Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Matthew 13:24 – Bible Commentary

Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Matthew 13:24

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

The kingdom of heaven is likened … – That is, the gospel resembles. The kingdom of heaven (see the notes at Mat 3:2) means here the effect of the gospel by its being preached. The meaning of this parable is plain. The field represents the world, in which the gospel is preached. The good seed, the truths preached by Christ and his apostles.

Mat 13:25

While men slept, his enemy came … – That is, in the night, when it could be done without being seen, an enemy came and scattered bad seed on the new-plowed field, perhaps before the good seed had been harrowed in.

Satan thus sows false doctrine in darkness. In the very place where the truth is preached, and while the hearts of people are open to receive it, by false but plausible teachers he takes care to inculcate false sentiments. Often it is one of his arts, in a revival of religion, to spread secretly dangerous notions of piety. Multitudes are persuaded that they are Christians who are deceived. They are awakened, convicted, and alarmed. They take this for conversion. Or they find their burden gone; they fancy that they hear a voice; or a text of Scripture is brought to them, saying that their sins are forgiven; or they see Christ hanging on the cross in a vision; or they dream that their sins are pardoned, and they suppose they are Christians. But they are deceived. None of these things are any conclusive evidence of piety. All these may exist, and still there be no true love to God or Christ, and no real hatred of sin and change of heart. An enemy may do it to deceive them, and to bring dishonor on religion.

Sowed tares – By tares is probably meant a degenerate kind of wheat, or the darnel-grass growing in Palestine. In its growth and form it has a strong resemblance to genuine wheat; but it either produces no grain, or that of a very inferior and hurtful kind. Probably it comes near to what we mean by chess. It was extremely difficult to separate it from the genuine wheat, on account of its similarity while growing.

The tare abounds all over the East, and is a great nuisance to the farmer. It resembles the American cheat (chess), but the head does not droop like cheat, nor does it branch out like oats. The grain, also, is smaller, and is arranged along the upper part of the stalk, which stands perfectly erect. The taste is bitter, and when eaten separately, or even when diffused in ordinary bread, it causes dizziness, and often acts as a violent emetic. Barn-door fowls also become dizzy from eating it. In short, it is a strong soporific poison, and must be carefully winnowed, and picked out of the wheat grain by grain, before grinding, or the flour is not healthy. Even the farmers, who in this country generally weed their fields, do not attempt to separate the one from the other. They would not only mistake good grain for them, but very commonly the roots of the two are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate them without plucking up both. Both, therefore, must be left to grow together until the time of harvest. – (Thomson) The Land and the Book, vol. ii. pp. 111, 112. Thus, tares aptly represented hypocrites in the church. Strongly resembling Christians in their experience, and, in some respects, their lives it is impossible to distinguish them from genuine Christians, nor can they be separated until it is done by the Great Searcher of hearts at the day of judgment. An enemy the devil hath done it. And nowhere has he shown profounder cunning, or done more to adulterate the purity of the gospel.

And went his way – There is something very expressive in this. He knew the soil; he knew how the seed would take root and grow. He had only to sow the seed and let it alone. So Satan knows the soil in which he sows his doctrine. He knows that in the human heart it will take deep and rapid root. It needs but little culture. Grace needs constant attendance and care. Error, and sin, and hypocrisy are the native products of the human heart, and, when left alone, start up with deadly luxuriancy.

Mat 13:26

Then appeared the tares also – That is, then the tares were first discovered. They had grown with the wheat, but were so much like it as not to be noticed until the wheat began to ripen.

So true piety and false hopes are not known by professions, by blades, and leaves, and flowers, but by the fruit.

Mat 13:29

Ye root up also the wheat – They so much resembled the true wheat that even then it would be difficult to separate them.

By gathering them, they would tread down the wheat, loosen and disturb the earth, and greatly injure the crop. In the harvest it could be done without injury.

Mat 13:30

Let both grow together – They would not spoil the true wheat, and in time of harvest it would be easy to separate them.

Our Saviour teaches us here:

  1. That hypocrites and deceived persons must be expected in the church.
  2. That this is the work of the enemy of man. They are not the work of Christianity any more than traitors are of patriotism, or counterfeiters are of the proper effect of legislating about money. They belong to the world, and hypocrisy is only one form of sin. The Christian religion never made a hypocrite, nor is there a hypocrite on the earth whose principles and practice it does not condemn.
  3. That all hope of removing them entirely would be vain.
  4. That an attempt to remove them altogether would injure real Christianity, by causing excitements, discord, and hard feelings even among Christians.
  5. That Christ will himself separate them at the proper time. There is no doubt that it is the duty of the church to keep itself pure, and to cut off gross and manifest offenders, 1Co 5:4-5; but the Saviour refers here to those who may be suspected of hypocrisy, but against whom it cannot be proved; to those who so successfully imitate Christians as to make it difficult or impossible for man to distinguish them.

Fuente: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Verse 24. The kingdom of heaven] God’s method of managing the affairs of the world, and the concerns of his Church.

Is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field] In general, the world may be termed the field of God; and in particular, those who profess to believe in God through Christ are his field or farm; among whom God sows nothing but the pure unadulterated word of his truth.

Fuente: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Here are three parables by the evangelist put together before he cometh to the explication which our Saviour giveth of the first; all of them concerning the gospel church, and the dispensation of the gospel. In the one he instructs us what we are to expect as to the mixture of persons in it while it is in this world. In the other two concerning the increase and propagation of it. The first himself expounds, Mat 13:37-43. This parable is only found in Matthew. The other two are found, shortly both of them in Luke, one in Mark; neither of them are expounded. I will therefore, without any explication of these verses at present, go on to the verses following them, all which will lead me to our Saviours own interpretation of the first of these parables; after which I will also consider these two parables that follow here, but are neither expounded here nor in the other evangelists.

Fuente: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

24, 36-38. Another parable put heforth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a manwhich sowed good seed in his fieldHappily for us, theseexquisite parables are, with like charming simplicity and clearness,expounded to us by the Great Preacher Himself. Accordingly, we passto: Mt 13:36-38. Seeon Mt 13:36; Mt13:38

Fuente: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,…. Somewhat like the former, but with a different view: for whereas the design of the former was to show the different sorts of hearers that attend upon the ministry of the word, three parts in four being bad; this is to show the difference of members in churches, some being comparable to good seed, and others to tares.

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: by “the kingdom of heaven”, is not meant the ultimate glory of the saints in heaven, or the state of happiness in the other world; for there will be no tares there; nor the Gospel, and the ministration of it, but the Gospel dispensation, and times, and kingdom of the Messiah; or rather the Gospel visible church state, on earth, called a “kingdom”, of which Christ is king, and in which the saints are subject to him; where proper laws are made for the orderly government of it, and proper officers appointed to explain, and put those laws in execution; and which consists of various persons, united under one head, and independent of any other government: and it is styled the kingdom of heaven, in distinction from the kingdoms of this world; the subjects of it are, or should be, heaven born souls; the word, laws, and ordinances of it are from heaven; and there is some resemblance between a Gospel church state and heaven, and it is very near unto it, and is even the suburbs of it: or else the king Messiah himself is intended, who is compared to a man, a sower; and so it is explained, Mt 13:37 “he that soweth the good seed is the son of man”: which is a name and title of the Messiah, by which he is called both in the Old and New Testament; who, though the seed of the woman, yet was the son of man, as of Abraham, and David; and which denotes the truth, and yet the infirmity of his human nature: he is the sower that went about preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, in the Jewish world, or throughout Judea and Galilee, in his own person: and who also, by the ministry of his apostles, sowed the seed of the word in the several parts of the world, which was made effectual for the beginning of a good work of grace on the souls of many; for by “his field” is meant “the world”, as appears from Mt 13:38 and means either the whole world, in which both good and bad men live and dwell; and is the field Christ is the proprietor of, both by creation, as God, and by gift, as mediator: or the church, the visible Gospel church state throughout the world; which is as a field well tilled and manured; and is Christ’s by gift, purchase, and grace: and by the good seed sown in it, are meant “the children of the kingdom”; as is said, Mt 13:38 such as have a good work begun in them, and bring forth good fruit in their lives and conversations.

Fuente: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Parable of the Tares, the Mustard-Seed, the Leaven, c..

      24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:   25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.   26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.   27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?   28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?   29 But he said, Nay lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.   30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.   31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:   32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.   33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.   34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:   35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.   36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.   37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;   38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;   39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.   40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.   41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;   42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.   43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

      In these verses, we have, I. Another reason given why Christ preached by parables, Mat 13:34; Mat 13:35. All these things he spoke in parables, because the time was not yet come for the more clear and plain discoveries of the mysteries of the kingdom. Christ, to keep the people attending and expecting, preached in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them; namely, at this time and in this sermon. Note, Christ tries all ways and methods to do good to the souls of men, and to make impressions upon them; if men will not be instructed and influenced by plain preaching, he will try them with parables; and the reason here given is, That the scripture might be fulfilled. The passage here quoted for it, is part of the preface to that historical Psalm, lxxviii. 2, I will open my mouth in a parable. What the Psalmist David, or Asaph, says there of his narrative, is accommodated to Christ’s sermons; and that great precedent would serve to vindicate this way of preaching from the offence which some took at it. Here is, 1. The matter of Christ’s preaching; he preached things which had been kept secret from the foundation of the world. The mystery of the gospel had been hid in God, in his councils and decrees, from the beginning of the world. Eph. iii. 9. Compare Rom 16:25; 1Co 2:7; Col 1:26. If we delight in the records of ancient things, and in the revelation of secret things, how welcome should the gospel be to us, which has in it such antiquity and such mystery! It was from the foundation of the world wrapt up in types and shadows, which are now done away; and those secret things are now become such things revealed as belong to us and to our children, Deut. xxix. 29. 2. The manner of Christ’s preaching; he preached by parables; wise sayings, but figurative, and which help to engage attention and a diligent search. Solomon’s sententious dictates, which are full of similitudes, are called proverbs, or parables; it is the same word; but in this, as in other things, Behold a greater than Solomon is here, in whom are hid treasures of wisdom.

      II. The parable of the tares, and the exposition of it; they must be taken together, for the exposition explains the parable and the parable illustrates the exposition.

      Observe, 1. The disciples’ request to their Master to have this parable expounded to them (v. 36); Jesus sent the multitude away; and it is to be feared many of them went away no wiser than they came; they had heard a sound of words, and that was all. It is sad to think how many go away from sermons without the word of grace in their hearts. Christ went into the house, not so much for his own repose, as for particular converse with his disciples, whose instruction he chiefly intended in all his preaching. He was ready to do good in all places; the disciples laid hold on the opportunity, and they came to him. Note, Those who would be wise for every thing else, must be wise to discern and improve their opportunities, especially of converse with Christ, of converse with him alone, in secret meditation and prayer. It is very good, when we return from the solemn assembly, to talk over what we have heard there, and by familiar discourse to help one another to understand and remember it, and to be affected with it; for we lose the benefit of many a sermon by vain and unprofitable discourse after it. See Luk 24:32; Deu 6:6; Deu 6:7. It is especially good, if it may be, to ask of the ministers of the word the meaning of the word, for their lips should keep knowledge, Mal. ii. 7. Private conference would contribute much to our profiting by public preaching. Nathan’s Thou art the man, was that which touched David to the heart.

      The disciples’ request to their Master was, Declare unto us the parable of the tares. This implied an acknowledgement of their ignorance, which they were not ashamed to make. It is probable they apprehended the general scope of the parable, but they desired to understand it more particularly, and to be assured that they took it right. Note, Those are rightly disposed for Christ’s teaching, that are sensible of their ignorance, and sincerely desirous to be taught. He will teach the humble (Psa 25:8; Psa 25:9), but will for this be enquired of. If any man lack instruction, let him ask it of God. Christ had expounded the foregoing parable unasked, but for the exposition of this they ask him. Note, The mercies we have received must be improved, both for direction what to pray for, and for our encouragement in prayer. The first light and the first grace are given in a preventing way, further degrees of both which must be daily prayed for.

      2. The exposition Christ gave of the parable, in answer to their request; so ready is Christ to answer such desires of his disciples. Now the drift of the parable is, to represent to us the present and future state of the kingdom of heaven, the gospel church: Christ’s care of it, the devil’s enmity against it, the mixture that there is in it of good and bad in the other world. Note, The visible church is the kingdom of heaven; though there be many hypocrites in it, Christ rules in it as a King; and there is a remnant in it, that are the subjects and heirs of heaven, from whom, as the better part, it is denominated: the church is the kingdom of heaven upon earth.

      Let us go over the particulars of the exposition of the parable.

      (1.) He that sows the good seed is the Son of man. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the field, the Lord of the harvest, the Sower of good seed. When he ascended on high, he gave gifts to the world; not only good ministers, but other good men. Note, Whatever good seed there is in the world, it all comes from the hand of Christ, and is of his sowing: truths preached, graces planted, souls sanctified, are good seed, and all owing to Christ. Ministers are instruments in Christ’s hand to sow good seed; are employed by him and under him, and the success of their labours depends purely upon his blessing; so that it may well be said, It is Christ, and no other, that sows the good seed; he is the Son of man, one of us, that his terror might not make us afraid; the Son of man, the Mediator, and that has authority.

      (2.) The field is the world; the world of mankind, a large field, capable of bringing forth good fruit; the more is it to be lamented that it brings forth so much bad fruit: the world here is the visible church, scattered all the world over, not confined to one nation. Observe, In the parable it is called his field; the world is Christ’s field, for all things are delivered unto him of the Father: whatever power and interest the devil has in the world, it is usurped and unjust; when Christ comes to take possession, he comes whose right it is; it is his field, and because it is his he took care to sow it with good seed.

      (3.) The good seed are the children of the kingdom, true saints. They are, [1.] The children of the kingdom; not in profession only, as the Jews were (ch. viii. 12), but in sincerity; Jews inwardly, Israelites indeed, incorporated in faith and obedience to Jesus Christ the great King of the church. [2.] They are the good seed, precious as seed, Ps. cxxvi. 6. The seed is the substance of the field; so the holy seed, Isa. vi. 13. The seed is scattered, so are the saints; dispersed, here one and there another, though in some places thicker sown than in others. The seed is that from which fruit is expected; what fruit of honour and service God has from this world he has from the saints, whom he has sown unto himself in the earth, Hos. ii. 23.

      (4.) The tares are the children of the wicked one. Here is the character of sinners, hypocrites, and all profane and wicked people. [1.] They are the children of the devil, as a wicked one. Though they do not own his name, yet they bear his image, do his lusts, and from him they have their education; he rules over them, he works in them, Eph 2:2; Joh 8:44. [2.] They are tares in the field of this world; they do no good, they do hurt; unprofitable in themselves, and hurtful to the good seed, both by temptation and persecution: they are weeds in the garden, have the same rain, and sunshine, and soil, with the good plants, but are good for nothing: the tares are among the wheat. Note, God has so ordered it, that good and bad should be mixed together in this world, that the good may be exercised, the bad left inexcusable, and a difference made between earth and heaven.

      (5.) The enemy that sowed the tares is the devil; a sworn enemy to Christ and all that is good, to the glory of the good God, and the comfort and happiness of all good men. He is an enemy to the field of the world, which he endeavours to make his own, by sowing his tares in it. Ever since he became a wicked spirit himself, he has been industrious to promote wickedness, and has made it his business, aiming therein to counterwork Christ.

      Now concerning the sowing of the tares, observe in the parable,

      [1.] That they were sown while men slept. Magistrates slept, who by their power, ministers slept, who by their preaching, should have prevented this mischief. Note, Satan watches all opportunities, and lays hold of all advantages, to propagate vice and profaneness. The prejudice he does to particular persons is when reason and conscience sleep, when they are off their guard; we have therefore need to be sober, and vigilant. It was in the night, for that is the sleeping time. Note, Satan rules in the darkness of this world; that gives him an opportunity to sow tares, Ps. civ. 20. It was while men slept; and there is no remedy but men must have some sleeping time. Note, It is as impossible for us to prevent hypocrites being in the church, as it is for the husbandman, when he is asleep, to hinder an enemy from spoiling his field.

      [2.] The enemy, when he had sown the tares, went his way (v. 25), that it might not be known who did it. Note, When Satan is doing the greatest mischief, he studies most to conceal himself; for his design is in danger of being spoiled if he be seen in it; and therefore, when he comes to sow tares, he transforms himself into an angel of light,2Co 11:13; 2Co 11:14. He went his way, as if he had done no harm; such is the way of the adulterous woman, Prov. xxx. 20. Observe, Such is the proneness of fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may even go his way, they will spring up of themselves and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced, or it will come to nothing.

      [3.] The tares appeared not till the blade sprung up, and brought forth fruit, v. 26. There is a great deal of secret wickedness in the hearts of men, which is long hid under the cloak of a plausible profession, but breaks out at last. As the good seed, so the tares, lie a great while under the clods, and at first springing up, it is hard to distinguish them; but when a trying time comes, when fruit is to be brought forth, when good is to be done that has difficulty and hazard attending it, then you will return and discern between the sincere and the hypocrite: then you may say, This is wheat, and that is tares.

      [4.] The servants, when they were aware of it, complained to their master (v. 27); Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not of Christ: considering the seed which Christ sows, we may well ask, with wonder, Whence should these tares come? Note, The rise of errors, the breaking out of scandals, and the growth of profaneness, are matter of great grief to all the servants of Christ; especially to his faithful ministers, who are directed to complain of it to him whose the field is. It is sad to see such tares, such weeds, in the garden of the Lord; to see the good soil wasted, the good seed choked, and such a reflection cast on the name and honour of Christ, as if his field were no better than the field of the slothful, all grown over with thorns.

      [5.] The Master was soon aware whence it was (v. 28); An enemy has done this. He does not lay the blame upon the servants; they could not help it, but had done what was in their power to prevent it. Note, The ministers of Christ, that are faithful and diligent, shall not be judged of Christ, and therefore should not be reproached by men, for the mixtures of bad with good, hypocrites with the sincere, in the field of the church. It must needs be that such offences will come; and they shall not be laid to our charge, if we do our duty, though it have not the desired success. Though they sleep, if they do not love sleep; though tares be sown, if they do not sow them nor water them, nor allow of them, the blame shall not lie at their door.

      [6.] The servants were very forward to have these tares rooted up. “Wilt thou that we go and do it presently?” Note, The over-hasty and inconsiderate zeal of Christ’s servants, before they have consulted with their Master, is sometimes ready, with the hazard of the church, to root out all that they presume to be tares: Lord, wilt thou that we call for fire from heaven?

      [7.] The Master very wisely prevented this (v. 29); Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Note, It is not possible for any man infallibly to distinguish between tares and wheat, but he may be mistaken; and therefore such is the wisdom and grace of Christ, that he will rather permit the tares, than any way endanger the wheat. It is certain, scandalous offenders are to be censured, and we are to withdraw from them; those who are openly the children of the wicked one, are not to be admitted to special ordinances; yet it is possible there may be a discipline, either so mistaken in its rules, or so over-nice in the application of them, as may prove vexatious to many that are truly godly and conscientious. Great caution and moderation must be used in inflicting and continuing church censures, lest the wheat be trodden down, if not plucked up. The wisdom from above, as it is pure, so it is peaceable, and those who oppose themselves must not be cut off, but instructed, and with meekness, 2 Tim. ii. 25. The tares, if continued under the means of grace, may become good corn; therefore have patience with them.

      (6.) The harvest is the end of the world, v. 39. This world will have an end; though it continue long, it will not continue always; time will shortly be swallowed up in eternity. At the end of the world, there will be a great harvest-day, a day of judgment; at harvest all is ripe and ready to be cut down: both good and bad are ripe at the great-day, Rev. vi. 11. It is the harvest of the earth, Rev. xiv. 15. At harvest the reapers cut down all before them; not a field, not a corner, is left behind; so at the great day all must be judged (Rev 20:12; Rev 20:13); God has set a harvest (Hos. vi. 11), and it shall not fail, Gen. viii. 22. At harvest every man reaps as he sowed; every man’s ground, and seed, and skill, and industry, will be manifested: see Gal 6:7; Gal 6:8. Then they who sowed precious seed, will come again with rejoicing (Psa 126:5; Psa 126:6), with the joy of harvest (Isa. ix. 3); when the sluggard, who would not plough by reason of cold, shall beg, and have nothing (Prov. xx. 4); shall cry, Lord, Lord, but in vain; when the harvest of those who sowed to the flesh, shall be a day of grief, and of desperate sorrow, Isa. xvii. 11.

      (7.) The reapers are the angels: they shall be employed, in the great day, in executing Christ’s righteous sentences, both of approbation and condemnation, as ministers of his justice, ch. xxv. 31. The angels are skilful, strong, and swift, obedient servants to Christ, holy enemies to the wicked, and faithful friends to all the saints, and therefore fit to be thus employed. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and the angels will not be unpaid for their attendance; for he that soweth, and he that reapeth, shall rejoice together (John iv. 36); that is joy in heaven in the presence of the angels of God.

      (8.) Hell-torments are the fire, into which the tares shall then be cast, and in which they shall be burned. At the great day a distinction will be made, and with it a vast difference; it will be a notable day indeed.

      [1.] The tares will then be gathered out: The reapers (whose primary work it is to gather in the corn) shall be charged first to gather out the tares. Note, Though good and bad are together in this world undistinguished, yet at the great day they shall be parted; no tares shall then be among the wheat; no sinners among the saints: then you shall plainly discern between the righteous and the wicked, which here sometimes it is hard to do, Mal 3:18; Mal 4:1. Christ will not bear always, Ps. l. 1, c. They shall gather out of his kingdom all wicked things that offend, and all wicked persons that do iniquity: when he begins, he will make a full end. All those corrupt doctrines, worships, and practices, which have offended, have been scandals to the church, and stumbling-blocks to men’s consciences, shall be condemned by the righteous Judge in that day, and consumed by the brightness of his coming all the wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. iii. 12); and then woe to them that do iniquity, that make a trade of it, and persist in it; not only those in the last age of Christ’s kingdom upon earth, but those in every age. Perhaps here is an allusion to Zeph. i. 3, I will consume the stumbling-blocks with the wicked.

      [2.] They will then be bound in bundles, v. 30. Sinners of the same sort will be bundled together in the great day: a bundle of atheists, a bundle of epicures, a bundle of persecutors, and a great bundle of hypocrites. Those who have been associates in sin, will be so in shame and sorrow; and it will be an aggravation of their misery, as the society of glorified saints will add to their bliss. Let us pray, as David, Lord, gather not my soul with sinners (Ps. xxvi. 9), but let it be bound in the bundle of life, with the Lord our God, 1 Sam. xxv. 29. [3.] They will be cast into a furnace of fire; such will be the end of wicked, mischievous people, that are in the church as tares in the field; they are fit for nothing but fire; to it they shall go, it is the fittest place for them. Note, Hell is a furnace of fire, kindled by the wrath of God, and kept burning by the bundles of tares cast into it, who will be ever in the consuming, but never consumed. But he slides out of the metaphor into a description of those torments that are designed to be set forth by it: There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth; comfortless sorrow, and an incurable indignation at God, themselves, and one another, will be the endless torture of damned souls. Let us therefore, knowing these terrors of the Lord, be persuaded not to do iniquity.

