The Cruel Vineyard Tenants

The heirs of A. T. Stewart, one of the wealthiest Americans in the last century, wanted to bring a suit against Judge Hilton for his way of handling the estate. They went to William M. Evarts, one of the most distinguished lawyers of his day who later served in the Senate and as … More


This parable continues to make a statement against the Jewish religious authorities. Perhaps the rulers of the Jews thought they had heard enough, but Jesus continued to give them warning in another parable. He told about a landowner (God) who planted a vineyard (Israel). He builds a wall to keep out animals, a watchtower to keep out thieves and a winepress to squeeze grapes in. Finally, he leased the vineyard to vine growers (Rulers of Israel) and he went into a far country (v. 33).

These tenant farmers were expected to pay a certain percentage of the crop to the landlord at the harvest time. At this time he sent out his servants (The prophets) to receive his share of the crop (v. 34).  Instead of sharing the fruits, the vineyard keepers handled the servants terribly (vv. 35-39). One they beat to a bloody pulp, another they murdered and a third one they stoned. As time went on the owner sent many others who received the same kind of treatment. As a last and final appeal to these vine growers, the landlord sent his son (Jesus) but they plotted among themselves how they could kill him and claim his inheritance. Finally, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

At this point Jesus asked this crowd what they thought the owner should do to those tenants (v. 40). With indignation they replied that he should put the scoundrels to death and rent the vineyard to other tenants (v. 41). Jesus asked them if they had ever read the Scriptures as to how the kingdom will be taken from them and given to those who produce the proper fruit (vv. 42-44). The Pharisees got the point, but instead of heeding the warning, they were stirred with anger and would have seized Jesus on the spot if it had not been for their fear of the crowds (vv. 45-46).


The crux of this story is that God created this earth and He is the landowner and we are just tenants. I should never feel that I am the owner but try to be a good tenant or care taker of His property.

Matthew 21:33-46 (English Standard Version)

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