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

KJV Verse: 

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

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

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

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 word translated as "and" is usually translated as "but" and though it can form a weak connective, it is also uses to mean "so."

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."

The word for "went" is the same base word as "he went out" but with a different prefix. It is used by Christ to mean "departed" or "go away."

The word translated as "again" primarily means "back," and "backward" but means "once more" and "again."

Though there is usually little wordplay in parables, there is a little here. Also, read the note following the hidden meaning of the words to understand what is going on at the time.

The Greek word translated usually translated as "but" appears in some sources here. Since it always falls in the second position in a phrase, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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, not an active verb, so "going out" or coming out."

The "sixth hour" would be the middle of the twelve "hours" of daylight.

At the ninth hour, the workday would be three quarters gone.

The Greek word translated as "he did" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. However, in the NT it is primarily used as "to do."

NOTE: 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 marketplace, not only to find more work but to visit with other people and socialized.

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

πάλιν "Again" is from palin, which means "back", "backward", "contradiction", "again", "once more," and "in turn."

[δὲ] 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 "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 (adj sg fem acc) "Sixth," is from hektos which means "sixth."

καὶ "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 (adj sg fem acc) "Ninth" is from enatos, which means "ninth."

ὥραν (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). -- The word translated as "hour" means a period of time, generally, as we might say "moment."

ἐποίησεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "He...did" is from 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. "Likewise' is from hōsautōs, which an adverb that means "in like manner," and "just so." It is literally "this the same."

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, Christ 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. 

The Spoken Version: 

So this group left. However, coming back around noon and three PM, he did that again.

Related Verses: