Parallel Bible VersionsGreek Bible Study Tools

Matthew 21:33 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Hear another parable: There was a man that was a householder, who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Hear another parable; There was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it around, and digged a wine-press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a remote country:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Hear another parable: There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and made a fence round it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and left the country.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Another parable, hear ye:—A man there was, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and, a wall around it, placed, and digged in it a wine-vat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen,—and left home.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 'Hear ye another simile: There was a certain man, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and did put a hedge round it, and digged in it a wine-press, and built a tower, and gave it out to husbandmen, and went abroad.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Hear ye another parable. There was a man, an householder, who planted a vineyard and made a hedge round about it and dug in it a press and built a tower and let it out to husbandmen and went into a strange country.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Heare another parable. There was a certaine house-holder, which planted a Uineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-presse in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a farre countrey.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Hear another comparison: A certain man was a house-lord; and he planted a vinery, and surrounded it with an hedge, and dug a wine-press in it, and built in it a tower, and had it taken by labourers, and journeyed.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Hear ye another similitude. A certain man, the lord of a house, planted a vineyard, and inclosed it with a hedge, and digged in it a wine-press, and built a tower in it, and leased it to cultivators, and removed to a distance.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Hear 191
{0191} Prime
ἀκούω
akouo
{ak-oo'-o}
A primary verb; to hear (in various senses).
z5657
<5657> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 376
another 243
{0243} Prime
ἄλλος
allos
{al'-los}
A primary word; 'else', that is, different (in many applications).
parable: 3850
{3850} Prime
παραβολή
parabole
{par-ab-ol-ay'}
From G3846; a similitude ('parable'), that is, (symbolically) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), apoth gm or adage.
There was 2258
{2258} Prime
ἦν
en
{ane}
Imperfect of G1510; I (thou, etc.) was (wast or were).
z5713
<5713> Grammar
Tense - Imperfect (See G5775)
Voice - No Voice Stated (See G5799)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 532
a certain 5100
{5100} Prime
τὶς
tis
{tis}
An enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object.
y444
[0444] Standard
ἄνθρωπος
anthropos
{anth'-ro-pos}
From G0435 and ὤψ [[ops]] (the countenance; from G3700); manfaced, that is, a human being.
householder, 3617
{3617} Prime
οἰκοδεσπότης
oikodespotes
{oy-kod-es-pot'-ace}
From G3624 and G1203; the head of a family.
which 3748
{3748} Prime
ὅστις
hostis
{hos'-tis}
From G3739 and G5100; which some, that is, any that; also (definitely) which same.
planted 5452
{5452} Prime
φυτεύω
phuteuo
{foot-yoo'-o}
From a derivative of G5453; to set out in the earth, that is, implant. Figuratively to instil doctrine.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
a vineyard, 290
{0290} Prime
ἀμπελών
ampelon
{am-pel-ohn'}
From G0288; a vineyard.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
hedged y5418
[5418] Standard
φραγμός
phragmos
{frag-mos'}
From G5420; a fence, or inclosing barrier (literally or figuratively).
it y846
[0846] Standard
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
round about, 4060
{4060} Prime
περιτίθημι
peritithemi
{per-ee-tith'-ay-mee}
From G4012 and G5087; to place around; by implication to present.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
x846
(0846) Complement
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
x5418
(5418) Complement
φραγμός
phragmos
{frag-mos'}
From G5420; a fence, or inclosing barrier (literally or figuratively).
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
digged 3736
{3736} Prime
ὀρύσσω
orusso
{or-oos'-so}
Apparently a primary verb; to 'burrow' in the ground, that is, dig.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
a winepress 3025
{3025} Prime
ληνός
lenos
{lay-nos'}
Apparently a primary word; a trough, that is, wine vat.
in 1722
{1722} Prime
ἐν
en
{en}
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
it, 846
{0846} Prime
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
built 3618
{3618} Prime
οἰκοδομέω
oikodomeo
{oy-kod-om-eh'-o}
From the same as G3619; to be a house builder, that is, construct or (figuratively) confirm.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
a tower, 4444
{4444} Prime
πύργος
purgos
{poor'-gos}
Apparently a primary word ('burgh'); a tower or castle.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
let y1554
[1554] Standard
ἐκδίδωμι
ekdidomi
{ek-did-o'-mee}
From G1537 and G1325; to give forth, that is, (specifically) to lease.
z0
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
it y846
[0846] Standard
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
out 1554
{1554} Prime
ἐκδίδωμι
ekdidomi
{ek-did-o'-mee}
From G1537 and G1325; to give forth, that is, (specifically) to lease.
z5639
<5639> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Middle (See G5785)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 65
x846
(0846) Complement
αὐτός
autos
{ow-tos'}
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
to husbandmen, 1092
{1092} Prime
γεωργός
georgos
{gheh-ore-gos'}
From G1093 and the base of G2041; a land worker, that is, farmer.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
went into a far country: 589
{0589} Prime
ἀποδημέω
apodemeo
{ap-od-ay-meh'-o}
From G0590; to go abroad, that is, visit a foreign land.
z5656
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Matthew 21:33

