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Matthew 20:1-16 The Voice (VOICE)

20 Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is like a wealthy landowner who got up early in the morning and went out, first thing, to hire workers to tend his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a day’s wage[a] for the day’s work. The workers headed to the vineyard while the landowner headed home to deal with some paperwork. About three hours later, he went back to the marketplace. He saw some unemployed men standing around with nothing to do.

Landowner: Do you need some work? Go over to my vineyard and join the crew there. I’ll pay you well.

So off they went to join the crew at the vineyard. About three hours later, and then three hours after that, the landowner went back to the market and saw another crew of men and hired them, too, sending them off to his vineyard and promising to pay them well. Then finally late in the afternoon, at the cusp of night, the landowner walked again through the marketplace, and he saw other workers still standing around.

Landowner: Why have you been standing here all day, doing nothing?

Workers: Because no one has hired us.

Landowner: Well, you should go over to my vineyard and work.

And off the workers went. When quitting time arrived, the landowner called to his foreman.

Landowner: Pay the workers their day’s wages, beginning with the workers I hired most recently and ending with the workers who have been here all day.

So the workers who had been hired just a short while before came to the foreman, and he paid them each a day’s wage.[b] 10 Then other workers who had arrived during the day were paid, each of them a day’s wage. Finally, the workers who’d been toiling since early morning came thinking they’d be paid more, but the foreman paid each of them a day’s wage.[c] 11 As they received their pay, this last group of workers began to protest.

First Workers: 12 We’ve been here since the crack of dawn! And you’re paying us the exact same wage you paid the crew that just showed up. We deserve more than they do. We’ve been slogging in the heat of the sun all day—these others haven’t worked nearly as long as we have!

13 The landowner heard these protests.

Landowner (to a worker): Friend, no one has been wronged here today. This isn’t about what you deserve. You agreed to work for a day’s wage,[d] did you not? 14 So take your money and go home. I can give my money to whomever I please, and it pleases me to pay everyone the same amount of money. 15 Do you think I don’t have the right to dispose of my money as I wish? Or does my generosity somehow prick at you?

16 And that is your picture: The last will be first and the first will be last.

Footnotes:

  1. 20:2 Literally, a denarius, a Roman coin
  2. 20:9 Literally, a denarius, a Roman coin
  3. 20:10 Literally, a denarius, a Roman coin
  4. 20:13 Literally, a denarius, a Roman coin
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Matthew 20:1-16 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 20:2 A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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