A Denarius A Day

July 19, 2006       Aiyalon Valley, Israel

This was the beginning of the harvest.  Some of the grapes were not fully ripe.  By the end of the harvest some of the grapes might be overripe, rotten brown.  One might be reminded of the parable of the day laborers who were hired to work in a vineyard as told by Jesus.

The Talmud Baba Mesia 7:2 recorded a Jewish law allowing those who worked with fruit to eat the fruit while they worked.  It was lawful for one working with figs to eat figs while working, but not to walk into another field and eat grapes.

Matthew 20 (ASV Paraphrased)

 1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
 2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;  4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.
 8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a denarius.
10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a denarius.
11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,
12 saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.
13 But he answered and said to one of them, friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a denarius?
Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.