The explanation of the seeds on the path (Mk 4:15-4:15)

“These are the seeds

On the path.

The word was sown.

When they hear,

Satan immediately comes.

He takes away

The word

That was sown

In them.”

 

οὗτοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν εὐθὺς ἔρχεται ὁ Σατανᾶς καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐσπαρμένον εἰς αὐτούς.

 

This is the explanation about the seeds on the path that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels.  Matthew, chapter 13:19, said that the birds were the evil one.  Luke, chapter 8:12, mentions that the birds were the devil, not Satan.  Mark indicated that Jesus explained that the seeds on the path or the road (οὗτοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν) were where the word was sown (ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος).  They heard the word (καὶ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν), but immediately Satan came (ἔρχεται ὁ Σατανᾶς), in the form of the birds.  Satan or the birds took away the sown seeds or the word that had been sown in them (καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐσπαρμένον εἰς αὐτούς).  Jesus said that these seeds were the holy words.  The birds were the evil Satan that came and devoured them, because they did not understand the words within them.  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 seeds to be effective.

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Yahweh will sweep away everything (Zeph 1:2-1:3)

“‘I will utterly sweep away

Everything

From the face

Of the earth.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will sweep away

Humans.

I will sweep away

Animals.

I will sweep away

The birds of the air.

I will sweep away

The fish of the sea.

I will make the wicked

Stumble.

I will cut off

Humanity

From the face of the earth.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that he was going to undo his creation.  He was going to sweep away everything on the face of the earth.  He was going to do away with all humans and animals, as well as all the birds in the air and the fish in the sea.  The wicked would stumble, as all humanity would be wiped out.

The terrible situation in the land (Hos 4:2-4:3)

“There is swearing.

There is lying.

There is murder.

There is stealing.

Adultery breaks out.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore,

The land mourns.

All who live in it

Languish.

The wild animals,

Together with

The birds of the air,

Even the fish of the sea,

Are perishing.”

Hosea explained how bad the situation was in Israel. First, the place was full of sin with swearing, lying, murder, and stealing. Adultery was all over the place, with bloodshed everywhere. Thus, the land and its people mourned. Everyone who lived there was languishing. The wild animals, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea were perishing or dying. Death was in the air.

The new covenant (Hos 2:18-2:18)

“On that day,

I will make

For you

A covenant

With the wild animals,

The birds of the air,

The creeping things

Of the ground.

I will abolish

The bow,

The sword,

War from the land.

I will make you

Lie down in safety.”

On that day to come, Yahweh said that he was going to make a new covenant with the wild animals, the birds, and the creeping things. He was going to abolish the bow, the sword, and even fighting in general. War would be no more. This futuristic peace time would mean that they could lie down in safety. Was this the messianic age to come with worldwide peace?

The turbulence at the presence of Yahweh (Ezek 38:20-38:20)

“They all,

The fish of the sea,

The birds of the air,

The animals of the field,

All creeping things

That creep on the ground,

All human beings

That are on the face

of the earth,

Shall quake

At my presence.

The mountains

Shall be thrown down.

The cliffs shall fall.

Every wall

Shall tumble

To the ground.”

There was going to be a great turbulence when Yahweh showed up in Israel. Everyone and everything would shake at his presence. This included the fish, the birds, the creeping things, and all the humans on the face of the earth. The mountains and the cliffs would also fall down. All the walls would tumble to the ground. Yahweh’s presence would be like an earthquake.

The false pursuits (Bar 3:15-3:19)

“Who has found

Her place?

Who has entered

Her storehouses?

Where are the rulers

Of the nations?

Where are those

Who lorded it over

The animals on earth?

Where are those

Who have made sport

Of the birds of the air?

Where are those

Who hoarded up

Silver with gold

In which people trust ?

Where are those

With no end

To their getting?

Where are those

Who schemed

To get silver?

Where are those

Who are anxious?

There is no trace

Of their works.

They have vanished.

They have gone down

To Hades.

Others have arisen

In their place.”

Baruch talks about the vanity and uselessness of various life pursuits as in wisdom literature. What happens to people who store up treasures in a storehouse? Where are all the rulers of the various nations? Where are all the people who felt superior to animals. Where are the sportsmen who tried to shoot the birds in the air with their arrows? What happened to all those who hoarded up and put their trust in silver and gold? Where are all the people who never had enough? Where are those who schemed to get silver? Where are all the people who were so anxious? Baruch’s response is simple and clear. There is no trace of any of these people and their works. They have vanished and gone to hell, Hades, the Greek word for Sheol, the shadowy underworld that we often call hell. However, there are always others to take their place to do the same thing over and over again.

The problem of Topheth (Jer 19:6-19:7)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore the days are surely coming,

When this place shall

No more be called Topheth,

Or the valley of the son of Hinnom,

But the valley of Slaughter.

In this place

I will make void

The plans of Judah,

The plans of Jerusalem.

I will make them fall

By the sword

Before their enemies.

I will make them fall

By the hand of those

Who seek their life.

I will give their dead bodies

For food

To the birds of the air,

To the wild animals of the earth.”

This section is very similar to what is in chapter 7 about Topheth, almost word for word, a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites worshipped. It was in this valley of Hinnom that there may have been a place for sacrificing and burning children. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it would become known for dead bodies after slaughters. The people of Judah and Jerusalem would die by the sword there, while the birds and the wild animals would feed on their dead bodies.