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Luke 20:9-15

Context
The Parable of the Tenants

20:9 Then 1  he began to tell the people this parable: “A man 2  planted a vineyard, 3  leased it to tenant farmers, 4  and went on a journey for a long time. 20:10 When harvest time came, he sent a slave 5  to the tenants so that they would give 6  him his portion of the crop. 7  However, the tenants beat his slave 8  and sent him away empty-handed. 20:11 So 9  he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him outrageously, and sent him away empty-handed. 10  20:12 So 11  he sent still a third. They even wounded this one, and threw him out. 20:13 Then 12  the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son; 13  perhaps they will respect him.’ 20:14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’ 20:15 So 14  they threw him out of the vineyard and killed 15  him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The parable Jesus tells here actually addresses the question put to him by the leaders.

2 tc ‡ There are several variants here, most of which involve variations in word order that do not affect translation. However, the presence or absence of τις (ti") after ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), which would be translated “a certain man,” does affect translation. The witnesses that have τις include A W Θ Ë13 1241 2542 al sy. Those that lack it include א B C D L Ψ Ë1 33 Ï it. Externally, the evidence is significantly stronger for the omission. Internally, however, there is some pause. A feature unique to Luke-Acts in the NT is to use the construction ἄνθρωπος τις (cf. 10:30; 12:16; 14:2, 16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:12; Acts 9:33). However, scribes who were familiar with this idiom may have inserted it here. In light of the overwhelming external support for the omission of τις, the shorter reading is preferred. NA27 places τις in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.

3 sn The vineyard is a figure for Israel in the OT (Isa 5:1-7). The nation and its leaders are the tenants, so the vineyard here may well refer to the promise that resides within the nation. The imagery is like that in Rom 11:11-24.

4 sn The leasing of land to tenant farmers was common in this period.

5 sn This slave (along with the next two) represent the prophets God sent to the nation, who were mistreated and rejected.

6 tc Instead of the future indicative δώσουσιν (dwsousin, “they will give”), most witnesses (C D W Θ Ψ Ë1 Ï) have the aorist subjunctive δῶσιν (dwsin, “they might give”). The aorist subjunctive is expected following ἵνα ({ina, “so that”), so it is almost surely a motivated reading. Further, early and excellent witnesses, as well as a few others (א A B Ë13 33 579 1241 2542 al), have δώσουσιν. It is thus more likely that the future indicative is authentic. For a discussion of this construction, see BDF §369.2.

7 tn Grk “from the fruit of the vineyard.”

8 tn Grk “him”; the referent (the slave sent by the owner) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn The image of the tenants beating up the owner’s slave pictures the nation’s rejection of the prophets and their message.

9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first slave.

10 sn The slaves being sent empty-handed suggests that the vineyard was not producing any fruit – and thus neither was the nation of Israel.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ mistreatment of the first two slaves.

12 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

13 tn Grk “my beloved son.” See comment at Luke 3:22.

sn The owner’s decision to send his one dear son represents God sending Jesus.

14 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the tenants’ decision to kill the son.

15 sn Throwing the heir out of the vineyard pictures Jesus’ death outside of Jerusalem.



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