What does Matthew 21:41 mean?
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.
Verse Commentary:
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).
Verse Context:
Matthew 21:33–46 begins with another vineyard-related parable from Jesus. This one involves tenants who refused to pay the owner His agreed upon share of the crops. Instead, they mistreated and killed the servants he sent and then killed the owner's son. Jesus compares Israel's religious leaders to these tenants, saying the kingdom of God will be taken from them. Jesus identifies Himself in a psalm about a stone rejected by the builders but chosen by the Lord to be the cornerstone. All who reject Him will fall on the cornerstone or have it fall on and crush them.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus fulfills a prophecy from Zechariah about the coming of the king to Jerusalem by riding in on a donkey. The people celebrate and praise Him as the Messiah. Jesus drives the marketers and moneychangers out of the temple and heals some people. He curses a fig tree and tells the disciples nothing will be impossible for them with faith. Jesus forces cowardly and hypocritical religious leaders to back down with a question about John the Baptist. He then exposes their fraudulent spirituality with two parables about vineyards. Jesus applies to Himself a psalm about a rejected stone being made the cornerstone by the Lord.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 21 finds Jesus arriving near Jerusalem after leaving Jericho in the previous chapter. His triumphal entry is accomplished riding a donkey, and to raucous praise, fulfilling a prophecy about the Messiah. Jesus cleanses the marketplace from the temple, heals, and presents lessons about faith and Israel's failed leadership. This leads into further conversations which Matthew compiles from Jesus' interactions with the Pharisees.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/17/2024 9:06:08 PM
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