      (9.) Heaven is the barn into which all God’s wheat shall be gathered in that harvest-day. But gather the wheat into my barn: so it is in the parable, v. 30. Note, [1.] In the field of this world good people are the wheat, the most precious grain, and the valuable part of the field. [2.] This wheat shall shortly be gathered, gathered from among the tares and weeds: all gathered together in a general assembly, all the Old-Testament saints, all the New-Testament saints, not one missing. Gather my saints together unto me, Ps. l. 5. [3.] All God’s wheat shall be lodged together in God’s barn: particular souls are housed at death as a shock of corn (Job v. 26), but the general in-gathering will be at the end of time: God’s wheat will then be put together, and no longer scattered; there will be sheaves of corn, as well as bundles of tares: they will then be secured, and no longer exposed to wind and weather, sin and sorrow: no longer afar off, and at a great distance, in the field, but near, in the barn. Nay, heaven is a garner (ch. iii. 12), in which the wheat will not only be separated from the tares of ill companions, but sifted from the chaff of their own corruptions.

      In the explanation of the parable, this is gloriously represented (v. 43); Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. First, It is their present honour, that God is their Father. Now are we the sons of God (1 John iii. 2); our Father in heaven is King there. Christ, when he went to heaven, went to his Father, and our Father, John xx. 17. It is our Father’s house, nay, it is our Father’s palace, his throne, Rev. iii. 21. Secondly, The honour in reserve for them is, that they shall shine forth as the sun in that kingdom. Here they are obscure and hidden (Col. iii. 3), their beauty is eclipsed by their poverty, and the meanness of their outward condition; their own weaknesses and infirmities, and the reproach and disgrace cast upon them, cloud them; but then they shall shine forth as the sun from behind a dark cloud; at death they shall shine forth to themselves; at the great day they will shine forth publicly before all the world, their bodies will be made like Christ’s glorious body: they shall shine by reflection, with a light borrowed from the Fountain of light; their sanctification will be perfected, and their justification published; God will own them for his children, and will produce the record of all their services and sufferings for his name: they shall shine as the sun, the most glorious of all visible beings. The glory of the saints is in the Old Testament compared to that of the firmament and the stars, but here to that of the sun; for life and immortality are brought to a much clearer light by the gospel, than under the law. Those who shine as lights in this world, that God may be glorified, shall shine as the sun in the other world, that they may be glorified. Our Saviour concludes, as before, with a demand of attention; Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. These are things which it is our happiness to hear of, and our duty to hearken to.

      III. Here is the parable of the grain of mustard-seed,Mat 13:31; Mat 13:32. The scope of this parable is to show, that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but that its latter end would greatly increase. In this way the gospel church, the kingdom of God among us, would be set up in the world; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on in particular persons.

      Now concerning the work of the gospel, observe,

      1. That it is commonly very weak and small at first, like a grain of mustard-seed, which is one of the least of all seeds. The kingdom of the Messiah, which was now in the setting up, made but a small figure; Christ and the apostles, compared with the grandees of the world, appeared like a grain of mustard-seed, the weak things of the world. In particular places, the first breaking out of the gospel light is but as the dawning of the day; and in particular souls, it is at first the day of small things, like a bruised reed. Young converts are like lambs that must be carried in his arms, Isa. xl. 11. There is a little faith, but there is much lacking in it (1 Thess. iii. 10), and the groanings such as cannot be uttered, they are so small; a principle of spiritual life, and some motion, but scarcely discernible.

      2. That yet it is growing and coming on. Christ’s kingdom strangely got ground; great accessions were made to it; nations were born at once, in spite of all the oppositions it met with from hell and earth. In the soul where grace is true it will grow really, though perhaps insensibly. A grain of mustard-seed is small, but however it is seed, and has in it a disposition to grow. Grace will be getting ground, shining more and more, Prov. iv. 18. Gracious habits confirmed, actings quickened, and knowledge more clear, faith more confirmed, love more inflamed; here is the seed growing.

      3. That it will at last come to a great degree of strength and usefulness; when it is grown to some maturity, it becomes a tree, much larger in those countries than in ours. The church, like the vine brought out of Egypt, has taken root, and filled the earth, Ps. lxxx. 9-11. The church is like a great tree, in which the fowls of the air do lodge; God’s people have recourse to it for food and rest, shade and shelter. In particular persons, the principle of grace, if true, will persevere and be perfected at last: growing grace will be strong grace, and will bring much to pass. Grown Christians must covet to be useful to others, as the mustard-seed when grown is to the birds; that those who dwell near or under their shadow may be the better for them, Hos. xiv. 7.

      IV. Here is the parable of the leaven, v. 33. The scope of this is much the same with that of the foregoing parable, to show that the gospel should prevail and be successful by degrees, but silently and insensibly; the preaching of the gospel is like leaven, and works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it.

      1. A woman took this leaven; it was her work. Ministers are employed in leavening places, in leavening souls, with the gospel. The woman is the weaker vessel, and we have this treasure in such vessels.

      2. The leaven was hid in three measures of meal. The heart is, as the meal, soft and pliable; it is the tender heart that is likely to profit by the word: leaven among corn unground does not work, nor does the gospel in souls unhumbled and unbroken for sin: the law grinds the heart, and then the gospel leavens it. It is three measures of meal, a great quantity, for a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. The meal must be kneaded, before it receive the leaven; our hearts, as they must be broken, so they must be moistened, and pains taken with them to prepare them for the word, that they may receive the impressions of it. The leaven must be hid in the heart (Ps. cxix. 11), not so much for secrecy (for it will show itself) as for safety; our inward thought must be upon it, we must lay it up, as Mary laid up the sayings of Christ, Luke ii. 51. When the woman hides the leaven in the meal, it is with an intention that it should communicate its taste and relish to it; so we must treasure up the word in our souls, that we may be sanctified by it, John xvii. 17.

      3. The leaven thus hid in the dough, works there, it ferments; the word is quick and powerful, Heb. iv. 12. The leaven works speedily, so does the word, and yet gradually. What a sudden change did Elijah’s mantle make upon Elisha! 1 Kings xix. 20. It works silently and insensibly (Mark iv. 26), yet strongly and irresistibly: it does its work without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but does it without fail. Hide but the leaven in the dough, and all the world cannot hinder it from communicating its taste and relish to it, and yet none sees how it is done, but by degrees the whole is leavened.

      (1.) Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by their preaching, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind, and it had a strange effect; it put the world into a ferment, and in a sense turned it upside down (Acts xvii. 6), and by degrees made a wonderful change in the taste and relish of it: the savour of the gospel was manifested in every place,2Co 2:14; Rom 15:19. It was thus effectual, not by outward force, and therefore not by any such force resistible and conquerable, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder.

      (2.) Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, [1.] It works a change, not in the substance; the dough is the same, but in the quality; it makes us to savour otherwise than we have done, and other things to savour with us otherwise than they used to do, Rom. viii. 5. [2.] It works a universal change; it diffuses itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Rom. vi. 13. [3.] This change is such as makes the soul to partake of the nature of the word, as the dough does of the leaven. We are delivered into it as into a mould (Rom. vi. 17), changed into the same image (2 Cor. iii. 18), like the impression of the seal upon the wax. The gospel savours of God, and Christ, and free grace, and another world, and these things now relish with the soul. It is a word of faith and repentance, holiness and love, and these are wrought in the soul by it. This savour is communicated insensibly, for our life is hid; but inseparably, for grace is a good part that shall never be taken away from those who have it. When the dough is leavened, then to the oven with it; trials and afflictions commonly attend this change; but thus saints are fitted to be bread for our Master’s table.

Fuente: Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary

Set he before them (). So again in 13:31. He placed another parable beside () the one already given and explained. The same verb () occurs in Lu 9:16.

Is likened (). Timeless aorist passive and a common way of introducing these parables of the kingdom where a comparison is drawn (Matt 18:23; Matt 22:2; Matt 25:1). The case of is associative instrumental.

Fuente: Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament

Put he forth [] . But this would be rather the translation of proballw, from which problhma, a problem, is derived, while the word here used means rather to set before or offer. Often used of meals, to serve up. Hence, better, Rev., set he before them. See on Luk 9:16.

Fuente: Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament


1) “Another parable put he forth unto them,” (allen parabolen paretheken autois legon) “He set another (a second) parable before them, saying; “Of the seven parables the first four were addressed to the mixed multitude (Mat 13:2-35) and the last three to His church or disciples privately, Mat 13:36.

2) “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man,” (homoiothe he basileia ton ouranon anthropo) “The kingdom of the heavens is similar to a man,” may be compared favorably with a man. The phrase “kingdom of heaven,” is used to refer to that organic institution Jesus established (as founder), of baptized subjects prepared by a heaven sent man, John the Baptist. Jesus gave to these called and chosen people, His new laws of worship and service, and world-wide field for witnessing, till He comes again, Joh 14:1-3; Act 1:10-11.

3) “Which sowed good seed in his field:” (speiranti kalon sperma en to argo autou) “Sowing good or ideal seed in his field;” Note “The Kingdom of heaven” is not a man, but is similar to a seed-sower who sows good seed in his field. The church of Jesus Christ, or the children of the kingdom of heaven, are both good seed and the good seed sowing agency, in the field, which is all the world, Mat 13:37-38; Joh 20:21; Mr 16:15; 28:18-20; Luk 24:46-49; Act 1:8; Joh 15:16; Joh 15:27.

But the Jews were not looking for either a Redeemer or a New Covenant order of worship and service. They sought an earthly king and earthly kingdom only, Joh 5:39-40. This is why they rejected both Jesus and His church.

Fuente: Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

In order to reap the advantage of this parable, it is necessary to ascertain the object which Christ had in view. Some think that, to guard a mixed multitude against satisfying themselves with an outward profession of the Gospel, (209) he told them, that in his own field bad seed is often mixed with the good, but that a day is coming, when the tares shall be separated from the wheat. (210) They accordingly connect this parable with the one immediately preceding, as if the design of both had been the same. For my own part, I take a different view. He speaks of a separation, in order to prevent the minds of the godly from giving way to uneasiness or despondency, when they perceive a confused mixture of the good along with the bad. Although Christ has cleansed the Church with his own blood, that it may be without spot or blemish, yet hitherto he suffers it to be polluted by many stains. I speak not of the remaining infirmities of the flesh, to which every believer is liable, even after that he has been renewed by the Holy Spirit. But as soon as Christ has gathered a small flock for himself, many hypocrites mingle with it, persons of immoral lives creep in, nay, many wicked men insinuate themselves; in consequence of which, numerous stains pollute that holy assembly, which Christ has separated for himself. Many persons, too, look upon it as exceedingly absurd, that ungodly, or profane or unprincipled men should be cherished within the bosom of the Church. Add to this, that very many, under the pretense of zeal, are excessively displeased, when every thing is not conducted to their wish, and, because absolute purity is nowhere to be found, withdraw from the Church in a disorderly manner, or subvert and destroy it by unreasonable severity.

In my opinion, the design of the parable is simply this: So long as the pilgrimage of the Church in this world continues, bad men and hypocrites will mingle in it with those who are good and upright, that the children of God may be armed with patience and, in the midst of offenses which are fitted to disturb them, may preserve unbroken stedfastness of faith. It is an appropriate comparison, when the Lord calls the Church his field, for believers are the seed of it; and though Christ afterwards adds that the field is the world, yet he undoubtedly intended to apply this designation, in a peculiar manner, to the Church, about which he had commenced the discourse. But as he was about to drive his plough through every country of the world, so as to cultivate fields, and scatter the seed of life, throughout the whole world, he has employed a synecdoche, to make the world denote what more strictly belonged only to a part of it.

We must now inquire what he means by the wheat, and what by the tares These terms cannot be explained as referring to doctrine, as if the meaning had been that, when the Gospel is sown, it is immediately corrupted and adulterated by wicked inventions; for Christ would never have forbidden them to labor strenuously to purge out that kind of corruption. With respect to morals, those faults of men which cannot be corrected must be endured; but we are not at liberty to extend such a toleration to wicked errors, which corrupt the purity of faith. (211) Besides, Christ removes all doubt, by saying expressly, that the tares are the children of the wicked one And yet it must also be remarked, that this cannot be understood simply of the persons of men, as if by creation God sowed good men and the devil sowed bad men. I advert to this, because the present passage has been abused by the Manicheans, for the purpose of lending support to their notion of two principles. But we know that whatever sin exists, either in the devil or in men, is nothing else than the corruption of the whole nature. As it is not by creation that God makes his elect, who have been tainted with original sin, to become a good seed, but by regenerating them through the grace of his Spirit; so wicked men are not created by the devil, but, having been created by God, are corrupted by the devil, and thrown into the Lord’s field, in order to corrupt the pure seed.

(209) “ Pour retirer le commun populaire d’une folle presomption, a cause qu’en apparence externe ils faisoyent quelque profession de l’Evangile;”— “to withdraw the common people from a foolish presumption, because in outward appearance they made some profession of the Gospel.”

(210) “ Qu’on separera l’yvroye d’avec le bon ble;” — “when the tares shall be separated from the good corn.”

(211) “ Mais c’est autre chose de la doctrine: car il ne faut iamais endurer les erreurs meschantes qui corrompent la purete de la foy;” — “but it is quite otherwise with doctrine; for we must never tolerate the wicked errors which corrupt the purity of faith.”

Fuente: Calvin’s Complete Commentary


Mat 13:24-30; Mat 13:36-40; Mat 13:31-32; Mat 13:44-46.

THE ministry of Jesus Christ was matchless in many ways. His words so amazed men that they said, Never man spake like this Man; His works so impressed them that they remarked, We never saw it on this wise; and His ministry was so many-sided that it seemed inexplicable, and in astonishment, they asked, Is not this the carpenter, the son of Joseph?

A few years ago, two of our greatest theological seminaries came into prominent debate. One of them proudly affirmed itself engaged in the larger task of making men ready for the metropolitan pastorates of America, and the other insisted that it was seeking to equip men for any station to which they might be called, high or low, communities of culture or of comparative ignorance, city-centers or country-districts.

The latter had evidently undertaken the larger task. The man who is equally adapted to open country and crowded city; the man who can compel audience in either place, is the unusual man the Spurgeon of his century, the Moody of the moment. Only the truly great can easily adapt themselves to violent changes and varying circumstances. The centuries have known no man who had such messages for the metropolis as did the Man from Nazareth, and yet, perhaps, the greater portion of His ministry was given to the open country, and to the industrial classes. He went to the men in the fields and taught them the greatest moral truths by employing the parables of the field.

To four of these we call attention today: the Parable of the Tares, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Hid Treasure, and the Pearl of Great Price. In these four we find no disconnected argument, but a logical exposition of the Kingdom of God.

The first presents The KingdomOpposition; the second, The KingdomApostasy; and the third and fourth, The KingdomPurchase.


Mat 13:24-30.

This parable, like that of the sower, Christ interpreted to His disciples (Mat 13:36-43), and thereby provided us with the second illustration of how to interpret parables. By this interpretation He gives such an exposition of the Kingdom-Opposition as clearly reveals the contending forces, the continued conflict, and the Christians conquest.

The contending forces! The Son of Man on the one side; Satan on the other. The children of the Kingdom on the one side; the children of the wicked one on the other. These indeed are the Captains and armies of all centuries. By comparison, they dwarf to insignificance those that have ever assembled under any other leaders, or for that matter, all other leaders; or contended for any other, or all other fields; or fought over any other, or all other subjects of division. John Milton, in his Paradise Lost sees the beginning of this battle in rebellion raised in heaven by him who set himself in glory beyond his peers, and trusted to have equalled the most High if He opposed; who, with ambitious aim, raised impious war in heaven and battle proud. But it took a Christ to properly depict it. What war! The whole world as the prize of the contention! The Son of God, and all good men on one side; Satan and his every duped subject on the other!

Christs interpretation of this parable is a death-knell of a good deal of New Theology! The universal Fatherhood of God is not found here! Men are divided into two camps rather, the children of the Kingdom, and the children of the wicked one. The first, begotten of Gods own will, by the Word of Truth (Jas 1:18), and made good seed, children of God by being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God (1Pe 1:23). The second are of their father, the devil (Joh 8:44), not alone because conceived and shapen in iniquity, but by the wilful choice, having made Beelzebub their Captain.

Christs interpretation of this parable is a blow to the universal brotherhood of which men speak. The children of the Kingdom and the children of the wicked one, while they may be of one blood in natural generation, are made to be of altogether different spirit by the regeneration of the former and the degeneration of the latter.

We meet people quite often who tell us they see very little difference between the members of the professing church and the men and women of the world. To this it is sufficient to reply, first of all, that the phrase the professing church is not identical with the phrase the children of God. And second, the tares and wheat look much alike, to a certain point, but when the tares bloom, then they become not only distinguishable, but prove themselves possessed of a peculiar poison which is borne about over the true wheat destroying even its fruitage. So it is in the Kingdom of God! The blight of many a Christians life, the loss of many a believers power is directly traceable to his too-close contact with the opposition. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness. And what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

Little wonder that he quotes his Lord as saying, Come ye out from among them and be ye separate.

The continued conflict! The contention of these forces is not for a day. Satan will not easily quit the field; the Son of Man will never surrender. The children of the Kingdom multiply; the children of the wicked one increase. No Christian rightly estimates the enemy if he believes that a generation will see the whole world Christianized by present methods; and the Haeckel-Atheist, who thinks that tomorrow will witness the surrender of the faith once for all delivered, the repudiation of the Bible, and the collapse of the church, is so puny a seer as to be the subject of scornful pity. When Satan undertook the capture of the world, he originated a conflict, the continuance and end of which he himself could scarcely have dreamed. It is easier to raise rebellion than it is to bring it to an end; it is easier to start war than it is to proclaim peace; it is easier to produce weeds than to grow wheat; but the harvest of the former is frightful to contemplate. Phillip and Edward III could go to battle over throne and crown, but all their followers could not produce peace, or even keep treaties when once they had been made; and so for 116 years, from 1337 to 1453, long after both these men had lain in their graves, the battles waxed and war between France and England went on. Think also of the thirty years war, shorter in duration, but more extensive in territory. It involved Austria; it reached England; it covered Holland; it affected Saxony; it swept to Spain; it compassed Switzerland and Sweden; in fact, the known world was caught in its sanguinary swirl. But what are the 116 years beside the thousands on thousands in which the forces of this parable have been in conflict; and what is battle in a dozen of the little states of Europe as compared with the battle that has been waged on every continent and in every island between Christ and the good seed on the one side, and the devil and every degenerate follower on the other?

There are those who would make short work of this. They would turn the trick of the Turk and put to death those who did not agree with them; or of the Papist and shed the blood of all such as spoke not their shibboleth; or even as the Protestants who sent to the stake Servetus and his allies. But their conduct is not of the Christ, Let both grow together until the harvest.

What did Christ mean then, that the church was not to engage in discipline at all; that the unruly were not to answer to officers; that transgressors were never to be brought to trials; that irreconcilibles were never to be excluded? Remember that Christ is not here talking of church discipline at all, but of the great world-field into which the children of the Kingdom and the children of the adversary are to continue to be sown, and to stand side by side and to bear their respective fruits, and to do silent battle till He send forth His angels to cut short the work by gathering degenerates to judgment. This is Christs protest against coercion in the name of Christianity; and this is Christs repudiation for the post-millennial philosophy that the Kingdom will speedily come through social reconstruction, ethical philosophy, and moral reformation.

On the one hand, the Kingdom will never come by the proclamation of the Evangel. The King Himself must come and exalt righteousness and bring unrighteousness to judgment. At the close of summer, there comes a season when the wheat can be separated from the chaff; when the one can be gathered into barns and the other assigned to the flames; so will there be a harvest in the end of the world, when Christ, by His angels, shall gather out His own and judge His opponents.

The Christians conquest!

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.

There are those who upon every observation on the battle between light and darkness, sin and righteousness, the Saviour and Satan, grow discouraged and become pessimistic. They believe that the battle has gone against the Church of God already, and that eventually it will go against the Christian faith, and against Christian fellowshipthe cohorts of God. There is no danger! Prophecy is the mould of history! The defeat of the devil is as certain today as is the destiny of the Son of Man; the overthrow of His followers as sure as the march of time! The consummation of the age will see the conquest of Christ and His hosts, and it will be complete. In the struggle between light and darkness, life and death, the Son of Man and the Satan of the centuries, the victories shall be to the former. Monkhouse, in his magnificent sonnet, depicts the battle after this manner:

From morn to eve they struggleLife and Death,At first it seemed to me that they in mirth Contended, and as foes of equal worth,So firm their feet, so undisturbed their breath.

But when the sharp red sun cut through its sheath Of western clouds, I saw the brown arms girth Tighten and bear that radiant form to earth,And suddenly both fell upon the heath.

And then the wonder came; for when I fled To where those great antagonists down fell,I could not find the body that I sought,And when and where it went, I could not tell;One only form was left of those who fought,The long dark form of Deathand it was dead.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.

It is the day of the mighty conquest of the Son of God, and the manifestation of the sons of God.


In passing from the parable of the tares to that of the mustard seed, we have our attention turned from the KingdomOpposition, to the Kingdom Apostasy. I am compelled to consent with those who so interpret this parable as to bring it largely into line with its predecessorsthe parable of the sower, and the parable of the tares. To be sure, it suggests the rapid and even the unexpected growth of the Kingdom, but it also hints that in that very growth is a sign of weakness rather than of strength, of conflict rather than conquest. We believe it is not straining of Scripture to see in this parable the fungus growth, the false appearance and the foul lodgers.

The fungus growth! Campbell Morgan insists that it is unusual for the mustard seed to become a tree; and yet admits that there are exceptional instances. It is unusual for cotton to become trees, but it does so, south of the frost-line. Credible writers declare that in hot countries, with moist atmospheres and rich soil, mustard, like cotton, becomes a perennial; and instances are even cited in which a mans weight could be supported by the branches; and in the season of its fruitage, birds flocked into it both to feed and rest.

The churchthe Kingdom in embryostarting from the first disciples of Jesus, small indeed in pretence and prophecy, found itself at the end of the first century an institution of might, and in the fourth century, under Constantine, sent its branches into all the world. And whatever may be said concerning the genuine growth and progress marking the first century, few thoughtful folk outside of Rome could be found who would approve the ample proportions of the fourth century churchproposed as a world-kingdom. It was only because that seed of the Pseudo-Kingdom was fertilized with the worlds wealth, and enveloped with the worlds atmosphere, and cultivated by the worlds husbandman, that it took on such proportions, and by its very growth brought its own name into disrepute, and raised the question as to its genuine character.

The false appearance! The mustard under certain circumstances, assumed to be more than it was. It belongs to the herbs; its very texture is not woody; and yet, its pretence is that of a tree. It professes what it does not possess. The phraseology of religion at the present moment falls into the same hypocrisy. Men talk glibly of the Kingdom of God, praise its proportions, reckon up its millions of subjects, prophesy its speedy conquest on the last continent and island, and all with a show, but without the substance, of truth. There is no such Kingdom. There is not even a Christian nation in the world! Every time you speak of one such, you coerce language. There are nations partially civilized by the touch of Christianity; but even in these, the majority are outside of the church, and the overwhelming majority have no kinship to the Kingdom of God. The three or four hundred millions of people who are in the professing church would be terribly reduced in number if there were applied any Christian test. The so-called Christian governments of the world, in their greed of territory, and in their conscienceless commerce, are illustrating a new cannibalism, more refined, perhaps, but not less consuming than that of the old savagery. R. F. Horton, the higher critic, is hardly chargeable with chiliasm, and yet, he says, The sorrow of history is the comparative rareness of humanity in it. And he adds, Our own government is partially humane because it is partially Christian. Some faint aroma of justice and mercy and truth is in our state apartments because the Son of Man has passed through them. The same writer remarked, Heaven is a state in which the will of God is entirely done; and earth is a place in which the will of God is habitually violated. The present constituted society is, as Trench remarks, like that of the ark, where unclean and clean mingle; like that of the pasture, the goats and the sheep are together; like that of the threshing floor, the chaff and the grain are mixed; like that of the field, the tares and the wheat growing together. At present, it is like the mustard seed, tree-like in appearance, but weed-like in nature and character.

