In Matthew 21:33-46 and Mark 12:1-12, Jesus tells pretty much the exact same parable:

Husbandman leases his vineyard and leaves. He sends some servants to check it out, and they get whooped. He sends his son, the caretakers kill him. The moral - don't mess with the Son.

But the question-response conversation afterward with the pharisees is a touch different in both.

In Matthew 21:40-42 Jesus asks:

"Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD's doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes'?

In Mark 12-8-11:

What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?

The Jesus answers his own question in Mark, and in Matthew, Jesus seems to be responding negatively to the Pharisees' answer. But they were right, right? What am I missing here?

  • What does whooped mean? Could you clarify it. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 2:58
  • @Tom: It means "beaten up."
    – Mason Wheeler
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


The answer to the question is obvious; asking it is rhetorical: of course the owner will seek retribution for the wrong done to him and his son by those he trusted.

The purpose of the story - regardless of who fills in this answer - is made clear by the quote from Psalms that follows, and so it is explained (Matt, Mark) that his audience sees immediately that he was comparing them to the caretakers. By asking the question before driving the point home, He allowed them to condemn themselves.

Note that in Matthew, this was the second of two back-to-back parables in which He chides them for failing to do the job His father had entrusted them with, both employing the same tactic of asking a question intended to draw the condemnation from the lips of those being condemned by the comparison.


It's not a negative response in the Matthew version; he's drawing a parallel. They explain what the owner would do, and he changes the subject, quoting a scripture, to equate the two. The murdered son is the rejected stone, and the Jewish leaders are the vinedressers/builders. He says, in effect, "it was prophesied that the Builders would reject the true stone, and now here you are fulfilling the prophecy. But that will come with very bad consequences attached, because fulfilling the prophecy means killing the boss's son, and you know exactly what happens to people who do that, don't you?"

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