Matthew 20#Mt 20:1| A man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers. He rose early, because the working day began with the rising of the sun. (TFG 550) #Mt 20:2| A shilling. See TFG "#Mr 6:37|". (TFG 552) #Mt 20:3| About the third hour. The Jews divided the time between sunrise and sunset into twelve hours, so that the first hour would be about six o'clock, the third about nine, the sixth noon, the ninth about three, and the twelfth about six. As the length of the days differed, the lengths of the hours differed. The longest day in Palestine is fourteen hours and twelve minutes; the shortest, nine hours and forty-eight minutes; so it would follow that an hour on the longest day would be seventy-one minutes; and on the shortest it would be only forty-nine minutes. None of the hours, therefore, would correspond exactly to ours except the sixth or noon hour. (TFG 550) #Mt 20:8| And when even was come. The time of settlement (#Le 19:13 De 24:15|). The lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward. His overseer. Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. Thus following the order indicated by #Mt 19:30|. Also see TFG "Mr 10:31". The lord paid the last first that he might make conspicuous the fact that these received as much wages as those who had labored all day. (TFG 550, 552) #Mt 20:10| When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more. Seeing the lord's liberality to those who had worked only one hour, they expected that they would be recipients of a like liberality proportioned to their hours of service. (TFG 550-551) #Mt 20:13| But he answered and said to one of them. The answer given to one is taken as an example of what he said to them all. (TFG 551) #Mt 20:14| Take up that which is thine, and go thy way. Do not stop to argue. (TFG 551) #Mt 20:15| Is thine eye evil, because I am good? The evil eye is a synonym for jealousy. It originated with the malicious leer with which jealousy regards its object (#Mr 7:22 1Sa 18:9 Pr 23:6-8 28:22 De 15:9|). The lord had done no wrong to those who had labored longest, for he had paid them what they had bargained for and earned. If he chose to be generous with those whose misfortune had prevented them from being hired earlier in the day, no one had any just cause to murmur. (TFG 551) #Mt 20:16| So the last shall be first, and the first last. The meaning of this parable has often been misunderstood by those who fail to note the maxim with which Jesus begins and ends it. This maxim acts as a safeguard in the interpretation of it; the parable also in turn guards against misunderstanding the maxim. The maxim can not be applied to Judas; for, though he then stood high in honor and afterwards fell into disgrace, yet he stands outside the pale of the maxim as interpreted by the parable, for in the parable both the first and the last were received and rewarded by their master, while Judas was rejected of Christ and received no reward. The term "last," therefore, must be applied to those who were included among the accepted laborers, and not those who were excluded from that class. Also see TFG "Mr 10:31". In the parable, the denarius or shilling stands for the gift of eternal life. The vineyard represents the Lord's field of work in the world. The evening represents the close of the Christian dispensation, and the coming of Christ to judgment. The parable as it unfolds and develops suggests that in no case was the reward earned by the inherent merits and toil of the laborers, but was rather bestowed because of a desire on the part of the householder to that effect, just as eternal life is bestowed, not by merit, but by covenant grace (#Ro 2:6,7 4:3-5 5:16-21|). The main object of the parable is to show that longer labor does not necessarily, as the apostles and others might think, establish a claim to higher reward. Degrees of difference there no doubt will be, but they form no account in the general covenant of grace in which the one great gift is offered to us all. As the gift can be no less than eternal life, there must of necessity be a difference in the ratio of service which is rendered for it, since it will be bestowed on the octogenarian and the child, upon Paul who made good the confession of his faith through years of toil, and the dying thief who passed to his reward while his voice of confession was, as it were, still ringing in the ears of those who heard it (#1Co 15:8-11 2Ti 4:6-9|). The murmuring and envy of those who had labored longest is merely part of the parabolic drapery, introduced to bring out the answer of the householder, and to make plain the point to be illustrated. There will be no envy among those who inherit eternal life. By thus speaking of the envy, however, and showing how ineffectual it was, Jesus warns us to be prepared not to cherish it. The parable is not intended to teach that the characters of men will be exactly similar in the world to come. Paul will not be Peter, nor will Martin Luther be identical with Hugh Latimer and John Knox. God may award eternal life to the character which we are forming, but we should be careful what kind of character we bring to receive the gift. The lesson is that works are valued qualitatively and not quantitatively. Nor may the parable be rightly used to encourage hope in death-bed repentance. It certainly does teach that, however little the labor which a man does in the Lord's vineyard, he will receive the final reward if only he be really in the vineyard; that is, if he be really a child of God. But whether a man who repents on his death-bed actually becomes a child of God is a different question and is not touched by the parable. Certainly the eleventh-hour laborer who had stood idle all day only because no man had hired him, and who came into the vineyard as soon as he was called, can not represent the man who has been called by the gospel every hour of his life, but has rejected every call until his sun has sunk so low that he knows he can do but little work when he comes. In order to represent this class of sinners, the eleventh-hour men should have been invited early in the morning, and should have replied, "No, it is too early; we will not go now." Then they should have been invited at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours, and should have made some equally frivolous excuse each time, then, finally, at the eleventh hour, they should have said, "Well, as you pay a man just the same for an hour's work as for a day's work, and as we are very anxious to get your money, we believe we will now go." Had they acted thus, it is not likely that they would have found the vineyard gates open to them at all. Yet such is the sharp practice which some men attempt in dealing with God. (TFG 551-553) #Mt 20:17| CI. FORETELLING HIS PASSION. REBUKING AMBITION. (Peraea, or Judaea, near the Jordan.) #Mt 20:17-28 Mr 10:32-45 Lu 18:31-34| As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:32|". #Mt 20:18,19| The Son of man shall be delivered, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:33|". #Mt 20:20| The mother of the sons of Zebedee. Zebedee's wife was named Salome. See TFG "#Mr 15:40|". Worshipping him. Giving him homage as a coming ruler, not worshiping him as a divine being. And asking a certain thing of him. See TFG "#Mr 10:35|". (TFG 555) #Mt 20:21| What wouldest thou? See TFG "#Mr 10:36|". Command that these my two sons may sit, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:37|". #Mt 20:22| Are ye able to drink the cup that I am about to drink? See TFG "#Mr 10:38|". #Mt 20:23| My cup indeed ye shall drink. See TFG "#Mr 10:39|". But to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand, is not mine to give, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:40|". #Mt 20:24| When the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation concerning the two brethren. See TFG "#Mr 10:41|". #Mt 20:25| Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:42|". #Mt 20:26,27| Not so shall it be among you. See TFG "#Mr 10:43|". #Mt 20:28| Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:45|". #Mt 20:29| CII. BARTIMAEUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED. (At Jericho.) #Mt 20:29-34 Mr 10:46-52 Lu 18:35-43| And as they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. See TFG "#Mr 10:46|". #Mt 20:30| And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side. Here Matthew tells of two, while Mark and Luke tell only of one (#Mr 10:46 Lu 18:35|)--the principal one. They vary here as in the account of the two demoniacs, and for similar reasons. See TFG "#Mr 5:2|". Have mercy on us, thou Son of David. See TFG "#Mr 10:47|". (TFG 559) #Mt 20:31| The multitude rebuked them, etc. See TFG "#Mr 10:48|". #Mt 20:32| And Jesus stood still, and called them. See TFG "#Mr 10:49|". What will ye that I shall do unto you? See TFG "#Mr 10:51|". #Mt 20:34| And straightway they received their sight, and followed him. See TFG "#Mr 10:52|".
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