And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers, that they might receive the fruits of it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When the time of the fruit drew near.—We must be content here with following the general drift of the parable, and cannot find any exact parallel in the history of Israel to the successive sendings of the servants of the householder. It is enough to see in them the general expectation (comp. the language of Isaiah 5:4, “I looked that it should bring forth grapes”) that the developed life of Israel should be worthy of its calling, and the mission of the prophets who. as the servants of Jehovah, were sent from time to time to call the people to bring forth the fruits of righteousness.Matthew 21:34-39. And when the time of fruit drew near — And a return was to be made to the proprietor from the profits of the vineyard, which was only let out to these husbandmen, that they might render to him duly the fruits agreed on, namely, those of gratitude, love, and obedience; he sent his servants — His extraordinary messengers, the prophets, to demand and receive those fruits; to instruct, exhort, and, when necessary, to reprove these occupiers of the vineyard. And the husbandmen — Far from rendering their Lord his due, took his servants, beat one, killed another, &c. — See notes on Mark 12:3-5, where this branch of the parable is given more fully. The meaning is, that the Jewish priests and rulers, extremely irritated at the prophets for the freedom which they used in reproving their sins and exhorting them to a holy life, persecuted and slew them with unrelenting fury. Again he sent other servants — Though his servants were thus indignantly treated, the good lord of the vineyard being very long-suffering toward these husbandmen, and desirous of bringing them to a sense of their duty, instead of immediately punishing them for their ungrateful and rebellious proceedings, he sent other extraordinary messengers, more in number than the first. This seems to refer to the latter prophets and John the Baptist. But these met with no better treatment than the former from these ungrateful husbandmen. They did unto them likewise — Beat, stoned, and killed them. Who would wonder now if his patience and forbearance had been utterly wearied out, and if he had sent to destroy and remove these wicked husbandmen? But more abundant kindness still remained to be shown on his part, to aggravate their ingratitude, and to render this perverseness and cruelty utterly without excuse. Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son — Surely they must needs have some respect for him, and will not presume to offer him any injury. This is spoken after the manner of men: it does not mean that God supposed they would reverence him, but was mistaken. For numberless predictions in the Old and New Testaments plainly show that God foresaw, and therefore foretold how they would use him. But it implies that it might have been reasonably expected they would have reverenced him. considering the benevolent design on which he came, and the undeniable proofs which he gave of his divine mission, by his astonishing miracles, his heavenly doctrine, and most holy life. But alas! far from reverencing him, so inveterate in guilt and hardened in their crimes were they, that when they saw him, they said, This is the heir, let us kill him — And their impious combinations were attended with immediate resolves, and a speedy execution: They caught him — Gr. λαβοντες αυτον, having seized him, they cast him out of the vineyard — Utterly rejected his claim of being either the Messiah, or even a divine messenger, and slew him — In a most ignominious and cruel manner; thus filling up the measure of their transgressions, and declaring themselves very monsters of iniquity. Thus, as in a glass, our Lord set forth the great ingratitude of the Jewish nation, and especially of the chief priests and rulers, and the long-suffering of God toward them, with whom he had intrusted his vineyard, and from whom he expected the fruits thereof. It is justly observed by Dr. Doddridge here, that if their saying, This is the heir, come, let us kill him, &c., “would have been the height of folly, as well as wickedness in these husbandmen, it was so much the more proper to represent the part the Jewish rulers acted in the murder of Christ, which they were now projecting, and which they accomplished within three days. The admonition was most graciously given; but served only in an astonishing manner to illustrate that degree of hardness to which a sinful heart is capable of arriving.” But some of these circumstances, like that of seizing on the inheritance, may have been added for the sake of completing the parable, without any design of expressing by them any particular part of the conduct of the Jews toward Christ.
The vineyard was let out, probably, for a part of the fruit, and the owner sent to receive the part that was his.
that they might receive the fruits of it—Again see on Lu 13:6.See Poole on "Matthew 21:36". Leviticus 19:23. The fruit of all manner of trees, for the first three years, was uncircumcised; it was not to be eaten, nor any profit made of it, and on the fourth year it was to be holy to praise the Lord with; being either given to the priests, or eaten by the owners before the Lord at Jerusalem; and on the fifth year it might be eaten, and made use of for profit, and henceforward every year; which law regarded the fruit of the vine, as any other fruit: hence it is said (w), that "the grapes of the vineyard of the fourth year, the sanhedrim ordered that they should be brought up to Jerusalem, a day's journey on every side, so that they might crown or adorn the streets with fruits.
To this time of fruit, and the custom of bringing it up to Jerusalem, the allusion seems to be here. Thus, God after a long time, after he had waited a great while for fruit from the Jewish nation, from whom much might have been expected, by reason of the advantages they enjoyed; he sent his servants to the husbandmen: by his servants are meant, the prophets of the Old Testament; who were sent by God from time to time, to the kings, priests, and people of the Jews; to instruct them in their duty, to exhort them to the performance of it, to reprove them for their sins, to stir them up to repentance, and to bring forth fruits meet for it, signified in the next clause:
that they might receive the fruits of it; of the vineyard from the husbandmen, for the use of the owner; for fruits of justice and judgment, of righteousness and holiness, might be justly expected and demanded of such persons, to be brought forth by them, to the honour and glory of God,And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 21:34. καιρὸς: not merely the season of the year, but the time at which the new vines might be expected to bear.—τοὺς καρποὺς: the whole, apparently implying a money rent. The mode of tenure probably not thought of by this evangelist.—αὐτοῦ should probably be referred to the owner, not to the vineyard = “his fruits,” as in A. VMatthew 21:34. Ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, But when the season of the fruit drew near) Comp. John 4:35. Here also lurks the reason why the Messiah had not come sooner.—τοὺς δούλους, His servants) Servants here represent the extraordinary and greater ministers of God; labourers, the ordinary.—τοὺς καρποὺς, the fruits) understand, of the householder, or rather, of the vineyard.
 Of whom the former are for the most part received badly by the latter, inasmuch as these take it ill that they should be disturbed in their quiet holding of the vineyard.—V. g.Verse 34. - When the time of the fruit drew near. The vintage season, when the rent, whether in money or kind, became due. In the Jewish history no particular time seems to be signified, but rather such periods or crises which forced God's claims upon men's notice, and made them consider what fruits they had to show for all the Lord's care, how they had lived after receiving the Law. Such times were the ages of Samuel, Elijah, the great prophets, the Maccabees, and John the Baptist. His servants. The prophets, good kings, priests, and governors. "I have sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings" (Jeremiah 35:15). To receive the fruits of it (τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ); or, his fruits, as rent.
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