Many readings of the Parable of the Labourers in the vineyard want to treat the owner as
representing God. Knowledge of actual agricultural practices relating to the management of
vineyards suggest, on the contrary, that the details of the parable obstruct an easy identification
of the owner with God, and that he displays unusual behaviour not only by paying all the
labourers the same wage, but by his very intervention in the hiring process. The conclusion
reached is that the parable constructs the vineyard owner, typically one of the nouveau riche
who lived in cities, not only as a ‘good employer’ but also, contrary to expectation, as a patron
who intervened well beyond the strict norms of economic exchange.