The foul lodgers,

The birds of heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.

There are two interpretations of this sentence, both of which, in my judgment, are correct. One set of teachers see in this sentence the beautiful shadowing and sustaining character of the Church of God. The worlds needy may find a refuge in it, be sheltered and fed by it; and some have even reminded us that the mustard seed is more than food; it is medicine. Thereby they have made their appeal that the church recognize its social obligations, and intelligently enter into the discharge of them.

Another class of interpreters say, No, birds in the preceding parable were agents of the adversary, and in other parts of Scripture, are commonly described as unclean, and the sentence suggests the great fact that the Church of God essaying to be a world-kingdom has been taken possession of by the unregenerate, who build their foul nests in its branches and bring up their broods under its shadow, and turn its beneficent character to the ends of commercial advantage, so that church-membership and corporate wealth are related the one to the other as birds are related to the hospitable, fruitful boughs.

Both are correct! The Kingdom of God, so far as it voices itself at all in that Church, which is preparing the way for it, should be a refuge to the worlds needy, clean or unclean. Jesus Christ was no canting Pharisee. He hesitated not to stretch out His hand of help to even the demonized; and He drew not His skirts about Him when the strange woman sought His counsel and begged His forgiveness. The Church of God that does not provide for the downs and outs, the branches of which suggest neither lodging nor food, nor medicine for the worlds children, is a poor representative of the Christ who received sinners, and did more than eat with them; He fed, counselled and healed them. Truly, as Bruce remarks, The choice few are to seek the good of the many; the fit are to strive to help the unfit. This is their special vocation, and when they cease to do it, they themselves become useless and reprobate!

Yet the other interpretation is equally and even more true. The very methods by which men in modern times have been rapidly increasing the growth of the church, are calculated to call the world into its membership, so that the unregenerate, in the interests of social standing and for the sake of commercial advantage, are joining themselves to the same. A minister told me that he had lost three of his best families to a wealthy neighboring church of the same denomination; that they had deliberately pulled them off through social functions, which tempted women whose husbands were men of moderate means, by offering them a fellowship with the wives of millionaires. This gives an appearance of the coming of the Kingdom, but no promise of it, save as it is a part of the apostasy that is to characterize the consummation of the age.


The third and fourth of these field parables look to the Kingdom purchasethe purchase of the hid treasure and the peerless pearl of great price.

The hid treasure!

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

A part of this parable has been interpreted for us already. The field is the world; the man is Christ; the price paid is His precious Blood. But what is the treasure hid?

Sometimes God hides from the wise and prudent that which He proposes to show to babes. I have read within the week from the pens of almost a dozen men attempting the interpretation of the hid treasure. Many of them were great men, but I found from the pen of one of less learning and less pretense the most intelligent interpretation, namely, that Israel is the hid treasure. Again and again in the Old Testament, she is called Gods treasure, and that she is hidden away now, in the nations, neither students of history nor prophecy can possibly dispute; and that Christ paid the price of His life for the whole world, knowing that by so doing He could win, first of all, His own, dearer to Him than all othersthe treasure, the very attractions of which brought Him from Heaven to earth, is the truth of many a text. Let one read Jer 32:37-42, and let him ponder Eze 37:21-25, and listen to the Psalmist while he sings also (Psa 135:4),

For the Lord hath chosen Israel for His peculiar treasure (Exo 19:5).

Paul loved his people with all the ardor of a Jew, and he could say,

I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.

But Christ loved them even better, and He put His all upon the altar that they might be saved.

The peerless pearl!

Again the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The jewels of Jesus will come out of the Gentile world. If the converts of Paul were his joy and his rejoicing, the Gentile converts to Christ shall shine forth with a brilliance beyond the sun in that day when He makes up His jewels. Truly one is justified in changing the hymn and making it read not

Ive found the pearl of greatest price,My heart doth sing for joy,

but rather,

He found the pearl of greatest price,My heart doth sing for joy,And sing I must for I am His And He is mine for aye.

The price paid in each of these purchases is the same: For the hid treasure all that he hath; for the goodly pearl, all that he had. When Christ redeemed Israel, it took all that He had; when Christ redeemed the Gentile world, it cost all that He had. The purchases are not two different ones made at different times; they are the same purchase! God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and Christ so loved the world that He gave Himself, and the world is the Jew and the Gentile.

This purchase was not the barter of a man who was buying something from the Adversary, for Satan never owned the world. As its God, he is a usurper; and the transaction is not that of a son, who is trying to come into the selfish possession as against his fathers ownership, for, from the beginning, the world has belonged to Jesus. He made it. Without Him was not anything made that was made. This buying back, then, is the barter of the goelprecious purchase of redemption. In the Old Testament, when for any reason whatever, an estate was lost to the household, the son who was able to redeem it, did so; or if the members of a family went into slavery, the relative who could accomplish it, paid the price of their freedom. Oh, what a Son in the house of our Father, and what a kinsman in the Christ of Calvary! When my Heavenly estate was forfeited absolutely and I was in spiritual bankruptcy; yea, when I had fallen into the power of the enemy and was stripped of my citizenship, destroyed and stained, He appeared as my kinsman to pay the price and make me free. He is the Goel; He is the Redeemer! Truly, as one says, His very Name delivers a message and it is this: dark, defiled, demon-haunted spirit, black with venom and despair; you, the worst of men, you are a man, therefore the Son of Man does not despair of you. Rather, He has set His heart on saving you. He has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Herein is the ground of our hope, the occasion of our confidence, the answer to our need, the redemption from our defilement, the release from our captivity, the establishment of our citizenship in the Kingdom, the pledge of our eternal heritage with Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Len Broughton tells of a friend he knew in youth who was always seeking, but could never find the Lord. On one occasion, Dr. Broughton went back to preach in the country neighborhood. This young man rushed up to him, flung his arms about him and expressed his joy in seeing him again, and Dr. Broughton said, You are to spend the night with me, and he said, No, I must go back home to my wife and children. Well, just send word you are going to spend the night with me. He did so, and we went back into the old room where we used to frolic in bed at night, where we had kicked each other out of bed a hundred times. There in that old bed, once more boys, I said to him, Have you ever found Jesus? He hesitated a moment before he said, No! Have you continued to seek Him? Yes, and I expect to be seeking Him until I die! I will never give up. I said, Why havent you found Him? I do not know! I have thought of your being a preacher and wondered why it was that I just could not find Jesus. I have tried as hard as you ever did and as hard as anybody ever did. I said, Will you let me tell you the secret of it? Yes, if you can. You have not found Jesus because you have not realized the fact that all this time and even before you began to seek Jesus, He was seeking you. It didnt take hold of him at first. He asked me some questions about it, and I put it to him again. Jesus is seeking you. He came to this world to seek and to save that which was lost. Are you lost? Of course I am. Well, He is seeking you, instead of your seeking Him; you have been running from Him, thinking that you were seeking Him. You were seeking something else besides Jesus. You have been seeking feeling; you have been seeking somebody elses experience. Jesus has been seeking you; now stop running after experience and let Jesus find you right here and now. I gave him Joh 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten San, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. In a moment or two I felt an arm slip around my neck and he began to cry; but it was not the cry of the seeker; it was the rejoicing cry of the saved. There in that bed, where we had frolicked in childhood days, he stopped running after an experience and simply let Jesus find him.

Fuente: The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist by Riley


The seeds of error.The explanation of the last parable is, in part, the explanation of this. It teaches us, e.g. what is meant in this parable by sowing the seed, viz. the dissemination of truth. In the same general way, therefore, it enables us to consider this parable as it stands, and without entering, at present, into that copious explanation of it which was afterwards given to the disciples in private (Mat. 13:36-43). So regarded, it will be found to tell us, first, of a remarkable discovery in the field of the kingdom; and secondly, of an equally remarkable decision about it.

I. A remarkable discovery.A discovery which seems to have caused those who made it to stand still, and cry out, What is the meaning of this? For truly serious, in the first place, according to what we are taught, was the nature of the appearance they beheld. It was the appearance of one set of plants where other plants had been sown. More than this, according to the interpretation of some, it was the appearance of a noxious plant instead of a wholesome one. Instead of wheat there was darneland that a kind of darnel, it is said, which, when taken into the system, produced vertigo and sickness. Instead of profit, therefore, there was the appearance of loss. Instead of food, the development of poison. Equally serious, in the next place, was the time of this appearance. Not till the grain had been formed in the ear (Mat. 13:26), because not till then, so it is said, could the distinction be madenot, therefore, till the harvest was approaching, and so till long after all possibility of prevention was over, was this discovery made. But most serious of all, in the third place, was the origin to which it pointed. That this appearance should be due to any action on the part of the householder himself, was wholly out of the question. He had never put anything whatever but good seed in his field. The only possible way, therefore, of accounting for this appearance was by supposing that an adversary had caused it. This was the conclusion of the householder himself, immediately that he heard of it. And this is the point, therefore, the great point, on which our final thoughts are to be fixed. In the householders own property, where he himself had never put anything but that which was good, someone utterly hostile to him had put that which was evil. An enemy hath done this (Mat. 13:28).

II. A remarkable decision.This was remarkable, first, because a far more obvious course had first presented itself to mens minds. That first idea had been to go at once and root out the bad seed. To the servants of the householder this appeared the most natural thing in the world. If an enemy hath done this, shall not we who are friends go and undo it at once? Therefore it is that they suggest it at once to the householder himself. Wilt thou thenthat being the casethat we go and gather them up? Nothing appears to them, in the circumstances, a more proper proceeding. All they wait for is leave to adopt it. All the more remarkable, therefore, in the next place, is the decisive way in which this proposal of theirs is put to one side. The thing proposed by his servants, on the one hand, is not to be attempted by them at all. He saith unto them nay. It is as though he would prevent them from taking even a first step in that line. It is not to be attempted by them, on the other hand, because of the fact that such an endeavour would lead, inevitably, to more evil than good. It might, or it might not, remove some of the darnel. With eyes such as theirs, with hands such as theirs, whatever the excellence of their purpose, it would certainly eradicate some of the wheat. What they are to do for the present, thereforeall they are to do for the presentis to let the field remain as it is. Let both kinds continue to grow together as they do now. And even hereafterthis is what he says to them lastlywhen the time of harvest shall have arrived, and with it, therefore, the time for separating the evil from the good without any fear of mistake, and of binding them together in separate bundles for those widely different final uses, for which they are respectively meanthe does not mean that separation to be effected by those he is speaking to now. In the time of harvest, I will say to my reapersto my reapers, then, and therefore not to you nowlet this division be made. Can anything be more decisive from beginning to end? The parable, thus viewed, may very well teach us:

1. To moderate our expectations.What the Saviour thus foretold, and thus found true also in His own case (Joh. 6:70), will be found true in all others. Whether we look at the church at large, or at any particular branch of it, no matter how large on the one hand, or how select on the other, it will never be without tares. Often and often their presence is a surprise to the servants. It is never so to the Master.

2. To limit our efforts.If He permits the tares to be sown, let us permit them to grow. Let us refrain, at any rate, from violent efforts to remove them from the field. That is not the task for our hands. Nor yet for our time. To attempt it is only to do harm to the wheat.

3. To encourage our faith.If the tares are never absent all the more wonder at the amount of good that exists. If things are always so mingled all the higher the wisdom and all the greater the power which preserves that which is good! In this sense the very imperfection of the church proves the truth of its message!


Mat. 13:24-30. The parable of the tares.

I. The origination of the kingdom of God, or of Christian society, in its widest sense, is likened to an act of sowing. Seed does not, as in the former parable, stand for the truth of the gospel, but for the men who receive it. At first one might suspect that our Lord is only playing with the emblem in an arbitrary fashion, making it mean just what He chooses. Not so. The wheat plants are just the seed in a changed form. Somewhat parallel is it with the new life and character that are produced upon the soil of human nature by the accepted truth of Gods gospel. That new life-character in a Christian man is morally a product of the truth he has taken into his being. The place which the Son of man has destined for the ripening place of His plants, i.e. His field, is the world. Few words in Scripture have been more stumbled over than this. Let us take it in two distinct senses, both of them, no doubt, intended.

1. The field for the kingdom of Christ is, in extent, the whole world of mankind, and not the limited, bounded area of a single people.
2. In a second sense as well, is the world Christs field, wherein His precious plants are to grow and ripen. He sows them not merely in all the wide world, but in this present world, such as it is. That is but a sickly idea of Christianity which treats it like a hothouse plant. But there is a hidden night-sower too. This illustration answers perfectly to the character which Scripture ascribes to the originator of human sin. From the first he is represented as a circumventor of Gods fair designs; a spoiler and blaster of what was created very good; a sower of weeds among corn. For it is characteristic of evil that it can make nothing to profit; can only unmake, mar, and waste. Now the setting up on earth of Christs kingdom gave occasion to a new manner of mischief-making, the point of which lay in its mimicry of the new work of God. This was men with the appearance of Christians, speaking Christian words, and growing up inside the Christian community, hardly to be distinguished from others, who yet were in their real nature, men of an unchanged, evil heart, and yielded at the last bitter or unwholesome fruits. It is in perfect keeping, also, with the whole of Christs teaching, thus to represent human character in its great contrasts of good and bad, as no isolated spiritual phenomenon, but as somehow reclining against a superhuman background. A Spirit of grace and light regenerating men, if they will, by the word of truth; no less, another spirit of darkness and malice, misleading men, if they will, to the service of a lie. The revelation of this contact of an upper and lower spiritual world with human character, has done nothing to solve the old, dark, hopeless mystery of evil. The question of the servants in the parable, is just the last and deepest question with which the reason of man has at all times approached the eternal God: Lord, didst not Thou sow good seed in Thy field? Whence then hath it tares? All we can know, and for practical uses need to know is, An enemy hath done it. God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

II. The progress of the kingdom of God.The interest of the parable passes swiftly on to the close of the history. All that lies between is, so to say, natural development, and, therefore, is in this parable touched with a light finger. What we do gather concerning this growing time, is only the negative lesson that it must be let alone. Christ meant the juxtaposition of good men with bad to continue in this world. As a religious community, the church is bound, no doubt, to expel the openly wicked and unchristian from her own membership. That is undoubted from other texts. But she is to strive after no unnatural or forced separation from society.

III. The close of the kingdom of God.The weight of the passage, as a lesson to individuals in the kingdom of God, lies in the awful severance of false from true at last by unerring celestial servants of the King. The Masters objection to human weeders was simply that they could not be trusted to discern between the evil and the good. How true has that been found!J. O. Dykes, D.D.

The parable of the tares.I. The sowing.The field originally had no seed in it; it could not produce any seed; it was necessary to sow the good seed in it. In like manner goodness is not innate to human nature; there are not inhering in it any germs of goodness.

1. He that soweth good seed is the Son of man; there is not one sound seed in your nature, but it has been deposited there by the Son of man.

2. The field is the world. Within the church discipline must be upheld; the bad, so far as practicable, must be separated from the good, believers from unbelievers. That is often taught us in the New Testament; the Apostles cast men out of the communion of the saints. It is about the world, and not about the church, that Jesus Christ is speaking. He does not say, Do not cast bad men out of the church; but, Do not cast them out of the world.

3. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. According to the preceding parable, the good seed is the word of God; according to this parable, the good seed are the children of the kingdom. The Saviour here contemplates the seed in its full growth. It is quite right to say, the acorns are the seed of the forest. But it is equally right to say, the acorns are the trees of the forest. In the first stage the good seed are the good thoughts sown in your mind, the good principles instilled into your nature; but in the last stage the good seed are the good men.

4. But another is sowing. While men slept, etc. The tares are the children of the wicked one. The sowing here, too, begins with evil thoughts and ends with evil men.

5. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. Good is not indigenous to our nature, it has been implanted in us by the Son of man. Neither is evil indigenous to our nature, it has been sown in us by the devil.

II. The growing (Mat. 13:26).The difference between the wheat and the tares became manifest only after a period of growth. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? etc. Here is brought into proximity the human method and the Divine method of dealing with sin. Good men and bad are wonderfully mingled in the world; you cannot destroy the bad without seriously damaging the good. They are mingled in the family; you cannot kill the father without hurting the mother. They are mingled in society; you cannot shoot the tenant without injuring the landlord, etc.

III. The reaping.Let them grow until the harvest. The harvest is the end of the world. Good will continue to grow better, and evil to grow worse, till the harvest time. I do not know that evil will continue to grow in bulk, that is, by the multiplication of bad men. I hope not. But it will grow in intensity, in bitterness, in subtlety, in poisonousness (2Th. 2:6-10). When good and evil shall have fully ripened, then will begin the process of separation: The Son of man shall send forth His angels, etc. Bind them in bundles and burp them. Is there here an intimation that in eternity sinners shall congregate together according to their sinful propensitiesthat misers shall be gathered to misers, drunkards to drunkards, adulterers to adulterers?J. C. Jones, D.D.

Mat. 13:25. The tares.No weed is so troublesome to the Syrian farmers as a kind of wild rye-grass, which they call zuwn. It grows abundantly in cornfields, and is so extremely like wheat in its earlier stages that even a farmers eye cannot tell the difference with certainty till it is shot. Then the peasants know it by its blacker heads. By that time, however, they find it hazardous to pull it up by hand, because its rootlets are too closely twisted about those of the corn. When harvest comes it is necessary to pick out the stalks with care, and finally to winnow its pickles from the seed; because this weed is really a bitter intoxicant poison, so strong that even a pickle or two, ground among the flour, will cause in the eater giddiness and nausea. One sees what a truly Oriental refinement of revenge it would be deliberately to oversow a neighbours field with such a weed the night after he had been sowing his wheat. One sees how exquisitely this atrocious piece of mischief sets forth the malice and cunning of the devil.J. O. Dykes, D.D.

Sowing tares among the wheat.We are not without this form of malice nearer home. Thus, in Ireland, I have known an outgoing tenant, in spite at his ejection, to sow wild oats in the fields which he was leaving. These ripening and seeding themselves before the crops in which they were mingled, it became next to impossible to get rid of them.Archbishop Trench.

Mat. 13:27. Ministerial watchfulness.Our Saviour here shows the servants care; to teach us that ministers ought to be watchful. Wherein doth this watchfulness consist?

I. In a daily watchful visiting of their fields and flocks.

II. In a rejoicing when the wheat thrives, i.e. when they see the Lord to bless and prosper His own word and give an increase to that which they sow.

III. In a sorrow for the springing up of tares.These servants come (and certainly not without grief) and tell their master that there are tares amongst the corn. Thus faithful ministers, when they see errors, heresies, hypocrisies, and formality in religion to begin to spring and spread itself among their flocks, must seek unto God, and do all that lies in their power to redress it.R. Ward.

Mat. 13:28-30. Human intolerance and Divine patience.I. What men would do.Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? It should always be remembered that there is an arrogance of virtue, as well as the sauciness and presumption of vice. Men may have pure intentions, but their proposed methods of giving effect to their intentions may corrupt them. It is of the essence of pride and effrontery, for men to propose to do Gods work in their own way.

II. What would be the result of such impatient action?Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. Men may not only do evil that good may come, but good, and evil may be the result, and, if judged by this, may be condemned as tares. The intermixture of good and evil by the conditions of life and the relations and institutions of society is a problem and a difficulty. If we could cut down evil as the mower cuts the grass, if its forms all grew together, the field of the world could soon be cleared. But this intermixture of good and evil forbids rashness and haste. Besides, every man, perhaps, is a tare to some other man in some aspects of his character. None are all wheat in human judgment, and not so even in fact. If we would remove all the tares, we must remove one another off the face of the earth, or consign one another to certain conventional hells, social, political, or sectarian. The truth is, though we are no better than we should be, yet we are unquestionably better than we think each other to be. Hence comes the grand function of the churchpreferring one another in love, nurturing the feeblest virtues, feeding babes in Christ, helping each other on to the perfect stature of men in Christ Jesus.

III. What the Master does.Let both grow together until the harvest. How Godlike is this large patience, like the firmament of heaven, serene and vast, while the storm of mens passions rages beneath. And yet the very largeness and fulness of this patience irritate us. There are certain crimes committed by certain men which perhaps no human law can touch, and we feel as if God ought to come out of His hiding-place and smite or brand the criminal as in the case of Cain. But if the man we think of was branded, he would perhaps be the wrong man, or, not knowing the whole circumstances of the case, we might overwhelm the most urgent extenuations.Jos. Shaw.

Fuente: The Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

TEXT: 13:2430, 3643

24 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? 28 And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. 30 Let them both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.
36 Then he left the multitudes, and went into the house; and his disciples came unto him, saying, Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 And he answered and said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 and the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy that sowed them is the devil; and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world, 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, 42 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear.



Do you see any relationship between this parable and the age-old human problem of evil? That is, how could God be perfectly good and not want to do something about the evil in the world? How could He be omnipotent and yet not move a hand to exterminate that which His righteous character must recognize and condemn as wicked? If you see a connection in this parable, what is it? If not, explain why you think there is none.


Do you think Jesus is describing the problem of evil in the Church, or in the world, or in both, or in neither? Why do you decide as you do?


After what Jesus says about the difficulty of discerning the best from the worst of men, how can you still believe in a church discipline that excludes church members who persist in their sinning despite all the efforts of their fellow Christians to bring them to repentance? How do you harmonize these two concepts?


When Jesus used the expression, The end of the world, (Mat. 13:40), His reference was an allusion to the conclusion of the Jewish world, i.e., to the decline and final fall of Judaism as a religion and Israel as a nation. Do you think this is a fair statement of His meaning? If not, how would you correct it? If so, how would you demonstrate it?


In Mat. 13:41, Jesus promises that He will personally send His angels to gather out of His Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and them that do iniquity. Now, some believe that once a person has become a member of Gods Kingdom as a child of God, he cannot possibly be lost thereafter by sinning. Does this passage say anything on this question? If not, why not? If so, what does this text reveal about the possibility of removal of members from Gods Kingdom on account of their sin?


What do you think about the following statement: Jesus came to give us just as much a revelation about Satan as He came to give a revelation about God? Affirm or deny and tell why.


Do you think it is very important to spend much time studying about the devil? Some would say that to be happy in this world and safe for eternity, it is enough to know all we can about God and that no other problem is essentially important. What is your opinion? Should we waste time studying about the Evil One, Gods enemy or not? Why?


How does one become a son of the Kingdom?


How does one become a son of the evil one? Is there a similarity in process between the development as a Christian and that as an unbeliever? Think this one over carefully, because it may be trickier than it looks!


