Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man [that is] an householder,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A parable after saying that first is last and last is first.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because the realm of the skies is similar to a housemaster, who went out at onceearly  to hire workmen for that vineyard  of his.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus  again says that the realm requires work.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

NIV : 

Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As with most of Jesus's parables, the language here is very straightforward. When he starts telling a story,  his wordplay often goes away. The Greek is simple and he tends to repeat concepts, such as "man" and "householder" here, to clarify his meaning. Of course, the statement creates a question in people's mind. How does this man relate to the kingdom?

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὁμοία [29 verses](adj pl neut nom) "Like " is homoiosFor the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard., which means "like," "resembling," "the same," "equal in force, "a match for one," "suiting," "of the same rank," "alike," "in like manner," and "equally."

γάρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." -

(article sg fem nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

βασιλεία [98 verses](noun sg fem nom) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τῶν (article pl masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

οὐρανῶν (noun pl masc gen) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate."

οἰκοδεσπότῃ [12 verses](noun sg masc sg masc dat)  "Householder" is from oikodespotês , which is the "master of the house" and also means "steward of a house," and "native ruler." It is a combination of two words. The first part is from oikia, which means "building," "house," "family," and "household," and the second is despotes, which means "master" and "lord" but it isn't the word normally translated as "lord" in the Gospels.

ὅστις [90 verses](pron sg masc nom) "Which" is from hostis, which means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

ἐξῆλθεν [54 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "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."

ἅμα [2 verses](adverb/prep) "Early" is hama, which means "at the same time," "at once," " together," and as a preposition, "at the same time with" and "together with."

πρωὶ [3 verses](adv) "In the morning" is proi, an adverb which means "early in the day," "early," "at morn," generally, "betimes," "in good time," "too soon," and "too early."

μισθώσασθαι [2 verses](verb aor inf mid) "To hire" 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)."

ἐργάτας [8 verses](noun pl masc acc) "Labourers" is ergates, which means "workman," "one who works the soil," "husbandman," "hard-working," "strenuous," "one who practices an art," "practitioner," "doer," and "producer."

εἰς (prep) "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)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἀμπελῶνα [19 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Vineyard" is from ampelon which means simply "vineyard."

αὐτοῦ: (adj sg masc gen) "His" 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."

KJV Analysis: 

For  - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence. It refers to the previous verse, Matthew 19:30, about the first being last.

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. 

kingdom -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

like The Greek word translated as "like," is an adjective means "resembling," "similar," and "the same."

unto -- This "unto" 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.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

man  - (OS) The Greek word for "man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

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

an -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

householder, - "Householder" is from a compound Greek word that is literally the "master of the house."

which -- "Which" is a pronoun that means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever." 

went  - The word translated as "went out" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of regarding prophecies of "making something come true."

out -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "out of."

early  - (CW) The "early" word here means "at once" or "together."

in the morning -- (CW) This phrase is from an adverb which means "early in the day," "early," "at morn," generally, "betimes," "in good time," "too soon," and "too early."

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

hire  - "Hire" is from a verb that means to "offer to rent for hire," "to make a contract for hire,"

labourers  - "Labourers" is from a noun that means "workman," "one who practices an art," a "doer," and a "producer."

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

his   - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

vineyard.  - "Vineyard" is from a noun that means simply "vineyard."

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "man" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "that is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "early" is more correctly the following word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "in the morning" is not the phrase but a word that means "early."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "vineyard" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

For  - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence. It refers to the previous verse, Matthew 19:30, about the first being last.

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. 

kingdom -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

like The Greek word translated as "like," is an adjective means "resembling," "similar," and "the same."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

landowner , - "Landowner" is from a compound Greek word that is literally the "master of the house."

who -- "Who" is a pronoun that means "that," "anyone who," "anything which," "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever." 

went  - The word translated as "went out" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of regarding prophecies of "making something come true."

out -- This is from the prefix of the previous verb that means "out of."

early  - (CW) The "early" word here means "at once" or "together."

in the morning -- (CW) This phrase is from an adverb which means "early in the day," "early," "at morn," generally, "betimes," "in good time," "too soon," and "too early."

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

hire  - "Hire" is from a verb that means to "offer to rent for hire," "to make a contract for hire,"

workers - "Workers " is from a noun that means "workman," "one who practices an art," a "doer," and a "producer."

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

his   - -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

vineyard.  - "Vineyard" is from a noun that means simply "vineyard."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "early" is more correctly the following word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "in the morning" is not the phrase but a word that means "early."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "vineyard" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

May 5 2021