Explanation of the seeds on the good soil (Mt 13:23-13:23)

“As for what was sown

On good soil,

This is the one

Who hears the word

And understands it.

He indeed bears fruit.

He yields,

In one case a hundredfold,

In another sixtyfold,

And in another thirtyfold.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν καλὴν γῆν σπαρείς, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ συνιείς, ὃς δὴ καρποφορεῖ καὶ ποιεῖ ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα.

 

This explanation of the sower parable about the good seeds can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:20, and Luke, chapter 8:15, with Matthew closer to Mark.  As for what was sown on good soil (ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν καλὴν γῆν σπαρείς), these are the people who hear the word of the kingdom and understand it (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ συνιείς).  They then bear good fruit (ὃς δὴ καρποφορεῖ).  They yield either a hundredfold (καὶ ποιεῖ ὃ μὲν ἑκατὸν), sixtyfold (ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα), or thirtyfold (ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα).  Only about 25% of the seeds sown were effective.  Thus, only about 25% of the people hearing the word of the kingdom will follow it.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.  The seeds or the word that fell on the path, on the rocky ground, or the thorns were ineffective.  However, even among the effective seeds that were on good soil, the word would have different results.  Some would yield 100 times, some 60, and some 30.  There was no magic formula.  The circumstances among the good hearers would also bring about a variety of responses and effectiveness.

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The devious heart (Jer 17:9-17:10)

“The heart is devious

Above all things.

The heart is perverse.

Who can understand it?

I!

Yahweh!

I test the mind!

I search the heart!

In order to give to all

According to their ways,

According to the fruit of their doings.”

Yahweh seems to tell Jeremiah that the heart is devious and perverse. Only he can understand the heart, since Yahweh tests it and searches out the hearts of all people. He can tell by the way that they do things. He can see what the fruit of their actions is. Thus he understands what kind of heart they have.

The death of the righteous ones (Isa 57:1-57:2)

“The righteous perish.

No one takes it to heart.

The devout ones are taken away,

While no one understands.

The righteous ones

Are taken away from calamity.

They enter into peace.

Those who walk uprightly

Will rest on their couches.”

Third Isaiah seems to think that the no one seems to care about the death of the righteous Israelites. No one takes it to heart or understands what is happening. The righteous will be taken away from this present calamity. Those who walk upright will enter into peace, so that they can rest in their couch graves.

The Lord’s knowledge (Sir 42:18-42:20)

“The Lord searches out the abyss.

He searches out the human heart.

He understands their innermost secrets.

The Most High knows

All that may be known.

He sees from old

The things that are to come.

He sees the signs of the age.

He discloses what has been.

He discloses what is to be.

He reveals the traces of hidden things.

No thought escapes him.

Nothing is hidden from him.”

The Lord knows the depths of everything. He knows the secrets of the human heart. The Most High God knows all that can be known since he knows about the past and the things to come. He understands the signs of the ages. He can tell you about the past and the future. He knows all about the hidden things, since nothing escapes him. Nothing is hidden from him because the Lord is all-knowing.

The importance of travel (Sir 34:9-34:13)

“A traveled educated person

Knows many things.

One with much experience

Knows what he is talking about.

An inexperienced person

Knows few things.

But he that has traveled

Acquires much cleverness.

I have seen many things

In my travels.

I understand more

Than I can express.

I have often been

In danger of death.

But I have escaped

Because of these experiences.”

Sirach points out the importance of travel for knowledge. The educated well traveled person knows many things. From his experiences, he knows what he is talking about. An inexperienced person only knows a few things. The well traveled person is clever. Then Sirach once again got personal as he said that he had seen many things in his travels. Thus he understands more than he can tell others. He was in danger of death, but he escaped because his experiences helped him out of those situations.

The presence of wisdom (Wis 9:9-9:12)

“With you is wisdom.

She knows your works.

She was present

When you made the world.

She understands

What is pleasing in your sight.

She understands

What is right

According to your commandments.

Send her forth

From the holy heavens.

From the throne of your glory

Send her!

Thus she may labor at my side.

Thus I may learn what is pleasing to you.

She knows all things.

She understands all things.

She will guide me wisely in my actions.

She will guard me with her glory.

Then my works will be acceptable.

I shall judge your people justly.

I shall be worthy

Of the throne of my father.”

Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) was present with God when he made the world (ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον). She understands what is pleasing and what is right according to the commandments. She was sent from the holy heavens (ἐξ ἁγίων οὐρανῶν) and the throne of glory (θρόνου δόξης σου). Thus she labors on earth. She knows and understands all things. She guides and guards this author. Then the author as King Solomon declared that he would judge his people fairly so that he would be worthy of the throne of his father (θρόνων πατρός μου), presumably David.

Only God has wisdom (Job 28:23-28:28)

“God understands the way to it.

He knows its place.

He looks to the ends of the earth.

He sees everything under the heavens.

He gave to the wind its weight.

He meted out the waters by measure.

He made a decree for the rain.

He made a way for the thunderbolt.

Then he saw it.

He declared it.

He established it.

He searched it out.

He said to humankind.

‘Truly

The fear of Yahweh,

That is wisdom.

To depart from evil is understanding.’”

Now we have the answer to this puzzle about wisdom. God is the answer. Fear of Yahweh is true wisdom, an Israelite description of God. Separating from evil is true wisdom. God understands where wisdom is and how to find it. He goes to the ends of the flat earth. He sees everything under the heavens. He knows all things. He knows the weight of the wind and the measure of water. He is in charge of the rain and the thunderbolts. Finally, he reveals it to all human mortals. Fear of the Lord Yahweh is true wisdom so that you depart from evil.