And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Every man a penny.—The scale of payment rested on the law of a generous equity. The idleness of the labourers had been no fault of theirs, and the readiness with which they came at the eleventh hour implied that they would have come as readily had they been called at daybreak, and therefore they received a full day’s wages for their fraction of a day’s work. The standard of payment was qualitative, not quantitative. In the interpretation of the parable, the “penny,” as before, represents the eternal life of the kingdom of heaven. No true labourer could receive less; the longest life of labour could claim no more.Matthew 20:9. They that were hired about the eleventh hour — Either the Gentiles, who were called long after the Jews into the vineyard, the Church of Christ; or those in every age who did not hear, or at least understand and obey, the gospel call, till their day of life was drawing to a period. Some circumstances of the parable seem best to suit the former, some the latter of these senses. All, whether of Jewish or Gentile race, on believing in Jesus, with their hearts unto righteousness, are admitted to the same gospel blessings of justification, adoption, regeneration, and communion with God on earth; (which, perhaps, may be first and principally intended by the penny a day, given to all that obey the call of God’s messengers, and enter the vineyard:) and all that by a patient continuance in well-doing, after their justification, seek for glory, honour, and immortality, shall undoubtedly obtain eternal life, Romans 2:7; not indeed as wages for the value of their work, but as the gift of God. Though there be degrees of glory in heaven, yet it will be to all a complete happiness. They that come from the east and the west, and so come in late, that are taken from the highways and the hedges, yet shall sit down with Abraham, &c., at the same feast, Matthew 8:11. Every vessel will be full, though every vessel be not alike large and capacious. The giving of a whole day’s wages to those that had not done the tenth part of a day’s work, is designed to show that God distributes his rewards by grace, and not of debt.Matthew 20:4-5, Matthew 20:7. The householder supposed they had earned it, or chose to make a present to them to compensate for the loss of the first part of the day, when they were willing to work, but could not find employment. See Poole on "Matthew 20:16".
they received every man a penny: the same they first agreed for, that were hired early into the vineyard; and all, and every man alike, not one more and another less. So the same church privileges and immunities are common to all believers, Jews or Gentiles, sooner or later called; and equal title give to the same eternal life and happiness, which will be enjoyed alike, by one saint as another: they are all loved with the same everlasting love by God; they are chosen alike by him in his Son, at the same time, in the same way and manner, and to the same grace and glory; they are interested in the same covenant, in all the promises and blessings of it; they are bought with the same price of a Redeemer's blood, are justified by the same righteousness, and are called in one hope of their calling; they are equally the sons of God, and their glory and happiness are always expressed by the same thing, as a kingdom, a crown, and inheritance, &c. They are all equally heirs of the same kingdom and glory, and are born again to the same incorruptible inheritance, of which they will all be partakers; they will all be called to inherit the same kingdom, they will sit on the same throne of glory, and wear the same crown of righteousness, and enjoy the same uninterrupted communion with Father, Son, and Spirit. Now, indeed, they have not the same measures of grace; some have more, others less; but in heaven, it will be alike, complete and perfect in all; and even now, they have the same grace for nature and kind, only it is not in all in the same exercise; now the saints are distinguished by the several stations and places in which they are; though they are members of the same body, they have not the same office, and have gifts differing from one another; but in the other state, all such offices and gifts will cease, and all will be upon an equal foot; be where Christ is, and behold his glory, and will stand in no need of each other's instruction and help. Now the capacities of man are different, according to the different temperament of their bodies, their different education, opportunities, advantages, and stations in life, but in the other world, where this difference will be no more, every vessel of mercy being prepared for glory, will be equally capable of receiving it: and though there will be degrees of punishment in hell, proportionate to the sins of men, which the justice of God requires, yet it follows not, that there will be degrees in glory; since that is not proportioned to the works of men, but springs from the grace of God, and yet in a way of justice too, through the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ: and since the saints have an equal interest in these things, it seems that upon the foot of justice, they should equally enjoy all that happiness which these entitle them to.And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 20:9 ff. Οἱ περὶ τὴν ἑνδεκ. ὥραν] that is, those who, according to Matthew 20:6, were sent into the vineyard about the eleventh hour.
πλεῖον] more than a denarius, plainly not more denarii.
ἀνά] used distributively; Winer, p. 372 [E. T. 496]. The article τό before ἀνὰ δην., Matthew 20:10 (see critical notes), denotes: the sum amounting in each case to a denarius, so that in analyzing ὄν would require to be supplied.
According to Matthew 20:10 f., they do not contemptuously decline to lift the denarius (Steffensen), but begin to murmur after receiving it (Münchmeyer).Matthew 20:9. ἀνὰ δηνάριον, a denarius each; ἀνὰ is distributive = “accipiebant singuli denar.”. For this use of ἀνὰ vide Herrmann’s Viger, p. 576.Matthew 20:9. Ἀνὰ, apiece) See John 2:6.Verse 9. - They received every man a penny. The steward, of course, was acting according to his master's instructions (though nothing is said of any previous orders on the subject) when he thus bounteously remunerated those that had been hired at the eleventh hour. Some commentators have endeavoured to show that the "penny" allotted to each set differed greatly in value; but this is an unwarrantable conjecture, and it is indispensable to the purport of the parable that the wages should be alike to all.
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