And he began to speak to them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and dig a place for the winefat…
One who was wont to illustrate His teaching by imagery drawn from the objects which surrounded Him, could hardly fail in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem to speak of vineyards. The hills and table-lands of Judah were the home of the vine. Five times our Lord availed Himself of this figure for His parables (St. Matthew 20:1; Matthew 21:28, 33; St. Luke 13:6; St. John 15:1); and though it is doubtful in what locality He spoke that of the labourers in the vineyard, it is almost certain that the remaining four are intimately associated with Jerusalem. In many places in Southern Palestine the features of this parable may still be traced. The loose stone fences, like the walls so familiar to the eye in Wales or Derbyshire; the remains of the old watchtowers, generally in one corner of the enclosure; and the cisterns hewn in the solid rock in which the grapes were pressed — all remain to the present day. It was the custom in our Lord's time for the owner in leasing a vineyard to tenants, to arrange for the rent to be paid, not in money but in kind — a certain portion of the produce being set apart as "a first charge" for the landlord. The system prevails in modern times in some parts of France, and more widely under the name of "ryot-rent" in India.
(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.