_ _ Matthew 21:33-46. Parable of the wicked husbandmen.

_ _ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard — (See on Luke 13:6).

_ _ and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower — These details are taken, as is the basis of the parable itself, from that beautiful parable of Isaiah 5:1-7, in order to fix down the application and sustain it by Old Testament authority.

_ _ and let it out to husbandmen — These are just the ordinary spiritual guides of the people, under whose care and culture the fruits of righteousness are expected to spring up.

_ _ and went into a far country — “for a long time” (Luke 20:9), leaving the vineyard to the laws of the spiritual husbandry during the whole time of the Jewish economy. On this phraseology, see on Mark 4:26.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Matthew 21:33-46

_ _ This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; they and their leaders are the husbandmen here; and what is spoken for conviction to them, is spoken for caution to all that enjoy the privileges of the visible church, not to be high-minded, but fear.

_ _ I. We have here the privileges of the Jewish church, represented by the letting out of a vineyard to the husbandmen; they were as tenants holding by, fRom. and under, God the great Householder. Observe,

_ _ 1. How God established a church for himself in the world. The kingdom of God upon earth is here compared to a vineyard, furnished with all things requisite to an advantageous management and improvement of it. (1.) He planted this vineyard. The church is the planting of the Lord, Isaiah 61:3. The forming of a church is a work by itself, like the planting of a vineyard, which requires a great deal of cost and care. It is the vineyard which his right hand has planted (Psalms 80:15), planted with the choicest vine (Isaiah 5:2), a noble vine, Jeremiah 2:21. The earth of itself produces thorns and briars; but vines must be planted. The being of a church is owing to God's distinguishing favour, and his manifesting himself to some, and not to others. (2.) He hedged it round about. Note, God's church in the world is taken under his special protection. It is a hedge round about, like that about Job on every side (Job 1:10), a wall of fire, Zechariah 2:5. Wherever God has a church, it is, and will always be, his peculiar care. The covenant of circumcision and the ceremonial law were a hedge or a wall of partition about the Jewish church, which is taken down by Christ; who yet has appointed a gospel order and discipline to be the hedge of his church. He will not have his vineyard to lie in common, that those who are without, may thrust in at pleasure; not to lie at large, that those who are within, may lash out at pleasure; but care is taken to set bounds about this holy mountain. (3.) He digged a wine-press and built a tower. The altar of burnt-offerings was the wine-press, to which all the offerings were brought. God instituted ordinances in his church, for the due oversight of it, and for the promoting of its fruitfulness. What could have been done more to make it every way convenient?

