20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning at dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard.2 When he had agreed with the laborers for a [a]denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.3 And he went out about the third hour (9:00 a.m.) and saw others standing idle in the market place;4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right (an appropriate wage).’ And they went.5 He went out about the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), and did the same thing.6 And about the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) he went out and found others standing around, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’7 They answered him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He told them, ‘You go into the vineyard also.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last [to be hired] and ending with the first [to be hired].’9 Those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (5:00 p.m.) came and received a denarius each [a day’s wage]. 10 Now when the first [to be hired] came, they thought they would get more; but each of them also received a denarius.11 When they received it, they protested and grumbled at the owner of the estate,12 saying, ‘These men who came last worked [only] one hour, and yet you have made them equal [in wages] to us who have carried [most of] the burden and [worked in] the scorching heat of the day.’13 But the owner of the estate replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?14 Take what belongs to you and go, but I choose to give to this last man [hired] the same as I give to you.15 Am I not lawfully permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? Or is your eye [b]envious because I am generous?’16 So those who are last [in this world] shall be first [in the world to come], and those who are first, last.”
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