Matthew 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

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

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

So these ones departed. Again, however, coming out around the sixth and nine hour, he performed in a like manner.

My Takeaway: 

Days allow many hours for productive work.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:5 [And they went their way.] Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

NIV : 

Matthew 20:5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The first part of this verse appears in the previous verse in the KJV. We put it here because it appears here in the sources we use today. The "sixth hour" would be the middle of the twelve "hours" of daylight, so noon. At the ninth hour, the workday would be three-quarters gone, say 3PM. So the NIV translations give reader an idea, but they do not represent the words at all. 

Notice that every time the vineyard owner goes out, there are more people in the market, even though he hires all he sees on every visit. Where were these people earlier? In modern times, we organize our lives around our jobs for employers, but in agricultural societies, jobs are more task-oriented. Many of these people may have spent most of the day tending their own land or flocks. Others may have been selling in the market until they ran out of produce. Others may have found work for others that didn't last the full day. After their work was done, people gathered in the marketplace, not only to find more work but to visit with other people and socialized.

Wordplay: 

There is a little wordplay here using the same basic word to describe the workers going to work and the landowner going out to hire them. 

Also, Jesus often uses the word translated as "he went out" in which it has the sense of making dreams come true. Here, the landowner is making the dreams of the workers come true. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οἱ (pron pl masc nom) "They" is from hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δὲ (conj)"And" 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").

ἀπῆλθον. [22 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind act "Go away" is aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from," "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

πάλιν [23 verses](adv) "Again" is from palin, which means "back," "backward," "contradiction," "again," "once more," and "in turn."

[δὲ] (conj) Untranslated is 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.

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."

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

ἕκτην [1 verse](adj sg fem acc) "Sixth," is hektos which means "sixth."

καὶ (conj/adv) "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."

ἐνάτην [1 verse](adj sg fem acc) "Ninth" is enatos, which means "ninth."

ὥραν [37 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Hour" is from hora, which means "any period," "season," (especially springtime), "year' (generally), "climate" (as determined by seasons), "duration," "the twelve equal parts into which the period of daylight was divided," "the fitting time" (for a task).

ἐποίησεν [168 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "He...did" is poieo, which means "to make," "to produce," "to create," "to bring into existence," "to bring about," "to cause," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do."

ὡσαύτως. [5 verses](adv) "Likewise' is hosautos, which an adverb that means "in like manner," and "just so." It is literally "this the same."

KJV Analysis: 

In the KJV, the first clause is shown in Matthew 20:4; more modern version show it in this verse.

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It also an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

they - The word translated as "they" is a demonstrative pronoun so "those" or "these." Because the "they" is part of the verb, a pronoun is used for emphasis, "these particular ones."

missing "themselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "they themselves."

went  - (CW) The word for "went" is the same base word as "he went out" but with a different prefix. It is used by Jesus to mean "departed" or "go away." The prefix means "away from>.

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

The KJV starts here.

Again  - "-- The Greek word translated as "again" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

missing "but"  -- (OS) The untranslated word "but" appears in some sources today, but not in the KJV source. Since it always falls in the second position in a phrase, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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

went  -  (WF) The verb translated as "he went out" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true," which is something else he is doing here. However, it is in the form of an adjective, a particle, not an active verb, so "going out" or coming out."

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

about -- The Greek word translated as "of" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to."

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

sixth  - ) "Sixth," is the Greek number that means "sixth." This word is used only once by Jesus.

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

ninth -  "Ninth" is Greek word that  means "ninth." This word is used only once by Jesus.

hour, - The word translated as "hour" means a period of time equal to the one-twelfth part of the daylight, like an "hour."

and -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

did  - The Greek word translated as "did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. However, in the NT it is primarily translated as "to do," but "perform" might be a better fit.

likewise. "Likewise' is an adverb that means "in like manner," and "just so." It is literally "this the same."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "but" existed in the source we used today, but not the one used for the KJV.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "went" is not an active verb but a participle, "going out."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

So " -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. However, it also offers an explanation of cause "so." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

they - The word translated as "they" is a demonstrative pronoun so "those" or "these." Because the "they" is part of the verb, a pronoun is used for emphasis, "these particular ones."

missing "themselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "they themselves."

went  - (CW) The word for "went" is the same base word as "he went out" but with a different prefix. It is used by Jesus to mean "departed" or "go away." The prefix means "away from.

missing "but"  --  The untranslated word "but" appears in some sources today, but not in the KJV source. Since it always falls in the second position in a phrase, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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

went  -  (WF) The verb translated as "he went out" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true," which is something else he is doing here. However, it is in the form of an adjective, a particle, not an active verb, so "going out" or coming out."

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

again  - "-- The Greek word translated as "again" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

about -- The Greek word translated as "of" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to."

noon - (WW) "Noon," is the Greek number that means "sixth." This word is used only once by Jesus.

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

three -  (WW) "Three" is Greek word that  means "ninth." This word is used only once by Jesus.

missing "hour"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "hour" means a period of time equal to the one-twelfth part of the daylight, like an "hour."

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

and -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "and" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

did  - The Greek word translated as "did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. However, in the NT it is primarily translated as "to do," but "perform" might be a better fit.

the same thing. "The same thing" is an adverb that means "in like manner," and "just so." It is literally "this the same."

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "themselves" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "went" is not the common word usually translated as "went."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "went" is not an active verb but a participle, "going out."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "noon" should be "sixth."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "three" should be "ninth"
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "hour" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "about in the afternoon" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

May 9 2021