On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Greek in Matthew 20 - Pr. Fourman

Matthew 20:1-16

vs. 1 ανθρωπω οικοδεσποτη dat. "a landowner" i. e. a farmer.
αμα πρωι "at once in the morning” literally "at dawn", the best time to hire workers as they will work for the whole day. μισθωσασθαι (μισθοω) aor. inf. "to hire" - infinitive forms an adverbial clause expressing purpose "to hire" εργατας (ης ου) "workers".

v2 συμφωνησας (συμφονεω) aor. part. "[they] came together, i.e. they arrived at an understanding - the terms of the arrangement were την ημεραν (α) "for the day" – with the pay of one denarius, the usual day's wage.

v3 τριτην ωραν "the third hour"  about 9am. εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "he went out" and εστωτας (ιστημι) perf. part. "[others] who were standing ..." in the sense of were present in the marketplace. αργους adj. "not yet working” not yet hired, not idle or lazy – this is not a slam on their willingness to work, just waiting and available.

v4 εκεινοις dat. pro. "[he told] them" – a dative of indirect object. υαγετε, "go", the superlative (command) serves as an emphatic. δωσω (διδωμι) fut. "I will give" the wage I will give you will be ο εαν + subj. "whatever [is right]" and given that a denarius was the daily wage for a laborer, the implication is a proportionate pay for the time spent in the field will be paid – hence a fair wage.

v5 απηλθον (απερχομαι) aor. "[so] they went". Why not? εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "he went out [again]" in the εκτην και ενοτην adj. "the sixth and the ninth [hour]" – i.e. 12 noon and 3pm."  Implication, there was way more work than he thought!

v6 την ενδεκατην adj. "the eleventh hour " (@ 5pm) .εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. pas. "he went out" - ευρεν (ευρισκω) aor. "foundεστωτας (ιστημι) perf. part. "the ones standing around" - adjectival
τι "Why ...?" - possibly a rebuke.

v7 οτι "because" – causal εμισθωσατο (μισθοω) aor. "[no one] has hired [us].  Begs the question why no one hired them. και υμεις "you also" - as in v4, an emphatic "you too go to my vineyard as well as the other workers."

v8 γενομενης (γινομαι) aor. mid. part. "when [evening] came" –day laborers are paid at the end of the day, sunset. ο κυριος "the lord” possibly NOT the same man who hired them (the οικοδεσποτε) but the actual owner του αμελωνος (ος) gen. "of the vineyard." τω επιτροπω (ος) dat. "foreman/steward the person in charge of the workers. αρξαμενος (ερχομαι) aor. mid. part. "beginning" with those who were hired last. εως  gen. "going on to [the first]"

v9 ελαβον (λαμβανω) aor. "received" a denarius.
v10 ελθοντες (ερχομαι) aor. part. "[so] when [those] came [who were hired first]" ενομισαν (ϖομιζω)  expected πλειον adv. "more" και αυτοι "each one of them"
v11 λαβοντες (λαμβανω) aor. part. "when they received it" εγογγυζον (γογγυζω) imperf. "they began complaining" κατα "against”  the manager.

v12 ουτοι pro. "these" οι εσχατοι adj. "who were last".
ημιν dat. pro. "[equal] to us" τοις βαστασασι (βασταζω) dat. aor. part. "who have endured”  το βαρος (ος ους) "the burden" - hardship, difficulty. Idiom; “who sweated the whole day long in the blazing sun".

v13 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "[he] answered" – i.e. the Lord, 
εταιρε (εταιρος) voc. sing. "friend" - a general address to someone where the name is unknown. There is no intimate relationship shown here, all really are treated alike, they are merely workers.  While there is the temptation to turn this into a grace story (the last shall be first) the Greek equally lays out a Law story about authority; about who gets a say in this decision.  Not the workers, only the Lord.  And the Lord’s word may be a word of grace, but it is also His word, not fair by human standards and indifferent to human effort. ουκ αδικω (αδικεω) "I am not harming [you]
ουχι "didn't [you agree]" -did you not consent to the verbal contract?  This is a negated question expecting a positive answer - always awkward in English and so a positive statement tends to convey the idea more simply, I paid you exactly what we agreed on.

v14 υπαγε (υπαγω) imp. "go away" – a command – end of discussion.  θελω "I want" - I will give whatever I want δουναι (διδωμι) aor. inf. "to give" a dependent statement of perception expressing what the master "wills" τουτω τω εσχατω dat. adj. "to this one who was hired last". ως "as [I also gave you]" i.e. the same pay.

v15 ουκ "don't" - not. This negation in a question produces a positive answer. εξεστιν pres. "I have the right" - is it [not] right, lawful, allowed μοι “for me” - a dative of interest ποιησαι (ποιεω) aor. inf. "to do" - τοις εμοις "my own stuff" most translators opt for "with my own money." ο οφθαλμος σου πονηρος "[are] you envious" - [is] your eye wicked" οτι "because" –  εγω pro. "I [am]" αγαθος adj. "good” generous? (‘Do you begrudge my generosity’ (RSV) is the least likely translation.)

v16 The issue here is often stated as one of God’s grace, and indeed, it is.  But the issue being argued here is about God’s will.  As the Lord says, “I can do whatever I want with those things which are mine. The Lord is reacting adversely to the questioning of his authority. They may not like his decision, they may even be entirely graceful or, depending on your circumstance, unfair, but it is HIS will, being question and so the issue before the crowd is not generosity but authority.  Who has the RIGHT to decide?  If you believe the Kingdom is a democracy feel free to debate the relative fairness of grace, but the Kingdom is a kingdom ruled by a King who is not accustomed, nor inclined to having his will questioned. ουτως "so" - thus, so, in this way, drawing the “logical conclusion”

οι πρωτοι adj. "the first" - the first ones become "the last" and "the last ones" are now like "the first".  Not better, but equal.  The additional of the words "for many are invited, but few are chosen" are likely a later gloss.

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