- THE FIRST GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Beside the Sea of Galilee.) A. INTRODUCTION Matthew 13:1-3 ; Mark 4:1 Mark 4:2 ; Luke 8:4
- On that day went Jesus out of the house. It is possible that Matthew here refers to the house mentioned at Mark 3:19 . If so, theevents in Sections 48-51 all occurred on the same day. There areseveral indications in the gospel narratives that this is so.
- And sat by the sea side. By the Sea of Galilee.
13:2 And there were gathered unto him great multitudes, so that he entered into a boat, and sat1; and all the multitude stood on the beach.
- He entered into a boat, and sat. See Mark 4:1.
13:3 And he spake to them many things in parables1, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow2;
- And he spake to them many things in parables. See Mark 4:2.
- Behold, the sower went forth to sow. See Mark 4:3.
13:4 and as he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side1, and the birds came and devoured them:
- And as he sowed, some [seeds] fell by the way side. See Mark 4:4.
13:5 and others fell upon the rocky places1, where they had not much earth: and straightway they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth:
13:7 And others fell upon the thorns1; and the thorns grew up and choked them:
- And others fell upon the thorns. See Mark 4:7.
13:8 and others fell upon the good ground1, and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
- And others fell upon the good ground, etc. See Mark 4:8.
13:9 He that hath ears, let him hear1.
- He that hath ears, let him hear. See Mark 4:9.
13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables1?
- Why speakest thou unto them in parables? See Mark 4:10.
13:11 And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven1, but to them it is not given.
- Matthew 13:11 Matthew 13:12
- Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, etc. See Mark 4:11.
13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given1, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.
- For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, etc. See Mark 4:25.
13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not1, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
- Because seeing they see not, etc. See Mark 4:12. The language here is an elaboration of the thoughts contained in Matthew 13:12 .
13:14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah1, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear2, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive:
- Matthew 13:14 Matthew 13:15
- Unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. See Isaiah 6:9 Isaiah 6:10 . In the original passage which Matthew quotes, Isaiah is apparentlycommanded to harden the hearts of the people. If read superficially, itmight seem that God desired to harden their hearts. The true meaning isthat God commanded Isaiah to teach, even though the people, byhardening themselves against his teaching, should be made worse ratherthan better by it. Thus, though rebellious, Israel might not be blessedby Isaiah's teaching; they might, by their examples, waken a wholesomefear in their posterity, and cause it to avoid like a sin.
- By hearing ye shall hear, etc. See Mark 4:25.
13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross1, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.
13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see1; and your ears, for they hear.
- But blessed are your eyes, for they see, etc. Jesus here addresses his disciples, who were a cheering contrast to the unbelievers.
13:17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see1, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not.
- Many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, etc. Our Lord here gives us a glance into the very hearts ofthe prophets, and reveals to us their desire to be witnesses ofMessiah's ministry. But knowing they were not to see their visionsrealized, they contented themselves with trying to understand the fullmeaning of their visions, that they might anticipate the days whichwere to come ( 1 Peter 1:10-12 ).
13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, [then] cometh the evil [one], and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This is he that was sown by the way side1.
- This is he that was sown by the way side. See Mark 4:15.
13:20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places1, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it;
13:22 And he that was sown among the thorns1, this is he that heareth the word; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
- And he that was sown among the thorns, etc. See Mark 4:18.
13:23 And he that was sown upon the good ground1, this is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; who verily beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
- And he that was sown upon the good ground, etc. See Mark 4:20.
13:24 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field:
- THE FIRST GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Beside the Sea of Galilee.) D. THE PARABLE OF THE TARES. Matthew 13:24-30
13:25 but while men slept1, his enemy came and sowed tares also2 among the wheat, and went away3.
- But while men slept. While they innocently rested, not while they were negligent.
- His enemy came and sowed tares also. Darnel, which closely resembles our cheat, that is the common chess or bromegrass ("Bromussecalinus"), widely distributed as a weed.
- Among the wheat, and went away. Though not common, there have been instances of such malignant mischief as is here indicated.
13:26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also1.
- Then appeared the tares also. The difference between darnel and wheat does not become apparent until the two kinds of grain are nearlyripe.
13:29 But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them1.
- Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. The roots of wheat and darnel so intertwine that theycannot be separated without pulling up both. Jesus' explanation of thisparable will be found in subdivision F. See Matthew 13:36.
13:31 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed1, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
- THE FIRST GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Beside the Sea of Galilee.) PARABLES OF THE MUSTARD SEED AND LEAVEN. Matthew 13:31-35 ; Mark 4:30-34
- Like unto a grain of mustard seed. See Matthew 17:20.