_ _ 2. How he entrusted these visible church-privileges with the nation and people of the Jews, especially their chief priests and elders; he let it out to them as husbandmen, not because he had need of them as landlords have of their tenants, but because he would try them, and be honoured by them. When in Judah God was known, and his name was great, when they were taken to be to God for a people, and for a name, and for a praise (Jeremiah 13:11), when he revealed his word unto Jacob (Psalms 147:19), when the covenant of life and peace was made with Levi (Malachi 2:4, Malachi 2:5), then this vineyard was let out. See an abstract of the lease, Song of Songs 8:11, Song of Songs 8:12. The Lord of the vineyard was to have a thousand pieces of silver (compare Isaiah 7:13); the main profit was to be his, but the keepers were to have two hundred, a competent and comfortable encouragement. And then he went into a far country. When God had in a visible appearance settled the Jewish church at mount Sinai, he did in a manner withdraw; they had no more such open vision, but were left to the written word. Or, they imagined that he was gone into a far country, as Israel, when they made the calf, fancied that Moses was gone. They put far from them the evil day.

_ _ II. God's expectation of rent from these husbandmen, Matthew 21:34. It was a reasonable expectation; for who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the fruit thereof? Note, From those that enjoy church-privileges, both ministers and people, God looks for fruit accordingly. 1. His expectations were not hasty; he did not demand a fore-rent, though he had been at such expense upon it; but staid till the time of the fruit drew near, as it did now that John preached the kingdom of heaven is at hand. God waits to be gracious, that he may give us time. 2. They were not high; he did not require them to come at their peril, upon penalty of forfeiting their lease if they ran behind-hand; but he sent his servants to them, to remind them of their duty, and of the rent-day, and to help them in gathering in the fruit, and making return of it. These servants were the prophets of the Old Testament, who were sent, and sometimes directly, to the people of the Jews, to reprove and instruct them. 3. They were not hard; it was only to receive the fruits. He did not demand more than they could make of it, but some fruit of that which he himself planted — an observance of the laws and statutes he gave them. What could have been done more reasonable? Israel was an empty vine, nay it was become the degenerate plant of a strange vine, and brought forth wild grapes.

_ _ III. The husbandmen's baseness in abusing the messengers that were sent to them.

_ _ 1. When he sent them his servants, they abused them, though they represented the master himself, and spoke in his name. Note, The calls and reproofs of the word, if they do not engage, will but exasperate. See here what hath all along been the lot of God's faithful messengers, more or less; (1.) To suffer; so persecuted they the prophets, who were hated with a cruel hatred. They not only despised and reproached them, but treated them as the worst of malefactors — they beat them, and killed them, and stoned them. They beat Jeremiah, killed Isaiah, stoned Zechariah the son of Jehoiada in the temple. If they that live godly in Christ Jesus themselves shall suffer persecution, much more they that press others to it. This was God's old quarrel with the Jews, misusing his prophets, 2 Chronicles 36:16. (2.) It has been their lot to suffer from their Master's own tenants; they were the husbandmen that treated them thus, the chief priests and elders that sat in Moses's chair, that professed religion and relation to God; these were the most bitter enemies of the Lord's prophets, that cast them out, and killed them, and said, Let the Lord be glorified, Isaiah 66:5 See Jeremiah 20:1, Jeremiah 20:2; Jeremiah 26:11.

_ _ Now see, [1.] How God persevered in his goodness to them. He sent other servants, more than the first; though the first sped not, but were abused. He had sent them John the Baptist, and him they had beheaded; and yet he sent them his disciples, to prepare his way. O the riches of the patience and forbearance of God, in keeping up in his church a despised, persecuted ministry! [2.] How they persisted in their wickedness. They did unto them likewise. One sin makes way for another of the same kind. They that are drunk with the blood of the saints, add drunkenness to thirst, and still cry, Give, give.

_ _ 2. At length, he sent them his Son; we have seen God's goodness in sending, and their badness in abusing, the servants; but in the latter instance both these exceed themselves.

_ _ (1.) Never did grace appear more gracious than in sending the Son. This was done last of all. Note, All the prophets were harbingers and forerunners to Christ. He was sent last; for if nothing else would work upon them, surely this would; it was therefore served for the ratio ultima — the last expedient. Surely they will reverence my Son, and therefore I will send him. Note, It might reasonably be expected that the Son of God, when he came to his own, should be reverenced; and reverence to Christ would be a powerful and effectual principle of fruitfulness and obedience, to the glory of God; if they will but reverence the Son, the point is gained. Surely they will reverence my Son, for he comes with more authority than the servants could; judgment is committed to him, that all men should honour him. There is greater danger in refusing him than in despising Moses's law.

_ _ (2.) Never did sin appear more sinful than in the abusing of him, which was now to be done in two or three days. Observe,

_ _ [1.] How it was plotted (Matthew 21:38); When they saw the Son: when he came, whom the people owned and followed as the Messiah, who would either have the rent paid, or distrain for it; this touched their copyhold, and they were resolved to make one bold push for it, and to preserve their wealth and grandeur by taking him out of the way, who was the only hindrance to it, and rival with them. This is the heir, come, let us kill him. Pilate and Herod, the princes of this world, knew not; for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, 1 Corinthians 2:8. But the chief priests and elders knew that this was the heir, at least some of them; and therefore Come, let us kill him. Many are killed for what they have. The chief thing they envied him, and for which they hated and feared him, was his interest in the people, and their hosannas, which, if he was taken off, they hope to engross securely to themselves. They pretended that he must die, to save the people from the Romans (John 11:50); but really he must die, to save their hypocrisy and tyranny from that reformation which the expected kingdom of the Messiah would certainly bring along with it. He drives the buyers and sellers out of the temple; and therefore let us kill him; and then, as if the premises must of course go to the occupant, let us seize on his inheritance. They thought, if they could but get rid of this Jesus, they should carry all before them in the church without control, might impose what traditions, and force the people to what submissions, they pleased. Thus they take counsel against the Lord and his Anointed; but he that sits in heaven, laughs to see them outshot in their own bow; for, while they thought to kill him, and so to seize on his inheritance, he went by his cross to his crown, and they were broken pieces with a rod of iron, and their inheritance seized. Psalms 2:2, Psalms 2:3, Psalms 2:6, Psalms 2:9.

_ _ [2.] How this plot was executed, Matthew 21:39. While they were so set upon killing him, in pursuance of their design to secure their own pomp and power, and while he was so set upon dying, in pursuance of his design to subdue Satan, and save his chosen, no wonder if they soon caught him, and slew him, when his hour was come. Though the Roman power condemned him, yet it is still charged upon the chief priests and elders; for they were not only the prosecutors, but the principal agents, and had the greater sin. Ye have taken, Acts 2:23. Nay looking upon him to be as unworthy to live, as they were unwilling he should, they cast him out of the vineyard, out of the holy church, which they supposed themselves to have the key of, and out of the holy city for he was crucified without the gate, Hebrews 13:12. As if He had been the shame and reproach, who was the greatest glory of his people Israel. Thus they who persecuted the servants, persecuted the Son; as men treat God's ministers, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them.

_ _ IV. Here is their doom read out of their own mouths, Matthew 21:40, Matthew 21:41. He puts it to them, When the Lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto these husbandmen? He puts it to themselves, for their stronger conviction, that knowing the judgment of God against them which do such things, they might be the more inexcusable. Note, God's proceedings are so unexceptionable, that there needs but an appeal to sinners themselves concerning the equity of them. God will be justified when he speaks. They could readily answer, He will miserably destroy those wicked men. Note, Many can easily prognosticate the dismal consequences of other people's sins, that see not what will be the end of their own.

_ _ 1. Our Saviour, in his question, supposes that the lord of the vineyard will come, and reckon with them. God is the Lord of the vineyard; the property is his, and he will make them know it, who now lord it over his heritage, as if it were all their own. The Lord of the vineyard will come. Persecutors say in their hearts, He delays his coming, he doth not see, he will not require; but they shall find, though he bear long with them, he will not bear always. It is comfort to abused saints and ministers, that the Lord is at hand, the Judge stands before the door. When he comes, what will he do to carnal professors? What will he do to cruel persecutors? They must be called to account, they have their day now; but he sees that his day is coming.

_ _ 2. They, in their answer, suppose that it will be a terrible reckoning; the crime appearing so very black, you may be sure,

_ _ (1.) That he will miserably destroy those wicked men; it is destruction that is their doom. Kakous kaks apoleseiMalos male perdet. Let men never expect to do ill, and fare well. This was fulfilled upon the Jews, in that miserable destruction which was brought upon them by the Romans, and was completed about forty years after this; and unparalleled ruin, attended with all the most dismal aggravating circumstances. It will be fulfilled upon all that tread in the steps of their wickedness; hell is everlasting destruction, and it will be the most miserable destruction to them of all others, that have enjoyed the greatest share of church privileges, and have not improved them. The hottest place in hell will be the portion of hypocrites and persecutors.

_ _ (2.) That he will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen. Note, God will have a church in the world, notwithstanding the unworthiness and opposition of many that abuse the privileges of it. The unbelief and frowardness of man shall not make the word of God of no effect. If one will not, another will. The Jews' leavings were the Gentiles' feast. Persecutors may destroy the ministers, but cannot destroy the church. The Jews imagined that no doubt they were the people, and wisdom and holiness must die with them; and if they were cut off, what would God do for a church in the world? But when God makes use of any to bear up his name, it is not because he needs them, nor is he at all beholden to them. If we were made a desolation and an astonishment, God could build a flourishing church upon our ruins; for he is never at a loss what to do for his great name, whatever becomes of us, and of our place and nation.

_ _ V. The further illustration and application of this by Christ himself, telling them, in effect, that they had rightly judged.

_ _ 1. He illustrates it by referring to a scripture fulfilled in this (Matthew 21:42); Did ye never read in the scriptures? Yes, no doubt, they had often read and sung it, but had not considered it. We lose the benefit of what we read for want of meditation. The scripture he quotes is Psalms 118:22, Psalms 118:23, the same context out of which the children fetched their hosannas. The same word yields matter of praise and comfort to Christ's friends and followers, which speaks conviction and terror to his enemies. Such a two-edged sword is the word of God. That scripture, the Stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner, illustrates the preceding parable, especially that part of it which refers to Christ.

_ _ (1.) The builders' rejecting of the stone is the same with the husbandmen's abusing of the son that was sent to them. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, had the oversight of the Jewish church, which was God's building: and they would not allow Christ a place in their building, would not admit his doctrine or laws into their constitution; they threw him aside as a despised broken vessel, a stone that would serve only for a stepping-stone, to be trampled upon.

_ _ (2.) The advancing of this stone to be the head of the corner is the same with letting out the vineyard to other husbandmen. He who was rejected by the Jews was embraced by the Gentiles; and to that church where there is no difference of circumcision or uncircumcision, Christ is all, and in all. His authority over the gospel church, and influence upon it, his ruling it as the Head, and uniting it as the Corner-stone, are the great tokens of his exhaltation. Thus, in spite of the malice of the priests and elders, he divided a portion with the great, and received his kingdom, though they would not have him to reign over them.

_ _ (3.) The hand of God was in all this; This is the Lord's doing. Even the rejecting of him by the Jewish builders was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; he permitted and overruled it; much more was his advancement to the Head of the corner; his right hand and his holy arm brought it about; it was God himself that highly exalted him, and gave him a name above every name; and it is marvellous in our eyes. The wickedness of the Jews that rejected him is marvellous,; that men should be so prejudiced against their own interest! See Isaiah 29:9, Isaiah 29:10, Isaiah 29:14. The honour done him by the Gentile world, notwithstanding the abuses done him by his own people, is marvellous; that he whom men despised and abhorred, should be adored by kings! Isaiah 49:7. But it is the Lord's doing.

