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?

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The results of trading (Lk 19:15-19:15)

“This nobleman

Received royal power.

When he returned,

He ordered those slaves,

To whom

He had given the money,

To be summoned.

Thus,

He might find out

What they had gained

By trading.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον, ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this nobleman did receive his royal power (καὶ ἐγένετο…αὐτὸν λαβόντα τὴν βασιλείαν) and then he returned home (ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν).  Once again, only Luke used this term ἐπανελθεῖν that means to return or come back again.  This nobleman ordered those 10 slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned to him (καὶ εἶπεν φωνηθῆναι αὐτῷ τοὺς δούλους τούτους οἷς δεδώκει τὸ ἀργύριον).  He wanted to find out what they had gained by trading (ἵνα γνοῖ τίς τί διεπραγματεύσατο).  Sure enough, this is the only use of the word διεπραγματεύσατο, in all the Greek biblical literature that means to examine thoroughly, to gain by trading, or doing business.  There is an equivalent in Matthew, chapter 25:19, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus said that after a long time (μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον), the master or lord of these slaves came back (ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων).  He then wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves (καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν).  Luke had the more colorful language to explain the returning rich man who wanted to see how his slaves had done in their business dealings.  Have you ever traded stocks or other assets to make money?

The master settles accounts (Mt 25:19-25:19)

“After a long time,

The master

Of those slaves

Came back.

He settled accounts

With them.”

 

μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is an equivalent in Luke, chapter 19:15, where the nobleman wanted to settle his accounts after being away for a time.  Jesus said that after a long time (μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον), the master or lord of these slaves came back (ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων).  He then wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves (καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν).

Personal distress (Lam 3:4-3:6)

Beth

“Yahweh has made

my flesh waste away.

He has made

My skin waste away.

He has broken

My bones.

He has besieged me.

With bitterness.

He has enveloped me

With tribulation.

He has made me

Sit in darkness

Like the dead

Of long ago.”

Almost like the sufferings of Job, this author complains about his own personal suffering. His flesh and his skin are wasting away, since his bones are broken. He has been besieged and enveloped in bitterness and tribulation, sitting in darkness like a person dead for a long time. Throughout this poem, these three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Beth. Each three verse section after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this personal acrostic poem.

Yahweh’s charge to Baruch (Jer 32:13-32:15)

“In their presence,

I charged Baruch,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Take these deeds!

Put both this sealed deed

Of purchase

With this open deed,

In an earthenware jar.

Thus they may last for a long time.’

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel.

‘Houses,

Fields,

As well as vineyards

Shall again be bought

In this land.’”

Jeremiah than had an oracle of Yahweh for Baruch in the presence of all the people there. The Lord of hosts and God of Israel wanted Baruch to put both these field sale documents, the sealed one and the open one, into a pottery jar. So that both these documents would last a long time and not be lost. Since Baruch was like the secretary for Jeremiah, this seemed like a reasonable request. Then Yahweh said that this was like a sign of things to come when people would again buy houses, fields, and vineyards in this land. In other words, there was hope for things to come.

Rachel laments her children (Jer 31:15-31:17)

“Thus says Yahweh.       

‘A voice is heard in Ramah.

There is lamentation.

There is bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping

For her children.

She refuses to be comforted

For her children.

Because they are no more.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Keep your voice

From weeping!

Keep your eyes

From tears!

There is a reward

For your work.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They shall come back

From the land of the enemy.

There is hope for your future.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your children shall come back

To their own country.’”

Jeremiah seems to have a dialogue with Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and Yahweh. Rachel has been dead and buried for a long time at Ramah, during the time of Jacob as in Genesis, chapter 35. However, there the resting place was called Bethlehem. Here it is Ramah, someplace in Benjamin that makes more sense. The prophet Samuel may have lived in this place as in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. However, here Rachel is lamenting from her grave. She is weeping bitterly for her lost children. She refuses to be comforted because they too are dead and gone. This passage had an influence on the later Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, where he used this saying to apply to the innocent children killed by Herod. However, Yahweh tells her to stop weeping and dry her tears, because she was going to be rewarded. The descendants of her children were going to come back to their country from the land of their enemies. Thus the northern tribes would be restored.

The ineptitude of the false idols (Isa 48:5-48:6)

“I declared them to you

From long ago.

Before they came to pass.

I announced them to you.

Thus you would not say.

‘My idol did them.

My carved image commanded them.

My cast image commanded them.’

You have heard!

Now see all this!

Will you not declare it?”

Once again, Second Isaiah has Yahweh defend himself against false idols. This must have been quite a problem. Yahweh had made this known a long time before it happened. Thus they could not say that it was their idols, the carved and cast images that had commanded and done this. Yahweh was clear. They had heard and saw all this, but they just did not understand what was happening. Now they have to declare it so.