Matthew 20 – Parable of the Vineyard Workers – The Gospels

Gospel of Matthew Online“For the kingdom of heaven is like an employer who went out in the early morning to hire laborers for his vineyards. 2 He agreed with the laborers to pay them two shillings a day, and sent them into his vineyard. 3 On going out again, about nine o’clock, he saw some others standing in the market-place, doing nothing. 4 ‘You also may go into my vineyard,’ he said, ‘and I will pay you what is fair.'”

5 “So the men went. Going out again about mid-day and about three o’clock, he did as before. 6 When he went out about five, he found some other men standing there, and said to them ‘Why have you been standing here all day long, doing nothing?’ 7 ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. ‘You also may go into my vineyard,’ he said.”

8 “In the evening the owner of the vineyard said to his steward ‘Call the vineyard workers, and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, and ending with the first. 9 Now when those who had been hired about five o’clock went up, they received two shillings each. 10 So, when the first went up, they thought that they would receive more, but they also received two shillings each; 11 On which they began to grumble at their employer. 12 ‘These last,’ they said, ‘have done only one hour’s work, and yet you have put them on the same footing with us, who have borne the brunt of the day’s work, and the heat.'”

13 “‘My friend,’ was his reply to one of them, ‘I am not treating you unfairly. Did not you agree with me for two shillings? 14 Take what belongs to you, and go. I choose to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Have not I the right to do as I choose with what is mine? Are you envious because I am liberal?’ 16 So those who are last will be first, and the first last.”

17 When Jesus was at the point of going up to Jerusalem, he gathered the twelve disciples round him by themselves, and said to them as they were on their way: 18 “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem; and there the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law, and they will condemn him to death, 19 And give him up to the Gentiles for them to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify; and on the third day he will rise.”

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20 Then the mother of Zebediah’s sons came to him with her sons, bowing to the ground, and begging a favor. 21 “What is it that you want?” he asked. “I want you to say,” she replied, “that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right, and the other on your left.”1

22 “You do not know what you are asking,” was Jesus’ answer. “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?” “Yes,” they exclaimed, “we can.” 23 “You shall indeed drink from my cup,” he said, “but as to a seat at my right and at my left, that is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

24 On hearing of this, the ten others were very indignant about the two brothers. 25 Jesus, however, called the ten to him, and said: “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them as you know, and their great men oppress them. 26 Among you it is not so. 27 No, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to take the first place among you, must be your slave; 28 Just as the Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

29 As they were going out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men, who were sitting by the road-side, hearing that Jesus was passing, called out: “Take pity on us, Master, Son of David!” 31 The crowd told them to be quiet; but the men only called out the louder: “Take pity on us, Master, Son of David!” 32 Then Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he said. 33 “Master,” they replied, “we want our eyes to be opened.” 34 So Jesus, moved with compassion, touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight, and followed him.


To read the Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Matthew, please go to: Den of Thieves. Browse the entire Gospel of Matthew here: Gospel of Matthew.

  1. Read Biblical commentary on this passage from the Gospel of Matthew at Hallowed Be Thy Name, including advice on how to pray like Jesus. []