Send a slave to the tenants (Mk 12:2-12:2)

“When the season came,

He sent a slave

To the tenants,

To collect

From them

His share

Of the produce

Of the vineyard.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς τῷ καιρῷ δοῦλον, ἵνα παρὰ τῶν γεωργῶν λάβῃ ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος·

 

This parable about the wicked tenants can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:34, and Luke, chapter 20:10.  Mark said that when the harvest season time came (τῷ καιρῷ), the right time, the landowner sent a slave (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν…δοῦλον), not 3 slaves as in Matthew, to these tenants or renters (πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς).  He was to collect or receive (λάβῃ) from these tenant farmers (ἵνα παρὰ τῶν γεωργῶν) his share of the fruit produced from this vineyard (ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος).  This all seems very reasonable.

The first hired are upset (Mt 20:10-20:12)

“Now when the first group came,

They thought that

They would receive more.

But each of them

Also received a denarius.

When they received it,

They grumbled

Against the landowner.

They said.

‘These last laborers worked

Only one hour.

You have made them

Equal to us.

We have borne

The burden of the day

And the scorching heat.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ πρῶτοι ἐνόμισαν ὅτι πλεῖον λήμψονται· καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ ἀνὰ δηνάριον καὶ αὐτοί.

λαβόντες δὲ ἐγόγγυζον κατὰ τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου

λέγοντες Οὗτοι οἱ ἔσχατοι μίαν ὥραν ἐποίησαν, καὶ ἴσους αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν ἐποίησας τοῖς βαστάσασι τὸ βάρος τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τὸν καύσωνα.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, as Jesus continued his parable story.  When the first group of hired laborers came (καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ πρῶτοι) to get their pay as the last ones, they thought that they would receive more than the one denarius that all the later hired laborers had received (ἐνόμισαν ὅτι πλεῖον λήμψονται).  However, each of them received one denarius (καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ ἀνὰ δηνάριον καὶ αὐτοί), what they had agreed to in the early morning.  When they got this pay (λαβόντες δὲ), they grumbled against the landowner (ἐγόγγυζον κατὰ τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου).  They complained that the last hired laborers had worked only 1 hour (λέγοντες Οὗτοι οἱ ἔσχατοι μίαν ὥραν ἐποίησαν).  This land owner had made them equal to those who had worked 12 hours (καὶ ἴσους αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν).  They had been picking grapes all day long in the scorching heat (ἐποίησας τοῖς βαστάσασι τὸ βάρος τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τὸν καύσωνα).  This seemed grossly unfair.  If the last hired got one denarius (15 cents) for 1 hour of work, why were they not paid 12 denarii ($1.80) for 12 hours of work.  They seemed to have a good argument.  However, so did those who started at 9 AM, noon, and 3 PM.  They all got one denarius but did not grumble.  Remember it is a story or parable.

The third and fourth group of laborers (Mt 20:5-20:5)

“When the landowner

Went out again

About noon,

The sixth hour,

And about three o’clock,

The ninth hour,

He did the same.”

 

πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν περὶ ἕκτην καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως.

 

Jesus continued with this parable that is unique to Matthew.  This landowner needed more workers so that every 3 hours, he went into the marketplace to see if there were any day workers available.  Thus, this landowner of the vineyards went out again (πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν) about noon, the sixth hour (περὶ ἕκτην), and about 3:00 PM, the ninth hour (καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν).  He did the same (ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως) as he had done at the third hour or 9 AM.  He asked them to work in the vineyard and he would pay them whatever was right, fair or just, without a specific agreed wage.

The second group of laborers (Mt 20:3-20:4)

“When the landowner

Went out

About nine o’clock,

The third hour,

He saw others standing idle

In the market place.

He said to them.

‘You also go

Into the vineyard.

I will pay you

Whatever is right.’

Thus,

They went out

To the vineyard.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθὼν περὶ τρίτην ὥραν εἶδεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ ἀργούς,

καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν.

οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with this parable.  About 9 AM, the third hour (καὶ ἐξελθὼν περὶ τρίτην ὥραν), this land owner saw other people standing around idle in the market place (εἶδεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ ἀργούς).  He asked them if they wanted to work in his vineyard (καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα).  He did not promise them a specific wage for the day.  He simply said that he would pay them whatever was right, just, or fair (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν).  Some of them agreed and went out (οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον) into the vineyard fields to pick the grapes.