Only the Father sets up the seating arrangement (Mt 20:23-20:23)

“He said to them.

‘You will indeed drink

My cup.

But to sit

At my right hand

And at my left hand is

Not mine to grant.

It is for those

For whom

It has been prepared

By my Father.’”

 

λέγει αὐτοῖς Τὸ μὲν ποτήριόν μου πίεσθε, τὸ δὲ καθίσαι ἐκ δεξιῶν μου καὶ ἐξ εὐωνύμων οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸν τοῦτο δοῦναι, ἀλλ’ οἷς ἡτοίμασται ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:38-39, but slightly different.  Jesus said to the two sons of Zebedee (λέγει αὐτοῖς), James and John, that they would indeed drink of the suffering cup of Jesus (Τὸ μὲν ποτήριόν μου πίεσθε).  Once again, as in the previous verse, the Greek Orthodox text and the corresponding Mark text had a comment about undergoing a baptism that he was going to suffer (καὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθήσεσθε).  However, as to sitting at the right hand (τὸ δὲ καθίσαι ἐκ δεξιῶν μου) and the left hand of Jesus (μου καὶ ἐξ εὐωνύμων), he said that he had no control over that (οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸν τοῦτο δοῦναι).  All that was prepared by the heavenly Father who made ready for those whom he had chosen (ἀλλ’ οἷς ἡτοίμασται ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου).  Jesus said that he could not grant this request because he was not the decision maker about heavenly seating arrangements.

The difficulties (Mt 20:22-20:22)

“But Jesus answered.

‘You do not know

What you are asking.

Are you able to drink

The cup

That I am about to drink?’

They said to him.

‘We are able.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:38-39, but slightly different.  Jesus answered her by asking (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) if she knew what she was asking (Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε.).  Were her two sons able to drink the cup (δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον) that he was about to drink (ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν)?  They, her sons, responded themselves that they were able to do so (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα).  The idea of a cup as suffering or the cup of wrath could be found among the major prophets in Isaiah, chapter 51:17, Jeremiah, chapter 25:15, and Ezekiel, chapter 23:31.  There is an addition from the Greek Orthodox text where Jesus asked them if they were ready to be baptized with the baptism that he was going to under go (ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι)?  Of course, the brothers said that they would be able to do that as well as drink from the suffering cup.

Last group hired (Mt 20:6-20:7)

“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.