Explanation of the seeds among the thorns (Mt 13:22-13:22)

“As for what was sown

Among the thorns,

This is the one

Who hears the word,

But the cares of the world

With the lure of wealth

Choke the word.

It yields nothing.”

 

ὁ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπαρείς, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων, καὶ ἡ μέριμνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου συμπνίγει τὸν λόγον, καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται.

 

This explanation of the sower parable was about the seeds among the thorns that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:18-19, and Luke, chapter 8:14, with Matthew closer to Mark.  As for the seeds that were sown among the thorns (ὁ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπαρείς), these are the ones who heard the word of the kingdom (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων), but the cares and anxiety of this present age (καὶ ἡ μέριμνα τοῦ αἰῶνος), as well as the allure or deceit of material wealth (καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου), choked or crowded out the word (συμπνίγει τὸν λόγον).  Thus, it yielded nothing because it was barren (καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται).  The thorns were the cares about physical riches that choked off the growth of the seeds or the words of the kingdom.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

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Explanation of the seeds on rocky ground (Mt 13:20-13:21)

“As for what was sown

On rocky ground,

This is the one

Who hears the word

And immediately receives it

With joy.

Yet he has no roots.

But only endures for a while.

When tribulation arises

Or persecution arises,

On account of the word,

That person

Immediately falls away.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπαρείς, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων αὐτόν·

οὐκ ἔχει δὲ ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιρός ἐστιν, γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται.

 

This explanation of the sower parable centered around the seeds sown on the rocky ground that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:16-17, and Luke, chapter 8:13, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground (ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπαρείς) were like the people who heard the word of the kingdom (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων), and immediately received it with joy (καὶ εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων αὐτόν).  Yet these seedlings had no roots (οὐκ ἔχει δὲ ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ), since they only endured for a little while (ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιρός ἐστιν).  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose (γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ), because of the word (διὰ τὸν λόγον), they immediately stumbled and fell away (εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται).  Once again, the seeds are the words of the kingdom.  Listening to the word was not enough if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word of the kingdom.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

Explanation about the seeds on the path (Mt 13:18-13:19)

“Hear then the parable

Of the sower!

When anyone hears

The word of the kingdom

And does not understand it,

The evil one comes.

He snatches away

What is sown in the heart.

This is what was sown

On the path.”

 

Ὑμεῖς οὖν ἀκούσατε τὴν παραβολὴν τοῦ σπείραντος.

Παντὸς ἀκούοντος τὸν λόγον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ μὴ συνιέντος, ἔρχεται ὁ πονηρὸς καὶ ἁρπάζει τὸ ἐσπαρμένον ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν σπαρείς.

 

This is the explanation about the sower parable, especially the seeds on the path that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:13-15, and Luke, chapter 8:11-12, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus had asked them to hear this parable about the sower (Ὑμεῖς οὖν ἀκούσατε τὴν παραβολὴν τοῦ σπείραντος).  He then explained that this was all about hearing the word of the kingdom (Παντὸς ἀκούοντος τὸν λόγον τῆς βασιλείας).  However, they did not understand what they heard (καὶ μὴ συνιέντος).  Thus, the evil one would come (ἔρχεται ὁ πονηρὸς) and seize or snatch away what had been sown in their hearts (καὶ ἁρπάζει τὸ ἐσπαρμένον ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  Jesus said that this is the explanation about the seeds that had been thrown on the path or road (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν σπαρείς).  These seeds were the words of the kingdom.  The birds were the evil ones that came and devoured them, because they did not understand the words of the kingdom.  Listening to the word was not enough.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

They are the blessed ones (Mt 13:16-13:17)

“But blessed are your eyes!

They see!

Blessed are your ears!

They hear!

Truly I say to you!

Many prophets

And righteous people

Longed to see

What you see.

But they did not see it.

They longed to hear

What you hear.

But they did not hear it.”

 

ὑμῶν δὲ μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσιν, καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν ὅτι ἀκούουσιν.

ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν, καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν.

 

This saying about the blessed ones can also be found almost word for word in Luke, chapter 10:23-24, indicating a Q source.  Jesus’ disciples have heard and seen what other prophets and righteous ones had wanted to see and hear, but never did.  His disciples were the blessed or happy ones (ὑμῶν δὲ μακάριοι).  Blessed are their eyes because they see (οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσιν)!  Blessed are their ears because they hear (καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν ὅτι ἀκούουσιν)!  Jesus issued a solemn declaration (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  Many prophets and righteous people had set their hearts on or longed for (ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν) what they had seen (ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε) and heard (καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε), but they never saw them (καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν) or heard them (καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν) like they have.  The disciples of Jesus should realize how fortunate they are to be with Jesus.  Many people were less fortunate than them.

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 13:14-13:15)

“With them indeed is fulfilled

The prophecy of Isaiah

That says.

‘You will indeed listen,

But never understand!

You will indeed see,

but never perceive!

This people’s heart

Has grown dull.

Their ears are

Hard of hearing.

They have shut their eyes,

So that they might not look

With their eyes.

So that they do not listen

With their ears.

So that they do not understand

With their hearts.

They should return.

I would heal them.’”

 

καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε, καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε.

ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν, καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

 

This prophecy of Isaiah is based on chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Only Matthew, among the synoptics, saw the fulfillment of this Isaiah prophecy in Jesus (καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα).  They would listen and hear, but not understand (Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε).  They would see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε).  Their hearts had grown dull or unfeeling (ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου).  Their ears were hard of hearing, as they could barely hear (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν).  They have shut their eyes (καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν), so that they might not see with their eyes (μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς).  Thus, they did not hear with their ears (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν).  Thus, they did not understand with their hearts (καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν).  They should return (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν).  Yahweh or now Jesus would heal them (καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς).

Jesus explained why he used parables (Mt 13:11-13:13)

“Jesus answered them.

‘To you,

It has been given

To know the secret mysteries

Of the kingdom of heaven.

But to them,

It has not been given.

To those who have,

More will be given.

They will have an abundance.

But from those who have nothing,

Even what they have

Will be taken away.

The reason that I speak to them

In parables is that

Seeing,

They do not perceive.

Hearing,

They do not listen.

They do not understand.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται.

ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται· ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν.

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Luke, chapter 8:10.  Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν).  He told them they had been given the knowledge of the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν).  However, this was not granted to others (ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται).  Those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them (ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται).  However, those who had nothing, (ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει), even what little they had would be taken away (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables (διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ), was that some people see, but do not perceive what they see (ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν).  Some people hear but do not listen or understand what they hear (καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν).  This is almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite have a true secret knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom.

Why do you speak in parables? (Mt 13:10-13:10)

“Then the disciples came.

They said to Jesus.

‘Why do you speak

To them in parables?’”

 

Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς;

 

This question to Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:10, and Luke, chapter 8:9.  The disciples came to Jesus (Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They wanted to know why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables (εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς).  The disciples were confused about the use of parables.