“But the landowner replied
To one of them.
I am doing you no wrong!
Did you not agree
For a denarius?
Take what belongs to you!
I choose to give
To this last
As I give to you.
Am I not allowed to do
What I choose
With what belongs to me?
Or are you envious
Because I am generous?’”
ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε, οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε· οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι;
ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε· θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί·
οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;
This parable is unique to Matthew, as Jesus concluded this parable. The landowner replied to one of them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν) with a sarcastic greeting of companion or friend (εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε). He had done nothing wrong to them (οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε). They had agreed to the one denarius pay for a day’s work (οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι). They should just take their money and go (ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε). If the landowner was generous that was not the problem of this day laborer. He could give to the last hired what he gave to the first hired (θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί). Was he not allowed (οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι) to do whatever he wanted to do with his own belongings (ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς). Were they envious with an evil eye (ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν) because he was generous (ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι)? In fact, they did not mind generosity. They just wanted to know why none of that generosity came their way. That is the problem with generosity. The person who worked hard for a fair payment sometimes resents the generosity towards those who did not do as much work. Why was the hard worker for the whole day not compensated more generously than the one-hour worker? There are always two sides to every story.
“Before those days,
There were no wages
There were no wages
There was no safety
From the foe
For those who went out
Or came in.
I set them all
Against one another.”
Yahweh, via Zechariah, explained their terrible situation. There were no wages for humans or animals, since they were not compensated for their work. No one was safe coming or going out of their homes. Yahweh had set them all against each other.
“The wise make themselves beloved
By only a few words.
But the courtesies of fools are wasted.
A fool’s gift will profit nothing.
So it is with the envious
Who give under compulsion.
He looks for recompense sevenfold.
He has many eyes instead of one.
He gives little.
He upbraids much.
He opens his mouth
Like a town crier.
Today he lends.
Tomorrow he asks it back.
Such a one is a hateful man.
Such a one is hateful to God.
Such a one is hateful to humans.
The fool says.
‘I have no friends.
I get no thanks for my good deeds.
Those who eat my bread
How many will ridicule him!
How often will they ridicule him!”
Wise people can make themselves loved with a few words. However, fools have a difficult time. Courtesies and gifts do not bring them any gain. The same is true of the envious people that are forced to give a gift. They are looking for a reward. These fools are looking to be compensated. They are looking all over with their many eyes. They give little. They are always criticizing. They are like town criers, shouting all the time. One day they lend things. Then the next day, they want them back again. These fools are hateful people to God and their fellow humans. These foolish people think that they have no friends. They get no thanks for their good deeds. They think that the people who eat with them are evil people. Thus they are often ridiculed by many people.
“Yahweh rewarded me,
According to my righteousness.
According to the cleanness of my hands,
He recompensed me.
I have kept the ways of Yahweh.
I have not wickedly departed from my God.
All his ordinances were before me.
His statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him.
I kept myself from guilt.
Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me,
According to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.”
Once again, like 2 Samuel, chapter 22, Yahweh rewarded David for his righteousness. His hands were clean because he kept the ways of Yahweh. He never departed from God. He held all his statutes and ordinances before him. He was blameless and guiltless. Therefore Yahweh had compensated him because of his cleanliness. Yahweh had been good to him because David had followed him. David clearly was self righteous and felt that he deserved the rewards that he received from Yahweh.