Matthew 20:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

King James Bible
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Darby Bible Translation
Thus shall the last be first, and the first last; for many are called ones, but few chosen ones.

World English Bible
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Young's Literal Translation
So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, and few chosen.'

Matthew 20:16 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

So the last shall be first, and the first last - The Gentiles, who have been long without the true God, shall now enjoy all the privileges of the new covenant; and the Jews, who have enjoyed these from the beginning, shall now be dispossessed of them; for, because they here rejected the Lord, he also hath rejected them.

Many are called, etc. - This clause is wanting in BL, one other, and in the Coptic and Sahidic versions. Bishop Pearce thinks it is an interpolation from Matthew 22:14. The simple meaning seems to be: As those who did not come at the invitation of the householder to work in the vineyard did not receive the denarius, or wages, so those who do not obey the call of the Gospel, and believe in Christ Jesus, shall not inherit eternal life.

This place seems to refer to the ancient Roman custom of recruiting their armies. Among this celebrated people, no one was forced to serve his country in a military capacity; and it was the highest honor to be deemed worthy of thus serving it. The youth were instructed, almost from their cradle, in military exercises. The Campus Martius was the grand field in which they were disciplined: there, they accustomed themselves to leaping, running, wrestling, bearing burdens, fencing, throwing the javelin, etc., and when, through these violent exercises, they were all besmeared with dust and sweat, in order to refresh themselves, they swam twice or thrice across the Tyber! Rome might at any time have recruited her armies by volunteers from such a mass of well-educated, hardy soldiers; but she thought proper, to use the words of the Abbe Mably, that the honor of being chosen to serve in the wars should be the reward of the accomplishments shown by the citizens in the Campus Martius, that the soldier should have a reputation to save; and that the regard paid him, in choosing him to serve, should be the pledge of his fidelity and zeal to discharge his duty. The age of serving in the army was from seventeen to forty-five, and the manner in which they were chosen was the following: -

After the creation of consuls, they every year named twenty-four military tribunes, part of whom must have served five years at least, and the rest eleven. When they had divided among them the command of the four legions to be formed, the consuls summoned to the capitol, or Campus Martius, all the citizens who, by their age, were obliged to bear arms. They drew up by tribes, and lots were drawn to determine in what order every tribe should present its soldiers. That which was the first in order chose the four citizens who were judged the most proper to serve in the war; and the six tribunes who commanded the first legion chose one of these four, whom they liked best. The tribunes of the second and third likewise made their choice one after another; and he that remained entered into the fourth legion. A new tribe presented other four soldiers, and the second legion chose first. The third and fourth legions had the same advantage in their turns. In this manner, each tribe successively chose four soldiers, till the legions were complete. They next proceeded to the creation of subaltern officers, whom the tribunes chose from among the soldiers of the greatest reputation. When the legions were thus completed, the citizens who had been called, but not chosen, returned to their respective employments, and served their country in other capacities. None can suppose that these were deemed useless, or that, because not now chosen to serve their country in the field, they were proscribed from the rights and privileges of citizens, much less destroyed, because others were found better qualified to serve their country at the post of honor and danger. Thus many are called by the preaching of the Gospel, but few are found who use their advantages in such a way as to become extensively useful in the Church - and many in the Church militant behave so ill as never to be admitted into the Church triumphant. But what a mercy that those who appear now to be rejected may be called in another muster, enrolled, serve in the field, or work in the vineyard? How many millions does the long-suffering of God lead to repentance!

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the last.

Matthew 8:11,12 And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob...

Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Matthew 21:31 Whether of them two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you...

Mark 10:31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

Luke 7:47 Why I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Luke 13:28-30 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets...

Luke 15:7 I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons...

Luke 17:17,18 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine...

John 12:19-22 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive you how you prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him...

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness...


Matthew 7:13 Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction...

Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Luke 14:24 For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified...

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us...

2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord...

James 1:23-25 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass...

February 2. "And Whosoever Will be Great among You, Let Him be Your Minister. And Whosoever Will be Chief among You, Let Him be Your Servant" (Matt. xx. 26, 27).
"And whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matt. xx. 26, 27). Slave is the literal meaning of the word, doulos. The first word used for service is diakanos, which means a minister to others in any usual way or work: but the word doulos means a bond slave, and the Lord here plainly teaches us that the highest service is that of a bond slave. He Himself made Himself the servant of all, and he who would come
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

What the Historic Christ Taught About his Death
'The Son of Man came... to give His life a ransom for many.'--Matt. xx. 28. We hear a great deal at present about going back to 'the Christ of the Gospels.' In so far as that phrase and the movement of thought which it describes are a protest against the substitution of doctrines for the Person whom the doctrines represent, I, for one, rejoice in it. But I believe that the antithesis suggested by the phrase, and by some of its advocates avowed, between the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Augustine 354-430 -- the Recovery of Sight by the Blind
I. Ye know, holy brethren, full well as we do, that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the physician of our eternal health; and that to this end we task the weakness of our natures, that our weakness might not last forever. For He assumed a mortal body, wherein to kill death. And, "though He was crucified through weakness," as the apostle saith, yet He "liveth by the power of God." They are the words, too, of the same apostle: "He dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over Him." These things,
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

The Historical Books of the New Testament, Meaning Thereby the Four Gospels and the Acts...
The historical books of the New Testament, meaning thereby the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, are quoted, or alluded to, by a series of Christian writers, beginning with those who were contemporary with the apostles, or who immediately followed them, and proceeding in close and regular succession from their time to the present. The medium of proof stated in this proposition is, of all others, the most unquestionable, the least liable to any practices of fraud, and is not diminished by
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

Cross References
Matthew 19:30
But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Mark 10:31
But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

Luke 13:30
Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."

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