_ _ 2. He applies it to them, and application is the life of preaching.

_ _ (1.) He applies the sentence which they had passed (Matthew 21:41), and turns it upon themselves; not the former part of it, concerning the miserable destruction of the husbandmen (he could not bear to speak of that), but the latter part, of letting out the vineyard to others; because though it looked black upon the Jews, it spoke good to the Gentiles. Know then,

_ _ [1.] That the Jews shall be unchurched; The kingdom of God shall be taken from you. This turning out of the husbandmen speaks the same doom with that of dismantling the vineyard, and laying it common. Isaiah 5:5. To the Jews had long pertained the adoption and the glory (Romans 9:4); to them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:2), and the sacred trust of revealed religion, and bearing up of God's name in the world (Psalms 76:1, Psalms 76:2); but now it shall be so no longer. They were not only unfruitful in the use of their privileges, but, under pretence of them, opposed the gospel of Christ, and so forfeited them, and it was not long ere the forfeiture was taken. Note, It is a righteous thing with God to remove church privileges from those that not only sin against them, but sin with them, Revelation 2:4, Revelation 2:5. The kingdom of God was taken from the Jews, not only by the temporal judgments that befell them, but by the spiritual judgments they lay under, their blindness of mind, hardness of heart, and indignation at the gospel, Romans 11:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:15.

_ _ [2.] That the Gentiles shall be taken in. God needs not ask us leave whether he shall have a church in the world; though his vine be plucked up in one place, he will find another to plant it in. He will give it ethneito the Gentile world, that will bring forth the fruit of it. They who had been not a people, and had not obtained mercy, became favourites of Heaven. This is the mystery which blessed Paul was so much affected with (Romans 11:30, Romans 11:33), and which the Jews were so much affronted by, Acts 22:21, Acts 22:22. At the first planting of Israel in Canaan, the fall of the Gentiles was the riches of Israel (Psalms 135:10, Psalms 135:11), so, at their extirpation, the fall of Israel was the riches of the Gentiles, Romans 11:12. It shall go to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Note, Christ knows beforehand who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means; because our fruitfulness is all the work of his own hands, and known unto God are all his works. They shall bring forth the fruits better than the Jews had done; God has had more glory from the New Testament church than from that of the Old Testament; for, when he changes, it shall not be to his loss.

_ _ (2.) He applies the scripture which he had quoted (Matthew 21:42), to their terror, Matthew 21:44. This Stone, which the builders refused, is set for the fall of many in Israel; and we have here the doom of two sorts of people, for whose fall it proves that Christ is set.

_ _ [1.] Some, through ignorance, stumble at Christ in his estate of humiliation; when this Stone lies on the earth, where the builders threw it, they, through their blindness and carelessness, fall on it, fall over it, and they shall be broken. The offence they take at Christ, will not hurt him, any more than he that stumbles, hurts the stone he stumbles at; but it will hurt themselves; they will fall, and be broken, and snared, Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:7, 1 Peter 2:8. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin.

_ _ [2.] Others, through malice, oppose Christ, and bid defiance to him in his estate of exaltation, when this Stone is advanced to the head of the corner; and on them it shall fall, for they pull it on their own heads, as the Jews did by that challenge, His blood be upon us and upon our children, and it will grind them to powder. The former seems to bespeak the sin and ruin of all unbelievers; this is the greater sin, and sorer ruin, of persecutors, that kick against the pricks, and persist in it. Christ's kingdom will be a burthensome stone to all those that attempt to overthrow it, or heave it out of its place; see Zechariah 12:3. This Stone cut out of the mountain without hands, will break in pieces all opposing power, Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:35. Some make this an allusion to the manner of stoning to death among the Jews. The malefactors were first thrown down violently from a high scaffold upon a great stone, which would much bruise them; but then they threw another great stone upon them, which would crush them to pieces: one way or other, Christ will utterly destroy all those that fight against him. If they be so stout-hearted, that they are not destroyed by falling on this stone, yet it shall fall on them, and so destroy them. He will strike through kings, he will fill the places with dead bodies, Psalms 110:5, Psalms 110:6. None ever hardened his heart against God and prospered.