Here is another parable that Jesus told the people: The Kingdom of God may be compared to a farmer who sowed select seed in his field. But while everyone was asleep, an enemy of his came and maliciously broadcast seeds of bearded darnel over the ground already sown in wheat. Then he left.
Later, when the plants sprouted and began to head out, then the darnel appeared as well. So the owners field hands came to him with the question, Sir, did you not sow quality seed in your ground? Where did all these darnel weeds come from?
His answer was: Someone has done this out of pure malice!
The mans field hands asked another question: Then do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?
No, he replied, because in pulling up the darnel you might root up good wheat along with it. Just leave them as they are, growing together until harvest. Then at harvest I will tell the ones working in the harvest to gather all the darnel first, tying it in bundles to be burned. Then they can gather and store the good wheat into my granary.
Later, when Jesus had dismissed the crowds and gone indoors again, the disciples approached Him with the request: Would you explain the story about the weeds of the field to us?
This was His answer: I, the Son of man, am the farmer who sows excellent, quality seed. My field is the whole world. The good seed here represents the people whose hearts are ruled by God. The darnel weeds are those people who belong to Satan. The enemy who scatters them throughout my world is the Devil himself! The harvest represents the end of the world. The ones who will do the harvesting are the angels. Just as in the story where the weeds were collected and burned, this is the way it will happen at the end of time. I, the Son of man, will send my angels to gather out of my Kingdom everything that causes sin and all the evil-doers. These will be thrown into the blazing furnace of hell. That will be a place where men will wail and grind their teeth in frustrated anger. Then it will be obvious who the righteous really are, for it will be just as clear and obvious as the sun who is really in the kingdom of their Father, God. So, if you have the ability to hear, then listen!


God is not to be blamed for the problem of evil in His Kingdom in the world. Even as He began His creation with good people, so it is also with His new creation. His Kingdom, or rule, has always reflected this fact. The existence of the wicked in the world in no way denies the reality of Gods control, nor in the final denouement will they escape the justice of their fate. The extreme difficulty of deciding just who are the truly righteous during this earthly journey renders such judgments patently impossible for those who are themselves involved in the problem of evil. However, God Himself is fully capable of distinguishing the only apparently good from those who actually please Him, and at the conclusion of all earth-life will be responsible for making that separation now so difficult for us. Then, and then alone, will it become perfectly clear who, all along, were the true sons of God.



Mat. 13:24 Another parable set he before them. This generalized indefinite introduction to a story is to be expected in Matthew, since he has reworked the order of this sermon by inserting the explanation of the Sower parable out of order to place the interpretation near the story itself for sake of the reader. (See notes on Mat. 13:18 and the Introduction.) Technically speaking, therefore, the telling of the Weeds Parable actually precedes the explanation of the Sower Parable. What viewpoint of the Kingdom of heaven is represented in this parable?


The Church exclusively? No, because Jesus says that Gods Rule, or Kingdom, is like the whole picture of two farmers competing for the same soil, each by sowing his own seed in the field. Now, if the good seed represents those who submit to the rule of Jesus Christ, i.e., His Church, then the Kingdom itself cannot be two separate parts of the parable at the same time. The Kingdom includes the Church, but not vice versa, since the Kingdom here is the larger concept. Trench (Notes, 194, note 2), desiring to apply this parable more exclusively to the Church, quotes Calvin with approval:

Although Christ adds that the field is the world, yet it is not doubtful that He wished to apply this name to the Church in particular, concerning which He had begun His discourse . . . He transferred by synecdoche to the world what fitted a part only.

Then Trench adds:

It required no especial training to acquaint the disciples that in the world there would ever be a mixture of good and bad, though they must have been so little prepared to expect the same in the Church, that it was very needful to warn them beforehand, both that they might not be stumbled, and that they might know how to conduct themselves.

But the good Archbishop is not looking at the question from the vantage point of the disciples Jewish concept. What did THEY believe the Messianic Kingdom was to accomplish in the world? That is, did they expect the Messiah to usher in an unprecedented era of perfect righteousness, a paradise of holy persons whose King would instantly destroy all the wicked? If so, the startling revelations made by this parable would require that they re-evaluate all their previous thinking about the Kingdom.


The future reign of God after the conclusion of the present age is automatically ruled out as the exclusive meaning by the fact that the parable ends on this note, whereas it represents Gods authority over the world as already having had full sway for the long interval from before the establishment of His Church in the world until the final victory at the end, Even if Jesus says, Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, it is evident (1) that they had been in that kingdom ever since their submission to the King and this is but the moment of their glorious revealing, and (2) that God had not relinquished His right to rule nor surrendered the government of earth to anyone in the interim.


This parable, rather, pictures the government of God in its totality. The particular background of this story is the eschatological waiting of the people of God for the realization of the Paradise of God. The Jews would have linked this directly with the first appearance of the Messiah and establishment of the Kingdom on earth (Cf. Psalms of Solomon 17:23ff, 29). Naturally, the failure of the nationalistic triumph to materialize as a visible result of Jesus mission would not only raise serious questions about Him, but would lead to an understandable disappointment with Him. This is the kind of tension that motivates the uneasy question of John the Baptist (Mat. 11:2-6) and that of the Apostles (Act. 1:6).

Jesus would have men see that His new society of the redeemed is but one significant expression of Gods Kingdom. The very fact that God can afford to wait until that Day to destroy evil is surprising proof that His Government is supreme. The final, permanent crushing of the Enemy and those whom he deceived, is another evidence of Gods invincible rule. The radiant dignity to which the saints will then be elevated is a crowning evidence that the Almighty reigns! And this carefully constructed allegory splashes all these tremendous truth before His hearers in one coherent picture.
But this is NOT new material. The truth taught about the kingdom in this parable had already been suggested by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in clear, unparabolic language.


Why worry, for instance, about persecution from evil men (Mat. 5:10-12), or about strife (Mat. 5:21-26) or about personal vengeance against attackers (Mat. 5:38-42), or even about loving ones enemies (Mat. 5:43 ff), if the Kingdom of God is going to eliminate all these problems from its inception?


Would not the great Messianic King remove all hypocrisy by the purifying power of His presence? (Cf. Mat. 6:1-18)


Why then all this concern for personal purity as if the citizens of the Kingdom could somehow become contaminated by divided loyalties and worry? (Mat. 6:19-34)


Further, if the Kingdom is only for the pure and holy anyway, why concern oneself with dogs and swine? (Mat. 7:6)


Most significant of all is the preoccupation with false ways and false prophets, as if IN THE KINGDOM YET one could actually be duped into following them to his destruction! (Mat. 7:13-23)

Incredible? Yes, but all that is rendered explicit in the Parable of the Tares was already implicit in the clear language of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the reason Jesus now repeats these ideas in the parabolic form: the prejudices of His hearers would not permit them to detect what He was driving at even when He talked plain about these very concepts. This simple story flashes before them Gods entire answer to the problems of sin and its accompanying evils in the world. The Church, of course, is not incidental, because she is the very crop for which the worlds true Owner yearned to see the fruition.


Mat. 13:36 Then he left the multitudes, and went into the house; did he leave them or dismiss them? The Greek verb means either. Interestingly, Jesus probably did both to go into the house. (His own house? Cf. note on Mat. 13:1)

His disciples came to him, saying, Explain . . . This is the most important verse in the entire chapter and the only reaction acceptable to Jesus Christ! They proved themselves genuine disciples by coming to HIM and laying before HIM their ignorance and confusion. This is the verse that draws the distinction between the sheep and the goats, the truly wise and the fools, the good and the evil. There is no evil like unbelief in Jesus in Nazareth, and there is no good like that absolute trust in Him that will bring a person spontaneously to Him so that He might teach him. (Cf. Joh. 8:24; Joh. 3:36; Psa. 25:8-9; Jas. 1:5-8; see Notes on Mat. 13:10-17.)

THE SAVIORS SOWING (13:24, 37, 38)

Mat. 13:24 A man . . . sowed good seed in his fields . . . 37 . . . He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man: keep that straight! The problem of evil in the world, and particularly in the institutional Church, often blinds men to the fact that only good giving and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father, whereas temptations, lust, sin and death come from human desires willing to be enticed by Satan (Jas. 1:13-18; Jas. 3:6; Jas. 3:13-18; Jas. 4:1-10). In starting His Church as one tangible expression of His Kingdom on earth. Jesus made no mistakes. The Lord knows His own (Cf. Num. 16:1-5; Eze. 8:1 to Eze. 9:11; 2Ti. 2:19; Joh. 10:14). On that Day the justice of His strategy will be vindicated. In the meantime, the field is His field, His world, and any evil in it is the result of an enemys work, not His (Mat. 13:28)!

Mat. 13:38 a The field is the world, not merely the Church, although this is composed of people who live in the world. He is not only affirming the world-wide character of His reign as opposed to narrow nationalism, but also that the world itself is the soil within which the life growing-cycle of the two divergent kinds of people is brought to maturity. So, as long as the world stands, the mighty Kingdom of God has a sphere of action that is coextensive with all humanity. In unveiling this Kingdom Jesus taught His Jewish hearers to look not merely upon Palestine as the boundary of His dominion and the limit of His concern. Rather, He came to enlarge their horizons to include the utmost limits of mankind as the supreme target of His love and sphere of His good government.

Mat. 13:38 b The good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom. The expression sons of, rather than refer here to ancestry, is rather a Hebraism expressive of a more general relationship. Sometimes the connection is membership in a guild, class or sect (Cf. 2Ki. 6:1; 2Ki. 4:38; Mat. 12:27 see note). Or else the expression indicates some characteristic quality of the persons so described. The sons of the Kingdom, then, are Jesus followers, because these disciples share the goals of the Kingdom (Cf. Notes on Mat. 5:45 and Mat. 8:12). They are the true Church, hence not a hypocrite among them. Wheat plants are just the wheat seed in a changed form: that new life-character in a Christian is actually the product of the truth he has accepted. God plants truth in a man, buries it in his heart, fires his imagination with, and energizes his will with it until that man literally becomes the truth incarnate (Cf. 2Co. 3:18; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:14-21; Col. 1:27-28; Joh. 17:14-19; 2Pe. 1:3-4; 1Pe. 1:22-23; Jas. 1:18; Jas. 1:21; 1Ti. 4:6). They are good seed, not perfectly matured plants ready for harvest; good seed with all the potentiality for producing the right results desired by the Lord of the harvest. Good seed is Jesus evaluation of His Church: woe to the man who disagrees with Him!


Mat. 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came . . . This taking of rest need not refer to any lack of attention or care on the part of those responsible for the field, nor is the sleeping blamed. Rather, sleep is not only proper because earned by honest labor, but may easily signify the farmers undisturbed confidence that good seed has been sown, as in the parable of the Growing Seed (Mar. 4:27). Nevertheless, it was this time that Satan turned to his own advantage.

His enemy . . . sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. From these details it is obvious that the servants only discovered their presence in the field when the weeds had already begun to mature, hence not earlier. In fact, it was only when the wheat had brought forth fruit that then appeared the tares also. On this basis the Davis Dictionary of the Bible (759) argues for the Lolium as the culprit:

The bearded darnel (Lolium temulentum) is a poisonous grass, almost undistinguishable from wheat while the two are only in blade, but which can be separated without difficulty when they come into ear . . .

It was the fruit that gave it away (Cf. Mat. 7:15-20). Though the fruits furnish the saints a practical clue, or test, whereby they may guard themselves from the influences of the wicked, they are not permitted to destroy them, because only at the judgment will all fruit be fully matured, rendering possible a true final decision. So, before that Day, who but God can recognize the genuine wheat from the obnoxious darnel? (In fact, some may even be charismatics. Mat. 7:21-23) Merely because God does not seem to be doing anything about rooting out the wicked now must not be interpreted by anyone as if He were doing absolutely nothing about the evil. He is biding His time until harvest when the final reckoning will reveal the drastic difference between the sham believers, the hypocrites, the role players, the shamelessly evil ones, and the genuine sons of God.

The use of the darnel weed was aptly chosen by the Lord because of its striking similarity to wheat, since the shoots of both are so alike it is next to impossible to decide which is which. The value of this resemblance for the story lies in its vivid representation of a real problem: there would be many non-Christians in the world whose honesty, integrity, generosity and other good traits often surpass the average morality of many Christians who really do believe Jesus and try to serve Him, but whose ethics are no match for those high-minded unbelievers. Or, there might be two men of equal moral worth, one a disciple of Jesus; the other, no. Many would be tempted to leap to the conclusion that faith in Jesus and justification on the basis of that faith makes little essential difference, since, they would say, Surely God wants good people, not just believers whose life and morals are unspectacular for their similarity to non-believers. In fact, the whole concept of justification by faith which puts a man in Christ and renders him juridically perfect before God, is so unbelievable that God would have had to say it before any of us would have ever believed it possible. Mans idea of justice would just not let him dream it up, because it involves condemning himself regardless of how good he is. Since people in Christ must live out their lifetime among the more-or-less good people in their community, anyone who would decide about the effectiveness of Jesus mission to earth would be inclined to pronounce it a failure, since no noticeable difference distinguishes the one from the other. But what a difference judgment will reveal between the two!

Mat. 13:38 c The tares are the sons of the evil one. Although very few of them would openly own Satan as their lord and actively seek to promote the interests of his domain, yet in doing exactly what they want to do, they carry out his wishes (Cf. Joh. 8:44; Eph. 2:2 f). This real, fundamental commitment explains the need to play the hypocrite, felt by those sons of the Devil who want to be part of the Church. While mimicking the externals of the Christian society, they cannot go all the way to fruits of righteousness, because they are already committed to themselves, which, in effect, means commitment to Satans desires. (See Eze. 33:30-33 in this context!) Just as the sons of the Kingdom are the logical, moral product of the truth that transforms them, so also the sons of the evil one are the product of the false, the inadequate, the sham, the deceptive, that they too have taken into their being in exchange for truth (Rom. 1:21-32; 2Th. 2:9-12; Eph. 2:1-3; Php. 3:19; Col. 2:8; Col. 2:18; 1Ti. 4:1-2; 1Ti. 6:20-21; 2Ti. 2:16-17; 2Ti. 4:3-4; 2Ti. 3:7).

Mat. 13:39 a The enemy that sowed them is the devil. Contrary to the correct understanding of this parable, Christians are tempted to see the enemy as anything or anyone else! Before a successful battle can be waged, one ought at least to know who his enemies are. All of our seemingly great difficulties with people are but minor skirmishes in comparison with the bloody war with Satan himself. Nevertheless, although millions march at his orders, his ranks can be infiltrated, even as he tries to infiltrate the Kingdom of God, and some of his tools can be converted into disciples of the Kingdom (Cf. 2Ti. 2:24-26). However, were the sons of the evil one to be treated as one would their father and chief, were they uprooted and burned before the time, their conversion could never take place. Our warfare, our struggle for the control of mens minds, therefore, must not mistake men for Satan, for the enemy is the devil (Cf. 2Co. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:10-19)! Not even the Romans, nor the Pharisees!

This simple declaration marks the chasmic distance between Satan and Jesus Christ! No accusations of secret collusion with that sinister demon can be sustained (Cf. Mat. 12:24; Mat. 9:34), In fact, in His most secret revelations to His intimates, the Lord bares the harsh reality of that moral struggle for world domination in which the lines are sharply drawn (Heb. 2:14-15; 1Jn. 3:8).

These literal words of our Lord (The enemy is the devil.) expose as fundamental unbelief the embarrassment of people who blush at the mention of the devil. Satan is as real for Jesus as is God His Father. But, some would urge, While I accept Jesus words as true, should they not be understood figuratively? No, because the words of this text are not part of a figure, picture or parable, but, rather, the literal interpretation of a parable. Jesus, who sees as clearly the invisible realm of the spirits as He does the visible world of time and sense, declares as eternal truth: the enemy is the devil!


Mat. 13:27 And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? Although Jesus did not interpret this verse nor the following one, it is the basic problem back of this parable to which the story is the answer. The causes of the shock in these servants are two: their confidence in their lords wisdom in sowing good seed in his field, and their own discovery of the continued presence of noxious weeds that threatened to compromise his harvest.

Mat. 13:28 And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? The farmers true response not only does not solve the problem for them; it, rather, increases their anxiety to right this disturbing situation immediately.

These anxious questions would not long remain unuttered after men should have seen how Jesus intended to establish His Messianic Kingdom. Such questions, in fact, would be wrung out of the tortured emotions of embattled saints: Lord, did you not establish your new humanity comprised of your own people who submit to your rule in the world? Why, then, are there yet so many people who obviously not only do not accept your rule, but openly belong to the ranks of Satan? Lord, if your Church is what you say it is, if we are to be as victorious as you promise, if we are to bring every tribe, nation, people and tongue to your honor, riches, praise and thanksgiving at your feet, what are all these OBDURATE, UNCOVERTED AND UNCONVERTIBLE SINNERS doing here, still left seemingly at peace in the world? Why, Lord, are they left to pursue their own degenerate and degrading course? If you, Lord Jesus, are really the King of the world, as we believe, how is it that the world still lies in the power of the wicked one?
Who are the servants whose righteous zeal thus manifests itself in personal interest in the proper management and future success of their Lords property? Interestingly, Jesus leaves us no direct clue to their identity.


The Church? But in this parable, the Church is already symbolized by the good seed, not the servants of the householder. Nevertheless, the disciples of Christ have as much need for the information given these servants as anyone else, even if not specifically addressed to them.


Angels? Since the reapers in this figure are angels, it would not be at all surprising to see also these servants as angels who raise the problem of the continued presence of evil in the world even after the Son of God had completed His redemptive work. However, while these servants could well be the angels, yet thoughtful men too have always been tormented by this same question of justice.

It may well be that Jesus left their identification deliberately indistinct, in order to permit nonemen or angelsto make false accusations or ignorant final verdicts. But if the exact identity of these concerned servants of God is intentionally left out of the picture, the attitude expressed is strikingly typical of John the Baptist. (See notes on Mat. 11:1-6.) His heavy, thundering demands for repentance and his blazing threats of unquenchable fire practically cancelled out for John the possibility that a loving Messiah should patiently and mercifully seek the salvation of the vilest of the wicked. Nor had Jesus been sufficiently prompt in satisfying Johns own understanding of Jesus mission.

Barker (As Matthew Saw the Master, 60f) visualizes Jesus immediate situation as an uneasiness about the kind of people He was attracting. He had given a blanket invitation to the human race to come to Him, and some who came had notorious reputations. Some were with Him for the wrong reasons, expecting rewards and honors. And what about the borderline, the wobbly, superficial followers? Surely, the disciples may have been thinking, they should sort out those who were insincere. Critical and untolerant, some mumbled to Jesus about the bag of mixed followers, around Him. Why not weed out the undesirables?

Matthew knew better than most what it was to be an undesirable, A dubious risk with a disgraceful past, Matthew had no letters of recommendation to get him into Jesus Kingdom. If there had been any sorting out of followers, Matthew knew that he would have been classified as unreliable, or offensive.

How desperately pertinent is this parable to the immediate perplexity of the Twelve themselves! How appropriate for their peace of mind! They must not only witness the desertion of Jesus by fickle, uncomprehending mobs of well-wishers (Joh. 6:66), but also face the certainty that even one of their own number would be Satans tool (Joh. 6:70)!

Gods servants are always tempted to ignore this teaching by allowing themselves to become overly alarmed by the great, powerful causes or movements of sinners united together. Consequently, abandoning the ministry to which Jesus had set them working, they set about to eradicate the evils in the world by combatting the great evil movements themselves, By contrast, the Apostles finally understood their Lord and refused to get involved in fighting totalitarian government and godless ideologies of their day, for they believed that preaching the Gospel of Christ would produce more necessary, grass-roots changes in humanity and, consequently, in its philosophies and systems, than could begin to be touched by tremendous reactionary campaigns.


Mat. 13:29 Their seemingly natural, more obvious solution is surprisingly, but wisely, rejected. Not only would the roots of the plants have become intertwined in the earth, so that the uprooting of the unwanted weeds would necessarily ruin the good stalks yet unready for harvest, but the very similarity between the good and bad plants would require powers to distinguish them that the servants did not possess.

Mat. 13:30 Let them both grow together until the harvest. The striking likeness of bearded darnel to wheat is gone by harvest, making it possible to distinguish the plants without difficulty.

It is this definitive, standing order of the Lord of the harvest that exhibits the true relationships: these persons, overeager to help along the punitive justice of God must recognize their true position as Jesus assigns it to them in this parable. They are servants, nothing more. It is not theirs to dictate policy to the Lord, no matter how staggered they are by the enormity of the evil in the world, no matter how provoked to demand immediate justice. (Cf. Rev. 6:9-11 and Gods reaction even to those martyred for Christ.) For anyone ready to rush radical remedies to the scene, Jesus reminds that judgment still belongs to the Almighty who can well afford to wait. Even if His judgment is inexorable, His patience can take its time. If Jesus had sometimes to rebuke the all-too-human desire to call down fire from heaven upon those deemed to be enemies of Christ (Cf. Luk. 9:51-56) or reprove the attempts to hinder the efforts of anyone not a part of Jesus personal following (Luk. 9:49-50), here, however, He guarantees the final, impartial extirpation of the really wicked. This guarantee, however, is based on the righteous and mercifully patient justice of God, not upon the hasty elimination of all the doubtful on the part of the pure. We need to feel the arrogance it would involve to propose to begin Gods sentencing by using human evaluations and methods. We must learn to distrust the smug conviction of our personal purity and worth that considers itself qualified to root out all the impure and damn them to an eternal fire.

Let them both grow together! What an excellent combination of patient wisdom and far-reaching grace! We would have ordered an immediate quarantine of all the wicked, called fire down from heaven, burnt up all the unworthy and set up a pure, true Church. But how like God to be serenely patient! Nevertheless, His very forbearance irritates us, because somehow we just cannot see that we too would have to go, were He to give the green light to such punitive measures, because not a one of us is pure wheat, except by His patient grace. His wise mercy halts the self-extermination of the Church in its present condition of imperfection and immaturity. In one clear word He forbids all kinds of Inquisitions, Crusades and Holy Wars. If it be contrary to Gods longsuffering kindness for angels to rush among an unwitting humanity with drawn sword, how much more is it wicked for the Church, Gods means to save the world, to don the robes of secular power and turn her sword against heretics and execute them herself? How many Zealots, Assassins and sympathizers in Jesus stomped impatiently for some clue from Jesus, some key phrase that would signal the zero hour to begin the messianic holy war against all enemies of the New Israel! And yet, He quotes with approval the words of the worlds Owner: Let them both grow together . . .! He simply will not permit anyone to take over for God and begin to execute precipitate justice by slicing men out of the Kingdom. Jesus is justly optimistic about the converting power of His own gospel, because He knows what so many forget: The Gospel is Gods power to save anyone who believes it, Tares can become wheat! (See notes on the Growing Seed Parable, Mar. 4:26-29.)

Here again is the Lords option for gradualism, as opposed to instant revolution and apocalyptic judgment, a doctrine reiterated in the stories of the Mustard Seed and of the Leaven and that of the Growing Seed. Although the Jewish apocalyptist wrongly imagined the fulfillment of Gods plans, he was not altogether wrong to calm the impatience of the godly man, chafing for perfect justice in the world:

Your haste may not exceed that of the Most High; for you are hastening for your own self, but the Exalted One (is acting) on behalf of many. (IV Ezra 4:34) . . .

Let them both grow together cannot apply to church discipline.


Because the field is the world, not merely, nor only, the Church. The Church is planted IN the world, and so does not include all that is affirmed of the world. The basic distinction drawn in this parable is that between those who share Gods mentality and the Devils own. Though they must all grow along together in the present age, the separation will be made later. But in the case of church discipline, the basic distinction is between the wicked and righteous within the Church itself, and the separation must be made immediately on earth.


Because the reapers here are the angels, not church members indignant about the sins of a fellow Christian.


Because no interpretation of this parable can be correct that contradicts the Lords clear instructions on church discipline (Mat. 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5; 2Co. 2:1-11; esp. 2Co. 2:9; Tit. 3:10; 2Th. 3:6; 2Th. 3:14; 2Jn. 1:9-11; Rom. 16:17-18). The Church is condemned that tolerates inquiry within (Revelation 2, 3). Those individuals who demonstrate by their attitudes and actions that they are tares at heart, those sons of the evil one, however much they protest their orthodoxy or innocence, if the facts justify their being disciplined by the congregation and if they repent not, are to be severed from the fellowship of other Christians.


