Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

This continues the lesson about authority and trust to a story about how not trusting those in power leads to a predictable result.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Listen to another analogy. A man was an estate owner, who set up a vineyard and put a fence around it and buried a wine vat in it, and built up defense tower and rented it to vine-dressers and he went abroad.

My Takeaway: 

Your debtors can eat you up.

KJV : 

Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

NIV : 

Matthew 21:33 Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is an interesting verse for a number of reasons. The language uses a number of words with double meanings. This is common for Jesus, but unusual for his parables. Many of these meanings revolved around military defense and death. Readers may want to play with possible double meanings with this one to get at what Jesus is implying.

The oddest thing about this verse is  that the word translated "let" is misspelled, making it into a common word that means "he was eaten." The meaning from the context is clearly to "give out," which means "rent" when applied to a house. However, this misspelling in all three Gospel versions of this parable might be an intentional play on words, equating "giving out" this vineyard with the owner being devoured by the renters.

Wordplay: 

Many of the key terms used here have secondary meanings in warfare relating to creating defensive structures. Even the word used for digging the place to receive the wine has an inference of digging a defensive trench.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἄλλην [34 verses](adj sg fem acc) "Another" is 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."

παραβολὴν [12 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Parable" is parabole, which means "comparison," "illustration," and "analogy." It is most often translated in the NT as "parable" but occasionally as "comparison."

ἀκούσατε [95 verses](verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Hear" is akouo, which means "hear of," "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand."

Ἄνθρωπος [209 verses](noun sg masc nom) "A man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. -

ἦν (verb 3rd sg imperf ind act) "There was" 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.")

οἰκοδεσπότης [12 verses](verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "The householder" is oikodespotes , which means "master or steward of a house," "owner of a domicile," and "native ruler (as opp. foreign emperor)."

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

ἐφύτευσεν [7 verses](3rd sg aor ind act) "Planted" is phyteuo, which means "beget," "engender," generally, "produce," "bring about," "cause (mostly of evils), "implant in," "to plant (especially trees)," "to set-up," and specifically, "to plant with trees." When used as a noun, means "father" or, in plural, "parents."

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

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." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

φραγμὸν [3 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Hedged" is phragmos, which is a noun that means "fencing in," "blocking up," "fence," "paling," nickname of a man "with a bristly beard," and metaph., "partition."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "It" 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."

περιέθηκεν [2 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "It round about" is peritithemi, which means to "place," "put round," "put on," "put round oneself," and metaph., "bestow," and "confer upon."

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."

ὤρυξεν [3 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Digged" is orysso, which means to "dig," "dig up," "dig through," "make a canal through," and of moles, "burrow," "bury," "dig into," and "gouge out."

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with."

αὐτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "It" 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."

ληνὸν [2 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Winepress" is lenos, which means "anything shaped like a tub," "winevat," "trough," for watering cattle, "kneading-trough," "coffin," and "hollow of a chariot."

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."

ᾠκοδόμησεν [18 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Built" is oikodomeo, which means to "build a house," generally, "build," "fashion," "found upon," and, metaphorically, "build up," and "edify."

πύργον,” [4 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Watchtower" is pyrgos, which means "tower," "tower of defense," "movable tower (for storming towns," and "a dice cup."

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."

ἐξέδετο  {ἐξέδοτο a variation of ἐξέδωκε} [1 verse] (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Let" is  is ekididomi, which means to "give up," "surrender," " give out of one's house," " farm out," "let for hire," " give in charge to another," and many other specific meanings. (KJV Source: ἐξέδοτο (verb 3rd sg aor ind) "Let" is from ekdidomi, which means literally, "to give out," generally, "give up," "surrender," "give out of one's house," "give one's daughter in marriage," "farm out," "let for hire,give in charge to another," "lend out money on security," "hand over, and "deliver a document.")

αὐτὸν (adj sg masc acc) "It" 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."

γεωργοῖς, [13 verses](adj pl masc dat) "Husbandmen" is georgos, which means "tilling the ground," and from that, "husbandman," "vine dresser," "gardener," and "peasant."

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."

ἀπεδήμησεν. [5 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Went to a far country" is apodemeo, which means "to be far from home," "to be abroad," "to be on one's travels," and "to go abroad."

KJV Analysis: 

Hear  - The word translated as "hear" means "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand."

another  - The word translated as "another" also means "one besides," "of another sort," "different," and "other than what is true."

parable: -- (UW) "Parable" is Greek for "analogy," "comparison," and "illustration."  Our word "parable" is simple the Greek word adopted into English, taking its meaning from the Bible, so it isn't what the people of Jesus's time heard. It doesn't mean simply "educational story" as it has come to mean in English. The fact that Jesus speaks in analogies and illustrations is critical in understanding His words.

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

was -- The verb "was" 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. 

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.

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

householder,  - "A householder" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house but Christ uses it to refer to those who own an estate rather than just a house.

which  - The word translated as "which" is the masculine subject of the sentence, so "who."

planted  - "Planted" is from a verb which means "to plant," "to produce," "to set-up," and specifically, "to plant with trees." This is a rare word used to refer specifically to planting trees.

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.

