Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour

KJV Verse: 

Mat 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why are you standing here all the day idle?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

About the eleventh, coming out, he discovered, and he said to them, "Why have you stood here the whole day idle?"

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Notice that every time the vineyard owner goes out, there are more people in the market, even though he hires all he sees at every visit. Where were these people earlier? See the previous verse for an explanation, but here, that idea is called into question. The vineyard owner says they have been standing there all day. Again, as a parable, there is very little wordplay.

The text doesn't have the word "hour" in it. It says simply "eleventh." The eleventh hour was one hour before sunset, the end of the workday.

The word for "he went out" is a verb that means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." It is in the form of an adjective, "going out."

The term used for "he found" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover."

The word for "standing" is another verb in the form of an adjective.

There is no "idle" here in the current Greek source that we use. It appears only at the end of the verse.

The word translated as "why" is an demonstrative pronoun that is used as several questioning words: who, why, or what.

The word for "stand ye" is the same words as above, but its form is a tense that indicates something completed in the past. "Have you stood."

The word translated as "all" means "whole." In Greek, "all" is used to refer more to a multitude. The word used here indicates completeness.

The word translated as "day" means "the whole" or something that is complete.

The word used for "idle" is more negative, having the sense of "lazy."

This criticism of the workers seems more comical than real. The employer knew that these workers were not there all day long. He is teasing them in saying that they were. However, his tease is just a prelude toward something else.

Greek Vocabulary: 

περὶ "About" is from peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

δὲ "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

τὴν ἑνδεκάτην (adj sg fem acc) "Eleventh" is from hendekatos, which means "eleventh."

ἐξελθὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "He went out" is from exerchomai, which means "to come or go out of " "to march forth", "go out on", "to stand forth", "to exceed all bounds", "to come to an end", "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true."

εὗρεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Found" is from heurisko, which means "to find", "to find out", "to discover", "to devise", "to invent", "to get," and "to gain."

ἄλλους (adj pl masc acc) "Others" is from allos, which means "another", "one besides", "of another sort", "different", "other than what is true", "as well", "besides," {with numerals: "yet", "still", "further"), "of other sort", "other than what is", "untrue", "unreal", "other than right", "wrong", "bad", "unworthy," [with an article] "the rest", "all besides," and [in series] "one...another."

ἑστῶτας, (part pl perf act masc acc) "Standing" is from histemi, which means "to make to stand", "to stand", "to set up", "to bring to a standstill", "to check", "to appoint", "to establish", "to fix by agreement", "to be placed", "to be set", "to stand still", "to stand firm", "to set upright", "to erected", "to arise," and "to place." Like the English words "put" and "set," it has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just.

λέγει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Saith" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "Unto them" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

Τί (irreg sg neut nom) "Why" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

ὧδε "Here" is hode, the demonstrative pronoun which means "this" in the sense of "what is present" and "what can be seen." With verbs of action and with a person (its use here), it means "here" as in "here I am" in the sense of "I am present."

ἑστήκατε (verb 2nd pl perf ind act) "Stand ye" is from histemi, which means "to make to stand", "to stand", "to set up", "to bring to a standstill", "to check", "to appoint", "to establish", "to fix by agreement", "to be placed", "to be set", "to stand still", "to stand firm", "to set upright", "to erected", "to arise," and "to place." Like the English words "put" and "set," it has a number of specific meanings from "to put down [in writing]", "to bury", "to establish", "to make", "to cause," and "to assign."

ὅλην (adj sg fem acc) "All" is from holos, which means "the whole", "entire", "complete", "complete in all its parts", "wholly", "altogether", "on the whole", "speaking generally", "utter," "actually", "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

τὴν ἡμέραν (noun sg fem acc) "Day" is from hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)."

ἀργοί; (adj pl masc nom) "Idle" is argos, which means "not working the ground", "lazy," and "idle" when applied to people, but when applied to things (like words) "lying idle", "yielding no return," and "fruitless."

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