They are choked (sunpnigontai). Present passive indicative of this powerfully vivid compound verb sunpnigw used in Mark 4:19 ; Matthew 13:22 , only there these worldly weeds choke the word while here the victims themselves are choked. Both are true. Diphtheria will choke and strangle the victim. Who has not seen the promise of fair flower and fruit choked into yellow withered stalk without fruit "as they go on their way" (poreuomenoi). Bring no fruit to perfection (ou telesporousin). Compound verb common in the late writers (telo, porew). To bring to completion. Used of fruits, animals, pregnant women. Only here in the N.T.