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 seventy (Lk 10:1-10:1)

“After this,

The Lord

Appointed seventy others.

He sent them

On ahead of him,

In pairs,

Into every town

And place

Where he himself

Intended to go.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἀνέδειξεν ὁ Κύριος ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely spoke about these 70 disciples.  He said that after these comments (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα) about the demands of discipleship, the Lord (ὁ Κύριος), not Jesus, appointed 70 others disciples (ἀνέδειξεν ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα), who were not the 12 apostles.  He sent them on ahead of him or his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), in pairs (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο), into every town and place (εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον) where he himself intended to go (οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι).  They were to be his front men or advance people.  There was no mention of these 70 disciples in the other gospel stories, only here in Luke.  This group of 70 was reminiscent of the elders with Moses in Numbers, chapter 11:24-25, where Moses gathered the 70 elders of the people around the tent.  Then Yahweh took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the 70 elders.  These elders temporarily prophesied.  This sharing of power may have helped Moses, since God gave some of the power of his spirit to these 70 elders.  Thus, the Jerusalem Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 members.  These 70 missionaries of Jesus went out in pairs, two by two, a common practice in the early Church.  Mark, chapter 6:7, said that Jesus sent out his 12 apostles in pairs, two by two, also.  Interesting enough, the activities of these 70 missionaries seem to be much like the 12 apostles as described earlier in chapter 9:2-4.  Have you ever been on a missionary expedition?

The parable of the vineyard (Mk 12:1-12:1)

“Jesus began

To speak to them

In parables.

‘A man planted

A vineyard.

He put a fence

Around it.

He dug a pit

For the wine press.

He built

A watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν. ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν, καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee vineyard landowner can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables or stories (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).  Then he 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).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem.

A description of John (Mk 1:6-1:6)

“Now John was clothed

With camel’s hair.

He had

A leather belt

Around his waist.

He ate locusts

And wild honey.”

 

καὶ ἦν ὁ Ἰωάνης ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔσθων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον.

 

Mark and Matthew, chapter 3:4, are very similar in their descriptions of John the Baptist, almost word for word.  Mark said that John was clothed with camel’s hair (καὶ ἦν ὁ Ἰωάνης ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου).  John had a leather belt around his waist (καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ).  He also ate locusts and wild honey (καὶ ἔσθων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον).  Matthew had this description before the preceding verses.  There was nothing special about this simple dull clothing and a weak sweet vegetarian diet of food.  This description is very reminiscent of the description of Elijah in 2 Kings, chapter 1:8, who also wore a garment of hair and a leather belt.  Thus, the comparison of John the Baptist with Elijah was only natural.

The warning from Pilate’s wife (Mt 27:19-27:19)

“While Pilate was sitting

On the judgment seat,

His wife

Sent word to him.

‘Have nothing to do

With that innocent man.

I have suffered

A great deal

Because of a dream

About him.’”

 

Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ λέγουσα Μηδὲν σοὶ καὶ τῷ δικαίῳ ἐκείνῳ· πολλὰ γὰρ ἔπαθον σήμερον κατ’ ὄναρ δι’ αὐτόν.

 

This warning from Pilate’s wife was not in the other gospel passion narratives, but was unique to Matthew, who said that while Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat or the tribunal chair (Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος), his wife sent word to him (ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ).  She told him to have nothing to do with that innocent or righteous man (λέγουσα Μηδὲν σοὶ καὶ τῷ δικαίῳ ἐκείνῳ).  She said that she had suffered a great deal because of a dream about him (πολλὰ γὰρ ἔπαθον σήμερον κατ’ ὄναρ δι’ αὐτόν).  This concept of a troubling dream is very reminiscent of the dreams of Joseph in chapters 1-2.  Once again, Matthew tried to vindicate the Roman authority, as opposed to the more guilty Jewish leaders.

The absentee land owner of the vineyard (Mt 21:33-21:33)

“Listen to another parable!

There was a landowner

Who planted a vineyard.

He put a fence around it.

He dug a wine press in it.

He built a watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee landowner can be found in Mark, chapter 12:1, word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable or story (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.  This was reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard of 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 (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land will cause him a problem.

The first son (Mt 21:28-21:29)

“What do you think?

A man had two sons.

He went to the first one.

He said.

‘Son!

Go!

Work

In the vineyard today.’

He answered.

‘I will not!’

But later

He changed his mind.

He went out to work.”

 

Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἄνθρωπος εἶχεν τέκνα δύο· προσελθὼν τῷ πρώτῳ εἶπεν Τέκνον, ὕπαγε σήμερον ἐργάζου ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνι.

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἐγὼ κύριε, καὶ οὐκ ἀπῆλθεν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew and is reminiscent of the parable of the day laborers in the vineyard in chapter 20:1-16.  Jesus was still talking with the chief priests and elders.  Jesus continued with another parable by asking them what did they think (Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ)?  In this parable story, a man had two sons (ἄνθρωπος εἶχεν τέκνα δύο).  He went to the first one (προσελθὼν τῷ πρώτῳ).  He told this first son to go and work in his vineyard that day (εἶπεν Τέκνον, ὕπαγε σήμερον ἐργάζου ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνι).  However, this first son answered (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that he was not going to go out into the vineyard to work (Ἐγὼ κύριε, καὶ οὐκ ἀπῆλθεν).  Interesting enough, most of the Greek manuscript texts do not have the last phrase that this son changed his mind.  However, the explanations assume this verse that the first son later or afterwards changed his mind and went out to work in the vineyard (ὕστερον δὲ μεταμεληθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν).