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Luke 20:9-19

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? 20:16 He will come and destroy 16  those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” 17  When the people 18  heard this, they said, “May this never happen!” 19  20:17 But Jesus 20  looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? 21  20:18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, 22  and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 23  20:19 Then 24  the experts in the law 25  and the chief priests wanted to arrest 26  him that very hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But 27  they were afraid of the people.

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.

16 sn The statement that the owner will come and destroy those tenants is a promise of judgment; see Luke 13:34-35; 19:41-44.

17 sn The warning that the owner would give the vineyard to others suggests that the care of the promise and the nation’s hope would be passed to others. This eventually looks to Gentile inclusion; see Eph 2:11-22.

18 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people addressed in v. 9) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 sn May this never happen! Jesus’ audience got the point and did not want to consider a story where the nation would suffer judgment.

20 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Or “capstone,” “keystone.” Although these meanings are lexically possible, the imagery in Eph 2:20-22 and 1 Cor 3:11 indicates that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kefalh gwnia") refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone.

sn The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Ps 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT (see also Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8; cf. also Eph 2:20). The irony in the use of Ps 118:22-23 here is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.

22 tn On this term, see BDAG 972 s.v. συνθλάω.

23 tn Grk “on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”

sn This proverb basically means that the stone crushes, without regard to whether it falls on someone or someone falls on it. On the stone as a messianic image, see Isa 28:16 and Dan 2:44-45.

24 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

25 tn Or “The scribes” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.

26 tn Grk “tried to lay hands on him.”

27 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.



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