Matthew 21: 33 — 43
Ordinary 27 Year A
NEW AMERICAN BIBLE
33 26 “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
27 put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then
he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants 28 to the tenants to
obtain his produce.
35 But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they
killed, and a third they stoned.
36 Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but
they treated them in the same way.
37 Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
38 29 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This
is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
39 30 They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he
41 They answered 31 him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched
death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the
produce at the proper times.”
42 32 Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone
that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has
this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?
43 33 Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from
you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.
26 [33-46] Cf ⇒ Mark 12:1-12. In this parable there is a close correspondence between most of the details of the
story and the situation that it illustrates, the dealings of God with his people. Because of that heavy allegorizing,
some scholars think that it does not in any way go back to Jesus, but represents the theology of the later church.
That judgment applies to the Marcan parallel as well, although the allegorizing has gone farther in Matthew. There
are others who believe that while many of the allegorical elements are due to church sources, they have been
added to a basic parable spoken by Jesus. This view is now supported by the Gospel of Thomas, #65, where a
less allegorized and probably more primitive form of the parable is found.
27  Planted a vineyard . . . a tower: cf ⇒ Isaiah 5:1-2. The vineyard is defined in ⇒ Isaiah 5:7 as “the house
28 [34-35] His servants: Matthew has two sendings of servants as against Mark’s three sendings of a single
servant (⇒ Mark 11:2-5a) followed by a statement about the sending of “many others” (⇒ Mark 11:2, ⇒ 5b). That
these servants stand for the prophets sent by God to Israel is clearly implied but not made explicit here, but
see ⇒ Matthew 23:37. His produce: cf ⇒ Mark 12:2 “some of the produce.” The produce is the good works
demanded by God, and his claim to them is total.
29  Acquire his inheritance: if a Jewish proselyte died without heir, the tenants of his land would have final
claim on it.
30  Threw him out . . . and killed him: the change in the Marcan order where the son is killed and his corpse
then thrown out (⇒ Matthew 12:8) was probably made because of the tradition that Jesus died outside the city
of Jerusalem; see ⇒ John 19:17; ⇒ Hebrews 13:12.
31  They answered: in ⇒ Mark 12:9 the question is answered by Jesus himself; here the leaders answer and
so condemn themselves; cf ⇒ Matthew 21:31. Matthew adds that the new tenants to whom the vineyard will be
transferred will give the owner the produce at the proper times.
32  Cf ⇒ Psalm 118:22-23. The psalm was used in the early church as a prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection;
see ⇒ Acts 4:11; ⇒ 1 Peter 2:7. If, as some think, the original parable ended at ⇒ Matthew 21:39 it was thought
necessary to complete it by a reference to Jesus’ vindication by God.
33  Peculiar to Matthew. Kingdom of God: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 19:23-24. Its presence here instead
of Matthew’s usual “kingdom of heaven” may indicate that the saying came from Matthew’s own traditional
material. A people that will produce its fruit: believing Israelites and Gentiles, the church of Jesus.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised
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