- 1. Synopsis
- 2. Parable Given in Response to
- 3. Symbolism Chart
- 4. The Parable in Matthew
- 5. Symbolic Interpretations
- 5.1. The Householder is God
- 5.2. The Vineyard is Earth
- 5.3. The Servants are the Prophets
- 5.4. The Husbandmen are Ancient Israel
- 5.5. The Son is Jesus
- 6. Conclusion
- 7. The Parable in Mark
- 8. The Parable in Luke
Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16
Synopsis of Parable:
A householder planted a vineyard, and cared for it, then lent it to some husbandmen to take care of it while he went to a far country. When the fruit grew, the householder sent servants to the husbandmen, but they killed them. The man sent more, but the husbandmen killed them too. Then the householder sent his son, but the husbandmen killed him as well to "seize his inheritance." What will the owner do? He will destroy those wicked men.
Parable Given in Response to:
This parable was given to the Pharisees while they were questioning Jesus.(Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8.)
|↓Husbandmen||Ancient Israel||Matthew 21:33|
The Parable of the Tenants
As presented in the King James Version of Matthew 21:33-41
41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Explanation of the Interpretation of Symbols
The Householder is God Back to Top ↑
Once again, the parable contains God. Here, God is the householder.
This interpretation is universal among denominations and needs not a full discussion.
The Vineyard is Earth Back to Top ↑
This time, the parable mentions various improvements done to the vineyard. Such as building a winepress and a tower. These are all things that are needed to make a vineyard profitable. You need a winepress to process the grapes, and a tower to store the materials and finished products.
Likewise, here on earth God also had the temple built. In fact, he was very peculiar about who would build it.(1 Chronicles 17:11, 12, cf. 1 Chronicles 22:11.) While that does not mean that these improvements represent the temple, it is a fact that God has put plenty of thought into the creation and maintenance of this world.(Genesis 1:1-2:3.) And he wants it to yield fruit,(John 15:8.) just as the owner of a vineyard would want their vines to bear fruit too.
The Servants are the Prophets Back to Top ↑
The servants are the prophets, and we know that because they belonged to God, just as servants belong to their master.(Samuel belonged to God, 1 Samuel 1:11, 28. ) God used the prophets just as he would, even if they would try to run away(Like Jonah. Jonah 1:3, 4.) or became too discouraged.(Such as Elijah. 1 Kings 19:4-8.) Yet just as a master takes care of his servants, so to did God his prophets.(Jonah, Jonah 4:1-11; Elijah 1 Kings 19:9-18.)
However, the Israelites did not always treat these prophets well, a claim Jesus makes separately from this
This interpretation only seeks to differentiate the servants as prophets, instead of angels. Angels too, listen to God.(Psalms 103:20.) However, the angels cannot be a proper interpretation for the servants here because angels do not die.(Luke 20:36, comparing the children of God to the dying angels.) There is no record of an angel ever having died, although some angels will put into everlasting fire.(Matthew 25:41.)
The Husbandmen are Ancient Israel Back to Top ↑
The husbandmen are the ancient Israelites. They were the ones that killed the prophets, and they were the
ones that ended up killing the son, Jesus.
There are no other popular interpretations for this symbol, however, it should be noted that various groups
of Jewish leaders and even Christian theologians are trying to take the blame away from the Jews for Jesus's
death. However, the audience of chief priests and elders that Jesus was talking to(Matthew
21:23.) knew instantly who the tenants were. That is why it the author recorded these two verses
directly after the parable:
The Son is Jesus Back to Top ↑
An in-depth discussion of this point is not needed. To deny that Jesus was the son of God is to deny Jesus
himself, and therefore render him and all his words useless to us, including this parable. Various demons
called Jesus "son of God,"(Matthew 4:3, 6; 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 4:3, 9, 41; 8:28. For people, see
Matthew 14:33; 27:54; Mark 1:1, 15:39; John 1:34, 49; 11:27; 20:31.) The angel announcing Jesus's
birth to Mary saying,
There are no other interpretations for this symbol.
This interpretation does not change any established theology in the dominant denominations.
In Conclusion Back to Top ↑
This is a parable about how God saw Ancient Israel. And the conclusion is the same:
Mark's Account of The Parable of the Tenants
As presented in the King James Version of Mark 12:1-9
Mark 12:1And he began to speak unto them by parables.
Luke's Account of The Parable of the Tenants
As presented in the King James Version of Luke 20:9-16
Luke 20:9Then began he to speak to the people this parable;