Wim J.C. Weren, «The Use of Isaiah 5,1-7 in the Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12,1-12; Matthew 21,33-46)», Vol. 79 (1998) 1-26
This article attempts to prove the following theses. The parable of the tenants in Mark 12,1-12 has been constructed on the basis of the vineyard song in Isa 5,1-7. There are connections with the Hebrew text as well as with the LXX version. The later exegesis of Isa 5,1-7 as it is found in the Targum and in 4Q500 has also left traces in the parable. The connections with Isaiah were already present in the original form and they are enlarged in the subsequent phases of the tradition. Matthew has taken almost all references from Mark but he additionaly made links to Isa 5,1-7 which he did not derive from Mark.
A few elements indicate that Mark 12,1-12 might be understood in light of this ancient exegesis of Isa 5,1-7 44. (a) The detailed description of the laying out of the vineyard in Mark 12,1 does not merely serve the embellishment of the story. No, the fencing in of the vineyard, the hacking out of a winepress and the building of a tower get a proper function when they are understood as references to the temple 45. (b) The parable is integrated into a long story about Jesus' activities in the temple (11,27 12,44) 46. (c) The parable is a polemic text which is directed against the Jewish leaders among whom we find the high priests, who are responsible for the management of the temple 47. (d) The Jewish leaders open the discussion with their question about Jesus' authority (11,28). They ask this question in view of Jesus' cleansing of the temple the previous day (11,15-18). (e) The parable is meant to clarify that Jesus' opponents are resisting God by the way they fulfil their task. They are threatened by Jesus' announcement that their leading position will be taken away and be given to others. (f) The parable is followed by a quotation from Ps 118,22-23. This psalm clearly has a cultic setting. The quotation is linked up with the citation from Isa 5,2 by means of a catchword (oi0kodome/w) and reinforces the references to the temple in the opening verse.
From these observations it is clear that the parable is primarily an attack on the Jewish leaders. The parable's present literary setting reflects its original meaning. The parable is not only dependent on the Hebrew text of Isa 5,1-7 and on the LXX version but it is also interwoven with the exegesis of the Isaiah text in early Jewish documents.