20:16 He will come and destroy 1 those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” 2 When the people 3 heard this, they said, “May this never happen!” 4 20:17 But Jesus 5 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’? 6 20:18 Everyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, 7 and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 8
1 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.
2 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.
3 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the people addressed in v. 9) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 sn May this never happen! Jesus’ audience got the point and did not want to consider a story where the nation would suffer judgment.
5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
6 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.
7 tn On this term, see BDAG 972 s.v. συνθλάω.
8 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.