13:32 which indeed is less than all seeds1; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs2, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.
- Which indeed is less than all seeds. See Mark 4:31.
- But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs. See Mark 4:32.
13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven1, which a woman took2, and hid in three measures of meal3, till it was all leavened4.
- The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven. In Oriental housekeeping, yeast is not preserved in a separate form. A piece of leavened doughsaved over from the last baking is added to the new dough to fermentit.
- Which a woman took. A woman is named because baking was part of her household duties.
- And hid in three measures of meal. Three measures contained the quantity usually taken for one baking.
- Till it was all leavened. Leaven represents the quickness, quietness, thoroughness, and sureness with which gospel truth diffusesitself through human society.
13:34 All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes1; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them2:
- All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes. See Mark 4:33.
- And without a parable spake he nothing unto them. See Mark 4:34.
13:35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet1, saying, I will open my mouth in parables2; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.
- That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet. At Psalms 78:2 which is usually attributed to Asaph, who is called a seer( 2 Chronicles 29:30 ).
- I will open my mouth in parables, etc. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy in a notable manner, being the only teacher in history distinguished inany marked degree by the use of parables.
13:36 Then he left the multitudes, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field2.
- THE FIRST GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Beside the Sea of Galilee.) F. THE PARABLE OF THE TARES EXPLAINED. Matthew 13:36-43
- Then he . . . went into the house. Probably Simon Peter's house.
- Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. This parable and its explanation are sometimes urged as an argument against churchdiscipline, but such a use of them is clearly erroneous. The field isnot the church, but the world, and the teaching of the parable is thatwe are not to attempt to exterminate evil men. Any who attempt toexterminate heretics in the name of Christ by physical force arecondemned by this parable.
13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear1.
- He that hath ears, let him hear. See Mark 4:9.
13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field1; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
- THE FIRST GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Beside the Sea of Galilee.) G. PARABLES OF TREASURE, PEARL, AND NET. Matthew 13:44-53
- The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field. In the absence of banks and other trust repositories, the men of thatday hid their treasures as best they could. The sudden death of thehider often resulted in the loss of all knowledge as to the whereaboutsof the treasure. The parable speaks of such a treasure.
- Which a man found, and hid; . . . and buyeth that field. Technically it belonged to the owner of the field, but practically it belonged tohim who found it. Hence the finder conceals it again until he had madeperfect his title to it by the purchase of the field. The gist of theparable does not require us to pass upon the conduct of the finder,which was certainly questionable.
The three parables in this section appear to have been addressedprivately to the disciples.
13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls1:
- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls. In the preceding parable the treasure was foundby accident; in this, the pearl was sought. Some find without seeking,as did the Samaritan woman ( John 4:28 John 4:29 ); some only after diligentsearch, as did the eunuch ( Acts 8:27 Acts 8:36 ).
13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea1, and gathered of every kind2:
- Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea. Like the parable of the tares ( Matthew 13:24-30 ), this oneindicates the continuance of the mixture of bad and good, and points tothe final separation.
- And gathered of every kind. The contents of a net cannot be sorted while it is being drawn. The tares indicate such evils as can be seenand as tempt us to uproot them. The net shows that in the dark andturbulent waters, and in the hurry-scurry of its teeming life, thereare things which cannot be seen.
13:48 which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away1.
- They sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away. The judgment shall be with care, as when men, in thebroad light of day, on the quiet beach, sit down to sort the fish. Ifthe parable of the tares emphasizes the waiting, the parable of the netemphasizes the careful sorting.
13:52 And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple1 to the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
- Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple, etc. As a householder graces his banquet with things already in the house, andwith other things which have just been provided, so a religious teachermust refresh his hearers out of both his past and his presentexperiences and study.
13:53 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence1.
- He departed thence. He went from the house to the sea in the afternoon, and entering a boat a little later, he stilled the storm.
13:54 And coming into his own country he1 taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works3?
- JESUS VISITS NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED. Matthew 13:54-58 ; Mark 6:1-6 ; Luke 4:16-31
- And coming into his own country he. Nazareth. As to this city, see notes at Luke 1:26 ; Luke 2:39 Luke 2:51 .
- He taught them in their synagogue. For comment on this usage of the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.
- Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? See Mark 6:2.
13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son1? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas?
- Is not this the carpenter's son? etc. See Mark 6:3.
13:57 And they were offended in him1. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.