Matthew 20:7 They told him, Because noone has hired us

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

A parable comparing the realm of the skies to hiring workers throughout the day.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

They say to him, "Because no one offered to hire us [at this time]." He says to them, "Go down into the vineyard."

My Takeaway: 

The Divine wants us to get to work whenever he finds us.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:7 They told him, Because noone has hired us. He told them, Go also into the vineyard; and your shall receive whatever is right.

NIV : 

Matthew 20:7  ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is the first time in the parable that the laborers have spoken. Earlier verbs in the parable were in the "at that point in time" tense of Greek, which is has been translated as the past. The verbs in this verse, except for "hired," are in the present tense. This switch of tenses gives the story a more intimate, "homier" feel, more like a folk tale in English, as though the listener has been brought up in time to the present, but this is a gimmick. The parable continues after this.

Note that the workers do not say that they have been idle all day, but that no one has hired them. They are wise enough not to challenge the housemaster's mistaken assumptions.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

λέγουσιν [264 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "They say" 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."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "To him" 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."

Ὅτι (adv/conj)(adv/conj)"Because" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

οὐδεὶς [69 verses](adj sg masc nom) "No man" is from oudeis which means "no one," "not one," "nothing," "naught," "good for naught," and "no matter." -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However, to avoid the English double-negative, we translate it as its opposite "anyone" when used with another Greek negative.

ἡμᾶς [7 verse](pron 1st pl masc/fem acc) "Us" is hemas which is the 1st person, plural, accusative pronoun.

ἐμισθώσατο: [2 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind mid) "Hired" is misthoo, which means to "let out for hire," "farm out," "offer to let," "hire," "make a contract (for a thing)," "contract," and "engage (services)."

λέγει [264 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "He 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."

Ὑπάγετε [47 verses](verb 2nd pl pres imperat act) "Go" is from hypago, which means "to lead under," "to bring under," "to bring a person before judgment," "to lead on by degrees," "to take away from beneath," "to withdraw," "to go away," "to retire," "to draw off," and "off with you."

καὶ (conj/adv)"Also" 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."

ὑμεῖς [92 verses](pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is from hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

εἰς,(pre)  "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἀμπελῶνα. (noun sg masc acc) "Vineyard" is from ampelon which means simply "vineyard."

KJV Analysis: 

They -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

told  - (WT) The word "they said" is from the common verb translated as "said" which means "to say," and "to speak,"  However, it is in the present tense not the past as translated.

him, -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

Because -- The word translated as "because" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

noone ." -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However

has -- (WT) This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is the "at some point in time" tense.

hired  - "Hire" is from a verb that means to "offer to rent for hire," and "to make a contract for hire." Jesus only uses it twice, but it has the same root as the noun that is usually translated as "reward". It is not in the present tense, but the "at the time" tense in Greek. This emphasizes the sense that they had no offers for this final hour of the day, not that they hadn't worked during the day for themselves or others.

us. - "Us" is the 1st person, plural, accusative pronoun. Jesus only uses this pronoun in seven verses this pronoun seven times, most often in the Lord's Prayer.

He -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

told  - (WT) The "told" is the same common "said" verb used above and it is, again,  in the present tense. This is a change from Matthew 20:4. There a different verb was translated as "told" and in the "at that time" tense, not the present. The rest of this verse is the same as what is in that verse.

them;  - -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

Go  - "Go" is from a Greek verbal command that means literally "go under" or "bring under," but Christ usually uses it to mean "go away" and "depart."

missing "you"  -- (MW) The untranslated pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural. However, since the verb is a command and commands in English often don't need a subject, this does the job.

also " -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

into -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

vineyard, -- The Greek word for "vineyard" only means "vineyard.

and your shall receive whatever is right. -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and your shall receive whatever is right. " in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "told" is the past tense, but the Greek is the present tense.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "has" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "told" is the past tense, but the Greek is the present tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "you" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and your shall receive whatever is right" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.

NIV Analysis: 

Because -- The word translated as "because" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

noone ." -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However

has -- (WT) This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is the "at some point in time" tense.

hired  - "Hire" is from a verb that means to "offer to rent for hire," and "to make a contract for hire." Jesus only uses it twice, but it has the same root as the noun that is usually translated as "reward". It is not in the present tense, but the "at the time" tense in Greek. This emphasizes the sense that they had no offers for this final hour of the day, not that they hadn't worked during the day for themselves or others.

us. - "Us" is the 1st person, plural, accusative pronoun. Jesus only uses this pronoun in seven verses this pronoun seven times, most often in the Lord's Prayer.

They -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

answered- (CW, WT) The word "they said" is from the common verb translated as "said" which means "to say," and "to speak,"  However, it is in the present tense not the past as translated.

missing "him"  -- (MW) The untranslated pronoun "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

He -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

said - (WT) The "said" is the same common "answered" verb used above and it is, again, in the present tense. This is a change from Matthew 20:4. There a different verb was translated as "told" and in the "at that time" tense, not the present.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

them;  - -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

You   --   The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural. However, since the verb is a command and commands in English often don't need a subject, this does the job.

also " -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

go - "Go" is from a Greek verbal command that means literally "go under" or "bring under," but Christ usually uses it to mean "go away" and "depart."

and work -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "and work" in the Greek source.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

my -- (WW) The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

vineyard, -- The Greek word for "vineyard" only means "vineyard.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "has" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "answered" is not the common word usually translated as "answered."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "answered" is the past tense, but the Greek is the present tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "him" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "said" is the past tense, but the Greek is the present tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "you" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "and work" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "my" should be "the."

Front Page Date: 

May 11 2021