“When the harvest time
The landowner sent his slaves
To the tenants,
To collect his produce.
But the tenants
Seized his slaves.
They beat one slave.
They killed another slave.
They stoned still another slave.”
ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς λαβεῖν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ.
καὶ λαβόντες οἱ γεωργοὶ τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ ὃν μὲν ἔδειραν, ὃν δὲ ἀπέκτειναν, ὃν δὲ ἐλιθοβόλησαν.
This parable of the wicked tenants can be found in Mark, chapter 12:2-3, and Luke, chapter 20:10, but there was only one slave in both these accounts, instead of the 3 different slaves here. When the harvest time came, the time when the grapes would be ripe for picking (ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν), the landowner sent his slaves (ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ) to these tenants or renters (τοὺς γεωργοὺς) to collect his fruit produce (λαβεῖν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ). However, his tenant farmers seized his slaves (καὶ λαβόντες οἱ γεωργοὶ τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ). They beat one slave (ὃν μὲν ἔδειραν). Then they killed another slave (ὃν δὲ ἀπέκτειναν) and stoned still another slave (ὃν δὲ ἐλιθοβόλησαν). These tenant farmers were not very nice.
“‘Do you not fear me?’
‘Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand
As a boundary for the sea.
This is a perpetual barrier
That it cannot pass.
Though the waves toss,
They cannot prevail.
Though they roar,
They cannot pass over it.
But these people have a stubborn heart.
They have a rebellious heart.
They have turned aside.
They have gone away.
They do not say in their hearts.
‘Let us fear Yahweh our God.
He gives the rain in its season.
He gives the autumn rain.
He gives the spring rain.
He keeps for us
The weeks appointed for the harvest.’
Your iniquities have turned these away.
Your sins have deprived you of good.”
Why don’t they fear Yahweh? Why don’t they tremble before him? Yahweh has placed sand as a perpetual barrier against the sea so that the sea cannot pass over it. Even though the waves toss and roar, they still were not able to prevail and pass over the sand. They have a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned away and gone astray. They do not fear Yahweh their God. Yahweh gives the perfect rain for every season with autumn and spring rains. Yet they have sunshine for the harvest time. Yahweh, via Jeremiah reminds them that their iniquities have turned them away from him. Their sins have deprived them of the good things in life.
“A wise child makes a glad father.
But a foolish child is a mother’s grief.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit anyone.
But righteousness delivers from death.
Yahweh does not let the righteous go hungry,
But he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty.
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
A child who gathers in summer is prudent,
But a child who sleeps in harvest brings shame.”
Right from the start of these sayings there is the contrast between the wise and the foolish child. Wickedness did not bring profit, but righteousness would save you from death. Early death was considered a punishment for sin. Yahweh would not let the righteous go hungry, but the wicked would be hungry. Notice the contrast and the idea of ‘but’. Here we have the classic explanation of poverty. You are poor because you do not work hard. You are rich because you have worked hard. There is never any mention of circumstances. Once again, we are back at the prudent child who gathers in the summer, while the other shameful child sleeps during the harvest time.