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.
III. The Use of Isaiah 5,1-7 in Matthew 21,33-46
This section is dedicated to Matt 21,33-46, its relationship with Mark, and the position of the parable in the wider context of Matthew.
Matthew probably derived the parable of the tenants from Mark. The way in which he renders his Vorlage, shows where he places his own particular emphases. These can be uncovered by means of an analysis in the tradition of redaction criticism. I will confine myself to those elements in Matt 21,33-46 which are related to Isa 5,1-7. First I will investigate how the points of contact with Isaiah encountered in Mark 12,1-12 have been reprocessed by the redactor of the gospel of Matthew: has he merely copied them or does he introduce a number of changes? If the latter is the case, the modifications will form the first clue to Matthew's interpretation of Isa 5,1-7. Next I will address the question of whether in 21,33-46 Matthew also makes links to Isa 5,1-7 which he did not derive from Mark.
The juridical nature of the parable has been preserved in Matthew. This is clear from Jesus' question to his listeners and from the statement at the end that the listeners interpret the parable as a story that reflects their own conflict with Jesus. The function of the parable as a juridical parable is more particularly emphasized by Matthew. In his version, Jesus' interlocutors themselves answer the question that is put to them. They declare that the tenants are villains (kakou/j) and that they deserve death, thus passing sentence on themselves. They do not, however, seem to be immediately aware of this, or they would not have answered Jesus' question so nonchalantly. The change relative to Mark 12,9-10 described here is to be attributed to the redactor 48. On this point he has brought the parable of the tenants in line with the parable of the two sons (21,28-32), which also mentions a vineyard and has characteristics of the juridical parable. The texts are structured in the same way:
|2. Jesus' question to his listeners||21,31||21,40|
|3. Their reply, introduced by le/gousin||21,31||21,41|
|4. Jesus' conclusion introduced by
le/gei au0toi=j o9 0Ihsou=j
Special attention should be paid to the quotation in the opening sentence. In this connection it is useful to present a comparative table between the LXX, Mark and Matthew:
|Isa 5,2 (LXX)||Mark 12,1||Matt 21,33|
|1. kai\ fragmo\n perie/qhka||1. a0mpelw~na [...] e0fu/teusen||1. e0fu/teusen a0mpelw~na|
|2. kai\ e0xara/kwsa|||||
|3. kai\ e0fu/teusa a1mpelon swrhx||2. kai\ perie/q0hken fragmo\n||2 . kai\ fragmo\n au0tw~| perie/q0hken|
|4. kai\ w|0kodo/mhsa pu/rgon e0n me/sw| au0tou~||3. kai\ w1rucen u9polh/nion||3. kai\ w1rucen e0n au0tw~| lhno\n|
|5. kai\ prolh/nion w1ruca e0n au0tw~|||4. kai\ w0|kodo/mhsen pu/rgon||4. kai\ w0|kodo/mhsen pu/rgon|
Matthew mentions the same four activities as Mark, and also presents them in the same order. This means that Matthew also copied the reversed order, as compared to the LXX, which we encountered in Mark 12,1. In addition, the verb and the corresponding object in Mark's text have changed places in three out of four cases as compared to the LXX. Matthew does not adopt this transposition. He chooses the word order of the LXX, and in one case only does he copy the reversed order as used by Mark (w1rucen ... lhno/n; LXX: prolh/nion w1ruca). We have apparently come across a double tendency. The redactor of Matthew's gospel partly copied the rendering of Isa 5,2 in Mark 12,1; his use of that Old Testament text is therefore as it were filtered by Mark. On the other hand, he also partly differs from Mark 12,1; hence what we have here is also a redactional change, which is inspired by the formulation in the LXX. We therefore conclude that in 21,33 Matthew also goes back to the formulation of Isa 5,1-7 in the LXX 49.