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.
after his arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus came into conflict with the temple authorities. That original opponent is gradually replaced by the Pharisees, i.e. a group with which Matthew's community had a serious conflict towards the last quarter of the first century CE.
The polemic tenor of the parable is confirmed by the literary context. In Matthew the parable of the tenants forms part of a trio, the other two being the parables of the two sons (21,28-32: Sondergut) and of the wedding feast (22,1-14; cf. Luke 14,15-24). These three parables directly follow the discussion about Jesus' authority in 21,23-27. The redactor has reprocessed this heterogenous material into a consistent whole. The parable of the two sons immediately follows Jesus' words in 21,27; the direct speech continues without interruption. After Jesus has applied this parable to his listeners' own conduct, he tells a second parable, again without pause or interruption (21,33a: a1llhn parabolh\n a0kou/sate diff. Mark 12,1), and the narrative sentence at the beginning of the third parable (22,1: pa/lin ei}pen e0n parabolai~j au0toi~j) shows that there is a close relationship to the two preceding parables and that Jesus is still speaking to the same audience.
The three parables are closely related to each other. All three emphasize doing the right thing and are concerned with the kingdom of God (21,31.43) or with the kingdom of heaven (22,1). The first two are linked because both of them deal with a vineyard owner. The second and third parables have the following elements in common: (a) in 21,37-39, we read about the son of the owner of the vineyard, in 22,2, about the son of the king; (b) the formulation of 21,34 (a0pe/steilen tou\j dou/louj au0tou~) is repeated in 22,3; (c) 21,36 and 22,4 are also partly similar (pa/lin a0pe/steilen a1llouj dou/louj); (d) in 22,6, the slaves are murdered; this reminds us of what has been said in 21,35; (e) 21,41 and 22,7 are similar in that they both contain the verb a0po/llumi, and because, in both instances, the murderers are executed.
Thus Matthew has woven the parable of the tenants into a lengthy unit (21,23 22,14), in which especially the chief priests and the Pharisees function as Jesus' opponents. They are not criticized for what they say (in 21,31.41 they in fact give the correct answer to Jesus' questions), but for the way they act (cf. 23,3). Their lack of positive response to John and Jesus is censured. Because they did not believe in John, they actually resemble the second son of whom they express their disapproval and who tells his father he will work