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

KJV Verse: 

Mat 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.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

This is because the realm beyond is similar to a person, a master of a household, who went out at once in the morning to contract for hire workmen to his vineyard.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As with most of Christ's parables, the language here is very straight forward. Where as his saying, such as the previous verse, Mat 19:30, a extremely clever, full of double meanings and plays on words. When he starts telling a story, all of that changes. The Greek is simple and he tends to repeat ideas, such as "man" and "householder" here, to clarify his meaning.

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, Mat 19:30, about the first being last.

The "kingdom of heaven" is a common phrase used by Christ. It is explained in detail in this article. As is usually the case, the word for "heaven," which means the "sky" or "universe" is plural. As a place, it has the sense of "the realm beyond" and as a state of being, it has the sense of "the universal state.

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

The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

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

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."

An untranslated word here means "at once" or "together."

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

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

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

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

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὁμοία (adj pl neut nom) "Like " is from homoios, 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 "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." -

βασιλεία (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 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."

ἀνθρώπῳ (noun sg masc dat) "Unto 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.

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

ἐξῆλθεν (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 (adverb/prep) Untranslated is hama, which means "at the same time", "at once", " together," and as a preposition, "at the same time with" and "together with."

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

μισθώσασθαι (verb aor inf mid) "To hire" is from 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 (noun pl masc acc) "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."

εἰς "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 ἀμπελῶνα (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."

The Spoken Version: 

This is because the state beyond [this world] is like a guy, a master of an estate, who started out first thing in the morning to contract workers in his vineyard.

Related Verses: