The parable of the sower with lost seeds (Mt 13:3-13:7)

“A sower went out to sow.

As he sowed,

Some seeds fell on the path.

The birds came.

They ate them up.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground.

Where they did not have much soil.

They sprang up quickly,

As they had no depth of soil.

When the sun rose,

They were scorched.

As they had no roots,

They withered away.

Other seeds fell upon thorns.

The thorns grew up.

They choked them.”

 

Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν.

καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν, καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς,

ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη.

ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας, καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά.

 

This sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:3-7, and Luke, chapter 8:5-7, with Matthew closer to Mark.  The farmer or sower went out to sow his seeds (Ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν).  This first section is about the unsuccessful seeds.  The first group of seeds fell on the walking path or road (καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ἃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), so that the birds came and ate them up or devoured them (καὶ ἐλθόντα τὰ πετεινὰ κατέφαγεν αὐτά).  The second group of seeds fell on rocky ground (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη).  They did not have much soil (ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν).  They sprang up quickly, even though they did not have much soil depth (καὶ εὐθέως ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς).  However, they were scorched and withered under the sun (ἡλίου δὲ ἀνατείλαντος ἐκαυματίσθη) because they did not have good roots (καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη).  The final group of unsuccessful seeds fell among the thorns (ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας) where they were chocked by the growing thorns (καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτά).

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The fiery day to come (Mal 4:1-4:1)

“‘See!

The day is coming,

Burning

Like an oven.

All the arrogant

Will be stubble.

All evildoers

Will be stubble.

The day that comes

Shall burn them up.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

Thus,

It will leave them

Neither root

Nor branch.”

The day of Yahweh would be a fiery hot day.  The wicked ones would burn up as if they were in an oven.  All the arrogant and evildoers would be like stubble for the fire that would burn all of them up.  Yahweh of hosts was going to leave these wicked people without roots or branches.  Thus, the idea that God will come with fire has its biblical origins here.

The planting of the seed (Ezek 17:5-17:6)

“Then the eagle

Took a seed

From the land.

He placed it

In fertile soil.

He planted it

By abundant waters.

He set it

Like a willow twig.

It sprouted.

It became a vine,

Spreading out,

But low.

Its branches

Turned toward him,

Its roots remained

Where it stood.

So it became a vine.

It brought forth branches.

It put forth foliage.”

Then this eagle took a seed from the land. He placed it in a particular fertile soil by some water, so that it was just like a willow twig. This twig sprouted and became a low vine, spreading out its branches toward him. The roots remained strong so that it became a vine with branches and foliage. Perhaps this is an allusion to King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE), who was placed on the throne of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar.

The prosperous wicked people (Jer 12:1-12:3)

“Yahweh!

You will be in the right

When I complain to you.

But let me plead my case

Before you?

Why does the way of the guilty prosper?

Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

You plant them.

They take root.

They grow.

They bring forth fruit.

You are near in their mouths.

Yet you are far from their hearts.

Yahweh!

You know me!

You see me!

You test me!

My heart is with you.

Pull them out

Like sheep for the slaughter!

Set them apart

For the day of slaughter.”

Jeremiah wanted to know why the wicked ones prospered. Much like Job, and the sapiential literature, this was the question of why do bad or evil people succeed? Jeremiah pleaded his case before Yahweh. Yahweh was the one who planted them and gave them roots. Thus they have grown and born fruit. They say the right things, but their hearts are not in it. Jeremiah complained that Yahweh knew what kind of person he was, since Yahweh knew, saw, and tested him. His heart was with Yahweh. Now he wanted these wicked guilty people to be pulled out and put to slaughter like sheep. Jeremiah was not happy about these prosperous wicked people.

The Creator (Isa 40:21-40:24)

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you

From the beginning?

Have you not understood

From the foundations of the earth?

It is he

Who sits above the circle of the earth.

Its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens

Like a curtain.

He spreads them

Like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught.

He makes the rulers of the earth

As nothing.

Scarcely are they planted,

Scarcely sown,

Scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

When he blows upon them,

They wither.

The tempest carries them off

Like stubble.”

Second Isaiah continues to use the questioning style to make his point. He seems to call attention to the ignorance of the people. Do they not understand that God created them? God sits on top of the dome over the earth in the heavens, As Second Isaiah was expressing the cosmology of his day. God has stretched out the heavens like a curtain or a tent. All humans are like grasshoppers since he has such a lofty view. He controls the earthly princes and rulers. As soon as someone plants something and it begins to take roots, he blows on it and it withers. Then he sends a tempest storm to carry it off as stubble. Clearly God is in control as the creator of this world and the things in it.

Manual labor (Prov 12:12-12:14)

“The wicked covet the proceeds of wickedness.

But the root of the righteous bears fruit.

The evil are ensnared by the transgressions of their lips.

But the righteous escape from trouble.

From the fruit of the mouth

One is filled with good things.

Manual labor has its reward.”

Whatever the wicked covet, they will receive this wickedness. However, the righteous bear fruit because of their good roots. The evil ones get caught in their own verbal transgressions. The righteous escape from trouble, while the wicked seem to be caught up in it. You will be judged by the fruit of your mouth, what comes out.   Good things come out of the righteous mouth as opposed to the wicked mouth. Manual labor has its own reward.

Job maintains that he has not committed adultery (Job 31:9-31:12)

“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

If I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,

Then let my wife grind for another!

Let other men kneel over her.

That would be a heinous crime.

That would be a criminal offense.

That would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon.

It would burn to the root all my harvest.”

If Job had been enticed by another woman, he would have to give up his wife. If he laid in wait until his neighbor came home, that would be a terrible crime. His wife should then grind for another person. Grind referred to the idea that she should have sex with another man. Other men would then kneel over her. This would be a criminal act leading to the consuming fire of Abaddon, Sheol, or hell. His harvest should be burned at its roots. Job seemed to take adultery very seriously. He should lose his wife and crops if he committed such a thing.