Because Jesus is not answering the specific question about dealing with sin in the Church. The burning question on the lips of the servants is: Why is all the evil in the world allowed to continue? Shall we begin final judgment and damnation right now? Decisions to be handled by the Church in carrying out church discipline are not of this order at all. This is because her judgments do not carry the weight of final judgment and eternal damnation. She is merely restoring to the world those of her number who refuse by their well-known character to be what the Church is really supposed to be. Naturally, the sequel to this situation will be the eternal damnation of the ex-church member IF HE DOES NOT REPENT, but that consequence will be Gods decision, not the Churchs. Church discipline is so designed as to seek this very reconversion to Christ, and, if successful in its working the desired effect in the sinning member, re-embraces him in reconciliation. Even if not instantly successful in his restoration, church discipline always leaves the door open until his death, so that he can repent and return if he will. From these considerations, it is demonstrated that, in no way does this parable forbid Church members to make the necessary judgments to discipline a recalcitrant fellow Christian (See fuller notes at Mat. 18:15-18.)


Mat. 13:30 Note the perfect foresight and calm mastery of this situation on the part of the householder, despite the tension felt because of the apparently menaced outcome of the harvest.

Mat. 13:39 b The harvest is the end of the world (Cf. Mat. 13:49; Mat. 24:3; Mat. 28:10; Heb. 9:26-27). What as astounding revelation, either from the standpoint of Jewish eschatology or from that of modern philosophical determinism. The former sees the coming of the Messiah as the immediate, cataclysmic solution to all problems, the precipitate punishment of all wicked, and hard on the heels of judgment, the arrival of the Jewish paradise. But, as the Parables of the Mustard Seed and of the Leaven teach, so here too, Jesus pictures the perfection of the Kingdom through an extended time-period of internal and external development after which a cataclysmic event will finally bring everything to a sudden, abrupt halt and hale every man before Gods court for judgment. (Is the Lord here reacting directly to that strand of Jewish apocalyptic that sees a necessity for the eradication of evil before something better can take its place? Cf. IV Ezr. 4:22-24)

Further, in contrast to that philosophical pessimism that sees history as going nowhere, endlessly repeating itself in cycles, Jesus diagrams a scheme of history that rolls right up to its last hour and comes to a decisive conclusion. For the wild-eyed optimists who see mans travail as an upward-moving, endless spiral curving ever higher toward infinity, Jesus incisive definition spells the same defeat.

The reapers are angels (Cf. Mat. 25:31; Mat. 16:27; Luk. 12:8-9). Those who had been no more than spirits in the service of God commissioned to help those who are to inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14) and who have longed to look into Gods plan for human redemption (1Pe. 1:12) will consummate the last act of their service for this epoch by becoming, with regard to the vile and the unbelieving, the ministers of Gods justice.

Mat. 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels. Compare the grand similarities of language and figures between Jesus interpretative prophecy here and that ancient prophetic judgment described in Ezekiel 9! Who does Jesus think He is, since He applies such majestic language to Himself in such a way that none could miss His underlying authority? Even without any reference to echoes from Ezekiel, this impression stands solidly on its own imagery. Here is Jesus in all His divine power and majesty in full charge of the final judgment, directing His angels, to purify His Kingdom, which is, of course, the Kingdom of God.

They shall gather out of his kingdom what had, to that moment, actually been IN that Kingdom as it existed in the world. This obvious truism points to the fact that the presence of evil in the world and hypocrites in the Church were no surprise in Jesus. He not only knew about them all the time, but had already made adequate plans for this disposal. They could not, for all their rebellion, escape from Gods Kingdom, Gods control. Despite temporary appearances to the contrary, God had always been Sovereign. Despite their insubordination, they had had to live in His world with His reality. They could not even escape this! Now they shall be gathered out of His Kingdom. So let not the disciple trouble himself either with the difficulty of telling the genuine from the false Christians or with the task of eliminating them, because the responsibility for this final judgment is not his. This is the Lords right (Joh. 5:22; Joh. 5:27) and He has never surrendered this task to any human officers, or servants. But gather them out He will! (Cf. Mat. 15:13-14; Joh. 15:1-8; Heb. 6:4-6; Heb. 10:26-31)

All things that cause stumbling: see Mat. 18:1-35 for fuller notes. Them that do iniquity: may not represent a separate class, since the Lord may be speaking according to a popular Hebraistic idiom (parallelism) to repeat an idea. Rather than divide the offenders into neat groups, He actually throws them both into the same category. If any distinction is intended, He sees as damned both those who are the cause, or temptation, to sin and those who yield to the allurement, in which case none escape. No more can he who is merely the source of temptation excuse himself as being extraneous to the sins of. others than can another be excused who permits himself to be beguiled into acting as if there were no laws (anoman poiontes). They are both sons of the evil one, and so must be segregated forever.

Mat. 13:42 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This image, squarely set as it is within the literal interpretation of the parable, must be taken seriously without hedging or watering down its force, even if human experience has never encountered a furnace of fire that punishes forever. (See notes on Mat. 3:12 where John the Baptist used a similar image to convey a picture of the horrible thoroughness of Gods condemnation. See also Mat. 18:8-9; Mat. 25:41; Mat. 25:46; Joh. 15:6; 2Th. 1:7-8; 2Pe. 3:7; 2Pe. 3:10; 2Pe. 3:12; Jud. 1:7; Rev. 20:15; Rev. 21:8.) Whatever the reality intended, it is a horrible destiny, if the language employed to picture it contemplates such a gruesome punishment! (Cf. Jer. 29:22; Dan. 3:6) Weeping and gnashing of teeth is an expression characteristic of bitter regret and impotent rage. (See on Mat. 8:12.) There are still only two classes of people in the world, however mixed the lines seem to be. There is no middle, no third group; just wheat or tares. Righteousness is still righteousness, even if no one anywhere seems to be praticing it, and sin is still sin and will be punished, even if it seems that everyone everywhere is doing it (Cf. 1Jn. 2:28 to 1Jn. 3:10; Rev. 21:1-8; Rev. 21:27; Rev. 22:14-15).


Mat. 13:43 Here, finally, is the climax toward which Jesus had been building: THEN, and only then, shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Trench (Notes, 195) citing Calvin, rejoices that

It is a very great comfort that the sons of God, who now are either lying covered with squalor, or are hidden and unesteemed, or are even buried under reproaches, shall then, as in a clear sky and with every cloud dissipated, at once shine out brightly.

At judgment they will be as obviously recognizable as Gods children as the midday sun is obvious in the summer sky (Cf. Jdg. 5:31; Dan. 12:2-3; Rom. 8:19). Since the scene of this great presentation, in which the true character of the righteous will be so gloriously displayed, is set in their Fathers kingdom, we have further proof that, when Jesus uses the expression Kingdom of God, the Church is but a part of this great concept. Here, rather, the righteous are all of Gods elect of all ages who acknowledge Gods rule (Cf. on Mat. 8:11), including the Church of Jesus Christ, but the kingdom itself is greater than all these who are now thus glorified therein. The kingdom here, then, is Gods universal rule (Cf. 1Pe. 5:10; 2Pe. 1:3-11).

Then shall the righteous shine. How and why?


Physically, their lowly earthly body will be changed to be like His glorious body (Php. 3:20; 1Co. 15:43).


Juridically, their justification will be complete, because they Believed God and it was imputed to them for righteousness (Rom. 4:3 ff; Gal. 5:5). Though morally imperfect on earth, a fact which made others prior final judgments undependable, however after Gods judgment it will be absolutely clear to angels, demons and men why God saved THESE of all people (Cf. Rom. 3:21-26).


Morally, they will shine because the very thing that makes them righteous is the fact that they had already accepted into their very being the Word of that God who Himself is Light and dwells in light unapproachable. In their fellowship with Him and in their imitation of Him as His children, they grew to be like Him (Eph. 5:1; 1Jn. 1:3-7; 1Ti. 6:16). We shall be like Him (1Jn. 3:1-3)! We shall shine as the sun: is this some figure of speech? Read the following attractive brochure on our future and decide for yourself! (Rom. 2:7; Rom. 2:10; Rom. 5:2; Rom. 8:18; Rom. 8:21; 1Co. 2:7; 1Co. 15:43; 2Co. 3:18; 2Co. 4:17; Eph. 1:18; Eph. 5:27; Col. 3:4; 1Th. 2:12; 2Th. 1:10; 2Th. 1:12; Heb. 2:10; 1Pe. 4:14; 1Pe. 5:1; 1Pe. 5:4; 1Pe. 5:10; 2Pe. 1:3) This is why we will be glorified in Him and He in us, because what we shall be will have been His work in us and our positive response to it for His sake.

The kingdom of their Father is the same as what Jesus had but a moment before called His Kingdom (Mat. 13:41). The government of God belongs, therefore, to both the Father and the Son, a fact that prepares the mind to accept the concept of the Trinity, even if he cannot understand it. Also, the fact that the Kingdom is of their Father declares them all to be heirs of the Kingdom and royal princes (Cf. Jas. 2:5; Rev. 21:7; Rom. 8:15-17).

He that hath ears, let him hear. (See notes on Mat. 13:9.) Despite all that has been said about the sons of the evil one and the permanency and horror of their fate, yet all could actually hear with understanding and change their relationship to God. Notwithstanding the fact that this parable is not immediately concerned with the doctrine that even Christians that produce no fruit will also be destroyed (Cf. Joh. 15:2; Heb. 6:4-6; Heb. 10:26-31), nevertheless, this warning, appended to the explanation given privately to Jesus closest disciples, is particularly ominous. None can plead inability to hear and understand, since He hereby makes each one responsible to listen, understand, accept or pay the consequences.


At first glance, it would seem that if, according to this parable, evil is never to be absent from the world, the unbeliever would have a strong argument for rejecting Christianity, because of its self-confessed inability to conquer all evil here and now. Paradoxically, however, if evil is never to be absent from the world during the present reign of the Messiah, this parable has tremendous psychological power to deal with our anxiety caused by the problem of evil and to persuade men to believe the Gospels truth:


There is psychological wonder that the amount of good done is as great as it is, considering the obstacles the Kingdom must overcome using the means within its power, To put it another way: look what God is able to do, working under the deliberately chosen handicap of leaving evil in the world! Further, when men consider that God freely elected to use only the influence of His Word to overcome sin and all its ramifications and consequences, rather than organize great armies of police to enforce His will and execute the evildoers, they must marvel. If He can do that much with His hands tied behind Him, what a great God He must be! How worthy of our praise and worship! Our God can beat Satan while letting Satan do his worst.


The Church affirms that men are morally free to accept or reject her message, and if this is true, then one must be prepared to expect to find at least some people left in the world who do not accept it. Even if the existence of these evil men is dreadfully uncomfortable for the godly people and makes it appear that God is powerless to do anything about them, their very existence proves the true freedom of the human will. Here, then, is real proof of the correctness of Gods procedure, because this parable demonstrates just how much opportunity there is for the full development of freely chosen righteousness by its being put to real tests in an evil world where all options are live! If God were suddenly to remove all temptations and evil from the world, there could be no freely taken choice to love and obey Him, since there would be no real alternatives to do otherwise. So the very presence of unchecked evil in the world and even the very imperfection of the Church, when looked at from THIS angle, prove the truth of its message!


Faith is real, because even though this parable paints in some detail the great victory over evil won by the Son of God, most of us will not live to see it. So, from a purely human point of view, since that victory is not a sure thing, anyone who stakes his life on its occurring, really does so because he trusts the word of Christ.


As in the lesson of the Growing Seed Parable, so also here, any precipitate verdicts critical of the present state of the Kingdom of God are just bad misjudgments. Too many facts are left out of account when men look only at the chaos and injustice in the world without seeing what God is doing about it by means of His Gospel. This Parable clarifies His total program.



What are tares? What particular difficulty do they present to the inexperienced eye that observes them? What characteristic makes them especially appropriate for use as a symbol in this story?


What great philosophical problem does Jesus pose here under the form of a parable? How does He answer the problem?


What difference is there between the answers that the philosophers have given to the problem, and the answer Jesus gives?


State the declarations in this text that give evidence of the unique nature of Jesus as revealer of Gods will.


What is the one principle point of this parable? State it, if possible in one well-sharpened proposition.


With what other parable(s) does this story show a distinct relationship as to the meaning intended?


What may be deduced about the Evil One from the description Jesus provides in this text? What is known about him from other passages?


Give Jesus interpretation of the following points in the parable:


The Sower


The enemy


The good seed


The harvest


The field


The reapers


The tares


The fire


What are the things that cause stumbling?


Where are they to be found?


Who are those that do iniquity? Where are they found?


Harmonize the seeming contradiction between the fact that Jesus here presents the punishment of the wicked as a blazing furnace of fire, whereas elsewhere He speaks of an outer darkness. All the fire we have ever seen gives off light in the darkness, and all the darkness we have ever experienced is the absence of light. Which of Jesus expressions is the correct representation of the facts: the fire or the darkness? What does the apparent contradiction teach us about Jesus way of speaking about things of which we have not yet had any experience?


What other Scriptures speak of the punishment of the wicked?


What other passages speak of the future happiness of the righteous?


What other Scriptures describe who are the sons of the Kingdom? Does Jesus always use this expression with the same identical meaning, referring always to the same people?


Explain gnashing of teeth.


In what sense will the righteous shine forth as the sun?


Why does Jesus not refer to those in His Kingdom as sons of the Kingdom, who do iniquity and whom the angels will eventually expel, if unfaithful Christians were really the ones intended?


Who are the sons of the Kingdom? How, according to Jesus, does one get to be one?


Show the relation (or lack of it) between this parable and the doctrine of church discipline.


To what aspect of the Kingdom of God does this parable address itself? List the possible concepts of the kingdom involved and defend or deny each one.

Fuente: College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

(24) Another parable.The explanation of the parable of the Sower had been given apparently in the boat in which our Lord sat with His disciples. Then, again addressing Himself to the multitude on the shore, He spake the parables of the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven; then, dismissing the multitude (Mat. 13:36), He landed with His disciples, and went into the house which was for a time their home.

Fuente: Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

SECOND PARABLE The Wheat and Tares, Mat 13:24-30.

This parable explains the entire structure of the system of probation under the Christian dispensation, or perhaps through all time. As the former parable describes the planting of the dispensation, so this describes its struggle with evil in the world until the judgment day. It is not so much a parable of the Church as of the world and the Church under the Messiah; for the field is the world. While probation lasts, wickedness is permitted to develop itself. There is to be no organic destruction of wicked men by God or angels; there must be no persecuting them to destruction by the servants of God; they must be allowed to live and work their destiny. Nor will they be forcibly changed or irresistibly regenerated in their nature.

To do either of these things would violate the very fundamental principles of probation. But at the end of the world the final separation of good and evil will take place, by the command of Christ, and the execution thereof by angels. The parable is therefore a brief, simple moral history of the world.

Fuente: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

24. The kingdom of heaven The system of human probation or the divine government. Likened unto a man Not likened to the man alone, but to this whole parabolic transaction which begins with the man. The man represents the Divine Ruler of the universe. Sowed good seed This properly goes back to the period of the Creation, when God planted man pure upon the field of the world.

Fuente: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

‘He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingly Rule of Heaven has become like to a situation where a man sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares (darnel) also among the wheat, and went away.’

‘He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingly Rule of Heaven has become like –” (aorist passive indicative )’. The tense demonstrates that this describes the present state of the Kingly Rule of Heaven. Compare for this Mat 13:31; Mat 13:33, although there it is ‘is like’ which is more neutral. Also for ‘the Kingly Rule of Heaven is like –’ compare Mat 13:44-45; Mat 13:47. This phrase unites the six parables.

The phrase cannot possibly refer to what each time directly follows ‘like to’. Thus for example here the man cannot represent the Kingly Rule of Heaven. Nor indeed does the field. The field is the world. It is the wheat, the ‘sons of the Kingly Rule’, which make up the Kingly Rule of Heaven. So in each case where it is used the phrase ‘like to –’ must be seen as referring either to a part of the following phrase (in this case the good seed in the field), or to the whole of the story that follows (the sowing of the good seed, the growing of the seed and the harvest of the seed), or to the end result (the gathered in good seed).

Some lay stress on the whole process, the sowing of the good seed, the growing of the seed and the harvest of the seed. Others lay stress on the end result, the wheat gathered into the barn. In view of the parable of the sower, in which concentration was on the process, we might see both as likely, and this is confirmed in the interpretation of the parable of the tares/darnel where we have ‘the sons of the Kingly Rule’ who are the good seed from the beginning, with the darnel (‘the sons of the evil one’) being gathered out from the Kingly Rule because they are not part of it, a Kingly Rule which is thus in existence prior to the establishing of the final Kingly Rule of the Father. But the darnel is never a part of the Kingly Rule of Heaven. It only gives the appearance of being so. Here we have quite clearly expressed the fact of the present Kingly Rule of Heaven consisting even now of all who are true ‘children of the Kingly Rule’, which will be followed in the future by the future Kingly Rule in Heaven, the one merging into the other.

Bearded darnel is very similar to wheat and difficult to distinguish until the wheat comes to ear. Then the difference becomes very clear. The darnel matures with a dark head. The wheat produces ears of wheat. Interestingly the act of sowing darnel among wheat was forbidden and punishable under Roman Law indicating that just this kind of situation did sometimes occur.

‘While men slept.’ The significance of this is that it brings out the surreptitious nature of what happened. It was underhand and done in the darkness.

‘His enemy came.’ The action is peevish and deceitful. He does not destroy the crops or spread salt on the field, but rather sows what will for a long time deceive those involved. It is the work of the great Deceiver. (He is limited in what he can do. He is not permitted to destroy the good seed – compare Job 1:12; Job 2:6). Then he slips away. He wants to remain in the dark. These are the works of darkness.

Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

The Parable of the Tares/Bearded Darnel (13:24-30).

In this parable the sower sows good seed in a field, but by night his enemy sows bad seed. However, when asked if the bad seed should be removed the householder says ‘no’, lest good seed also be removed in error. Both are to be allowed to grow together until the Harvest when the bad seed will be dealt with along with the good seed.


a Another parable set He before them, saying, “The Kingly Rule of Heaven is likened to a situation where a man sowed good seed in his field (Mat 13:24).

b But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares (darnel) also among the wheat, and went away (Mat 13:25).

c But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares (darnel) also (Mat 13:26).

d And the servants of the householder came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where then has it tares (darnel)?” (Mat 13:27).

c And he said to them, “An enemy has done this.” And the servants say to him, “Do you wish us then to go and gather them up?” (Mat 13:28).

b But he says, “No, lest it happen that while you gather up the tares (darnel), you root up the wheat with them (Mat 13:29).

a Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘Gather up first the tares (darnel), and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’.” (Mat 13:30).

In ‘a’ the good seed of the Kingly Rule of Heaven is sown, and in the parallel the Harvest results and the good seed is gathered into the barn. In ‘b’ the enemy sows tares (darnel) among the wheat, and in the parallel it is not to be gathered up lest it also root up the wheat. In ‘c’ first the fruitful blade springs up, and the tares (darnel) among them, and in the parallel the tares are (darnel is) recognised for what they are, the work of the enemy. Centrally in ‘d’ is the question as to where the tares (darnel) came from.

Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Three Further Parables of the Kingly Rule of Heaven (13:24-33).

The parable of the Sower having been explained, We now have three further parables introduced, the parable of the tares (or bearded darnel, which to begin with looks like wheat but matures to have a dark head), the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven. Each introduces us to a different aspect of the Kingly Rule of Heaven as it spreads outwards, and in the light of the parable of the sower we would expect their ideas to be in terms of how the Kingly Rule of Heaven would progress, which is in fact what we find. Indeed the three parables contrast with the three types of failure in the parable of the sower. The spreading of the Kingly Rule of Heaven will be interfered with by the Enemy sowing false wheat (just as he had earlier snatched away the seed), but he will be unable to touch the children of the Kingly Rule; it will grow strong until it becomes a tree, (rather than withering in the sun like the seed in little depth of earth); and it will grow by the activity within it of the power of God working secretly within it, (rather than its members succumbing to the cares and temptations of life, that also work secretly within them).

But as well as connecting back with the parable of the sower, the three parables now introduced have a further three different emphases, this time looking forward to the three parables that follow. Thus the whole series of seven parables interconnects.

* The first parable has to do with the false introduced among the true, who cannot easily be differentiated. And the result is that it  ends in judgment and the separation of the bad from among the good.

* The second parable has to do with the tiny seed that becomes  the largest herb  of all,

* The third parable has to do with leaven which is  secreted within the meal  until it reacts throughout the whole batch of meal.

These will then be followed by a further three parables in parallel which contain similar emphases in reverse order.

* The first will have to do with treasure  secreted in a field  which is such that a man will give anything in order to obtain it, parallel with the leaven hid in the meal.

* The second has to do with a man who will give all that he has for  the largest, most expensive pearl  of all, parallel with the largest herb of all.

* The third has to do with the dragnet that  brings all into judgment and results in the separating of the bad from among the good, paralleling the harvesting of the wheat and the false wheat.

Note especially the deliberate parallels between the parable of the wheat and darnel and that of the dragnet. Both speak of the separating of the evil from among the good (Mat 13:41; Mat 13:49). Both speak of what will happen at the end of the age (Mat 13:40; Mat 13:49). Both involve the angels separating off the evil so as to cast them into a furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mat 13:41-42; Mat 13:49-50). Nevertheless one ends with the righteous shining forth under the Kingly Rule of their Father (compare Mat 7:21) while the other ends with the weeping and gnashing of teeth (compare Mat 24:51).

These three parables in Mat 13:24-33 are also in the form of a small chiasmus. Thus:

a Jesus expounds a parable affecting all the sons of the Kingly Rule – the good seed (Mat 13:24-30).

b Jesus expounds a parable revealing how all that is to happen will grow out of small beginning until it is surprisingly large (Mat 13:31-32).

a Jesus expounds a parable affecting all the sons of the Kingly Rule – the meal that is leavened (Mat 13:33).

Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

The Parable of the Tares with its Interpretation and Supporting Parables (Perseverance amidst False Doctrines within the Church) – The second parable, the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, explains how Satan will plant persecutions and trials in the midst of God’s servants; but we must allow God to judge in the end as we fulfill the love walk in the midst of our enemies. The third and fourth parables, the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, support the theme of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in that they describe the growth of the Kingdom in the midst of the clean and the unclean, the leavened and the unleavened. As God’s servants are faithful in in fulfilling the Great Commission, the Kingdom is certain to become the greatest upon earth.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Second Parable: The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares Mat 13:24-30

2. Third Parable: The Parable of the Mustard Seed Mat 13:31-32

3. Fourth Parable: The Parable of the Leaven Mat 13:33

4. The Purpose of the Parables Mat 13:34-35

5. The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares Explained Mat 13:36-43

Mat 13:24-30 Second Parable: The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares In Mat 13:24-30 Jesus tells the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. This parable is unique to Matthew’s Gospel. The underlying emphasis of Jesus’ third discourse (Mat 13:1-52) is on persecutions that arise when preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Thus, we can interpret the allegorical meanings in this parable in light of the underlying theme of persecutions, which suggests that the tares represent the persecutors and hardships that Satan plants among believers which everyone encounters while serving the Lord in this world. The reason the tares are left to grow along with the wheat is because we are not to embark on physical warfare against our persecutors. Rather, we are to patiently await God’s final judgment against them while we persevere in the love walk. God will render His final judgment in the last day.

