231 Do not let a false statement go further; do not make an agreement with evil-doers to be a false witness. 2 Do not be moved to do wrong by the general opinion, or give the support of your words to a wrong decision: 3 But, on the other hand, do not be turned from what is right in order to give support to a poor man's cause. 4 If you come across the ox or the ass of one who is no friend to you wandering from its way, you are to take it back to him. 5 If you see the ass of one who has no love for you bent down to the earth under the weight which is put on it, you are to come to its help, even against your desire. 6 Let no wrong decisions be given in the poor man's cause. 7 Keep yourselves far from any false business; never let the upright or him who has done no wrong be put to death: for I will make the evil-doer responsible for his sin. 8 Take no rewards in a cause: for rewards make blind those who have eyes to see, and make the decisions of the upright false. 9 Do not be hard on the man from a strange country who is living among you; for you have had experience of the feelings of one who is far from the land of his birth, because you yourselves were living in Egypt, in a strange land.

10 For six years put seed into your fields and get in the increase; 11 But in the seventh year let the land have a rest and be unplanted; so that the poor may have food from it: and let the beasts of the field take the rest. Do the same with your vine-gardens and your olive-trees. 12 For six days do your work, and on the seventh day keep the Sabbath; so that your ox and your ass may have rest, together with the son of your servant and the man from a strange land living among you. 13 Take note of all these things which I have said to you, and let not the names of other gods come into your minds or from your lips.

The Three Appointed Feasts

14 Three times in the year you are to keep a feast to me. 15 You are to keep the feast of unleavened bread; for seven days let your bread be without leaven, as I gave you orders, at the regular time in the month Abib (for in it you came out of Egypt); and let no one come before me without an offering: 16 And the feast of the grain-cutting, the first-fruits of your planted fields: and the feast at the start of the year, when you have got in all the fruit from your fields. 17 Three times in the year let all your males come before the Lord God. 18 Do not give the blood of my offering with leavened bread; and do not let the fat of my feast be kept all night till the morning. 19 The best of the first-fruits of your land are to be taken into the house of the Lord your God. The young goat is not to be cooked in its mother's milk.

The LORD's Angel Sent to Lead Israel

20 See, I am sending an angel before you, to keep you on your way and to be your guide into the place which I have made ready for you. 21 Give attention to him and give ear to his voice; do not go against him; for your wrongdoing will not be overlooked by him, because my name is in him. 22 But if you truly give ear to his voice, and do whatever I say, then I will be against those who are against you, fighting those who are fighting you. 23 And my angel will go before you, guiding you into the land of the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Canaanite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, and they will be cut off by my hand. 24 Do not go down on your faces and give worship to their gods, or do as they do; but overcome them completely, and let their pillars be broken down. 25 And give worship to the Lord your God, who will send his blessing on your bread and on your water; and I will take all disease away from among you. 26 All your animals will give birth without loss, not one will be without young in all your land; I will give you a full measure of life. 27 I will send my fear before you, putting to flight all the people to whom you come; all those who are against you will go in flight, turning their backs before you. 28 I will send hornets before you, driving out the Hivite and the Canaanite and the Hittite before your face. 29 I will not send them all out in one year, for fear that their land may become waste, and the beasts of the field be increased overmuch against you. 30 Little by little I will send them away before you, till your numbers are increased and you take up your heritage in the land. 31 I will let the limits of your land be from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the waste land to the river Euphrates: for I will give the people of those lands into your power; and you will send them out before you. 32 Make no agreement with them or with their gods. 33 Let them not go on living in your land, or they will make you do evil against me: for if you give worship to their gods, it will certainly be a cause of sin to you.

Moses and the Elders on Mount Sinai

241 And he said to Moses, Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, and Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the chiefs of Israel; and give me worship from a distance. 2 And Moses only may come near to the Lord; but the others are not to come near, and the people may not come up with them. 3 Then Moses came and put before the people all the words of the Lord and his laws: and all the people, answering with one voice, said, Whatever the Lord has said we will do. 4 Then Moses put down in writing all the words of the Lord, and he got up early in the morning and made an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent some of the young men of the children of Israel to make burned offerings and peace-offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins; draining out half of the blood over the altar. 7 And he took the book of the agreement, reading it in the hearing of the people: and they said, Everything which the Lord has said we will do, and we will keep his laws. 8 Then Moses took the blood and let it come on the people, and said, This blood is the sign of the agreement which the Lord has made with you in these words.

