Matthew 21:41

ESV They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."
NIV "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
NASB They *said to Him, 'He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the fruit in the proper seasons.'
CSB "He will completely destroy those terrible men," they told him, "and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his fruit at the harvest."
NLT The religious leaders replied, 'He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.'
KJV They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
NKJV They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

What does Matthew 21:41 mean?

This reply to a question Jesus asked about His parable (Matthew 21:33–40), shows His story has been effective. He has described some unreasonably wicked tenants who have mistreated and killed the owner's servants when they came to collect rent. The tenants have even killed the owner's son. Jesus asked the crowd what they thought the owner would do when he arrived. Though the response seems obvious, it carries an important message.

This response very likely comes from one of the chief priests or elders or Pharisees to whom Jesus has been talking (Matthew 21:45). If so, the very point of Jesus' parable has been explained through the lips of those who are condemned by it. Not only was Jesus declaring Himself God's Son and predicting His own death at the hands of the "tenants," the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem, He was also warning of God's coming judgment on those unrepentant religious leaders.

Whoever answers seems angered about what these evil tenants have done to the owner's servants and son. This person refers to the tenants' deserved fate using an interesting Greek phrase: kakous kakōs apolesei autous. That combination literally means something like "he will bring wickedness to those wicked ones," or "the vile ones will be treated vilely." A more concise rendering, such as the ESV, simply says "He will put those wretches to a miserable death."

After purging his land of such evil people, presumably, the landowner will find more suitable tenants. Not only will Israel's religious leaders suffer God's judgment, new "tenants" will step in to help produce a harvest of repentance and righteousness from God's people (Matthew 21:43).
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