Matthew 20

Workers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
The term landowner here refers to the owner and manager of a household.
who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
And after agreeing with the workers for the standard wage,
Grk “agreeing with the workers for a denarius a day.”
The standard wage was a denarius a day. The denarius was a silver coin worth about a day’s wage for a laborer in Palestine in the 1st century.
he sent them into his vineyard.
When it was about nine o’clock in the morning,
Grk “about the third hour.”
he went out again and saw others standing around in the marketplace without work.
He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and I will give you whatever is right.’ So they went. When
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
he went out again about noon and three o’clock that afternoon,
Grk “he went out again about the sixth and ninth hour.”
he did the same thing.
And about five o’clock that afternoon
Grk “about the eleventh hour.”
he went out and found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why are you standing here all day without work?’
They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go and work in the vineyard too.’ When
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
it was evening
That is, six o’clock in the evening, the hour to pay day laborers. See Lev 19:13b.
the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and give the pay
‡ Most witnesses (including B D W Θ f1, 13 33vid Maj. latt sy) have αὐτοῖς (autois, “to them”) after ἀπόδος (apodos, “give the pay”), but this seems to be a motivated reading, clarifying the indirect object. The omission is supported by א C L Z 085 Or. Nevertheless, NA27 includes the pronoun on the basis of the greater external attestation.
starting with the last hired until the first.’
When those hired about five o’clock came, each received a full day’s pay.
Grk “each received a denarius.” See the note on the phrase “standard wage” in v. 2.
10 And when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But each one also received the standard wage. 11 When
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
they received it, they began to complain
The imperfect verb ἐγόγγυζον (egonguzon) has been translated ingressively.
against the landowner,
12 saying, ‘These last fellows worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the hardship and burning heat of the day.’ 13 And the landowner
Grk “he”; the referent (the landowner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
replied to one of them,
Grk “And answering, he said to one of them.” This construction is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified in the translation.
‘Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage?
Grk “for a denarius a day.”
14 Take what is yours and go. I
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
want to give to this last man
Grk “this last one,” translated as “this last man” because field laborers in 1st century Palestine were men.
the same as I gave to you.
15 Am I not
‡ Before οὐκ (ouk, “[am I] not”) a number of significant witnesses read ἤ (ē, “or”; e.g., א C W 085 f1, 13 33 and most others). Although in later Greek the οι in σοι (oi in soi) - the last word of v. 14 - would have been pronounced like ἤ, since ἤ is lacking in early mss (B D; among later witnesses, note L Z Θ 700) and since mss were probably copied predominantly by sight rather than by sound, even into the later centuries, the omission of ἤ cannot be accounted for as easily. Thus the shorter reading is most likely original. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
Grk “Is your eye evil because I am good?”
16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

Third Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

17  As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve
‡ A number of significant witnesses (e.g., B C W 085 33 lat) have μαθητάς (maqētas, “disciples”) after δώδεκα (dōdeka, “twelve”), perhaps by way of clarification, while other important witnesses lack the word (e.g., א D L Θ f1, 13). The longer reading looks to be a scribal clarification, and hence is considered to be secondary. NA27 puts the word in brackets to show doubts about its authenticity.
aside privately and said to them on the way,
18 “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the experts in the law.
Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
They will condemn him to death,
19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged severely
Traditionally, “scourged” (the term means to beat severely with a whip, L&N 19.9). BDAG 620 s.v. μαστιγόω 1.a states, “The ‘verberatio’ is denoted in the passion predictions and explicitly as action by non-Israelites Mt 20:19; Mk 10:34; Lk 18:33”; the verberatio was the beating given to those condemned to death in the Roman judicial system. Here the term μαστιγόω (mastigoō) has been translated “flog…severely” to distinguish it from the term φραγελλόω (fragelloō) used in Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15.
and crucified.
Crucifixion was the cruelest form of punishment practiced by the Romans. Roman citizens could not normally undergo it. It was reserved for the worst crimes, like treason and evasion of due process in a capital case. The Roman historian Cicero called it “a cruel and disgusting penalty” (Against Verres 2.5.63-66 ##163-70); Josephus (J. W. 7.6.4 [7.203]) called it the worst of deaths.
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
on the third day, he will be raised.”

A Request for James and John

20  Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling down she asked him for a favor.
Grk “asked something from him.”
21 He said to her, “What do you want?” She replied,
Grk “said to him.”
Grk “Say that.”
these two sons of mine to sit, one at your
A majority of witnesses read σου (sou, “your”) here, perhaps for clarification. At the same time, it is possible that the pronoun dropped out through haplography or was excised because of perceived redundancy (there are two other such pronouns in the verse) by א B. Either way, the translation adds it due to the requirements of English style. NA27 includes σου here.
right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
22 Jesus
Grk “And answering, Jesus said.” This is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
answered, “You don’t know what you are asking!
The verbs in Greek are plural here, indicating that Jesus is not answering the mother but has turned his attention directly to the two disciples.
Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?”
Most mss (C W 33 Maj., as well as some versional and patristic authorities) in addition have “or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” But this is surely due to a recollection of the fuller version of this dominical saying found in Mark 10:38. The same mss also have the Lord’s response, “and you will be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized” in v. 23, again due to the parallel in Mark 10:39. The shorter reading, in both v. 22 and v. 23, is to be preferred both because it better explains the rise of the other reading and is found in superior witnesses (א B D L Z Θ 085 f1, 13 pc lat, as well as other versional and patristic authorities).
They said to him, “We are able.”
No more naïve words have ever been spoken as those found here coming from James and John, “We are able.” They said it with such confidence and ease, yet they had little clue as to what they were affirming. In the next sentence Jesus confirms that they will indeed suffer for his name.
23 He told them, “You will drink my cup,
See the [V] note on “about to drink” in v. 22.
but to sit at my right and at my left is not mine to give. Rather, it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

24  Now
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
when the other ten
Grk “the ten.”
heard this,
The word “this” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
they were angry with the two brothers.
25 But Jesus called them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. 26 It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave
See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom
The Greek word for ransom (λύτρον, lutron) is found here and in Mark 10:45 and refers to the payment of a price in order to purchase the freedom of a slave. The idea of Jesus as the “ransom” is that he paid the price with his own life by standing in our place as a substitute, enduring the judgment that we deserved for sin.
for many.”

Two Blind Men Healed

29  As they were leaving Jericho,
For location see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1.
a large crowd followed them.
30 Two
Grk “And behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
blind men were sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted,
Grk “shouted, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.
“Have mercy
Have mercy on us is a request for healing. It is not owed to the men. They simply ask for God’s kind grace.
on us, Lord, Son of David!”
There was a tradition in Judaism that the Son of David (Solomon) had great powers of healing (Josephus, Ant. 8.2.5 [8.42–49]).
31 The
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
crowd scolded
Or “rebuked.” The crowd’s view was that surely Jesus would not be bothered with someone as unimportant as a blind beggar.
them to get them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, “Lord, have mercy on us,
‡ The majority of mss (C W f1 33 Maj. and several versional witnesses) read κύριε (kurie, “Lord”) after ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς (eleēson hēmas, “have mercy on us”). But since this is the order of words in v. 30 (though that wording is also disputed), and since the κύριε-first reading enjoys widespread and early support (א B D L Z Θ 085 0281 f13 892 pc lat), the latter was considered original. However, the decision was by no means easy. NA27 has κύριε after ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς here; a majority of that committee felt that since the placement of κύριε in last place was the nonliturgical order it “would have been likely to be altered in transcription to the more familiar sequence” (TCGNT 44).
Son of David!”
32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

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