Matthew 20:2

2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2 in Other Translations

KJV
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
ESV
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
NLT
2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.
MSG
2 They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.
CSB
2 After agreeing with the workers on one denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 20:2

And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day,
&c.] These labourers were of that sort that were called (Mwy rykv) , "hired for a day"; concerning whom is the following rule F17:

``he that is hired for a day, may demand it all the night; and he that is hired for a night may demand it all the day: he that is hired for hours, may demand it all the night, and all the day; he that is hired for a week, he that is hired for a month, he that is hired for a year, he that is hired for seven, if he goes out in the day, may demand all the day; and if he goes out in the night, he may demand it all the night, and all the day.''

And the wages of a day were usually (rnyd) "a penny"; which, if understood of a Roman penny, was seven pence halfpenny of our money. One of their canons runs thus F18:

``he that hires a labourer in the winter, to work with him in the summer, (Mwy lkb) , "for a penny every day", and he gives him his hire; and, lo! his hire is alike to that in the winter, a "sela" every day, this is forbidden; because it looks as if he chose that time to lessen his wages; but if he says to him, work with me from this day, to such a time, "for a penny every day", though his hire is the same, a "sela" every day, this is lawful.''

By the penny a day agreed for with the labourers, may be meant external privileges; or the free promise made, whether to ministers, or private believers, of a sufficient supply of grace daily, that as their day is, their strength shall be; together with that of eternal life and happiness at last.

He sent them into his vineyard;
to labour there: for none have any business there, but such who are called and sent by the owner of it; and where sons are sent, and work, as well as servants; see ( Matthew 21:28 Matthew 21:29 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F17 Misna Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 11. Maimen Hilch. Shericut, c. 11. sect. 2.
F18 Maimon. Hilch. Milvah Ulavah, c. 7. sect. 12. Vid. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 86. 2. & 87. 1. & Gloss. in ib.

Matthew 20:2 In-Context

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2 He agreed to pay them a denariusfor the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.
4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’
5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer.