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Matthew 20:1-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

The Workers in the Vineyard.[a] “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, [b]and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ [c]When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ 13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.[d] Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 [e]Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 [Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 [f]Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The Third Prediction of the Passion.[g]


  1. 20:1–16 This parable is peculiar to Matthew. It is difficult to know whether the evangelist composed it or received it as part of his traditional material and, if the latter is the case, what its original reference was. In its present context its close association with Mt 19:30 suggests that its teaching is the equality of all the disciples in the reward of inheriting eternal life.
  2. 20:4 What is just: although the wage is not stipulated as in the case of those first hired, it will be fair.
  3. 20:8 Beginning with the last…the first: this element of the parable has no other purpose than to show how the first knew what the last were given (Mt 20:12).
  4. 20:13 I am not cheating you: literally, “I am not treating you unjustly.”
  5. 20:14–15 The owner’s conduct involves no violation of justice (Mt 20:4, 13), and that all the workers receive the same wage is due only to his generosity to the latest arrivals; the resentment of the first comes from envy.
  6. 20:16 See note on Mt 19:30.
  7. 20:17–19 Cf. Mk 10:32–34. This is the third and the most detailed of the passion predictions (Mt 16:21–23; 17:22–23). It speaks of Jesus’ being handed over to the Gentiles (Mt 27:2), his being mocked (Mt 27:27–30), scourged (Mt 27:26), and crucified (Mt 27:31, 35). In all but the last of these points Matthew agrees with his Marcan source, but whereas Mark speaks of Jesus’ being killed (Mk 10:34), Matthew has the specific to be…crucified.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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