9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the chiefs of Israel went up: 10 And they saw the God of Israel; and under his feet there was, as it seemed, a jewelled floor, clear as the heavens. 11 And he put not his hand on the chiefs of the children of Israel: they saw God, and took food and drink.

12 And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to me on the mountain, and take your place there: and I will give you the stones on which I have put in writing the law and the orders, so that you may give the people knowledge of them. 13 Then Moses and Joshua his servant got up; and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the chiefs, Keep your places here till we come back to you: Aaron and Hur are with you; if anyone has any cause let him go to them. 15 And Moses went up into the mountain, and it was covered by the cloud. 16 And the glory of the Lord was resting on Mount Sinai, and the cloud was over it for six days; and on the seventh day he said Moses' name out of the cloud. 17 And the glory of the Lord was like a flame on the top of the mountain before the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went up the mountain, into the cloud, and was there for forty days and forty nights.

Laborers in the Vineyard

201 For the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house, who went out early in the morning to get workers into his vine-garden. 2 And when he had made an agreement with the workmen for a penny a day, he sent them into his vine-garden. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others in the market-place doing nothing; 4 And he said to them, Go into the vine-garden with the others, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went to work. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and saw others doing nothing; and he says to them, Why are you here all the day doing nothing? 7 They say to him, Because no man has given us work. He says to them, Go in with the rest, into the vine-garden. 8 And when evening came, the lord of the vine-garden said to his manager, Let the workers come, and give them their payment, from the last to the first. 9 And when those men came who had gone to work at the eleventh hour, they were given every man a penny. 10 Then those who came first had the idea that they would get more; and they, like the rest, were given a penny. 11 And when they got it, they made a protest against the master of the house, 12 Saying, These last have done only one hour's work, and you have made them equal to us, who have undergone the hard work of the day and the burning heat. 13 But he in answer said to one of them, Friend, I do you no wrong: did you not make an agreement with me for a penny? 14 Take what is yours, and go away; it is my pleasure to give to this last, even as to you. 15 Have I not the right to do as seems good to me in my house? or is your eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Matthew 20:1-16

Commentary on Matthew 20:1-16

(Read Matthew 20:1-16)

The direct object of this parable seems to be, to show that though the Jews were first called into the vineyard, at length the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, and they should be admitted to equal privileges and advantages with the Jews. The parable may also be applied more generally, and shows, 1. That God is debtor to no man. 2. That many who begin last, and promise little in religion, sometimes, by the blessing of God, arrive at a great deal of knowledge, grace, and usefulness. 3. That the recompense of reward will be given to the saints, but not according to the time of their conversion. It describes the state of the visible church, and explains the declaration that the last shall be first, and the first last, in its various references. Till we are hired into the service of God, we are standing all the day idle: a sinful state, though a state of drudgery to Satan, may be called a state of idleness. The market-place is the world, and from that we are called by the gospel. Come, come from this market-place. Work for God will not admit of trifling. A man may go idle to hell, but he that will go to heaven, must be diligent. The Roman penny was sevenpence halfpenny in our money, wages then enough for the day's support. This does not prove that the reward of our obedience to God is of works, or of debt; when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants; but it signifies that there is a reward set before us, yet let none, upon this presumption, put off repentance till they are old. Some were sent into the vineyard at the eleventh hour; but nobody had hired them before. The Gentiles came in at the eleventh hour; the gospel had not been before preached to them. Those that have had gospel offers made them at the third or sixth hour, and have refused them, will not have to say at the eleventh hour, as these had, No man has hired us. Therefore, not to discourage any, but to awaken all, be it remembered, that now is the accepted time. The riches of Divine grace are loudly murmured at, among proud Pharisees and nominal Christians. There is great proneness in us to think that we have too little, and others too much of the tokens of God's favour; and that we do too much, and others too little in the work of God. But if God gives grace to others, it is kindness to them, and no injustice to us. Carnal worldlings agree with God for their penny in this world; and choose their portion in this life. Obedient believers agree with God for their penny in the other world, and must remember they have so agreed. Didst not thou agree to take up with heaven as thy portion, thy all; wilt thou seek for happiness in the creature? God punishes none more than they deserve, and recompenses every service done for him; he therefore does no wrong to any, by showing extraordinary grace to some. See here the nature of envy. It is an evil eye, which is displeased at the good of others, and desires their hurt. It is a grief to ourselves, displeasing to God, and hurtful to our neighbours: it is a sin that has neither pleasure, profit, nor honour. Let us forego every proud claim, and seek for salvation as a free gift. Let us never envy or grudge, but rejoice and praise God for his mercy to others as well as to ourselves.