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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Matthew 20

Verse 1

For [γαρ] . Explaining and confirming Matthew 19:30.

Early in the morning [αμα πρωι] . Along with the dawn. "Here (at Hamadan, in Persia), we observed every morning, before the sun rose, that a numerous band of peasants were collected, with spades in their hands, waiting to be hired for the day to work in the surrounding fields. This custom struck me as a most happy illustration of our Savior 's parable, particularly when, passing by the same place late in the day, we found others standing idle, and remembered the words, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?' as most applicable to their situation; for on putting the very same question to them, they answered us, 'Because no man hath hired us. '" (Morier, "Second Journey through Persia," cited by Trench, " Parables. ")

Verse 2

For a penny [εκ δηναριου] . A denarius, the chief silver coin of the Romans at this time, and of the value of about seventeen cents. We must remember to reckon according to the rate of wages in that day. A denarius was regarded as good pay for a day's work. It was the pay of a Roman soldier in Christ 's time. In almost every case where the word occurs in the New Testament it is connected with the idea of a liberal or large amount. Compare Matthew 18:28; Mark 6:37; Luke 7:41; John 12:5.

For a penny is, literally, out of or on the strength of a penny; the payment being that on the strength of which the agreement was made. The agreement arose out of the demand on the one hand and the promise on the other.

Verse 10

Every man a penny [το ανα δηναριον] . Lit., the sum amounting in each case to a penny; or a penny apiece. Ana is distributive. Wyc., each one by himself a penny.

Verse 12

Heat [καυσωνα] . Rev., the scorching heat. The word is from kaiw, to burn. It refers to the dry, scorching heat born by the east wind. Compare Job 27:21; Hosea 13:15. The wind blows from the Arabian desert, parching, dry, exciting the blood, and causing restlessness and sleeplessness. It seldom brings storms, but when it does, they are doubly destructive. During harvest the corn cannot be winnowed if the east wind blows, for it would carry away both chaff and corn. In Pharaoh 's dream (Genesis 41:6) the ears are blasted by it : Jonah's gourd is withered by it (Jonah 4:8), and the vine in Ezekiel's parable of the Babylonian captivity is blighted by it (Ezekiel 17:10).

Verse 13

One. Representing the whole body.

Friend [εταιρε] . Lit., companion, comrade.

Verse 14

Take [αρον] . Lit., as Rev., take up, as if the money had been laid down for him on a table or counter.

I will give [θελω δουναι] . But, as in other cases in the A. V., this may be mistaken for the simple future of the verb; whereas there are two verbs. Therefore, Rev., rightly, It is my will to give. See on Matthew 14:32.

Verse 21

Grant [ειπε] . Lit., speak; i e., with authority. Compare "command these stones," Matthew 4:3; "bid you," Matthew 23:3. Rev., command.

Verse 26

Will be great [θελη ειναι] . See on ver. 14. Rev. would be.

Minister [διακονος] . Servant, ver. 27 [δουλος] . Doulov, perhaps from dew, to bind, is the bondman, representing the permanent relation of servitude. Diakonov, probably from the same root as diwkw, to pursue, represents a servant, not in his relation, but in his activity. The term covers both slaves and hired servants. The attendants at the feast at Cana (John 2:5) are called diakonoi. In the epistles diakonov is often used specifically for a minister of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7). The word deacon is, moreover, almost a transcription of it (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12). It is applied to Phoebe (Romans 16:1).

Verse 28

A ransom for many. Compare Sophocles, "Oed. Col.," 488.

"For one soul working in the strength of love Is mightier than ten thousand to atone."

Verse 30

That Jesus passed by [οτι ιησους παραγει] . The oti is equivalent to quotation marks. They heard the crowd cry Jesus is passing!

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 20". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/matthew-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.