Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard or the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Parable of the Generous Employer) was given by Jesus in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew. In it, Jesus says that any "laborer" who accepts the invitation to the Kingdom of Heaven, no matter how late in the day, will receive an equal reward with those who have been faithful the longest. Traditionally, the parable has been treated as an allegory and taken to mean that even those who are baptized late in life earn equal rewards along with those baptized early, but Jesus' parables were meant to provoke thought rather than to define precise details [ [ Parables and Parabolic Images in the Gospels] by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.] or explicit application. [Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. "The five gospels." HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. pages 32.]

The "Complete Gospels" notes for Matthew 20:15: "The master accuses the laborers of giving him the "evil eye", an expression for putting a curse on someone, still common in the Mediterranean world."

The parable was rated authentic ("red") by the Jesus Seminar. It is characteristic of Jesus' authentic parables in that its imagery is common and its point is paradoxical.

From bibleref|Matthew|20:1–15:

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whateveris right I will give you.' So they went.5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?'7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.'8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'"


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