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.

The crushing defeat of Zion (Lam 1:15-1:15)

Samek

“Yahweh has rejected

All my warriors

In the midst of me.

He proclaimed a time

Against me

To crush

My young men.

Yahweh has trodden

As in a wine press

The virgin daughter,

Judah.”

This lament continued with Jerusalem speaking in the first person. Yahweh has rejected all the warriors from Jerusalem and Judah. Yahweh, not the king of Babylon, has crushed the young men of Judah and Jerusalem. He has trodden and stomped over his virgin daughter, Judah, like a wine press. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Symbolic wine presses of blood (Isa 63:2-63:3)

“‘Why are your robes red?

Why are your garments like them?

Who has tread in the wine press?’

‘I have trodden the wine press alone.

No one was with me

From the various peoples.

I trod them in my anger.

I trampled them in my wrath.

Their juice spattered on my garments.

I stained all my robes.’”

This dialog continues with questions and answers about the red garments and a red robe. The prophet or guard wanted to know why the robes and garments were red. Had he been in a wine press? This visitor from the south, or perhaps Yahweh, responded that he had to tread the wine press alone because no one else was with him. The red on his stained clothes was from the spattered juice or blood of those he had trod under because of his anger and wrath.