Matthew 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

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

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

With evening, however, happening, he said, that master of the vineyard  to that manager of his, "Call the workmen and give back that compensation, beginning with the last until the first."

My Takeaway: 

Jesus like to play with people's expectations.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

NIV : 

Matthew 20:8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As it is in most parables until the "punch line" at the end, that has a double meaning, which is the whole point of the story. Notice what the Lord of the vineyard is doing. He tells his steward to intentionally start paying the last hired, making those who were hired first wait. The last two key words here, "last" and "first" used commonly in Jesus's lessons. They are full of double meanings. While, in describing time, they mean "last" to "first" or "the ending" to "the beginning," when describing the state of people, they mean the "lowest" to "the highest."

Wordplay: 

The last two key words here, "last" and "first" used commonly in Jesus's lessons. They are full of double meanings. While, in describing time, they mean "last" to "first" or "the ending" to "the beginning," when describing the state of people, they mean the "lowest" to "the highest." 

The word translated as "unto" means "until" but it also means "in order that" or, as here, "in the order of." Again, there is a double meaning, the order from last to first in time, and the sense that the lowest are low "in order that" the highest may be high is state. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὀψίας [2 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Even" is opsios, which means "the latter part of day," and"evening."

δὲ (conj) "So" is from de which is usually translated as "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").

γενομένης [117 verses](part sg aor mid fem gen) "Was come" is ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," "to happen," "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi), which indicates existence in the same state.

λέγει [264 verses](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."

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

κύριος [92 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power," "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἀμπελῶνος (noun sg masc gen) "Vineyard" is from ampelon which means simply "vineyard."

τῷ (article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἐπιτρόπῳ (adj sg masc dat) "Steward" is from epitropos, which means "one to whom the charge of anything is entrusted," "steward," "trustee," "administrator," "procurator," "governor," "viceroy," "executor," "trustee," and "guardian."

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."

Κάλεσον [38 verses](verb 2nd sg aor imperat act) "Call" is kaleo, which means "call," "summon," "invite," "invoke," "call by name," and "demand."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

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

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."

ἀπόδος [22 verses](verb 2nd sg aor imperat act) "Give" is apodidomi which means "to give back," "to restore," and "to deliver." It has the economic sense of "to sell" or "to give something for one's own profit." It begins with apo the preposition of separation and origin, the idea of "from" in English, didômi which means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," and "to describe."

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

μισθὸν (noun sg masc acc) "Hire" is from misthos, which means "wages" in the sense of compensation for work done, "pay," "hire," "fee," "recompense," and "reward."

ἀρξάμενος [14 verses](part sg aor mid masc nom)"Beginning" is archomai, which is a form of archô, which means "to be first," "to begin," "to make a beginning," "to rule," "to govern," and "to command."

ἀπὸ (prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

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

ἐσχάτων (adj pl masc gen) "last" is from eschatos. In space, this means "furthest." In degree, it means "uttermost" and "highest." In persons, it means "lowest" and "meanest." Of time, it means "last" and "ending."

ἕως (prep) "Unto" is heos which means "until," "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that."

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

πρώτων. (adj pl masc gen) "First" is from protos. In place, this means "the foremost." Of time, it means "the initial." In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best."

KJV Analysis: 

So  - The Greek word translated as "so" joins phrases in an adversarial way. It also an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

when  - There is no Greek word for "when," the word is added to simplify translation. The genitive phrase here is one of time, requiring a "while " or "during." It could also be a genitive absolute.

even  - The word "even" is translated from a Greek word meaning "evening."

was -- This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is the past tense, but the verb is not the past but a form that indicates a specific point in time, past, present, or future.

come,  - (WW) "Come" is not from any form of the Greek word usually translated as "come," but from the verb that means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is in the form of a verbal adjective, "happening."

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. 

lord -- The word translated as "lord" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored.

of -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored.

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.

saith  - The "saith" is from the present tense of the common verb meaning to "say" or "tell." Again, note that this is the present tense.

unto -- This word "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.

his -- 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. 

steward,  - The word translated as "steward" means "one to whom the charge of anything is entrusted," "steward," and "administrator." Today, we would simply say "manager."

Call  - The term translated as "call" is like our word "call" means both "to summon" and also "to name." It is a command in the form indicating the sense of "at some point."

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. 

labourers,  - The word translated as "labourers" means "workman," "one who works the soil," and "husbandman." We would simply say "farm workers."

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

give -- (CW) "Give" is a compound verb that means "to give back," "to give over," and "to transmit." It literally means "to give from." However, Jesus uses it specifically when using the following term so it has a strong economic sense.

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

their -- (WW) The word translated as "their" 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. 

hire,  - The word translated as " hire" is interesting not, because of how it is used here, but because it is usually translated in the NT as "reward." It actually means "compensation," which is very clear here, but Christ uses it (often in this "give out compensation" phrase) to discuss our compensation in the kingdom of heaven. Since "compensation" doesn't sound spiritual enough, the word "reward" is used as in "heavenly reward."

beginning --  "Beginning" is a verb in the form of an adjective that means "to be first," "to begin," and "to make a beginning," "to rule," "to govern," and "to command." 

from  - -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from."

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. 

last  - -- "Last" is from an adjective that, in space, this means "furthest." In degree, it means "uttermost" and "highest." In persons, it means "lowest" and "meanest." Of time, it means "last" and "ending."

unto -(CW) The word translated as "unto" means "until" but it also means "in order that" or, as here, "in the order of." Again, there is a double meaning, the order from last to first in time, and the sense that the lowest are low "in order that" the highest may be high is state.

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. 

first. -- The word translated as "first" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "come" should be "happens."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "give" is not the common word usually translated as "give."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "them" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "their" should be "the."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unto" is not the common word usually translated as "unto."

NIV Analysis: 

When - There is no Greek word for "when," the word is added to simplify translation. The genitive phrase here is one of time, requiring a "while " or "during." It could also be a genitive absolute.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "however" 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").

evening  - The word "evening" is translated from a Greek word meaning "evening."

came,  - (WW) "Came" is not from any form of the Greek word usually translated as "come," but from the verb that means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is in the form of a verbal adjective, "happening."

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. 

owner -- The word translated as "owner " is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored.

of -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored.

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.

said - The "saith" is from the present tense of the common verb meaning to "say" or "tell." Again, note that this is the present tense.

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.

his -- 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. 

foreman,  - The word translated as "foreman" means "one to whom the charge of anything is entrusted," "steward," and "administrator." Today, we would simply say "manager."

Call  - The term translated as "call" is like our word "call" means both "to summon" and also "to name." It is a command in the form indicating the sense of "at some point."

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. 

workers ,  - The word translated as "labourers" means "workman," "one who works the soil," and "husbandman." We would simply say "farm workers."

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

pay -- "Pay" is a compound verb that means "to give back," "to give over," and "to transmit." It literally means "to give from." However, Jesus uses it specifically when using the following term so it has a strong economic sense.

them -- -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

their -- (WW) The word translated as "their" 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. 

wages,  - The word translated as " wages" is interesting not, because of how it is used here, but because it is usually translated in the NT as "reward." It actually means "compensation," which is very clear here, but Christ uses it (often in this "give out compensation" phrase) to discuss our compensation in the kingdom of heaven. Since "compensation" doesn't sound spiritual enough, the word "reward" is used as in "heavenly reward."

beginning --  "Beginning" is a verb in the form of an adjective that means "to be first," "to begin," and "to make a beginning," "to rule," "to govern," and "to command."

with - -- (CW) The word translated as "with " means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from."

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. 

last  - -- "Last" is from an adjective that, in space, this means "furthest." In degree, it means "uttermost" and "highest." In persons, it means "lowest" and "meanest." Of time, it means "last" and "ending."

ones hired and going on -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "one hired and going on " in the Greek source.

to -(CW) The word translated as "to" means "until" but it also means "in order that" or, as here, "in the order of." Again, there is a double meaning, the order from last to first in time, and the sense that the lowest are low "in order that" the highest may be high is state.

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. 

first. -- The word translated as "first" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "came" should be "happens."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "them" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "their" should be "the."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "with" is not the common word usually translated as "with."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "one hired and going on " doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" is not the common word usually translated as "to."

Front Page Date: 

May 12 2021