

Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες αὐτῷ Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν, ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that at that very hour (Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ), some certain Pharisees came near to Jesus (προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι).  They told him (λέγοντες αὐτῷ) to get away from there (Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν) because Herod wanted to kill him (ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι).  Oddly enough, one of Jesus’ most bitter opponents, these Pharisees, came to Jesus to warn him that the tetrarch Herod Antipas wanted to kill Jesus.  However, in Luke, Jesus ate at the home of a Pharisees on at least 3 occasions.  Somehow these Pharisees had access to Herod, the Roman educated son of Herod the Great, who was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE.  As a client ruler, he was part of the Roman Empire.  Thus, he built and named the capital city of Galilee, Tiberias, since the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE) was his favorite emperor.  He is sometimes referred to as a king.  Have some of your enemies helped you at some time?

You are the witnesses (Lk 11:48-11:48)

“Thus,

You are witnesses.

You approve

Of the deeds

Of your ancestors.

They killed them.

But you built

Their tombs.”

 

ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν, ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς, ὑμεῖς δὲ οἰκοδομεῖτε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued this same idea.  Jesus said that the Pharisees and lawyers were witnesses (ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε).  They approved of the deeds of their fathers or ancestors (καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν), who killed the prophets (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς), by building their tombs (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:31.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes testified or witnessed against themselves, since they admitted that they were the descendants or sons of those people who murdered the prophets.  Jesus then told them to finish up their work, using the measuring rod of their ancestors.  Thus, they had the same attitude as their ancestors.  However, there was very little evidence of Jewish prophets being killed.  Do you have the same attitudes of your parents and grandparents?

 

Herod the tetrarch (Lk 9:7-9:7)

“Now Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Heard about all

That had taken place.

He was perplexed,

Because it was said

By some people

That John had been raised

From the dead.”

 

Ἤκουσεν δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης τὰ γινόμενα πάντα, καὶ διηπόρει διὰ τὸ λέγεσθαι ὑπό τινων ὅτι Ἰωάνης ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν,

 

Luke said that Herod (δὲ Ἡρῴδης) Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ τετραάρχης) ruler of Galilee, heard (Ἤκουσεν) about all that had taken place (τὰ γινόμενα πάντα).  He was perplexed (καὶ διηπόρει), because it was said by some people (διὰ τὸ λέγεσθαι ὑπό τινων) that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead (ὅτι Ἰωάνης ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν).  This mention of Herod can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:1-3, Mark, chapter 6:14, and here.  The Roman educated Herod, the son of Herod the Great, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client ruler, part of the Roman Empire.  He had built and named the capital city of Galilee, Tiberias, since the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE) was his favorite emperor.  Mark called him a king.  King Herod had heard reports about Jesus, because his name had become well known or famous.  Jesus was a celebrity in Galilee.  Here we have the intersection of the Galilean official of the Roman Empire, Herod, and the famous Galilean preacher and faith healer, Jesus.  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee, or those around him, said that Jesus might be the resurrected John the Baptist, since some people believed that righteous people rose from the dead.  Thus, Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead.  How ironic, since Jesus was to rise from the dead.  Herod thought the miraculous powers of John the Baptist were at work in Jesus.  He and his people thought that John might have reincarnated himself in Jesus.  Matthew said that Herod the tetrarch heard reports, news or rumors about Jesus.  Herod had already seized John the Baptist.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Herod Boethus or Philip, after he had divorced his first wife, who went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Thus, Herod Antipas said to his children or servants that he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead.  Herod knew that he had seized, bound, and, put John in jail.  In fact, he had him killed because of his new wife Herodias, who had been the wife of his brother Philip or Herod Boethus.  Have religious leaders always gotten along with civil political leaders?

The house with no foundation (Lk 6:49-6:49)

“But he who hears,

And does not act,

Is like a man

Who built a house

On the ground

Without a foundation.

When the river burst

Against it,

Immediately,

It fell.

Great was the ruin

Of that house.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν χωρὶς θεμελίου, ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός, καὶ εὐθὺς συνέπεσεν, καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the one who heard (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας) the word of Jesus, but did not act on it (καὶ μὴ ποιήσας), was like a man (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ) who built a house (οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν) on ground (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν) without a foundation (χωρὶς θεμελίου).  When the river streams burst against it (ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός), immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), it fell (συνέπεσεν).  Great was the ruin of that house (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:26-27, which might indicate a Q source.  The opposite of the preceding verses was present here.  Everyone who heard these words of Jesus, but did nothing about them, as opposed to those who acted upon them, were like a foolish or stupid person.  These foolish people built a house on a sand foundation, sandy ground, or no foundation, not a rock foundation.  It is interesting to note that these must have been former followers of Jesus, since they had heard his words, not people who had never heard about Jesus, indicating a rift among the followers of Jesus.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house also.  However, there was a different result here.  This house fell, because it was built on a weak foundation.  The rock foundation was those who had followed the words of Jesus.  The sand foundation was those who heard the words of Jesus but did not follow it.  Their house would suffer not just a fall, but a great fall.  It was not good enough to hear the words of Jesus, you had to act on them.  Is your house built on a weak foundation with no follow through on the words of Jesus?

They try to kill Jesus (Lk 4:29-4:29)

“They got up.

They drove Jesus

Out of town.

They led him

To the ridge

Of the hill

On which their town

Was built.

They wanted

To hurl him

Off the cliff.”

 

καὶ ἀναστάντες ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους ἐφ’ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν, ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν·

 

Luke alone said that they acted out their anger.  They got up (καὶ ἀναστάντες) from the synagogue.  They drove Jesus out of town (ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως).  They led him to the top or the ridge of the hill (καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους) on which their town was built (ἐφ’ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν).  They wanted to hurl him off the cliff (ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν).  One problem is that Nazareth was a flat town with no hills or cliffs.  Some commentators say that they meant to stone him, but the text does not say that.  However, they did not like his teachings about going to non-Jewish people and not doing any miracles in his home town.

John and Herod (Lk 3:19-3:20)

“John had rebuked

Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Because of Herodias,

His brother’s wife.

John also rebuked

Herod

For all the other evil things

That he had done.

Herod added

To all these evil things,

When he locked up

John in prison.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,

προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ

 

Both Mark, chapter 6:14-17, and Matthew, chapter 14:1-5, have the imprisonment of John much later in their works, while Luke has it right here at the beginning of his gospel story.  Luke said that John had rebuked Herod Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ) of Galilee because of Herodias (περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος), his brother’s wife (τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ) and all the other evil things that Herod had done (καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,).  Herod added to all these evil things (προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν), when he locked up John in prison (κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ).  The Roman educated Herod, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client region, in the Roman Empire.  This Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great.  He had built the capital city of Galilee Tiberias, since he was a favorite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE).  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee seized John the Baptist and put him in jail.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Philip, after he had divorced his first wife.  His first wife went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Herod’s new wife was called Herodias.  John had called him out for this marriage with Herodias, his brother’s recently divorced wife.  John had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to have her as his wife.  Thus, Herod had John arrested and sent to prison.