And about the eleventh hour he went out
About five o'clock in the afternoon. The Persic version reads it, "the twelfth hour", which was six o'clock in the afternoon, the last hour of the day. The Jews divided their day into twelve hours, ( John 11:9 ) and these twelve hours into four parts; ( Nehemiah 9:3 ) each part containing three hours, to which division there is a manifest respect in this parable. These different seasons of the husbandman's going out to hire labourers, may have regard either to the several periods of time, and ages of the world, as before the law, under the law, the times of the Messiah, and the last days; or the various dispensations of the Gospel, first by Christ, and John the Baptist to the Jews, then by the apostles to the same in their first mission, afterwards when their commission was renewed, first to the Jews in Judea, and then to the same among the nations of the world, and last of all to the Gentiles; or to the several stages of human life, and may regard Christ's call of persons in childhood, youth, manhood, and old age; which last may be signified by the eleventh hour, as also the Gentiles, and the remainder of God's elect in the last day:
and found others standing idle;
in the same place and position as before: for the state and condition of God's elect, by nature, as it is the same with others, it is the same with them all. The word "idle" is omitted here by the Vulgate Latin, the Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; but is retained in the Syriac and Persic versions; and stands in the Greek copies:
and saith unto them, why stand ye here all the day idle?
for being about the eleventh hour, the day was far spent, it was almost gone, a small portion of it remained, but one hour, as appears from ( Matthew 20:12 ) .