Explaining the seeds on rocky ground (Mk 4:16-4:17)

“These are the seeds sown

On rocky ground.

When they hear

The word,

Immediately,

They receive it

With joy.

But they did not have

Their own roots,

Only temporary ones.

Then,

When trouble

Or persecution

Arises

On account of the word,

Immediately,

They fall away.”

 

καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν,

καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν, εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται.

 

This explanation of the seeds sown on the rocky ground can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:20-21, and Luke, chapter 8:13, almost word for word to here.  Mark said that Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground (καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι) were like the people who heard the word (οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον), and immediately received it with joy (εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν).  Yet these seedlings did not have their own roots (καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς), but only temporary roots (ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν).  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose (εἶτα 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 word.  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.  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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No fasting while the bridegroom was present (Mk 2:19-2:19)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot fast

While the bridegroom

Is with them.

Can they?

As long as they have

The bridegroom

With them,

They cannot fast.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν νηστεύειν; ὅσον χρόνον ἔχουσιν τὸν νυμφίον μετ’ αὐτῶν, οὐ δύνανται νηστεύειν.

 

Luke, chapter 5:34, and Matthew, chapter 9:15, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying of Jesus.  Matthew also spoke about mourning, since fasting was associated with distress.  Mark indicated that Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος…νηστεύειν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐν ᾧ ὁ νυμφίος μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν).  As long as Jesus, the bridegroom, was around them, they were not able or could not fast (ὅσον χρόνον ἔχουσιν τὸν νυμφίον μετ’ αὐτῶν, οὐ δύναντα νηστεύειν).  This was a time of joy and good news, not fasting.

The reward for the slave with two talents (Mt 25:23-25:23)

“His master

Said to him.

‘Well done!

Good slave!

Trustworthy slave!

You have been

Faithful

In a few things.

I will put you

In charge

Of many things.

Enter into the joy

Of your master.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:19, where the nobleman said that this 2nd trader slave had done well, so that he put him in charge of 5 cities.  Here Jesus said that this master said to this 2nd diligent trader slave (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) that he done a good job (Εὖ).  He was a good trustworthy slave (δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ).  As he had been trustworthy or faithful in a few things (ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός), this master was going to put him in charge or appoint him over many things (ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω), without being specific.  This 2nd slave was to enter into the joy of his master or lord (εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου).  Notice that the Greek wording is exactly the same, word for word, as it was for the first slave with the 5 talents in verse 21.  They both belonged in the same category as good trustworthy faithful slaves.

 

The reward for the slave with five talents (Mt 25:21-25:21)

“His master

Said to him.

‘Well done!

Good slave!

Trustworthy slave!

You have been

Faithful

In a few things.

I will put you

In charge

Of many things.

Enter into the joy

Of your master.’”

 

ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:17, where the nobleman said that the trader slave had done well, so that he put him in charge of 10 cities.  Here Jesus said that this master said to this 1st diligent trader slave (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) that he done a good job (Εὖ).  He was a good trustworthy slave (δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ).  As he had been trustworthy or faithful in a few things (ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός), this master was going to put him in charge or appoint him over many things (ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω), without being specific.  This first slave was to enter into the joy of his master or lord (εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου).

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.

The lamentation for Assyria (Nah 3:18-3:19)

“Your shepherds

Are asleep!

O king of Assyria!

Your nobles slumber!

Your people are scattered

On the mountains!

There is no one

To gather them!

There is no assuaging

Your hurt!

Your wound is mortal!

All who hear

The news of you,

Clap their hands

Over you.

Who has ever escaped

Your endless cruelty?”

It almost seems like Yahweh, via Nahum, was sorry about the situation in Assyria.  Nahum has a lament for their situation.  Nahum said that all their leaders or shepherds were asleep, while their nobles also slumbered.  The people had been scattered to the mountains, with no one to gather them back.  They had suffered a mortal wound.  Unfortunately, everyone who heard the news about them were clapping their hands in joy.  Assyria would never escape from its cruel position.  Ding dong, Assyria was dead.