Matthew 20 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Matthew 20)
20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an 1 householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

(1) God is bound to no man, and therefore he calls whoever and whenever he desires. This only every man ought to take heed of, and upon this bestow his whole endeavour, that he go forward and come to the mark without stopping at all or staggering, and to not curiously examine the doings of other men, or the judgments of God.

20:2 And when he had a agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

(a) Literally, "fell in time": it is a kind of speech taken from poetry.

20:6 And about the b eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

(b) The last hour: for the day was twelve hours long, and the first hour began at sunrise.

20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye c evil, because I am good?

(c) Naught, that is to say, do you envy at my goodness towards them? For by an "evil eye" the Hebrews mean "envy", because such dispositions appear chiefly in the eyes, as above in (Matthew 6:23). It is set in opposition to the word "single", and it is taken there for corrupt: for whereas he said before in verse 22, "If thine eye be single", he adds in verse 23, "but if thine eye by wicked", or "corrupt", the word being the same in that place as it is here. (Matthew 6:22,23)

20:17 2 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,

(2) Christ goes to the cross necessarily, and yet willingly.

20:18 3 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,

(3) They that should be persecuting him the least, are the greatest persecutors of Christ.

20:19 4 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify [him]: and the third day he shall rise again.

(4) The shame of the cross is the sure way to the glory of everlasting life.

20:20 5 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him.

(5) The manner of the heavenly kingdom is quite contrary to the earthly kingdom.

20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to d drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the e baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

(d) "Taking the cup" is figurative speech for that which is contained in the cup. And again, the Hebrews understand by the word "cup", sometimes the manner of punishment which is rendered to sin, as (Psalms 11:6), or the joy that is given to the faithful, as (Psalms 23:5), and sometimes a lot or condition, as (Psalms 16:5).
(e) This is in reference to afflictions, as David commonly uses.

20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is f not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father.

(f) The almightiness of Christ's divinity is not shut out by this, but it shows the debasing of himself by taking man's nature upon him.

20:25 But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise g dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

(g) Somewhat sharply and roughly.

20:29 6 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

(6) Christ by healing these blind men with only one touch, shows that he is the only light of the world.

20:32 And Jesus stood still, and h called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

(h) Himself, not by the means of other men.