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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 21 - Verse 33

Verses 33-46. The parable of the vineyard. This is also recorded in Mr 12:1-12; Lu 20:9-19.

Verse 33. Hear another parable. See Barnes "Mt 13:3".

 

A certain householder. See Barnes "Mt 20:1".

 

Planted a vineyard. A place for the cultivation of grapes. It is often used to represent the church of God, as a place cultivated and valuable. Judea was favourable to vines, and the figure is frequently used, therefore, in the sacred writers. See Mt 20:1. It is used here to represent the Jewish people; the people chosen of the Lord, cultivated with care, and signally favoured; or perhaps more definitely, the city of Jerusalem.

Hedged it round about. This means, he inclosed it, either with a fence of wood or stone, or more probably with thorns, thick set and growing—a common way of inclosing fields in Judea, as it is in England.

And digged a winepress in it. Mark says, "digged a place for the wine-vat." This should have been so rendered in Matthew. The original word does not mean the press in which the grapes were trodden, but the vat, or large cistern into which the wine ran. This was commonly made by digging into the side of a hill. The wine-press was made of two receptacles. The upper one, in Persia at present, is about eight feet square, and four feet high. In this the grapes are thrown, and trodden by men, and the juice runs into the large receptacle, or cistern below. See Barnes "Is 63:2,3".

 

And built a tower. See also Isa 5:2. In eastern countries at present these towers are often eighty feet high, and thirty feet square. They were for the keepers who defended the vineyard from thieves and animals, especially foxes. So 1:6; 2:16.

And let it out, etc. This was not an uncommon thing. Vineyards were often planted to be let out for profit.

Into a far country. This means, in the original, only that he departed from them. It does not mean that he went out of the land. Luke adds, "for a long time." That is, as appears, till the time of the fruit; perhaps for a year. This vineyard denotes doubtless the Jewish people, or Jerusalem. But these circumstances are not to be particularly explained. They serve to keep up the story. They denote in general that God had taken proper care of his vineyard, i.e. his people; but beyond that we cannot affirm that these circumstances, of building the tower, etc., mean any particular thing, for he has not told us that they do. And where he has not explained them, we have no right to attempt it.

{v} "planted" Ps 80:8-16; So 8:11,12; Is 5:1-7; Jer 2:21; Mr 12:1

 

Lu 20:9

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