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

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

hedged  -  (WF) "Hedged" is a noun that means "fencing in," "blocking up," "fence," "paling," nickname of a man "with a bristly beard," and metaph., "partition."

it -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The form here is of an indirect object, usually requires a preposition before it.The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. The case can indicate a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "about" (or "for" or "against") indicating interest, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect. -

round about,  - (WF) "Round about" is a verb that means to "place," "put round," "put on," "put round oneself," and metaph., "bestow," and "confer upon." It is in the third-person so "he put it around."

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

digged  - The word translated as "digged" means to dig, specifically a canal or a moat, but also means to "bury" but it has a number of other meanings as well.

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.

winepress - The word translated as "winepress" means generally "anything shaped like a tub," but it specifically means "wine vat." However, one of its other meanings is "coffin" which fits well the with "bury" translation above.

in  - -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

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

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

built  - The word translated as "built" means specifically to build a house but it is used generally to mean "build" or "establish" but it also means to "build up" or "edify." It works very like our word "construct."

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.

tower,  - "Tower" is from a noun that means "tower," and "tower of defense."

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

let  - "Let" is from a unique spelling of a Greek verb meaning "give up" and "surrender" but has a number of other meanings including renting a house. The way the word is spelled means "he ate himself" or "he ate it by himself."

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

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

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.

husbandmen,  - The word translated as "to husbandmen" means to those "tilling the ground," and from that, "vine dresser," "gardener," and "peasant."

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

went into a far country  - (CP) The verb translated as "went to a far country" that means "to be far from home" and "to go abroad." This word is used five times by Jesus, always in parables, always about a master go trusting his property to others. Our phrase "went abroad" captures it more closely without adding all kinds of unneeded ideas.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "parable" means "analogy." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "there" should be "man."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "certain" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "hedged" is not a verb but a noun "fence."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "round about" is not an adverb but an active verb, "put around."
  • CP - Confusing Phrase -- The "went to a far country" adds a lot of meaning not in the word.

NIV Analysis: 

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

listen - The word translated as "listen " means "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand."

to -- This is required because the Enlight "listen" requires an indirect object.

another  - The word translated as "another" also means "one besides," "of another sort," "different," and "other than what is true."

story: -- (CW) "Story" is Greek for "analogy," "comparison," and "illustration."  Our word "parable" is simple the Greek word adopted into English, taking its meaning from the Bible, so it isn't what the people of Jesus's time heard. It doesn't mean simply "educational story" as it has come to mean in English. The fact that Jesus speaks in analogies and illustrations is critical in understanding His words.

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.

missing "man"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples." 

missing "was"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "was" 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. 

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

landowner,  - "Landowner" is from a word that means the master, steward or owner of the house but Jesus uses it to refer to those who own an estate rather than just a house.

missing "who"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "who" is a pronoun, the masculine subject of the sentence.

planted  - "Planted" is from a verb which means "to plant," "to produce," "to set-up," and specifically, "to plant with trees." This is a rare word used to refer specifically to planting trees.

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.

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

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

built - (WW) "Built" is a verb that means to "place," "put round," "put on," "put round oneself," and metaph., "bestow," and "confer upon." It is in the third-person so "he put it around."

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.

wall   -  (CW) "Wall" is a noun that means "fencing in," "blocking up," "fence," "paling," nickname of a man "with a bristly beard," and metaph., "partition."

around  - "Around " is from the prefix of the preious verb.

it -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The form here is of an indirect object, usually requires a preposition before it but the verb's prefix serves that purpose.

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

dug - The word translated as "dug " means to dig, specifically a canal or a moat, but also means to "bury" but it has a number of other meanings as well.

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.

pit for pressing out the grape juice -  The word translated as "pit for pressing out the grape juice" means generally "anything shaped like a tub," but it specifically means "wine vat." However, one of its other meanings is "coffin" which fits well the with "bury" translation above. 

missing "in"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

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

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

built  - The word translated as "built" means specifically to build a house but it is used generally to mean "build" or "establish" but it also means to "build up" or "edify." It works very like our word "construct."

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.

lookout tower,  - "Lookout tower" is from a noun that means "tower," and "tower of defense."

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

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

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

leased - "Let" is from a unique spelling of a Greek verb meaning "give up" and "surrender" but has a number of other meanings including renting a house. The way the word is spelled means "he ate himself" or "he ate it by himself."

the vineyard, -- (WW)  The word translated as "the vineyard" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

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.

tenant farmers  - The word translated as "tenant farmers " means to those "tilling the ground," and from that, "vine dresser," "gardener," and "peasant."

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

moved to another country.  - (CW) The verb translated as "moved to another country" that means "to be far from home" and "to go abroad." This word is used five times by Jesus, always in parables, always about a master go trusting his property to others. Our phrase "went abroad" captures it more closely without adding all kinds of unneeded ideas.

NIV Translation Issues: 

15
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "now" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "story" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "was" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "there" should be "man."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "certain" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "built around" should be "put around."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wall" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "who" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "it" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "then" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the vineyard" should be "it."
  • CP - Confusing Phrase -- The "moved to another country" adds a lot of meaning not in the word.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Here we have another analogy where God is cast as a landowner dealing with workers. Notice that the landowner improves his property, making it productive. Here, God is like an entrepreneur, creating a new business from nothing. He eventually turns that business over to others, letting them run it.

Front Page Date: 

Jun 15 2021