The Harvest of the Tares Precedes that of the Wheat – Perhaps one reason the tares are harvested before the wheat in Mat 13:30 may be because the Great White Throne Judgment will take place at the end of the age before the righteous are ushered into their eternal home in paradise.

Mat 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Mat 13:24 Comments The first parable taught by Jesus, the Parable of the Sower, does not begin with the phrase “the kingdom of heaven is like” simply because it does not describe the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather, those to whom the Gospel is preached. For those who accept the Gospel, Jesus now describes the principles of this new Kingdom which they have joined.

Mat 13:31-32 Third Parable: The Parable of the Mustard Seed ( Mar 4:30-32 , Luk 13:18-19 ) In Mat 13:31-32 Jesus tells us the story of the Parable of the Mustard Seed. If we examine this parable in the parallel account of Mark’s Gospel, we see that it tells us the end result of our faithfulness to preach the Gospel; for it will cause the Kingdom of God to grow into the greatest kingdom upon the earth. While this parable in Mark’s Gospel reflects our glorification at the end of our journey, Matthew’s parable is set within the context of the proclamation of the Gospel in the midst of persecutions. Matthew’s parable is teaching us that the Kingdom of God will grow and reach its fullness in the hearts of men in midst of the persecutions that accompany the proclamation of the Gospel. Of all the seeds sown into the hearts of men through teaching doctrine, the Gospel has the greatest potential to transform and change mankind.

The full maturity of the mustard seed reflects the fullness of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, which will take place at the Second Coming of Christ Jesus when He will rule and reign from Jerusalem. Thus, the fowls of the air that lodge under its shadow could symbolize the nations who come to Jerusalem to honor the Lord and find rest and peace as a result of doing so.

Old Testament Analogies – The analogy of a great tree providing shelter for the animals is used a number of times in Scriptures. Note a similar analogy in Eze 17:22-24 of a great tree providing shade and shelter for animals.

Eze 17:22-24, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.”

In addition, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream in which a tree grew to be the greatest among trees, reaching to the heavens, with the beasts finding shade under it and the birds nesting in its branches (Dan 4:12).

Dan 4:12, “The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.”

Mat 13:31  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

Mat 13:31 “which a man took, and sowed in his field” Comments – Man has a role in the sowing and growing of the seed. Man has to plant it. This means that a person has to receive the Word of God has into his heart before it can take root and grow.

Mat 13:32  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Mat 13:32 “Which indeed is the least of all seeds” – Comments – Jesus’ ministry started so small that the Jews and Romans did not feel it necessary to stop it. Yet, it has grown to become the greatest ministry on earth.

Mat 13:32 “so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” – Comments In nature, all species of birds lodge in the branches of the same trees. In the Kingdom of Heaven, all people are blessed by its contribution to mankind; however, not everyone is a member of the Kingdom.

In nature, trees are sought by animals as a place of refugee. The birds flee to a tree during the rain and storms. The insects flee to the trees to hide and spend the night. The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a tree because this kingdom will be a place of refugee to the children of God.

Mat 13:33 Fourth Parable: The Parable of the Leaven ( Luk 13:20-21 ) In Mat 13:33 Jesus tells us the Parable of the Leaven. Luke’s Gospel places the Parable of the Leaven with the Parable of the Mustard Seed, which implies a similar interpretation. We can now interpret the Parable of the Leaven as saying the same thing about the future fullness of the Kingdom of God upon earth. Just as the full maturity of the mustard seed reflects the fullness of the Kingdom of God upon the earth, which will take place at the Second Coming of Christ Jesus when He will rule and reign from Jerusalem, so does the leaven in the bread represent the same.

Mat 13:33  Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Mat 13:33 “and hid in three measures of meal” Comments – One pastor suggests that the number three symbolizes the three-fold make-up of man. He says that when the seed of the Word of God is planted within a person, it begins to permeate the entire man: spirit, soul and body. It begins to transform that entire person.

Mat 13:33 Comments – Yeast is a fungi, of which there are one hundred and sixty known species. Baker’s yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae is) is the one most commonly used in kitchens today. As the yeast feeds on the sugars in the bread, it produces carbon dioxide gas as a by produce. This gas fills the small air pockets in the bread and causes it to rise. [465] As the yeast feeds, it also multiplies into billions of other yeast cells, thus, permeating the dough of bread, causing all of it to rise.

[465] The Accidental Scientist, “The Science of Cooking,” [on-line]; accessed 22 September 2010, available from http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/activity-yeast.html

Mat 13:34-35 The Purpose of the Parables ( Mar 4:33-34 ) Mat 13:34-35 explains that the teaching in parables by Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Mat 13:34  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

Mat 13:35  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Mat 13:35 “That it might be fulfilled” – Comments – Comments – The phrase (that it might be fulfilled) is unique to the Gospel of Matthew, being used nine times (Mat 1:22; Mat 2:15; Mat 2:17; Mat 2:23; Mat 4:14; Mat 8:17; Mat 12:17; Mat 13:35; Mat 21:4), with similar phrases being used loosely three times in other places in Matthew (Mat 13:14; Mat 26:56; Mat 27:9). [466] The reason this phrase is unique to the Gospel of Matthew is because the primary theme of this Gospel is the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures, which states that Jesus Christ is the coming Messiah, who will reign as King of the Jews. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew continually declares that Jesus Christ fulfills Old Testament Messianic passages.

[466] A tenth Matthean formula can be found in Matthew 27:35 in the KJV. However, the rules of modern textual criticism require the omission this phrase from the UBS 4 because it is not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. Thus, only nine formulae will be considered in this commentary.

Mat 13:35 “which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” Comments – Mat 13:35 is a quote from Psa 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:”

Brenton’s English Translation of the Septuagint, “ I will open my mouth in parables: I will utter dark sayings [which have been] from the beginning.”

Mat 13:36-43 The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares Explained In Mat 13:36-43 Jesus explains the meaning of the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares which He told in Mat 13:24-30. The “field” is the world, not the Church. This does not mean that we in the Church are not to judge sin and to purge sin out of our midst. 1Co 5:1-7 shows the Church how to properly do this. An illustration of this is in Act 5:1-11, where the Church judged Ananias and Sapphira.

1Co 5:7, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”

Mat 13:36  Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

Mat 13:36 Comments – Some scholars believe that Matthew’s account of Jesus being seated and His disciples (or crowds) coming to Him in the opening verses of three of the five major discourses was intentional, since it describes the traditional setting of the Jewish scribe being surrounded by his pupils (Mat 5:1; Mat 13:1-2; Mat 24:3). [467] The second and fourth discourses begin with one aspect of this formula, either Jesus gathering His disciples (Mat 10:1), or them coming to Him (Mat 18:1). In addition, this rabbinic formula is found in the middle of the third discourse simply because Jesus changes locations before completing this discourse (Mat 13:36).

[467] Christopher R. Smith, “Literary Evidences of a FiveFold Structure in the Gospel of Matthew,” in New Testament Studies 43 (1997): 542.

Mat 5:1, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:”

Mat 10:1, “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

Mat 13:1-2, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.”

Mat 13:36, “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.”

Mat 18:1, “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Mat 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Mat 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Mat 13:38 “The field is the world” Scripture References – Note:

Joh 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Joh 17:11, “And now I am no more in the world , but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”

Joh 17:14-16, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Jas 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world .”

Mat 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Fuente: Everett’s Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

The Parable of the Tares

v. 24. Another parable put He forth unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.

v. 25. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

An important point: The parable is set forth, is presented, as spiritual food, for instruction of the soul. The kingdom of heaven, the Church of Christ, strictly speaking, includes only such as are united under His leadership by the bonds of a common, sincere faith in Him. But the Lord here, as often, describes the Church as it appears in the world, as we deal with it in concrete form. His picture is again taken from the work of the farmer. A man will certainly sow only the best seed obtainable in his field if he wants a large and heavy crop. That was also the custom of this husbandman. But during the time when men, that is, the average-honest man, usually slept, his enemy came with a certain malignant seed, a degenerate form of wheat, whose stalks and spikes closely resemble the true grain (bastard wheat, or darnel), and deliberately and maliciously sowed this weed-seed in the midst of the wheat as thickly as though there were nothing there. Having done his spiteful deed, he went his way. The damage, he knew, could hardly be discovered until it would be too late to remedy matters.

Fuente: The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Mat 13:24-25. The kingdom of heaven is likened, &c. The kingdom of heaven may be compared to, &c. or literally, is like to: It is a phrase often used by our Lord, to signify that the following parable, in its principal circumstances, bears a resemblance to what comes to pass in the kingdom of heaven; that is to say, the evangelical dispensation. See ch. Mat 11:16 and Luk 7:32. Respecting the tares, see the note on Mat 13:30. The great and judicious Bishop Sherlock has admirably illustrated this parable. Take away the dress of parable, says he, and what our Saviour here delivers amounts to this: “There will always be a mixture in the world of good and bad men, which no care or diligence can prevent; and though men may and will judge that the wicked ought immediately to be cut off by the hand of God, yet God judges otherwise, and delays his vengeance for wise and just reasons, sparing the wicked at present for the sake of the righteous; reserving all to the great day in which the divine justice shall be fully displayed, and every man shall receive according to his own works.” The view of this parable has, in some parts of it, I think, been misapplied. It is intended to represent the condition of mankind arising from the nature of grace and moral agency,some being good, some bad; a mixture, which from the very nature of mankind is always to beexpected;and to justify God in delaying the punishment of those sins which appear to be ripe for vengeance. This being the view of the parable, it is going out of the way to consider the particular causes to which the sins of men may be ascribed; for the question is, not from what origin the sins of men arise, but why, from whatever cause they spring, they are not punished? In the parable therefore our Lord assigns only a general reason of the wickedness of the world,an enemy hath done this. But there are who think they see another reason assigned in the parable; namely, the carelessness of the public governors and rulers, intimated in those words, But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat; and this text always finds a place in such complaints. And there is indeed no doubt but that the negligence of governors and magistrates, civil and ecclesiastical, may be often one cause of the ignorance and wickedness of the people: but that it is assigned as a cause in the parable cannot be proved; for these words while men slept, instead of charging the servants with negligence, plainly shew that no care or diligence of theirs could prevent the enemy. While they were awake, their care was awake also, and the enemy had no success; but sleep they must, nature requires it, and then it was that the enemy did the mischief. Had it been said, while men played, or were careless or riotous, that would have been a charge upon them; but to say while men slept, is so far from proving that their negligence caused it, that it plainly proved their diligence could not prevent it. For what will you say? Should husbandmen never sleep?It is a condition upon which they cannot live, and therefore their sleeping cannot be charged as their crime. This circumstance therefore in the parable is to shew, not the fault of the husbandmen, but the zeal and industry of the enemy to do mischief. Watch him as narrowly as you will, yet still he will break through all your care and diligence. If you do but step aside, compelled by the calls of nature to eat, to drink, or to sleep, he is ready to take the opportunity to sow his tares. Farther, the character of the husbandmen throughout the parable agrees to this exposition: when they saw the tares spring up, theybetrayed no consciousness of guilt or negligence; they did not come with excuses to their master, but with a question, which plainly speaks how little they mistrusted themselves: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? Would any servant, who had suffered the field to grow wild by his own laziness, have expostulated the case in such a manner? The master, far from charging any of his family with the fault, lays it at another door, an enemy hath done this. Upon which the servants, not sparing of their pains, were desirous to go to work immediately, and to root out all the tares at once. What is there in all this that suits with the character of a lazy, idle, negligent, servant? What is there which does not speak a care and concern for their master’s affairs? As soon as they discover the tares, they go directly to their master, and inform him, and offer their service to root them out. In this particular he corrects their judgment, though he does not condemn their diligence. And in truth one main view of the parable is, to correct the zeal of those who cannot see the iniquity of the world without great indignation; and not being able to stop or to correct it themselves, are apt to call upon God to vindicate his own cause, by taking the matter to himself, and punishingthe evil-doers. The men who have this zeal and warmth against iniquity, are not commonly the idle negligent rulers; nor can we suppose that our Saviour would paint the same men in such different colours in the compass of a short parable; representing them idle and careless at the 25th verse, active and zealous at the 28th. Besides, as was observed before, to charge the wickedness of the world upon the negligence of this or that part of men answers no purpose of the parable; which is, to justify the wisdom of Providence, in permitting the sins of men to go unpunished for the present. But the justification does not arise from considering the causes of iniquity, butfrom considering the effect which immediate punishment would have. In the other way, now explained to you, this circumstance, that while men slept, the tares were sown, promotes the main end of the parable, and completes the justification of the Providence of God; for this shews, that offences must needs come: they are not to be prevented, without disturbing the very course of nature; without God’s interposing miraculously to suspend the workings of second causes, since all care exercised in a human way is too little; for evenwhen men sleep,and sleep they must,the enemy will sow his tares. Since therefore the parable shews, that iniquity can neither be prevented, nor immediately punished, consistently with the wisdom and goodness of God; it shuts out every complaint, and forces us to acknowledge that God is just in all his ways, and righteous in all his dealings with mankind. See his Discourses, vol. 3: disc. 8 part 1.

Fuente: Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Mat 13:24 . ] to the multitude. Comp. Mat 13:3 ; Mat 13:10 ; Mat 13:34 .

] the Messiah’s kingdom has become like (see note on Mat 7:26 ). The aorist is to be explained from the fact that the Messiah has already appeared, and is now carrying on His work in connection with His kingdom. Comp. Mat 12:28 .

(see critical remarks): the sowing had taken place; whereupon followed the act that is about to be mentioned. It is to be observed, moreover, that the kingdom is not represented merely by the person of the sower, but by his sowing good seed, and by all that follows thereupon (as far as Mat 13:30 ); but to such an extent is the sower the leading feature in the parable, that we are thereby enabled to account for such phraseology as . Comp. Mat 13:45 ; Mat 18:23 ; Mat 10:1 .

Fuente: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer’s New Testament Commentary

2. The Second, Third, and Fourth Parables, and Interpretation of the Second Parable. Mat 13:24-43

24Another parable put he forth unto them,13 saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which [who] sowed14 good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy 26came and sowed [over]15 tares16 among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit,17 then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou [thou not] 28sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?18 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

31Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs [greater than the herbs],19 and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

33Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

34All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not [he spake nothing]20 unto them: 35That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,21 saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

36Then Jesus [he][22] sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37He answered and said unto them,23

38He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed [these, ] are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of 39the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the24 angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this [the]25 world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which [that] do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a [the] furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth26 as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.


Mat 13:24. The kingdom of heaven is likened, or made like, .A delineation of the trials to which the kingdom of heaven was exposed from its first introduction into the world, and unavoidable connection with it. Hence the sower, who is the chief figure in the parable, cannot prevent the enemy from sowing tares among the wheat. The same expression is also used, Mat 18:23. The representation of the kingdom of heaven by a certain man recurs again in Mat 13:45, and in Mat 20:1. It is an entire mistake to interpret the passage as implying that the kingdom of heaven was at the time not yet founded.

Mat 13:25. While men slept;i.e., at night, when evil-disposed persons would try to injure the property of their neighbors. Hence, the application of this clause to the negligence of Christian teachers, who were appointed to watch and guard the field (Chrysostom, Augustine), is incorrect.27 Still less does it refer to the sleep of sin (Calovius). Nor is it, on the other hand, merely a rhetorical figure (Meyer). It alludes to the weakness of men, through which the enemy succeeds in mixing up errors with saving truth, without this being perceived. Or perhaps it may denote, that professors of religion too frequently seek exclusively their personal comfort, without seriously reflecting upon, or being zealous for, the truth of the doctrines propounded.

Mat 13:25. Tares [lit.: darnel].The weed growing among wheat, , lolium temulentum, darnel. The only species of grass which in Eastern countries springs up wild among oats or wheat (Virg.: infelix lolium, Georg. i. 154). At the first it looks like wheat, but its fruit is black, not yellow, and its effects are intoxicating and otherwise detrimental. If allowed to grow till the harvest, it is extremely difficult to separate it from the wheat; and, accordingly, it happens not unfrequently that it becomes mixed up with the flour. The Talmudists regarded it as a degenerate wheat. See the Art. in the Encycls. [St. Jerome, who resided long in Palestine, speaks in loc. of the striking similitude between triticum and zizania, wheat, and bastard wheat. Dr. Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 130) collected some specimens of this deceitful weed, and found, on showing them to friends, that they invariably mistook them for some species of grain, such as wheat or barley. Hence the rabbinical name, bastard (i.e., bastard wheat).P. S.]

[The sowing of tares among wheat is a kind of injury frequently practised to this day in the East, from malice and revenge. Roberts (Biblical Illustrations, p. 541, as quoted by Trench) relates of India See that lurking villain watching for the time when his neighbor shall plough his field; he carefully marks the period when the work has been finished, and goes in the night following, and casts in what the natives call pandinellu, i.e., pig-paddy; this, being of rapid growth, springs up before the good seed, and scatters itself before the other can be reaped, so that the poor owner of the field will be for years before he can get rid of the troublesome weed. Trench (Notes on the Parables, p. 83, 9th Lond. ed.) relates a similar trick of malice from Ireland, where he knew an outgoing tenant, who, in spite of his ejection, sowed wild oats in the fields of the proprietor, which ripened and seeded themselves before the crops, so that it became next to impossible to get rid of them. Dr. Alford, too, in loc., 4th ed., mentions that a field be longing to him in Leicestershire, England, was maliciously sown with charlock, and that heavy damages were obtained by the tenant against the offender.P. S.]

And went his way.The devil or his emissaries sow the seed and go their way; those who afterward hold the errors which they have sown, entertertaining them rather in consequence of their natural darkness and folly than of set hostile purpose. [Trench: The mischief done, the enemy went his way, and thus the work did not evidently and at once appear to be his. How often in the Church the beginnings of evil have been scarcely discernible; how often has that which bore the worst fruit in the end, appeared at first like a higher form of good!P. S.]

Mat 13:26. Then appeared the tares also;i.e., it became then possible to distinguish them. The most fascinating error is seen in its true character whenever its poisonous fruit appears.

Mat 13:29. Lest ye root up also the wheat.Gerlach: Our Lord allows both to grow together, not because His servants might be apt to mistake the tares for the wheat,which would scarcely be the case if they knew anything of the matter, and which, at all events, would not apply to the reapers ( Mat 13:30),but because, however different the plants in themselves, their roots are so closely intertwined in the earth. This remark is very important; but some other elements must also be taken into account, such as the excitement and haste of these servantsthey are not angels, as the reapers spoken of in Mat 13:30; and, lastly, that the difference between wheat and tares is not so distinct as at the time of the harvest.The same commentator refers this verse exclusively to excesses of ecclesiastical discipline, for the purpose of excluding all unbelievers and hypocrites, and constituting a perfectly pure Church. He denies all allusion to the punishment of death for heresy, since the Lord spoke of the Church, and not of the secular power. But the Church here alluded to is the Church in the world, and tainted more or less with secularism.

Mat 13:30. In the time of the harvest, , etc.At the right and proper time, and hence in the time of the harvest.

Mat 13:31. A grain of mustard-seed.The mustard-plant, (sinapis orientalis, in Chaldee ),a shrub bearing pods, which grows wild,28 but in Eastern countries and in the south of Europe is cultivated for its seed. Three kinds of mustard were known, the black and the white being most in repute. The Jews grew mustard in their gardens. Its round seed-corns (46 in a pod) were proverbially characterized by them as the smallest thing (Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. 822); which, indeed, holds true so far as the various kinds of seed-corn used in Jewish husbandry are concerned, though scientific botany knows still smaller seeds (Winer). In hot climes the mustard-plant sometimes springs up to the dimensions of a small tree. Meyer and Royle refer the expression to the mustard-tree called Salvadora Persica. (Comp. Winer, and Ewald, Jahrbcher for 1849, p. 32.) But this view is manifestly inapt, as it would destroy not only the popular character, but also the point of the parable. We cannot believe that the Lord would introduce a tree growing in Persia into a picture drawn from common life in Judea.[29] Besides, nobody would deem it strange that a tree should grow up to its proper dimensions; but that the small shrub which had sprung from the least of all seeds should spread into a tree, and that the birds of the air should seek a lodgment in its branches, might well form ground of surprise, and serve as the basis of this parable. Heubner: Think of the mustard-seed of Eastern countries, not that of Europe, which grows to the height of from nine to fifteen yards.

Which a man [handling it] took; .Meyer: Circumstantiality and pictorialness of detail. In our opinion, it alludes to the fact, that a man was obliged cautiously and carefully to take up the seed, lest he should lose hold of it. So small as scarcely to admit of being handled.

Mat 13:32. Lodge in the branches thereof.Not merely, nestle or seek shelter, but lodge and remain, .

Mat 13:33. Unto leaven; .Referring to the unperceived power and efficacy of the gospel, pervading, transforming, and renewing the mind, heart, and life. Starke: The term leaven is used in other passages (Mat 16:11; 1Co 5:6-7) in the sense of evil. Accordingly, some commentators understand it as also referring in this parable to the corruptions which have crept into the Church, and ultimately perverted it; and the woman as alluding to the Papacy and the Romish clergy (Rev 2:20; Rev 17:1), who, with their leaven of false doctrine, have leavened the three estates of Christendom (the three measures of meal). However, the gospel may also, in many respects, be likened unto leaven; as, for example, with reference to its pervading influence (Heb 4:12), to its rapid spread (Luk 12:49), to its rendering the bread palatable and wholesome, etc. According to Macarius, the parable before us alludes to both these elements (the leaven of original sin, and its counter-agent, the leaven of grace and salvation).Rieger (Betracht. ber d. N. T. i.) better: In other passages of Scripture the term leaven is used as a figure of insidious and fatal corruption, finding its way into the Church. But manifestly this cannot be the case in the present instance. The passage does not read: The kingdom of heaven is like unto three measures of meal, with which leaven became mixed up; but, The kingdom of heaven is like unto leavenshowing that the leaven, which in itself is not noxious and evil, but, on the contrary, highly useful and wholesome, serves here as a figure of the secret but all-pervading and subduing power of the gospel. In point of fact, the same idea recurs in Heb 4:2, where we read of the word being mixed with faith in them that hear it. To these remarks we add: 1. It were contrary to the rules of hermeneutics to treat an allegorical figure like a dogmatic statement. Thus in different passages the lion is used as a figure of Satan, but also of Christ; the serpent as a figure of the enemy, but also of the wisdom needful to the Apostles; birds as a figure of believing trustfulness, but also of the devil catching away the word. 2. All the parables in this section bear upon the development of the kingdom of heaven. Hence, if Starkes supposition were correct, the parable under consideration would be quite out of its place in this context. 3. It is impossible to conceive that the kingdom of heaven could be leavened by evil as by a power stronger than itself, and thus be hopelessly destroyed. 4. Leaven may indeed be employed as a figure of sin and evil in the sense of being stronger than individual Christians, when left in their own strength to combat with error, etc. (Mat 16:6; 1Co 5:6-7), but not in that of being more powerful than the kingdom of heaven. 5. Leaven as such is nowhere in the Bible a figure of evil, but a neutral figure of an all-pervading, contagious power. Mark also Lev 23:11 : They shall be baken with leaven; they are the first-fruits unto the Lord.

