Hiring Labourers in the East
Matthew 20:1-16
For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder…

The most conspicuous building in Hamadan is the Mesjid Jumah, a large mosque, now falling into decay, and before it a meidan, or square, which serves as a market-place. Here we observed, every morning before the sun rose, that a numerous body of peasants were collected with spades in their hands, waiting, as they informed me, to be hired for the day to work in the surrounding fields. This custom forcibly struck us as a most happy illustration of our Saviour's parable of the labourers in the vineyard; particularly when, passing by the same place late in the day, we still found others standing idle, and remembered His words, "Why stand ye here all the day idle?" as most applicable to their situation; for in putting the very same question to them, they answered us, "Because no man hath hired us."

(Mr. Morier.)Daring the whole season when vineyards may be dug, the common workmen to very early in the morning to the Sock, or market-place of the village or city, where comestibles are sold. While waiting to be hired, they take their morning cup of coffee, and eat a morsel of bread. The owners of vineyards come to the place and engage the number of labourers they need. These immediately go to the vineyard and work there until a little while before the sun sets, which, according to Oriental time, is twelve o'clock, so that the " eleventh hour" means one hour before sunset. We have often seen men stand in the market-place through the entire day without finding employment, and have repeatedly engaged them ourselves at noon for half a day's job, and later for one or two hours' work in our garden. In such a case the price has to be particularly bargained for, but it is more often left to the generosity of the employer to give whatever backshish he feels disposed.

(Van Lennep.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

WEB: "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Hired Late in the Day
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