New English Translation
The Parable of the Tenants
9 Then[a] he began to tell the people this parable: “A man[b] planted a vineyard,[c] leased it to tenant farmers,[d] and went on a journey for a long time. 10 When harvest time came, he sent a slave[e] to the tenants so that they would give[f] him his portion of the crop.[g] However, the tenants beat his slave[h] and sent him away empty-handed. 11 So[i] he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed.[j] 12 So[k] he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. 13 Then[l] the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son;[m] perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’ 15 So[n] they threw him out of the vineyard and killed[o] him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy[p] those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”[q] When the people[r] heard this, they said, “May this never happen!”[s] 17 But Jesus[t] looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?[u] 18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces,[v] and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.”[w] 19 Then[x] the experts in the law[y] and the chief priests wanted to arrest[z] him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But[aa] they were afraid of the people.Read full chapter
- Luke 20:9 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The parable Jesus tells here actually addresses the question put to him by the leaders.
- Luke 20:9 tc ‡ There are several variants here, most of which involve variations in word order that do not affect translation. However, the presence or absence of τις (tis) after ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), which would be translated “a certain man,” does affect translation. The witnesses that have τις include A W Θ ƒ13 1241 2542 al sy. Those that lack it include א B C D L Ψ ƒ1 33 M it. Externally, the evidence is significantly stronger for the omission. Internally, however, there is some pause. A feature unique to Luke-Acts in the NT is to use the construction ἄνθρωπος τις (cf. 10:30; 12:16; 14:2, 16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:12; Acts 9:33). However, scribes who were familiar with this idiom may have inserted it here. In light of the overwhelming external support for the omission of τις, the shorter reading is preferred. NA28 places τις in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
- Luke 20:9 sn The vineyard is a figure for Israel in the OT (Isa 5:1-7). The nation and its leaders are the tenants, so the vineyard here may well refer to the promise that resides within the nation. The imagery is like that in Rom 11:11-24.
- Luke 20:9 sn The leasing of land to tenant farmers was common in this period.
- Luke 20:10 sn This slave (along with the next two) represent the prophets God sent to the nation, who were mistreated and rejected.
- Luke 20:10 tc Instead of the future indicative δώσουσιν (dōsousin, “they will give”), most witnesses (C D W Θ Ψ ƒ1 M) have the aorist subjunctive δῶσιν (dōsin, “they might give”). The aorist subjunctive is expected following ἵνα (hina, “so that”), so it is almost surely a motivated reading. Further, early and excellent witnesses, as well as a few others (א A B ƒ13 33 579 1241 2542 al), have δώσουσιν. It is thus more likely that the future indicative is authentic. For a discussion of this construction, see BDF §369.2.
- Luke 20:10 tn Grk “from the fruit of the vineyard.”
- Luke 20:10 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the slave sent by the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.sn The image of the tenants beating up the owner’s slave pictures the nation’s rejection of the prophets and their message.
- Luke 20:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first slave.
- Luke 20:11 sn The slaves being sent empty-handed suggests that the vineyard was not producing any fruit—and thus neither was the nation of Israel.
- Luke 20:12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first two slaves.
- Luke 20:13 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:13 tn Grk “my beloved son.” See comment at Luke 3:22. sn The owner’s decision to send his one dear son represents God sending Jesus.
- Luke 20:15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ decision to kill the son.
- Luke 20:15 sn Throwing the heir out of the vineyard pictures Jesus’ death outside of Jerusalem.
- Luke 20:16 sn The statement that the owner will come and destroy those tenants is a promise of judgment; see Luke 13:34-35; 19:41-44.
- Luke 20:16 sn The warning that the owner would give the vineyard to others suggests that the care of the promise and the nation’s hope would be passed to others. This eventually looks to Gentile inclusion; see Eph 2:11-22.
- Luke 20:16 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people addressed in v. 9) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:16 sn May this never happen! Jesus’ audience got the point and did not want to consider a story where the nation would suffer judgment.
- Luke 20:17 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 20:17 tn Or “capstone,” “keystone.” Although these meanings are lexically possible, the imagery in Eph 2:20-22 and 1 Cor 3:11 indicates that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kephalē gōnias) refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone.sn The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Ps 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT (see also Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8; cf. also Eph 2:20). The irony in the use of Ps 118:22-23 here is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.
- Luke 20:18 tn On this term, see BDAG 972 s.v. συνθλάω.
- Luke 20:18 tn Grk “on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”sn This proverb basically means that the stone crushes, without regard to whether it falls on someone or someone falls on it. On the stone as a messianic image, see Isa 28:16 and Dan 2:44-45.
- Luke 20:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 20:19 tn Or “The scribes” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.
- Luke 20:19 tn Grk “tried to lay hands on him.”
- Luke 20:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.