Three measures., , a hollow measure used for dry substances; according to Josephus, equal to 1 Roman measures. The expression, three measures, is not accidental, but intended to denote the large quantity which the leaven has to pervade. Three is the symbolical number for spiritual things. The Spirit of Christ pervades and transforms our spirits in an unseen and spiritual manner. The Fathers interpreted the number three allegorically. Theod. of Mopsuest. referred it to the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Greeks.30 This, however, is, strictly speaking, not an allegorical interpretation; comp. Act 1:8. Olshausen approves of a reference of the number three to the sanctification of the three powers of human nature [body, soul, and spirit] by the gospel. Similarly it might be applied to the three grand forms in our Christian worldindividuals (catechumens), Church and State, and the physical Cosmos. The main point, however, is to remember that the whole domain of mind, heart, and life, in all their bearings, is to be pervaded and transformed by the Spirit of God.

Mat 13:34. He spake nothing () unto them;i.e., to the people concerning the kingdom of heaven, especially at that particular period. Hence also the use of the imperfect. Meyer.

Mat 13:35. By the prophet.A free quotation of Psa 78:2. Meyer reminds us that in 2Ch 29:30 Asaph is designated a seer, or prophet.

Mat 13:38. The good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.Fritzsche: fruges ex semine enat. As in the explanation of the first parable, so here also the seed is identified with the souls in which it was sown. Our life becomes identified with the spiritual seed, and principles assume, so to speak, a bodily shape in individuals. Such a concrete mode of presenting this truth is all the more suitable in this place, since our Lord is further developing and applying this parable.The children of the wicked (literally here the tares) are sown by the wickedof course, in a moral sense, not according to the substance of their human nature, just as the sons of the kingdom are specifically the seed sown by the Saviour in the moral and religious sense. These men have become what they are by the principles which they have embraced. This appears from the expression in Mat 13:41 : They shall gather out of His kingdom . The scandala are offences in respect of doctrine, heresies, and seductive principles; the anomists are those who represent or embrace these principles (among whom Christ also included the representatives of Jewish traditionalism).

Mat 13:40. At the end of the world, or rather, of this on.2 Esra 7:43: Dies judicii erit finis temporis hujus et initium temporis futur immortalitatis, in quo transivit corruptela.

Mat 13:41. Out of His kingdom,clearly showing that the must be regarded as an interval of time, and hence indicating that there is a period intervening between the reappearing of Christ and the first resurrection connected with it, and the last resurrection, or that transformation of the present on, which marks the close of the final judgment; Revelation 20, compared with 1Co 15:23. Meyer: The separation of which the Lord speaks, is that of the good and the evil (individuals), and only thereby a separation of good and evil (things). But in the text the are mentioned before the , who are here identified with these . Similarly also the righteous are identified with that heavenly brightness which now shines forth in them.

Mat 13:42. A furnace of fire.Not Sheol, or Hades, but Gehenna, or Hell, Rev 20:15; Mat 25:41; the place of punishment and on of those who are subject to the second death. [Trench: Fearful words indeed! and the image, if it be an image, borrowed from the most dreadful and painful form of death in use among men. David, alas! made the children of Ammon taste the dreadfulness of it. It was in use among the Chaldeans, Jer 29:22; Dan 3:6. Antiochus resorted to it in the time of the Maccabees, 2 Maccabees 7; 1Co 13:3. In modern times, Chardin makes mention of penal furnaces in Persia.P. S.]

Mat 13:43. Then shall the righteous shine forth, .Then the brightness of their shall visibly break forth; Dan 12:3; Romans 8; and other passages.


1. The Parable of the Tares among the wheat.The basis of this parable is the natural tendency of the ground to produce noxious weeds, thorns, and briers, or to degenerate. Hence the parable is intended to represent the obstacles with which the kingdom of heaven meets, and which it has to overcome. As in the natural earth tares and weeds rapidly spread, till they threaten to destroy the precious grain, so the seed of natural corruption in the heart and life threatens to choke that of the kingdom of heaven. The parable embodies three leading ideas. In opposition to the heavenly sower we see His adversary similarly employed; by the side of the good seed which Christ scatters we have that of the tares and the weeds of the devil; while the noxious plants, as they spring up, threaten to choke or to spoil the precious fruit. In other words, the kingdom of God is opposed by another kingdomthat of conscious malice, of which Satan, the adversary of Christ, is the head. His seed are the , or spiritually seductive principles, here represented by the tares, which look like the wheat, just as heresies resemble the truth. This seed he scatters at night; i.e., the enterprise, dictated by the malice of the enemy, succeeds through the weakness and folly of man. Protected by the darkness of night, the noxious weed, scattered all through the wheat, springs up, and, resembling the good fruit, grows up luxuriantly, till it threatens to choke the wheat, or to spoil it by foreign and dangerous admixture. In passing, we have already hinted that the picture of men sleeping may refer to the contrast between the religious comforts and enjoyments indulged in by the Church, and the watchfulness of schools on behalf of purity of doctrine.

2. Movement on the part of the servants.This constitutes the second great feature of the parable. Their proposals arose partly from indignation against the enemy, partly from an impatient zeal for outward appearance of purityfrom pride in the field, and partly from apprehension for the good seed. They were desirous of removing the tares. The Lord prohibited it, lest they should also root up the wheat. These considerations have been matter of the utmost importance in the history of the Church of Christ. It is well known that Novatianism on the one hand, and the papal hierarchy on the other, have addressed themselves to this work of uprooting, despite the prohibition of the Lord, and that the Romish Church has at last ended by condemning to the flames only the best wheat. But from this passage we learn that, according to the ordinance of the Lord, the Old Testament punishment denounced upon false prophets and blasphemers does not apply to the New economy.31 It is contrary to the mind and will of Christ to pronounce a ban, in the sense of denouncing final judgment upon men, by way of removing them and their errors from the Church. This toleration must not, however, be regarded as implying that evil and sin are to escape all punishment in the Church: it only implies that we are to remember and strictly to observe the distinction between the sowing and the reaping time. But within the limits here indicated, it is our duty to correct all current mistakes, Jam 5:19; to refute every error and heresy, 1Ti 4:1-6; and either to remove from the Church anti-christian doctrine and practical offences, with all who are chargeable therewith, or else to induce such persons to leave the Church by refusing to own and acknowledge them, Mat 18:15; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 John Mat 13:10.

But all these arrangements are only intended by way of discipline during the course of the development of the New Testament economyin hope, not as a punitive economy of judgment. It is scarcely necessary to add, that they bear no reference whatever to the civil administration of justice (Rom 13:4).

[Dr. Lange might also have referred to the famous Donatist controversy in the African Church during the fourth and fifth centuries, whose chief exegetical battle-ground was this parable of the tares. The Catholics, represented by St. Augustine, claimed the whole parable, and especially the warning in Mat 13:29-30, against the disciplinarian rigorism and ecclesiastical purism of the Donatists; while the Donatists tried to escape the force of the parable by insisting that the field here spoken of is not the Church but the world, Mat 13:38. The parable, they said, has no bearing on our controversy, which is not whether ungodly men should be endured in the world (which we all allow), but whether they should be tolerated in the Church (which we deny). The Catholics replied that the mixture of good and bad men in the world is beyond dispute and known to all; that the Saviour speaks here of the kingdom of heaven, or the Church which is catholic and intended to spread over the whole world. Trench speaks at length on this important disciplinarian controversy in his Notes, p. 84 sqq., and defends throughout the Augustinian view (as does Wordsworth); but there was an element of truth in the puritanic zeal of the Donatists and kindred sects in their protest against a latitudinarian, secularized state-churchism. Comp. the forthcoming second volume of my History of Ancient Christianity, ch. vi. 6971.P. S.]

3. Until the harvest.A final and complete separation shall certainly be made. But it requires the heavenly clearness, purity, calmness, and decidedness of angels properly to accomplish this process.Then shall the righteous shine forth. This shining forth is brought about by the deliverance of the Church from the burden of its former connection with evil, by its complete redemption (Luk 21:28), and by the change and entire transformation now taking place in everything around,thus combining at the same time inward blessedness with outward, glorious manifestation of spiritual life, in all its fulness and perfectness.

4. The enemy that sowed them is the devil.This passage has rightly been adduced as one of the strongest proofs that Christ propounded the doctrine concerning the devil as of His own revelation, and not from accommodation to popular prejudices. For, (1) Our Lord speaks of the devil not in the parable, but in His explanation of its figurative meaning, which, of course, must be taken in its literal and proper sense; (2) He speaks of him not in presence of the people, but within the circle of His intimate disciples; (3) He refers to the devil as the personal founder and centre of the kingdom of darkness, and as opposed to the person of the Son of Man, the centre and founder of the kingdom of light. Other passages show that, on many occasions, Jesus of His own accord bore witness to this doctrine (comp. Matthew 4; Joh 8:44, etc.).

[Trench, Notes, p. Matt 89: We behold Satan here not as he works beyond the limits of the Church, deceiving the world, but in his far deeper skill and malignity, as he at once mimics and counterworks the work of Christ: in the words of Chrysostom: after the prophets, the false prophets; after the Apostles, the false apostles; after Christ, Antichrist. Most worthy of notice is the plainness with which the doctrine concerning Satan and his agency, his active hostility to the blessedness of man, of which there is so little in the Old Testament, comes out in the New; as in the last parable, and again in this. As the lights become brighter, the shadows become deeper; not till the mighty power of good had been revealed, were we suffered to know how mighty was the power of evil; and even here it is in each case only to the innermost circles of disciples that the explanation concerning Satan is given. Bengel (Gnom. on Eph 6:12) makes a similar remark: Quo apertius quisque Scriptur liber de conomia et gloria Christi agit, eo apertius rursum de regno contrario tenebrarum.P. S.]

5.The furnace of fire, into which the wicked are to be cast at the manifestation of the new on, is probably intended as a counterpart to the fiery furnace to which, during the best period of the old on, the faithful had so often been consigned (Daniel 3). If from the one furnace a hymn of praise and thanksgiving rose to heaven, from the other resounds the wailing of anguish and pain, and the gnashing of teeth in rage and malice; comp. Rev 9:2. The fiery torments which the righteous underwent afforded a view of heaven as in and among men; those which the wicked endure bring out the inward hell existing in the bosom of humanity. Similarly the outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mat 8:12, etc.), forms an antithesis to the sacred darkness in which Jehovah dwelleth, Exo 20:21, amidst the praises of Israel, Psa 22:3; and to the darkness of trials and sorrows which the Lord lightens up, Isa 58:10. All these contrasts point to the fact, that it is the wicked who make hell what it is. The autos da fe of the Middle Ages were only a horrible caricature and anticipation of that fiery judgment.

6. Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun. With the separation at the judgment, the Christian life, subjectively and objectively considered, appears in its full heavenly glory. [Trench: As fire was the element of the dark and cruel kingdom of hell, so is light of the pure heavenly kingdom. Then, when the dark, hindering element has been removed, shall this element of light, which was before struggling with and obstructed by it, come forth in its full brightness. Col 3:4; Rom 8:18; Pro 25:4-5. A glory shall be revealed in the saints: not merely brought to them and added from without; but rather a glory which they before had, but which did not before evidently appear, shall burst forth and show itself openly, as once in the days of His flesh, at the moment of transfiguration, did the hidden glory of our Lord. That shall be the day of the manifestation of the sons of God.P. S.]

7. The Grain of Mustard-seed.The first two parables were intended (just as Mar 4:26-29) to delineate the succession of events in the development of the kingdom of heaven; that of the grain of mustard-seed bears reference principally to its extension in space, not in time, while at the same time it depicts the conquering power of the gospel. At first it seems as if the hostile principle had now wholly disappeared. The grain of mustard-seedso small and despised in the outward appearance of Him who bore the form of a servant, or rather, in that of His disciplesshoots up, and the smallest of seeds grows into a high bush, so as even to resemble a tree. But in consequence of this very growth, the birds of the air mistake the bush for a tree, and seek to make a lodgment in its branches. This was verified in the ecclesiastical establishment which Constantine founded, in the medival Church, and indeed applies to the visible Church generally. Not only sweet songsters, but even birds of prey, seek to build their nests on this heavenly tree.

[Alford: This parable, like most others respecting the kingdom of God, has a double referencegeneral and individual. (1) In the general sense, the insignificant beginnings of the Kingdom are set forth: the little babe cast in the manger at Bethlehem; the Man of sorrows with no place to lay His head; the crucified One; or again the hundred and twenty names who were the seed of the Church after the Lord had ascended; then we have the Kingdom of God waxing onward and spreading its branches here and there, and different nations coming into it. He must increase, said the great Forerunner. We must beware, however, of imagining that the outward Church-form is this kingdom. It has rather reversed the parable, and is the worldly power waxed to a great tree, and the Churches taking refuge under the shadow of it. It may be, where not corrupted by error and superstition, subservient to the growth of the heavenly plant: but is not itself that plant. It is at best no more than (to change the figure) the scaffolding to aid the building, not the building itself. (2) The individual application of the parable points to the small beginnings of divine grace; a word, a thought, a passing sentence, may prove to be the little seed which eventually fills and shadows the whole heart and being, and calls all thoughts, all passions, all delights, to come and shelter under it.P. S.]

8. The Leaven.Heubner: If the former parable presents the extensive power of Christianity, this exhibits its intensive, dynamic force. See also the list furnished by that author (p. 199) of works on the effects of Christianity, and the works of writers on Apologetics, Missions, etc. The woman is an apt figure of the Church.32 Leaven, a substance kindred and yet quite opposed to meal,having the power of transforming and preserving it, and of converting it into bread, thus representing the divine in its relation to, and influence upon, our natural life. One of the main points in the parable is the hiding, or the mixing of the leaven in the three measures of meal. This refers to the great visible Church,33 in which the living gospel seems, as it were, hidden and lost. It appears as if the gospel were engulfed in the world; but under the regenerating power of Christianity it will at last be seen that the whole world shall be included in the Church. Here, then, the transformation of human nature, of society, of institutions, of customs, in short, of the whole Cosmosor the gradual regeneration (Mat 19:28)forms the principal point in view.34 But this Christianization of the whole world is not incompatible with the development of Antichrist in the world, nor with the unbelief and the hardening of individual sinners. Nay, this very dedication of life as a whole, in consequence of which the Church will at last possess and claim everything, only becomes a judgment, unless it be made ours by personal regeneration, just as unbelief transforms the most glorious truths into the most awful and the most dangerous errors, 2 Thessalonians 2.

[Alford: The two parables are intimately related. That was of the inherent, self-developing power of the kingdom of heaven as a seed containing in itself the principle of expansion; this, of the power which it possesses of penetrating and assimilating a foreign mass, till all be taken up into it. And the comparison is not only to the power but to the effect of leaven also, which has its good as well as its bad side, and for that good is used: viz., to make wholesome and fit for use that which would otherwise be heavy and insalubrious. Another striking point of comparison is in the fact that leaven, as used ordinarily, is a piece of the leavened loaf put amongst the now dough( . Chrys. Hom. xlvi. p. 484 A)just as the kingdom of heaven is the renewal of humanity by the righteous Man Christ Jesus.The parable, like the last, has its general and its individual application: (1) In the penetrating of the whole mass of humanity, by degrees, by the influence of the Spirit of God, so strikingly witnessed in the earlier ages by the dropping of heathen customs and worship;in modern times more gradually and secretly advancing, but still to be plainly seen in the various abandonments of criminal and unholy practices (as e.g. in our own time of slavery and duelling, and the increasing abhorrence of war among Christian men), and without doubt in the end to be signally and universally manifested. But this effect again is not to be traced in the establishment or history of so-called Churches, but in the hidden advancement, without observation, of that deep leavening power which works irrespective of human forms and systems. (2) In the transforming power of the new leaven on the whole being of individuals. In fact the Parable does nothing less than set forth to us the mystery of regeneration, both in its first act, which can be but once, as the leaven is but once hidden; and also in the consequent (subsequent?) renewal by the Holy Spirit, which, as the ulterior working of the leaven, is continual and progressive. (Trench, p. 97.) Some have contended for this as the sole application of the parable; but not, I think, rightly.As to whether the has any especial meaning (though I am more and more convinced that such considerations are not always to be passed by as nugatory), it will hardly be of much consequence here to inquire, seeing that would be everywhere a matter of course.P. S.]

9. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet (not as a verbal, but as a typical prophecy).Asaph was a seer, and the Psalm here quoted was prophetic, tracing in a series of historical pictures the disobedience and the hardening of Israel; the divine judgments, and the subsequent compassion and mercy of God. This prophecy was fulfilled in the parables of Christ, so far as concerned both their form and their matter. In reference to their form, Christ unfolded in them all the mysteries of the kingdom of God; in reference to their matter, the first parables bear chiefly on the hardening of the people, while the subsequent parables exhibit His infinite and glorious compassion.


A. The Parable of the Tares, Mat 13:24-30, and interpretation of the same in Mat 13:36-43.The tares among the wheat in the field of Christ: 1. What is their character? (outwardly they resemble the wheat, but in reality they are quite different and opposed.) 2. How did they come among the wheat? (through the malice of the devil and the weakness of man.) 3. What are the dangers accruing from their presence? (they injure the wheat by robbing it of its beauty and strength; and, indirectly, through the imprudent zeal of the servants, they even endanger its existence.) 4. Still they are made to subserve a good purpose (teaching us to watch, to discern, to live, and to spare life, and to wait in humility and patience). 5. They assuredly shall be separated in the day of harvest (judged by their own fruit, by the sentence of Christ, by the angels of heaven, by fire).And he went his way (cowardice, malice, calculation).How the seed of the evil one frequently assumes the appearance of human nature, and even of the divine life.Mark! it is not the wheat among the tares, but the tares among the wheat (in answer to the charges of ancient and modern Novatianism against the Church).An enemy hath done this.Impatience of the servants in the kingdom of God: 1. Its higher and nobler motives; 2. marks of its carnal and sinful origin.Spurious zeal (fanaticism) the worst enemy we have to meet in the Church.Satan accomplishes more by calling forth false zeal in the disciples than even by sowing tares.Has the Church of Christ always obeyed this injunction of the Master?Let both grow together: 1. Absolutely and unconditionally; yet, 2. within how narrow limits!How the tares and the wheat mutually protect each other till the time of harvest.How the godly and the ungodly serve and assist each other in the kingdom of God.Freedom of religion must be connected with religion of freedom.A proper religious toleration, at the same time a proper discipline, in the spirit of the gospel.Let us seek to distinguish the visible and the invisible Church, but not to separate them upon earth.The whole world is the field of Christ.As the seed in our hearts, so are we.Final judgment upon the offences in the kingdom of God, and the glorious manifestation of the Church of Christ.

Starke:Osiander: God spares the wicked for the sake of the godly who live among them.Chrysostomus: Fortem diabolum facit nostra negligentia, non illius potentia.When the watchmen sleep, the devil is awake, Act 20:29-30; Nova Bibl. Tub.Quesnel: Let faithful ministers be careful to point out the tares.Cramer: The devil is the cause of all the evil in the world, Joh 8:44.It is not every kind of zeal for the glory of God which deserves commendation.Zeisius: The good seed must not be neglected on account of the tares: one sincere and earnest Christian is worth far more in the sight of God than a thousand hypocrites and sinners.It is impossible to transform the tares into wheat; but the grace of God may, through the earnest zeal of the disciples, convert the ungodly into humble followers of Jesus.The ungodly despise Christians, but they are indebted to them for preservation and immunity from judgments, Gen 18:26.Canstein: If we would understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God, let us in retirement seek enlightenment from the Lord.The Church is the husbandry of God.

Heubner:The enemy goeth his way.How the evil one succeeds in craftily concealing his presence!Along with the spread and extension of good, evil also increaseth.The will of the Master is, Nay!The long-suffering and patience of God puts them to shame, and worketh patience in them.Here Christ bears witness to that divine toleration which He manifests in the government of His Church.Reasons of this prohibition: 1. The servants might commit a mistake (confound the wheat with the tares)some may have the root of the thing in them; 2. they might root up the wheat along with the tares (since good and evil are often very closely intertwined): 3. the godly are to be tried; 4. the wicked may yet be saved.They are bound in bundles: indicating their fellowship in misery.The real and internal dignity of Gods people does not yet appear.

Drseke:The enemy comes when people are asleep.What a strange mixture in the kingdom of heaven!Bachmann: The mixture of the godly and of sinners in the Church of Christ.Reinhard: On the view which Christ Himself entertained of His kingdom upon earth.

B. The Parable of the Grain of Mustard-seed.The kingdom of heaven under the figure of a grain of mustard-seed: 1. The least of all seeds (poverty and humility of Christ; His Apostles, publicans and fishermen; His message, reconciliation through a crucified and risen Saviour). 2. The greatest among herbs (the Church universal and a universal religion): a. The richest and best among herbs (the planting of the Lord); b. appearing to be a tree (so strong as to be able to bear even that worldly spirits should lodge in its branches).Christianity, as reflecting both the humility and the majesty of its Founder (at first so small in its outward appearance, that men could scarcely seize it; then so large, as to comprehend all: thus, both in history and in the life of the individual Christian).The contrast between the infinite smallness of the seed and the greatness of the herb, an evidence of the intensity of the principle of growth in the plant.Christianity twice misunderstood and twice glorified: at first in its smallness, and then in its vast extent.The commencement of all the works of God small in the eyes of the world: commencement of creation (the light), of humanity (the first pair), of the covenant-people (Isaac, the younger of the two brothers), of the Church (the confession of fishermen), of the new life (faith).Contrast between the commencement of Christianity and that of the kingdoms of this world.

Starke:Marginal note of Luther: There is not anywhere a word more despised than the gospel; yet there is none more powerful, since it justifies those who believe in it, which neither the law nor works could do.This passage may be applied either to the gospel or to the Church.Canstein: This is the work and wisdom of God, that He makes something of things which are not, and mighty things of those which are weak, while He humbleth and abaseth the things which are high and great, 1Co 1:26-27.Zeisius: The weakest faith will grow and extend, and comprehend more than heaven and earth, even Christ Himself, with all that He is, and all that He hath, Eph 3:17; 1Pe 5:10.Majus: No human power is able to obstruct or prevent the extension of the Church.

Lisco:Small the beginning, gradual the progress, but great and glorious the issue.Nations shall flock into the Church of Christ, where they will find safety, salvation, peace, and true happiness.Heubner: The great things of God have always had a small beginning (to outward appearance).When commencing, in humble confidence on the Lord, what seemeth a small work, always remember that it may grow into a mighty blessing to those who are near, and to those who are afar off. This, indeed, is the proper way of triumphing: a small beginning and a mighty ending. The opposite is a lamentable failure.

C. The Parable of the Leaven.Christianity the hidden power of regeneration both in the world and in the life of believers.The Church under the figure of the woman hiding the leaven among the meal: 1. The woman; 2. the leaven; 3. the three measures of meal; 4. the hiding of the leaven among them; 5. the result.The life from God in its progressive victory over the natural life of the world.The more fully the leaven is hid, and the more completely it seems to have disappeared, the more rapidly and powerfully does it penetrate and leaven the whole mass.The work of regeneration: 1. On what it depends (leaven stronger than meal); 2. its process (hidden, gradual, all-subduing); 3. the result (all the measures of meal leavened, the divine life penetrating everywhere and everything).The regeneration of humanity does not necessarily imply that of every individual.The higher society as a whole is elevated by Christianity, the lower may the individual sink.The transformation of the heart must correspond to that of the world.

Starke:The eye of the Lord is not only upon important affairs of state, but also upon our common and humble employments.Hedinger: Not only vices, but also good examples are infectious.If the word of God is to appear in all its power and efficacy it must be mixed with faith in the heart.

