Barry Newman's Blog

December 17, 2012

The Parable of the Tenants (part IV)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The Parable of the Tenants — barrynewman @ 9:40 pm

The differences in the Gospel records

There are a considerable number of differences among the Synoptic Gospels with respect to the parable itself and consequential interactions between Jesus and others.  My endeavouring to indicate some of these differences has resulted, here and there, in an awkward translation of the texts.  Some of the differences are quite minor and amount to such as word order, a pronoun instead of a noun or whether an item is singular or plural in number.  Each Gospel differs in terms of various details given. There are however some marked discrepancies. One major difference concerns the descriptions given to how many servants were sent to collect the fruit and what happened to them and another is in terms of whether Jesus responds to the question of “What will the master of the vineyard do?” or whether his listeners do.

Luke records how, in the parable, three servants are sent. As Bailey notes, the description of what happens to them shortens with each one but the severity of the way they are treated increases with each one. However none of them are killed. In Mark Jesus speaks of three individual servants to begin with, the last one being killed and then many others some of whom are beaten and some of whom are killed. Matthew, somewhat similarly to Mark records that of the servants originally sent, one is beaten, another killed and another stoned and that when more are sent they are treated in similar fashion.

Both Mark and Luke relate how Jesus utters a rhetorical question concerning the reaction of the vineyard owner, answering how he will destroy the tenant-farmers.  However Matthew has some of his listeners respond in kind but at greater length.

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