1 For the kingdom of the heavens (this parable occurs only in Matthew, and is called forth by Peter's question in 19:27) is likened to a man a householder (Hebraism = master of a house), which went out together with the dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. (See Isa. 5:1-7. Ps. 80:8,9. Israel was in question, not the Church)
2 And when he had agreed with the laborers (i.e. the 12 Apostles [the 1st called]) for a penny a day (a silver coin worth approx. 17 cents, a days wages at that time. Came to be used of any coin, as in English we "turn an honest penny"), he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour (= 9 a.m. The hour named in connection with Pentecost [Acts 2:15]), and saw others (not there at the 1st hour. Other laborers were then engaged [Acts 4:36; 6:1:5; 8:4,12; :10,25,27,30) standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said to them; 'Go you also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is just I will pay you.' And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth (the hour of the vision when Peter was sent to the Gentiles at Caesarea [Acts 10:9]) and ninth hour (the hour when the angel appeared to Cornelius [Acts 10:3], and others became laborers [Acts 21:16]), and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out (it was immediately before the end), and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why stand you here all the day idle?'
7 They say to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' (these were the heralds of the gospel of the kingdom, immediately before the close of the dispensation of the Acts. See Acts 17:24 &c. But, as the nation refused the call to repent [Acts 28:25,26], "the eleventh hour" is still future, awaiting the proclamation foretold in 24:14) He says to them, 'Go you also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall you receive.'
8 So when evening was come (refers to "the last judgment". And it is clearly the time of reckoning and of the reward spoken of in 19:29, when all will be justly rewarded), the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first.'
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received each a penny.
10 But when the first came, they reckoned according to law that they should have received more; and they likewise received each a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the master of the house,
12 Saying, 'These last have made one hour (a Hebraism. Cp. Ruth 2:19), and you have done to them equal to us, which have borne the burden and scorching heat of the day.'
13 But he answered one (representing the whole body, as Peter was the "one" in 19:27) of them, and said, 'Comrade, I do you no injustice: did not you agree with me for a penny?
14 Take up your own, and go your way: for I will to give to this last, as to you also.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will in my own [affairs]? Is your eye grudging, because I am generous?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said to them,
18 "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered up to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, (These are the additional features of this 3rd announcement; the 2nd and 4th being 17:22 and 20:28)
19 And shall deliver Him up to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again." (see 16:21)
N h 20,21. Pre-eminence sought of two brethren. i 22,23. Pre-eminence. Refusal. k 24. Indignation of the 10. i 25,26-. Pre-eminence. Instruction. For Gentiles, not for brethren. h -26,27. True pre-eminence defined.
20 Then came (her sons) to Him the mother (cp. 27:55 with Mark 15:40) of Zebedee's (see 4:21) sons (the 2 sons [James and John] acted with their mother [prompting her) with her sons, prostrating herself to Him, and asking a certain thing from Him.
21 And He said to her, "What will You?" She said to Him, 'Bid that these my two sons may sit, the one on You right hand, and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom."
22 But Jesus answered and said, "You two have no idea what you ask for. Are you able to drink of the cup (which would be at His right hand. A symbol of participation. Jer. 25:15; 49:12. Ezek. 23:33) that I am about to drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They say to Him, "We are able."
23 And He said to them, "You shall indeed drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with (James [Acts 12:2], and John martyred, according to tradition): but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to those of whom it is prepared of My Father." (Gr. Pater)
24 And when the ten heard it, they took great umbrage about the two brethren.
25 But Jesus called them to him, and said, "You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones oppress them.
26 However it shall not be so among you:
but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant; (In relation to activity.)
27 And whosoever will be first among you, let him be your bond-servant: (in relation to servitude)
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to minister, and to give His soul a redemption-price in the stead of many." (See Num. 35:31. The 4th announcement of His sufferings. See 16:21)
L l 29-30-. The 2 blind men. Sitting. m -30. Request, and cry for healing. n 31-. Rebuke of multitude. n -31. Rebuke useless. m 32-34-. Request granted. Healing given. l -34. The 2 blind men. Following.
29 And as they departed (not approaching as in Luke 35; or arriving and departing as in Mark 10:46) from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. (The population was about 100,000, doubtless with many blind, as in Mark 10:46)
The same may be seen in dealing with the healing of the blind men at Jericho.
From a comparison of the three Gospels it will be readily seen that four blind men were healed, and that there were three separate miracles on the Lord's visit to Jericho.
The following particulars may be noted and considered :--
I. The Occasion.
1. In the first miracle the Lord was "come nigh unto Jericho".
2. The second was "as He went out of Jericho".
3. The third took place "as they departed from", and had evidently left Jericho.
II. The Blind Men.
1. In the first there was one, unnamed.
2. In the second there was one, named (Bartimaeus).
3. In the third there were two men.
III. The Circumstances.
1. The one man was begging.
2. The second likewise.
3. The two men were not begging, and apparently were simply waiting for the Lord's passing by.
IV. Their Knowledge.
1. The first man did not know what the crowd meant, and asked.
2. The second (Bartimaeus) heard, but seems to have made no inquiry and at once cried out.
3. The two men also heard, and cried out at once.
V. Their Cry.
1. The first man cried "Jesus, thou Son of David".
2. The second man cried "Son of David".
3. The two men cried "O Lord, son of David".
VI. The Lord's Action.
1. The Lord "commanded (the first man) to be brought".
2. He "commanded (the second man) to be called".
3. He called the two men Himself.
VII. Their Healing.
1. The first desired that he might be able to see (anablepo).
2. The second in like manner.
3. The two men asked that "their eyes might be opened" (anoigo).
VIII. The Lord's Reply.
1. In the first case, the Lord said : "Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee."
2. In the second case, the Lord said : "Go thy way, thy faith hath saved thee."
3. In the third case, the Lord "had compassion on them, and touched their eyes", saying nothing.
IX. The Result.
1. The first man "followed Him, glorifying God, and all the people gave praise to God."
2. Bartimaeus "followed Jesus in the way", apparently in silence.
3. The two men "followed Him", in silence also.
We thus gather that the first two men were beggars who sat daily at either gate of Jericho : Jericho having at that time some 100,000 people, and doubtless many blind men.
In face of this and of the above details, all that a recent commentator has to say is :--
"The variation is undeniable, and the accounts cannot be harmonized at this point. But of course it is quite immaterial... According to Matthew there were two blind men. Calvin therefore suggests that Bartimaeus met Jesus on His entrance to the city, and then went for the other blind man, and that both were healed as Jesus was leaving the city. This is very artificial dealing with the plain narratives. It is better to accept them as varying accounts of one single incident."
True, we cannot harmonize "one man" and "two men" without abandoning all idea of inspiration. We submit therefore that "it is better" to take all the details as being evidences of the minutest perfection, and avoid both artificial and superficial dealing with the Divine narratives.
30 And, behold, two blind men sitting (not "begging") beside the way side, (the others were at each gate)
when they heard that Jesus is passing by, cried out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, You Son of David." (Therefore Israelites, having a claim on Him as such.)
31 And the multitude charged them to be silent:
but they kept crying the more, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, You son of David."
32 And Jesus stood still, and called them (in the other cases He commanded them to be "called" [Mark 10:49], and "led" [Luke 18:40]), and said, "What will you that I should do for you?"
33 They say to Him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened."
34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes regained sight,
and they followed Him. (As in Mark 10:52, and Luke 18:43)