New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Workers in the Vineyard.[a] 1 “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 [b]and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ 5 So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. 6 Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ 8 [c](A)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.’ 9 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] 17 (B)As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve [disciples] aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, 19 and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
The Request of James and John.[h] 20 (C)Then the mother[i] of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. 21 He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking.[j] Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” 23 He replied, “My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left [, this] is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 (D)When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. 26 But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; 27 (E)whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. 28 (F)Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom[k] for many.”
The Healing of Two Blind Men.[l] 29 (G)As they left Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 (H)Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “[Lord,][m] Son of David, have pity on us!” 31 The crowd warned them to be silent, but they called out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They answered him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 Moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight, and followed him.
- 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.
- 20:4 What is just: although the wage is not stipulated as in the case of those first hired, it will be fair.
- 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).
- 20:13 I am not cheating you: literally, “I am not treating you unjustly.”
- 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.
- 20:16 See note on Mt 19:30.
- 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.
- 20:20–28 Cf. Mk 10:35–45. The request of the sons of Zebedee, made through their mother, for the highest places of honor in the kingdom, and the indignation of the other ten disciples at this request, show that neither the two brothers nor the others have understood that what makes for greatness in the kingdom is not lordly power but humble service. Jesus gives the example, and his ministry of service will reach its highest point when he gives his life for the deliverance of the human race from sin.
- 20:20–21 The reason for Matthew’s making the mother the petitioner (cf. Mk 10:35) is not clear. Possibly he intends an allusion to Bathsheba’s seeking the kingdom for Solomon; see 1 Kgs 1:11–21. Your kingdom: see note on Mt 16:28.
- 20:22 You do not know what you are asking: the Greek verbs are plural and, with the rest of the verse, indicate that the answer is addressed not to the woman but to her sons. Drink the cup: see note on Mk 10:38–40. Matthew omits the Marcan “or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized” (Mk 10:38).
- 20:28 Ransom: this noun, which occurs in the New Testament only here and in the Marcan parallel (Mk 10:45), does not necessarily express the idea of liberation by payment of some price. The cognate verb is used frequently in the LXX of God’s liberating Israel from Egypt or from Babylonia after the Exile; see Ex 6:6; 15:13; Ps 77:16 (76 LXX); Is 43:1; 44:22. The liberation brought by Jesus’ death will be for many; cf. Is 53:12. Many does not mean that some are excluded, but is a Semitism designating the collectivity who benefit from the service of the one, and is equivalent to “all.” While there are few verbal contacts between this saying and the fourth Servant Song (Is 52:13–53:12), the ideas of that passage are reflected here.
- 20:29–34 The cure of the blind men is probably symbolic of what will happen to the disciples, now blind to the meaning of Jesus’ passion and to the necessity of their sharing his suffering. As the men are given sight, so, after the resurrection, will the disciples come to see that to which they are now blind. Matthew has abbreviated his Marcan source (Mk 10:46–52) and has made Mark’s one man two. Such doubling is characteristic of this gospel; see Mt 8:28–34 (// Mk 5:1–20) and the note on Mt 9:27–31.
- 20:30 [Lord,]: some important textual witnesses omit this, but that may be because copyists assimilated this verse to Mt 9:27. Son of David: see note on Mt 9:27.
New International Version
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like(A) a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.(B) 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 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?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came,(C) 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.’
9 “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(D) 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(E) of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend.(F) 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?’(G)
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”(H)
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time(I)
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem,(J) and the Son of Man(K) will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.(L) They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged(M) and crucified.(N) On the third day(O) he will be raised to life!”(P)
A Mother’s Request(Q)
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”(T)
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup(U) I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup,(V) but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant(W) with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,(X) 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man(Y) did not come to be served, but to serve,(Z) and to give his life as a ransom(AA) for many.”
Two Blind Men Receive Sight(AB)
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David,(AC) have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
- Matthew 20:2 A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer.