The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen1 AND he began to speak to them in parables: A certain man planted a vineyard and made a hedge about it, and dug a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it to husbandmen; and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant to receive of the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 Who having laid hands on him, beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent to them another servant; and him they wounded in the head, and used him reproachfully. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed: and many others, of whom some they beat, and others they killed. 6 Therefore having yet one son, most dear to him; he also sent him unto them last of all, saying: They will reverence my son. 7 But the husbandmen said one to another: This is the heir; come let us kill him; and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And laying hold on him, they killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those husbandmen; and will give the vineyard to others. 10 And have you not read this scripture, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner: 11 By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes. 12 And they sought to lay hands on him, but they feared the people. For they knew that he spoke this parable to them. And leaving him, they went their way.
On Paying Tribute to Caesar13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the Herodians; that they should catch him in his words. 14 Who coming, say to him: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and carest not for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar; or shall we not give it? 15 Who knowing their wiliness, saith to them: Why tempt you me? bring me a penny that I may see it. 16 And they brought it him. And he saith to them: Whose is this image and inscription? They say to him, Caesar's. 17 And Jesus answering, said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
The Question about the Resurrection18 And there came to him the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying: 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, that if any man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed to his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no issue. 21 And the second took her, and died: and neither did he leave any issue. And the third in like manner. 22 And the seven all took her in like manner; and did not leave issue. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise again, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. 24 And Jesus answering, saith to them: Do ye not therefore err, because you know not the scriptures, nor the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven. 26 And as concerning the dead that they rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spoke to him, saying: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.
The Great Commandment28 And there came one of the scribes that had heard them reasoning together, and seeing that he had answered them well, asked him which was the first commandment of all. 29 And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God. 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said to him: Well, Master, thou hast said in truth, that there is one God, and there is no other besides him. 33 And that he should be loved with the whole heart, and with the whole understanding, and with the whole soul, and with the whole strength; and to love one's neighbour as one's self, is a greater thing than all holocausts and sacrifices. 34 And Jesus seeing that he had answered wisely, said to him: Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
The Question about David's Son35 And Jesus answering, said, teaching in the temple: How do the scribes say, that Christ is the son of David? 36 For David himself saith by the Holy Ghost: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord, and whence is he then his son? And a great multitude heard him gladly. 38 And he said to them in his doctrine: Beware of the scribes, who love to walk in long robes, and to be saluted in the marketplace, 39 And to sit in the first chairs, in the synagogues, and to have the highest places at suppers: 40 Who devour the houses of widows under the pretence of long prayer: these shall receive greater judgment. 41 And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living.
Gospel Harmony on Mark 12
OF THE TWO SONS WHO WERE COMMANDED BY THEIR FATHER TO GO INTO HIS VINEYARD
(Mark 12:1-11 Mt 21:28-44 Luke 20:9-18)Matthew goes on thus: “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. But he answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not;” and so on, down to the words, “And whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”(Mt 21:28-44) Mark and Luke do not mention the parable of the two sons to whom the order was given to go and labour in the vineyard. But what is narrated by Matthew subsequently to that,—namely, the parable of the vineyard which was let out to the husbandmen, who persecuted the servants that were sent to them, and afterwards put to death the beloved son, and thrust him out of the vineyard,—is not left unrecorded also by those two. And in detailing it they likewise both retain the same order, that is to say, they bring it in after that declaration of their inability to tell which was made by the Jews when interrogated regarding the baptism of John, and after the reply which He returned to them in these words: “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”(Mark 12:1-11 Luke 20:9-18)
Now no question implying any contradiction between these accounts rises here, unless it be raised by the circumstance that Matthew, after telling us how the Lord addressed to the Jews this interrogation, “When the lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” adds, that they answered and said, “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.” For Mark does not record these last words as if they constituted the reply returned by the men; but he introduces them as if they were really spoken by the Lord immediately after the question which was put by Him, so that in a certain way He answered Himself. For in this Gospel He speaks thus: “What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” But it is quite easy for us to suppose,either that the men’s words are subjoined herewithout the insertion of the explanatory clause “they said,” or “they replied,” that being left to be understood; or else that the said response is ascribed to the Lord Himself rather than to these men, because when they answered with such truth, He also, who is Himself the Truth, really gave the same reply in reference to the persons in question.
More serious difficulty, however, may be created by the fact that Luke not only does not speak of them as the parties who made that answer for he, as well as Mark, attributes these words to the Lord, but even represents them to have given a contrary reply, and to have said, “God forbid.” For his narrative proceeds in these terms: “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?”(Luke 20:15-17) How then is it that, according to Matthew’s version, the men to whom He spake these words said, “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out this vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons;” whereas, according to Luke, they gave a reply inconsistent with any terms like these, when they said, “God forbid”? And, in truth, what the Lord proceeds immediately to say regarding the stone which was rejected by the builders, and yet was made the head of the corner, is introduced in a manner implying that by this testimony those were confuted who were gainsaying the real meaning of the parable. For Matthew, no less than Luke, records that passage as if it were intended to meet the gainsayers, when he says, “Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” For what is implied by this question, “Did ye never read,” but that the answer which they had given was opposed to the real intention [of the parable]? This is also indicated by Mark, who gives these same words in the following manner: “And have ye not read this scripture, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner?” This sentence, therefore, appears to occupy in Luke, rather than the others, the place which is properly assignable to it as originally uttered. For it is brought in by him directly after the contradiction expressed by those men when they said, “God forbid.” And the form in which it is cast by him,—namely, “What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? “—is equivalent insense to the other modes of statement. For the real meaning of the sentence is indicated equally well, whichever of the three phrases is used, “Did ye never read?” or, “And have ye not read?” or, “What is this, then, that is written?”
It remains, therefore, for us to understand that among the people who were listening on that occasion, there were some who replied in the terms related by Matthew, when he writes thus: “They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen;” and that there were also some who answered in the way indicated by Luke, that is to say, with the words, “God forbid.” Accordingly, those persons who had replied to the Lord to the former effect, were replied to by these other individuals in the crowd with the explanation, “God forbid.” But the answer which was really given by the first of these two parties, to whom the second said in return, “God forbid,” has been ascribed both by Mc and by Luke to the Lord Himself, on the ground that, as I have already intimated, the Truth Himself spake by these men, whether as by persons who knew not that they were wicked, in the same way that He spake also by Caiaphas, who when he was high priest prophesied without realizing what he said,(Jn 11:49-51) or as by persons who did understand, and who had come by this time both to knowledge and to belief. For there was also present on this occasion that multitude of people at whose hand the prophecy had already received a fulfilment, when they met Him in a mighty concourse on His approach, and hailed Him with the acclaim, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”(Ps 118:26 Mt 21:9)
Neither should we stumble at the circumstance that the same Matthew has stated that the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the Lord, and asked Him by what authority He did these things, and who gave Him this authority, on the occasion when He to, in turn, interrogated them concerning the baptism of John, inquiring whence it was, whether from heaven or of men; to whom also, on their replying that they did not know, He said, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do those things.” For he has followed up this with the words introduced in the immediate context, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons,” and so forth. Thus this discourse is brought into a connection which is continued, uninterrupted by the interposition either of any thing or of any person, down to what is related regarding the vineyard which was let out to the husbandmen. It may, indeed, be supposed that He spake all these words to the chief priests and the eiders of the people, by whom He had been interrogated with regard to His authority. But then, if these persons had indeed questioned Him with a view to tempt Him, and with a hostile intention, they could not be taken for men who had believed, and who cited the remarkable testimony in favour of the Lord which was taken from a prophet; and surely it is only if they had the character of those who believed, and not of those who were ignorant, that they could have given a reply like this: “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” This peculiarity [of Matthew’s account], however, should not by any means so perplex us as to lead us to imagine that there were none who believed among the multitudes who listened at this time to the Lord’s parables. For it is only for the sake of brevity that the same Matthew has passed over in silence what Lc does not fail to mention,—namely, the fact that the said parable was not spoken only to the parties who had interrogated Him on the subject of His authority, but to the people. For the latter evangelist puts it thus: “Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard,” and so on. Accordingly, we may well understand that among the people then assembled there might also have been persons who could listen to Him as those did who before this had said, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;” and that either these, or some of them, were the individuals who replied in the words, “He will miserably destroy these wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” The answer actually returned by these men, moreover, has been attributed to the Lord Himself by Mc and Luke, not only because their words were really His words, inasmuch as He is the Truth that ofttimes speaks even by the wicked and the ignorant, moving the mind of man by a certain hidden instinct, not in the merit of man’s holiness, but by the right of His own proper power; but also because the men may have been of a character admitting of their being reckoned, not without reason, as already members in the true body of Christ, so that what was said by them might quite warrantably be ascribed to Him whose members they were. For by this time He had baptized more than John,(Jn 4:1) and had multitudes of disciples, as the same evangelists repeatedly testify; and from among these followers He also drew those five hundred brethren, to whom the Apostle Paul tells us that He showed Himself after His resurrection.(1 Cor 15:6) And this explanation of the matter is supported by the fact that the phrase which occurs in the version. by this same Matthew,—namely, “They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men,”—is not put in a form necessitating us to take the pronoun illi in the plural number, as if it was intended to mark out the words expressly as the reply made by the persons who had craftily questioned Him on the subject of His authority; but the clause, “They say unto Him,” is so expressed that the term illi should be taken for the singular pronoun, and not the plural, and should be held to signify “unto Him,” that is to say, unto the Lord Himself, as is made clear in the Greek codices, without a single atom of ambiguity.
There is a certain discourse of the Lord which is given by the evangelist John, and which may help us more readily to understand the statement I thus make. It is to this effect: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then ye shall be my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And they answered Him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the Son abideth for ever. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”(Jn 8:31-37) Now surely it is not to be supposed that He spake these words, “Ye seek to kill me” to those persons who had already believed on Him, and to whom He had said, “If ye abide in my word, then shall ye be my disciples indeed.” But inasmuch as He had spoken in these latter terms to the men who had already believed on Him, and as, moreover, there was present on that occasion a multitude of people, among whom there were many who were hostile to Him, even although the evangelist does not tell us explicitly who those parties were who made the reply referred to, the very nature of the answer which they gave, and the tenor of the words which thereupon were rightly directed to them by Him, make it sufficiently clear what specific persons were then addressed, and what words were spoken to them in particular. Precisely, therefore, as in the multitude thus alluded to by Jn there were some whohad already believed on Jesus, and also some who sought to kill Him, in that other concourse which we are discussing at present there were some who had craftily questioned the Lord onthe subject of the authority by which He did these things; and there were also others who had hailed Him, not in deceit, but in faith, with the acclaim, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And thus, too, there were persons present who could say, “He will destroy those men, and will give his vineyard to others.” This saying, furthermore, may be rightly understood to have been the voice of the Lord Himself, either in virtue of that Truth which in His own Person He is Himself, or on the ground of the unity which subsists between the members of His body and the head. There were also certain individuals present who, when these other parties gave that kind of answer, said to them, “God forbid,” because they understood the parable to be directed against themselves. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.70)
OF THE HARMONY CHARACTERIZING THE NARRATIVES GIVEN BY THESE THREE EVANGELISTS REGARDING THE DUTY OF RENDERING TO CAESAR THE COIN BEARING HIS IMAGE
(Mark 12:13-27 Matt 22:15-33 Luke 20:20-40)
Matthew then continues in these terms: “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they send out unto Him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men: tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” and so on, down to the words, “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine.”(Mt 22:15-33) Mark and Luke give a similar account of these two replies made by the Lord,—namely, the one on the subject of the coin, which was prompted by the question as to the duty of giving tribute to Caesar; and the other on the subject of the resurrection, which was suggested by the case of the woman who had married the seven brothers in succession. Neither do these two evangelists differ in the matter of the order.(Mark 12:13-27 Luke 20:20-40) For after the parable which told of the men to whom the vineyard was let out, and which also dealt with the Jews (against whom it was directed), and the evil counsel they were devising (which sections are given by all three evangelists together), these two, Mc and Luke, pass over the parable of the guests who were invited to the wedding (which only Matthew has introduced), and thereafter they join company again with the first evangelist, when they record these two passages which deal with Caesar’s tribute, and the woman who was the wife of seven different husbands, inserting them in precisely the same order, with a consistency which admits of no question. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.72)
The Great Commandment
(Mark 12:28-34 Matt 22:34-40 Luke 10:25-28)Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. And one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”(Mt 22:34-40) This is recorded also by Mark, and that too in the same order. Neither should there be any difficulty in the statement made by Matthew, to the effect that the person by whom the question was put to the Lord tempted Him; whereas Mark says nothing about that, but tells us at the end of the paragraph how the Lord said to the man, as to one who answered discreetly, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” For it is quite possible that, although the man approached Him with the view of tempting Him, he may have been set right by the Lord’s response. Or we need not at any rate take the tempting referred to in a bad sense, as if it were the device of one who sought to deceive an adversary; but we may rather suppose it to have been the result of caution, as if it were the act of one who wished to have further trial of a person who was unknown to him. For it is not without a good purpose that this sentence has been written, “He that is hasty to give credit is light-minded, and shall be impaired.” (Ecclus 19:4)
Luke, on the other hand, not indeed in this order, but in a widely different connection, introduces something which resembles this.(Luke 10:25-37) But whether in that passage he is actually recording this same incident, or whether the person with whom the Lord [is represented to have] dealt in a similar manner there on the subject of those two commandments is quite another individual, is altogether uncertain. At the same time, it may appear right to regard the person who is introduced by Lc as a different individual from the one before us here, not only on the ground of the remarkable divergence in the order of narration, but also because he is there reported to have replied to a question which was addressed to him by the Lord, and in that reply to have himself mentioned those two precepts. The same opinion is further confirmed by the fact that, after telling us how the Lord said to him, “This do, and thou shall live,”—thus instructing him to do that great thing which, according to his own answer, was contained in the law,—the evangelist follows up what had passed with the statement, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?”(Luke 10:29) Thereupon, too [according to Luke], the Lord told the story of the man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers. Consequently, considering that this individual is described at the outset as tempting Christ, and is represented to have repeated the two commandments in his reply; and considering, further, that after the counsel which was given by the Lord in the words, “This do, and thou shalt live,” he is not commended as good, but, on the contrary, has this said of him, “But he, willing to justify himself,” etc., whereas the person who is mentioned in parallel order both by Mc and by Lc received a commendation so marked, that the Lord spake to him in these terms, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God,”—the more probable view is that which takes the person who appears on that occasion to be a different individual from the man who comes before us here. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.73)
The Question about David's Son
(Mark 12:35-37 Matt 22:41-46 Luke 20:41-44)Matthew goes on thus: “Now when the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”(Mt 22:41-46) This is given also by Mark in due course, and in the same order.(Mark 12:35-37) Luke, again, only omits mention of the person who asked the Lord which was the first commandment in the law, and, after passing over that incident in silence, observes the same order once more as the others, narrating just as these, do this question which the Lord put to the Jews concerning Christ, as to how He was David’s son.(Luke 20:41-44) Neither is the sense at all affected by the circumstance that, as Matthew puts it, when Jesus had asked them what they thought of Christ, and whose son He was, they [the Pharisees] replied, “The son of David,” and then He proposed the further query as to how David then called Him Lord; whereas, according to the version presented by the other two, Mc and Luke, we do not find either that these persons were directly interrogated, or that they made any answer. For we ought to take this view of the matter, namely, that these two evangelists have introduced the sentiments which were expressed by the Lord Himself after the reply made by those parties, and have recorded the terms in which He spoke in the hearing of those whom He wished profitably to instruct in His authority, and to turn away from the teaching of the scribes, and whose knowledge of Christ amounted then only to this, that He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, while they did not understand that He was God, and on that ground also the Lord even of David. It is in this way, therefore, that in the accounts given by these two evangelists, the Lord is mentioned in a manner which makes it appear as if He was discoursing on the subject of these erroneous teachers to men whom He desired to see delivered from the errors in which these scribes were involved. Thus, too, the question, which is presented by Matthew in the form, “What say ye?” is to be taken not as addressed directly to these [Pharisees], but rather as expressed only with reference to those parties, and directed really to the persons whom He was desirous of instructing. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.74)
The Poor Widow Who Cast Two Mites into the Treasury
(Mark 12:40-44 Luke 21:1-4)Mark continues as follows: “And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was wont, He taught them again;” and so on, down to where it is said, “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”(Mark 10:1-11-44) In this entire context, all the above has been subjected to investigation already, with the view of removing the appearance of any contrariety, when we were comparing the other Gospels in due order with Matthew. This narrative, however, of the poor widow who cast two mites into the treasury is reported only by two of them, namely, Mc and Luke.(Luke 21:1-4) But their harmony admits of no question. And from this point onwards to the Lord’s Supper, which latter act formed the starting-point for our discussion of all the records of the four evangelists taken conjointly, Mc introduces nothing of a kind to make it necessary for us to institute a special comparison between it and any other statement, or to conduct an inquiry with the view of dispelling any appearance of discrepancy. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 4.7)