Jesus found himself in constant combat with the ruler class of his day. The problem was that aristocrats and absentee landlords abrasively taxed and foreclosed lands of the poor. Centuries before, Isaiah spun a parable about a landowner who planted a vineyard, hedged it in, cared for it, and received wild grapes for all his hard effort. Since it didn’t produce good grapes, the farmer decided to remove its hedges and walls, and allow that field to be an habitat for wild animals (that is what a farmer would have done). The tale ominously peels back, revealing that God is the vineyard owner and Israel was the field that produced wild grapes (Isaiah 5:1-6). What exactly was YHWH looking for? “Justice and righteousness” (justice and righteousness is a community that practices generative, positive social relationships without abuse or exploitation) but what he found was “injustice and cries.” Instead of justice (mishpat) he got bloodshed (mishpah) instead sedaqa (righteousness) he got se’aqa (cries) (5:7) This is more than justice violently plundering people, but economic politics that promotes upward mobility:
Woe, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land! (Isaiah 5:8).
This parable savagely attacks the upper class for the ways they use debt and foreclosure (perhaps unfair pay) to acquire more land, and to push others out. This is contrary to God’s ecology which sees the earth as something that is shared. Since it is God’s we can have our property but we aren’t to covet a majority of the wealth and resources. The Bible does not support latifundalization. Jesus would retell this same parable to the contemporaries in his day centuries later, and warns the Jerusalem elite of the very same oligopolies and stinginess (Mark 12:1-ff). This is in the very same context of contrasting the rich superfluous giving with the poverty of the poor widow (Mark 12:38-43), these people also robbed widows house (12:40), and this robbery takes place by protecting exploitative economic policies that helps us gain more, but does not see any limits to capital growth or accumulation of material and resources.