The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 20:8
So when even was come…
At six o'clock, or when the
sun was set, which was the time of paying labourers their wages: thus
in the parable of the Jews, before referred to, which bears some
resemblance to this, it is said,
``(bre tel) , F19 that "at evening time" the labourers came to
take their wages.''
Sooner than this, one that was hired for a day, could not demand it;
nor was the master of the vineyard, who hired him, obliged to pay him
till the sun was set F20, which was the time of his going forth from
his labour F21. This even may be understood, either of the evening of
the Jewish state, upon the calling of the Gentiles; or of the end of
the world, the close of the Gospel dispensation; when the work of it
will be over, when all the elect of God, Jews and Gentiles, shall be
called and gathered in, and all brought to repentance towards God, and
faith in Christ.
The lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward:
by the lord of the
vineyard may be meant God the Father, who has chosen and separated the
vineyard of the church for himself; and has made it the care and
charge of his Son Jesus Christ; who, as mediator, may be designed by
"his steward"; who has not only all the stores of grace in his hand,
to distribute to his people, in this life, as their cases require; but
has also eternal life and happiness in his possession for them; not
only the promise of it, but that itself; and has a power of giving it
to as many as the Father hath given him; and which he, the righteous
judge, and faithful steward, will give at the day of judgment, to all
that love his appearing.
Call the labourers, and give them their hire;
the proper time being
come: for the Jews say F23
``it is an affirmative precept to give the wages of an hired person
in its time; as it is said, (Deuteronomy 24:15) at "his day thou shalt
give him his hire"; and if it is prolonged after its time, it is
transgressing a negative precept, as it is said, (in the same
place,) "neither shall the sun go down upon it."''
So Jews and Gentiles were called to partake of the same Gospel
privileges; and so will all the faithful labourers in the Lord's
vineyard be called together, and have the reward of eternal life
bestowed upon them, and be bid to enter into the joy of their Lord, and
inherit the kingdom prepared for them, as they before were ordered to
go into the vineyard, and work. And though eternal life may be called
hire or reward, because as hire is given to labourers, so is eternal
life; and as that is given at the even and close of the day, and when
the labourer has done his work, so everlasting glory will be given to
the saints at the end of life, and when they have done the will and
work of God: yet it will not be bestowed by way of merit, or, as if
there was a just proportion between the work, labour, and services of
the saints, and the glory that shall be revealed in them. Their purest
services, even their sufferings for Christ, are not worthy to be
compared with that; nor are there any that are done by them, but what
are due to God, what he has a right unto, and are their duty to
perform; so that when they are done by them in the best and most
perfect manner, they are but unprofitable servants: nor can they, by
anything they do, be profitable to God, or give anything to him,
which can be obligatory upon him, to do anything for them, or be a
valuable consideration for anything they should receive from him; and
therefore they cannot merit anything at his hand, and much less
eternal life: besides, their services are impure and imperfect, and
whenever anything is well done by them, it is done not by their own
strength and might, but by the assistance and grace of God; and
therefore they can have no demand upon him for what they do: eternal
life, though a reward, is not a reward of debt, but of grace; it is the
free gift of God through Christ; God has graciously promised it in the
covenant of his grace, before the world began; he has given it into the
hands of his Son for his people, with whom it is sure; and he gives it
freely to all the sheep the Father has given him.
Beginning from the last unto the first;
beginning with the last
that was called and sent into the vineyard, and so proceeding on to
the next to them; giving them their wages as he went along, till he
came to the first, who were early in the morning hired into this
service; intimating, that some such method will be taken in the
introducing of the saints into the kingdom of the Messiah here, and
into his everlasting kingdom hereafter; whereby that saying of our
Lord's which occasioned this parable, will be also fulfilled, "the
first shall be last, and last first".
F19 Shirashirim Rabba, fol. 21. 3. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 72. 4.
T. Hicros. Beracot, fol. 5. 3.
F20 Bartenora in Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 9. sect. 11.
F21 Jarchi in Lev. xix. 13.
F23 Maimen, Helch. Secirut, c. 11. sect. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 20:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=020&verse=008>. 1999.