_ _ Lastly, The entertainment which this discourse of Christ met with among the chief priests and elders, that heard his parables.

_ _ 1. They perceived that he spake of them (Matthew 21:45), and that in what they said (Matthew 21:41) they had but read their own doom. Note, A guilty conscience needs no accuser, and sometimes will save a minister the labour of saying, Thou art the man. Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur — Change but the name, the tale is told of the. So quick and powerful is the word of God, and such a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, that it is easy for bad men (if conscience be not quite seared) to perceive that it speaks of them.

_ _ 2. They sought to lay hands on him. Note, When those who hear the reproofs of the word, perceive that it speaks of them, if it do not do them a great deal of good, it will certainly do them a great deal of hurt. If they be not pricked to the heart with conviction and contrition, as they were Acts 2:37, they will be cut to the heart with rage and indignation, as they were Acts 5:33.

_ _ 3. They durst not do it, for fear of the multitude, who took him for a prophet, though not for the Messiah; this served to keep the Pharisees in awe. The fear of the people restrained them from speaking ill of John (Matthew 21:26), and here from doing ill to Christ. Note, God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise, Psalms 76:10.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Matthew 21:33

A certain householder planted a vineyard — God planted the Church in Canaan; and hedged it round about — First with the law, then with his peculiar providence: and digged a wine press — Perhaps it may mean Jerusalem: and built a tower — The temple: and went into a far country — That is, left the keepers of his vineyard, in some measure, to behave as they should see good. Mark 12:1; Luke 20:9.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Matthew 21:33

(8) Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a (r) tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

(8) Those men are often the cruellest enemies of the Church, to whose faithfulness it is committed: But the vocation of God is neither tied to time, place, nor person.

(r) Made the place strong: for a tower is the strongest place of a wall.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Hear:
In this parable, in its primary sense, the householder denotes the Supreme Being; the family, the Jewish nation; the vineyard, Jerusalem; the fence, the Divine protection; the wine-press, the law and sacrificial rites; the tower, the temple; and the husbandmen, the priests and doctors of the law.
Matthew 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
1 Kings 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
Jeremiah 19:3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because [there is] no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

There:

Psalms 80:8-16 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. ... [It is] burned with fire, [it is] cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
Song of Songs 8:11-12 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand [pieces] of silver. ... My vineyard, which [is] mine, [is] before me: thou, O Solomon, [must have] a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
Isaiah 5:1-4 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: ... What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
Jeremiah 2:21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
Mark 12:1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A [certain] man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about [it], and digged [a place for] the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
Luke 20:9-18 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. ... Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

husbandmen:

Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
Deuteronomy 1:15-17 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. ... Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; [but] ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment [is] God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring [it] unto me, and I will hear it.
Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.
Deuteronomy 17:9-12 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: ... And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 33:8-10 And of Levi he said, [Let] thy Thummim and thy Urim [be] with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, [and with] whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; ... They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
Malachi 2:4-9 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. ... Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

went:

Matthew 25:14-15 For [the kingdom of heaven is] as a man travelling into a far country, [who] called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. ... And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Mark 13:34 [For the Son of man is] as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Luke 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Dt 1:15; 16:18; 17:9; 33:8. 1K 22:19. Ps 80:8. So 8:11. Is 1:10; 5:1. Jr 2:21; 19:3. Ho 4:1. Mal 2:4. Mt 13:18; 23:2; 25:14. Mk 12:1; 13:34. Lk 19:12; 20:9. Jn 15:1.

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