God’s Protection of the Laborer

You shall not keep the wages of him that is hired until the morning. (Leviticus 19:13) 

We see this law practiced in the parable of “The Laborers in the Vineyard” found in Matthew 20:1-16. The laborers line up at the end of the day to receive their pay.

This law is listed with others that provide for the poor. If a man is poor and living day to day, he needs his wages promptly to provide for his needs and his family’s needs.

The Laborers in the Vineyard

The kingdom of heaven is like a man that is an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And he went out about 9am, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

The lord of the vineyard: You go also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will pay you.

And they went into the vineyard.

The lord of the vineyard went out about noon and 3pm, and did likewise.

He went out at 5pm, and found others standing idle.

The lord of the vineyard: Why do you stand here all the day idle?

The men: Because no man has hired us.

The lord of the vineyard: You go also into the vineyard; and you will receive whatever is right.

Evening was come.

The lord of the vineyard (to his steward): Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first.

And when the laborers came that were hired about 5pm, each man received a penny.

But when the laborers came that were hired at 6am, they supposed that they should have received more; and they each likewise received a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house.

Those hired early in the morning: These last have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden and heat of the day.  

The lord of the vineyard: Friend, I did you no wrong: didn’t you agree with me to work for a penny? Take that which yours, and go your way: I will give to this last, even as I gave to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own money? Are you angry, because I am good?

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.