Lisco:Man remains man, but he becomes partaker of the divine nature, 2Pe 1:3-4; and hence an entirely changed being.This power works invisibly, gradually, effectively, and irresistibly, till the whole nature of man, from its principle to its individual faculties, is penetrated, transformed, subdued, and assimilated, and until every foreign and ungodly element is expelled.Indissoluble communion between what is leavened and the leaven: between believers and Christ.

Heubner: The all-penetrating power of the gospel and of its economy, especially of the blood of reconciliation in the death of Jesus.Even avowed enemies of Christianity have been obliged partly to own the power of the gospel.Where the leaven of Christianity is wanting, the whole mass will become corrupt.Each Christian should operate as leaven upon all around.

D. Fulfilment of the prophecy ( Mat 13:34-35).Christ the revelation.Christ the revealer of all secrets: 1. Of those of God; 2. of humanity; 3. of the history of the kingdom of God; 4. of the kingdom of heaven.The parables of Christ revealed secrets of God.Even the parabolic form used by Christ, partly for concealing the truth, became a new revelation.

Starke:Osiander: Whenever we see natural things, let us elevate our minds to heavenly realities.Quesnel: The mysteries which from all eternity had been hid in God, and which from the beginning of the world had been presented in types and prophecies, were at last revealed by Christ, and are more and more fulfilled in and by Him, Rom 16:25.


[13] Mat 13:24.[, He set or laid before them another parable as a spiritual riddle, challenging the close attention and solution of the hearers; comp. Mar 4:34, , he solved all, viz., the parables, E. V.: he expounded all things to his disciples.P. S.]

[14] Mat 13:24.B., M., X., al. . [So also Lachmann and Alford, following the Vatican Codex, etc. Tischendorf in his edition of 1859, reads (seminanti, instead of qui seminavit). Perhaps he will in a new edition adopt the other reading, since the Cod. Sinaiticus, as published by him in 1868, reads , a provincial (Egyptian?) spelling for , as the same Cod. frequently has , for , e.g., for in Mat 10:28; Mat 10:31.P. S.]

[15] Mat 13:25.Cod. B., [also Cod. Sinait.], Lachmann, Tischendorf: for . [Vulg.: superseminsvit; Rhemish Vers.: over sowed; Lange: sete darauf; sowed over the first seed.P. S.]

[16] Mat 13:25.[ (probably a Hebrew word), i.e., darnel; lolium temulentum; Germ.: Lolch, Tollkorn; French: ivroie, so called to indicate the vertigo which it causes when eaten in bread. See the Exeg. Notes. But tares is more popular, as the German Unkraut in Luthers version is better understood than Lolch or Tollkorn. Hence the propriety of a change in this case might be questioned. I would prefer the term bastard wheat.P. S.]

[17] Mat 13:27.[Conant: The form in the Common Version: didst not thou, gives a false emphasis; for, in the Greek, the negative verb qualifies the verb, and not its subject.P. S.]

[18] Mat 13:27.The ancient testimony is decidedly against the article in . [Lange misplaces this note to ver 26, where the critical authorities have the article. The Engl. Vers. is right in both cases.P. S.]

[19] Mat 13:32.[In Gr.: ; Lange: grsser als die (andern) Kruter (alle andern Gartengewchse) i. e., larger than any herb.P. S.]

[20] Mat 13:34.B., C., M., [Cod. Sinait], Lachmann, Tischendorf read [instead of ].

[21] Mat 13:35.The addition: Isaiah, is false in fact and on critical grounds. [Comp. the critical note in Tischendorfs large edition in loc., vol. i., p. 59.P. S.]

[22] Mat 13:36. is an explanatory addition not found in the oldest MSS.

[23] Mat 13:37.Lit.: He answering said; (to them) is omitted in the critical editions.

[24] Mat 13:39.[Angels, without the article which is omitted in the Greek: .P. S.]

[25] Mat 13:40.Lachmann, Tischendorf, following B., C., D., al., read simply [omitting . Alford, however, retains it against the decided weight of authorities, including Cod. Sinait.P. S.]

[26] Mat 13:43.[Shine forth, , which is more than , effulgebunt (not simply: fulgebunt, is the Latin Vulg. translates), herrorslrahlen, and signifies the sudden bursting forth of the inherent glory of the righteaus. Comp. Dan 12:3, and Meyer in loc.P. S.]

[27][It should be observed that the Saviour says: while men slept, not: while the men (belonging to the owner of the field). or the servants slept: and that, in the exposition of the parable. He brings so charge of negligence against them, although there is, alas! always more or less of it in all ages and branches of the church. Trench: The phrase is equivalent to at night, and must not be further urged (Job 33:15; Mar 4:27). This enemy seized his opportunity, when all eyes were closed in sleep, and wrought the secret mixbief upon which he was intent, and having wrought it undetected, withdrew. So also Alford.P. S.]

[28][And to a very considerable size, in the fertile soil of Palestine, as high as the horses heads.P. S.]

[29][But the Salvadora Persica was also found by Irby and Mangles on or near the peninsula of the Dead Sea. See Royle in Journal of Sacred Lit., 1849. p. 271, and Robinson, Dict. sub . But if the mustard-tree had been intended, it would hardly have been numbered among the herbs, , Mat 13:32, which grow in the garden.P. S.]

[30][Augustin, and quite recently Slier, refer it to the three sons of Noah.P. S.]

[31][The medival divines who defended the capital punishment of heretics, found a loophole in the words: lest ye root up also the wheat with them; from which they inferred that the prohibition was binding only conditionally. But unfortunately for this inference, the Saviour continues: Let both grow together until the harvest, and makes no exceptions at all. On the other hand, however, this passage must not be abused and misunderstood so as to sanction the Erastian latitudinarianism and to undermine discipline which is elsewhere solemnly enjoined by Christ and the apostles, and is indispensable for the spiritual prosperity of the Church.P. S.]

[32][So already St. Ambrose (Expos. in Luc. vii). Trench (Notes. p. 115) remarks: In and through the Church the Spirits work proceeds: only as the Spirit dwells in the Church (Rev 22:17) is that able to mingle a nobler element in the mass of humanity, in the world. .. The woman took the leaven from elsewhere to mingle it with the lump: and even such is the gospel, a kingdom not of this world, not the unfolding of any powers which already existed therein, a kingdom not rising, as the secular kingdoms, out of the earth (Dan 7:17), but a new power brought into the world from above; not a philosophy, but a Revelation.P. S.]

[33][Lange calls it Weltkirche, by which he does not mean either the church secularized nor the various established or state-churches. But the large body of nominal Christendom.P. S.]

[34][Dr. Trench (p. 16) aptly illustrates this feature of the parable from the early history of Christianity, whose working below the surface of society was long hidden from the view of the heathen writers and yet went on with irresistible force until the whole Roman world was leavened by it. And yet the external conversion of the empire was only a part of the work. Besides this, there was the eradication of innumerable heathen opinions, practices, and customs which had entwined their fibres round the very heart of society. This work was never thoroughly accomplished till the whole structure of Roman society went to pieces, and the new Teutonic civilization was erected on its ruins.P. S.]

Fuente: A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. (27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? (28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

The Lord himself hath explained very fully, and very blessedly, this parable in Mat 13:36 , and the following verses, which supersedes the necessity of any observations from me. I therefore only detain the Reader to remark, that in this parable, the Lord comes closer home than in the former. In that parable, the world at large was spoken of as receiving the seed of the gospel, and the reception of it hath been shewn, by the greater part receiving it in the way-side, on stony ground, and amidst thorns. But in this parable of the Tares springing up among the Wheat, is meant the professing Church of Christ, where the children of the wicked One are mingling with the children of the kingdom. Here, therefore, they spring up together, and grow together; but from the first moment, however undiseerned by the eyes of men, as perfectly known to God from everlasting, as when ripened into their full state. The tares can no more become good seed, than good seed can become tares. They are from a different stamina, a totally different race. So Jesus explained it to his disciples, and, blessed be God, so the Lord’s children find. And though they are to grow together until the harvest, and the Church of God, while on earth, will never be free from tares, yet the Lord knoweth them that are his, and by the sweet soul-refreshing dews of his Spirit, and the healing of the Sun of Righteousness upon their hearts, often the Lord giveth his people to know whose they are, and to whom they belong. Oh! the unspeakable mercy of being of the seed of Christ, and heirs of the kingdom. Reader! I beseech you to turn to those scriptures. Isa 59:21Isa 59:21 ; Gal 3:16-29 .

Fuente: Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Chapter 53


Almighty God, the day is thine, the house and the Book are thine, and at thine altar do we now bow down ourselves in homage and in expectation. There is a song in our heart as well as upon our tongue, and in the hidden places of our mind are desires we shall never express in words. But thou knowest us outwardly and inwardly; that which is spoken thou dost hear, and that which is unsaid thou dost understand. Behold we are now before thee as sinners, burdened with guilt, stung through and through with remorse, and yet there is in our hearts an expectation, inspired by thy Spirit, that shall be more than satisfied by the fulness of the meaning of the cross. We will sing of mercy and judgment surely of mercy more, for thy mercy has been tender and thy kindness has been loving, and thy lovingkindness and thy tender mercy have been with us all the days of our life. We were born in the mystery of thy power, we have been sustained by the mystery of thy providence, and we are saved by the mystery of thy grace. We know not our beginning nor do we know our ending; we know but imperfectly the present, passing, dying moment, and as for our strength it is as a dying flame. Yet how hast thou nourished us even as a nurse nourisheth and cherisheth her children: thou hast gathered the lambs in thine arms, thou hast gently led thy flock up steep places, and thou hast made thy loved ones to lie down at noon in the place and rest of the shadow. Thou hast found for us wells in the wilderness and streams in stony places, and the bitterness thou hast made sweet, and the darkness thou hast filled with stars.

Thou art very gracious unto us, and herein is the rest of our lives. This is the mystery of our peace when we undertake for ourselves we do bring our whole life into confusion and humiliation: when we obey thy word and rest in thine Almightiness, and yield ourselves with all the unreserve of perfect love to thy purpose and thy plan, then do all things work together for good, then do our souls come into great harvesting, yea they are brought into the Lord’s banqueting house, and thy banner over them is love. We will not intermeddle with the things we do not understand. We understand nothing, therefore will we not intermeddle at all. We are here on thy responsibility, we are thy children, we did not form ourselves nor did we ask to be here or to be anywhere in all thy universe thou art our Creator, yea our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and in thine Almightiness will we rest, and we will await the unfolding of thy revelation with all the hopefulness of assured confidence, knowing that all things are under thy control, and that the pillars of thy throne are founded upon infinite righteousness.

Thou dost show us strange things, and things that ought to touch us much as we are passing swiftly through this varying life. Thou dost lead us to the grave and show us the place where our bodies shall lie: thou dost point us to the blue heavens and create in our hearts a wonder what can be within those curtainings of azure. Thou dost bring us into strange circumstances which we cannot disentangle, and into combinations which afflict us with perplexity. Thou dost start the tears into our eyes; there they stand, blinding often, and yet giving us another sight, even into the inner beauty of thy movement and the inner sacredness and grandeur of thy purpose. Help us in all things to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him, and the reward of an inspired patience shall be great.

We give ourselves to thee again and again a poor gift, but all we have. Take us, we humbly pray thee, as the purchased possession of thy Son, the prey taken by the mighty hand that was nailed for a moment to the cross, and receive us, one and all, broken, shattered, stained as we are, into thy family, thy house, glowing with the fire of thy love, thy kingdom, too sacred to be violated by the power of any foe. Rebuke us, but not with judgment; lay thine hand upon us, but not thy rod; when we are foolish, presumptuous, self-confident, defiant, Lord, smite us not with the thunder of thy strength, nor laugh at us with the derisiveness of thine infinite scorn, but lay thine hand upon us gently, turn our faces to the light, and show us how foolish we are and ignorant before thee, point out to us the fewness of our days, the littleness and the perishableness of our strength, and may we, thus chided from heaven, rebuked and instructed by our Father, fall upon our knees, own our folly, and confess our sin, and be received again into the favour we do not comprehend.

Thou art taking the years from us swiftly and silently: we know not that thou art removing them, until behold! the number is one less, and men are old before they have reckoned up their age. So teach us to number our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom; may we become deeper in our nature, mellower in our feeling, tenderer in our sympathy, larger and broader in our charity, more like Jesus, more like the Son of God in all the beauty of his inimitable perfection, and may men take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of him, and that we now speak with the accent of his very tongue.

The Lord send the blessing of forgiveness upon us all we pray in the name of the one Life, the one Death, the one Blood, the one Priesthood, “God be merciful unto us sinners.” Amen.

Mat 13:24-43

The Tares and the Wheat

We found that the parable of the sower has its proofs in human history, and being true in human society, we had no difficulty in understanding its application to the kingdom of heaven. Our test inquiry regarding all these parables, is How do they fit the circumstances which are now round about us? Are they little pieces of ancient history, graphic enough as bearing upon the time to which they specially refer, or are they parts of all history, running contemporaneously with human development from age to age, always new, always just written, the ink never dry? The first parable which we have just studied fits the circumstances of today perfectly: let us see whether the second fits them equally well. It should be pointed out that in adopting this method of criticism we are keeping strictly within the limits of the parables themselves, because Christ does actually liken the kingdom of heaven to earthly persons and earthly things. We study the parables at the earthly end. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a sower, like unto a merchantman, like unto leaven, like unto a net, like unto a treasure hid in a field so he gives us the earthly end as well as the heavenly end, and we can thoroughly examine the one and thus enable ourselves wisely to judge the other. Let us follow these same lines of inquiry with regard to the parable of the wheat and the tares.

This parable is an exact picture of all endeavours to do good in the world. We have not got one inch beyond this parable today, with all our improvements and amplifications of service and readjustment of methods. The account which could be given of all educational, philanthropic, patriotic, Christian endeavour is within the four lines, so to say, of this mixed parable. It enters into a good man’s heart to publish good ideas or to assist useful reforms: he lectures in public and in private, he freely spends his time and his money in spreading the views and principles which he holds: he establishes schools and publishes literature, he lays himself out in every way to enlighten and benefit the public. Do you suppose that such a man will be allowed to go on without an enemy following him and sowing tares in the wheat-field of his noble and beneficent endeavour? He will be followed by the enemy, the enemy will awaken suspicions, he will question the man’s motives, he will assail the man’s reputation, he will throw doubt upon the man’s integrity, in a thousand ways open to vicious ingenuity he will endeavour to thwart and baffle the purposes of the good man’s heart. Is this true, or is it not to-day? Is the good man living and is the enemy dead, buried, gone for ever and forgotten? Do not the light and the shadow always go together? There is no ghostly mystery here: you cannot point to a wheat-field in which no tares are sown.

Take your own education. Your father and your schoolmaster and your friends all have endeavoured to sow the seeds of a good understanding in your mind and heart yet what do we see in your life? Your very education turned to bad purposes, your very training made to add to your efficiency in doing that which is wrong. How came those tares into the field? Your mother did not sow them, nor your father, nor your teacher, nor your most loving friend whence came those tares? An enemy hath done this.

Look at your prosperity, man of business: how riches have been showered upon you. When you were poor and little in your own eyes, men liked you because you were then gentle, sympathetic, approachable: you had a heart that could be approached, and that could show itself in all the tenderness of loving sympathy to those who were in circumstances requiring the medicament of your love and patient care but with your riches there has come what men call presumption, or self-confidence, or haughtiness: you are no longer gentle, simple, tender, sympathetic, accessible. How did these tares come into the field? An enemy hath done this.

It is always the same. No man can preach without having the enemy at his heels; the enemy is as busy as the preacher; the enemy is now preaching to you as certainly as I am endeavouring to preach to you. Some of you are buying and selling, some of you are now wool-gathering, some of you are a thousand miles away, some of you are writing to-morrow’s letters, doing to-morrow’s business and answering to-morrow’s questions, and when all is over you will awake as out of a confused dream that has a kind of religious haze about it. The enemy is working as well as the preacher, he is suggesting all kinds of doubts, difficulties, and suspicions, prompting all kinds of questions that will break in upon an implicit and loving and loyal obedience, directing your attention to little points and to transient accidents the occasion rather than to its solemn purpose which is to lift the soul into the light, and to gird it with the very strength of God. The enemy will lure you into considerations of place and colour, of manner and length of service, and into a thousand little petty, frivolous discussions, and will succeed if he lure the mind away from the sovereign purpose of the occasion which is to make you pray. And at the end of the whole, with broken mind, confused, bewildered head and heart, neither upward nor downward in its look, but halting, we may have to say, “An enemy hath done this.” So the parable is not ghostly and magical, but has its base upon the lines of our common consciousness and experience, and as it is awfully true at the one end it may be equally true at the other.

The inquiry which was made by the servants is the inquiry which is made today. The servants of the householder came and said unto him, “Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” We have not got beyond that inquiry; it is the puzzle of every honest mind how the tares came to be mixed up with our thinking and feeling, our motive and our service. It is sometimes a mystery to ourselves; we are puzzled to the point of intellectual and moral distraction by the problem of what we call the origin of evil. You cannot go up and down society without putting the very question which the servants of the householder put to their master. Go into an educated company, listen to the conversation, some parts of it bright, pure, noble, elevated and then the bitter word, the unkind suggestion, the harsh aspiration, the uncharitable judgment, the biting or venomous criticism. You say, “Were not all these people educated and well brought up?” Yes. From whence then are these tares? Ay, from whence.

The same inquiry has its place in a higher region we have precisely this experience in the Church. We are puzzled by the tares that are growing in our own hearts. I can see the tares in your life, and you can see the tares in mine but there are tares in all human life, even of the very best kind, and the perplexing inquiry that brings with it a heart-aching and a burning agony, is How did those tares come to be here? Sir, have not these people been to church? Sir, have not these people been bowing down at the altar? Sir, have not these people been to the holy sacrament? From whence are these tares of evil words and unkind deeds and movements and adventures and experiments and tricks of an ungodly kind? The two things do not harmonise. Sir, was not that man praying on Sunday? “Yes.” Then how did he come to be doing knavish tricks within four-and-twenty hours of his own Amen? Was not that man singing in the church? “Yes.” Then how does he come to be uttering all those discords, those dissonant, harsh-breaking tones of human speech, whilst yet the cadence of his own hymn is trembling and dying in the distant air?

So this parable might have been written yesternight, and we might be reading it for the first time this morning. The teacher that can throw himself over the arch of nineteen hundred years thus, and talk to us in our own language, must have had at least great intellectual prevision and moral shrewdness and breadth enough of sympathy to be more than any man we have ever known. If Jesus of Nazareth were here today, he could not amend this parable in any of its facts and applications. Though nineteen hundred years old, it is not a day old; judged by the necessity of the occasion it is as new as our last action, it is as appropriate as the very last word of wisdom we ever uttered. In this sense is the Testament always new to me. I am not endeavouring to verify faded ink; I ask no chemist to help me to blacken this yellow fluid ’tis black enough, I can read every jot and tittle of it, and I say, if. this Man is as sound in his higher reasoning which transcends my power to follow him in all the entirety of his sweep as he is in those parts which I do understand, verily he is the Revealer, the Builder, and the Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven amongst men.

So far, then, the parable fits human circumstances with exquisite delicacy and precision. Let us go further. The answer made by the householder is the only answer we have today about all vicious and unhappy results. “An enemy hath done this.” That is our one and only reply. It goes to the root of the matter, it touches the difficulty on every side and at every point Every man has his enemies, every man’s work is watched, and every attempt will be made to mar it. There are men who love to do evil; they are not happy except in the work of destruction. It is easy to do evil they have chosen the light end of the burden. It is easy to suggest doubts and difficulties about human character and purpose and motive: it is easy to sneer, it is easy to tempt. There are men who would spoil your business if they could; the enemy was on your track when you began the business of life; he tried to take away your clients and patrons, he depreciated your goods, he said he would crush you.

Tyndale’s translation of this verse opens a new field of criticism. He reads, “An envious person hath done this.” Instead of reading “an enemy,” he reads “an envious person,” and that seems to bring the text nearer and nearer to us, and to make it appallingly English. An envious person beware of envy, it is cruel, it is the sister of jealousy, it is relentless, it will plague your life, it will rob every flower of its perfume, it will bar the light out of every window in your house, your dinner today will be no refreshment to you, but will leave your hunger still gnawing you, if you envy some other man’s larger lot. And this is one of the last passions and vices to be overcome; who can fail to envy a fellow-tradesman who is doing better than he is doing? Who can fail to envy the preacher who is succeeding better than he himself is succeeding? And envy eats up its victim; it does not hurt the person who is envied, but it eats like a canker the soul that indulges in it. You have no pleasure in your own house whilst you are envying another man’s dwelling-place; all your gardens and fields and horses and estates and servants are nothing to you until you can get that little corner or patch of vineyard outside there, and the want of that will make you a poor man for ever, though you count your money by millions and speak of your lands in miles.

Thus again the parable becomes quite our own. The inquiry is ours, the reply is ours, the parable is true to circumstances as we ourselves know them; therefore it may be true in any larger application which the parabolist himself may attach to the meaning of his graphic similitude, An enemy hath done this, Here is a young man who has been befooled, tempted, led off into downward paths; both his feet are fastened in cruel snares, the disappointment of a lifetime culminates in him. What do you think about the case? An enemy hath done this. This is not the handiwork of a friend, there is no nobleness here, this is not the spirit that would save the world, this is enmity incarnate. An unsuspecting mind has been poisoned by some deceiver, its faith has been broken, its sweet and trustful prayer has been turned aside, a bar sinister has been drawn upon the escutcheon of its integrity, the old frankness has gone, the open face, the ringing voice that had no wrinkle in it, that was spread out in ingenuous and beauteous simplicity all is changed. The very eye is altered, the tone is ambiguous, the movement is shuffling, the whole air throbs as if troubled. How do you account for it? In no words more incisive than these an enemy hath done this; it is bad work you should know the character of the man who did it by the results he has brought about. It was no angel that gave the look to that eye that is now in it, it was no angel that altered that sweet tone of childhood into the muffled noise of a man who wants to utter a double meaning in every speech he makes. An enemy hath done this.

Let us be frank with ourselves. He may come to us in the guise of a teacher, he may have come visored as a friend, but by his results let his true character be known. He was an enemy, his enmity is incurable avoid him for the future. A generous soul has been dwarfed and impoverished of its noblest impulses, the soul that always had a frank “yes” broad as an opening day to every appeal made to his charity has become soured, suspicious he asks questions now which never would have entered into his mind in earlier days; he calculates, he counts, and reckons and estimates and puts down. How do you account for this change?

It is easy to see where the enemy has been working upon a man: the tares cannot be hidden. It is easy to me to know instantaneously whether a man is going down or going up we feel it. There are some impressions too delicate for speech, but still they have their influence upon the mind. Let us take care. It is a sight to cry over with rivers of tears to see the men we loved and all but worshipped grown all over with tares. They used to be so noble, kind, sympathetic, generous, helpful the world could never be cold to us so long as they were in it. Day by day the tares grow in number and strength till we know not what the end will be.

So far the parable closely identifies itself with our consciousness and experience. Let us see if it continues this closeness to the very end. The appeal of the householder is the most solemn appeal which any man can make today under similar circumstances. What was the appeal of the householder? The servants said, “Shall we go and gather up the tares?” The householder said, “No till the harvest.” That appeal cannot be altered: it is magnificent in its sublimity, it is grand in its heroic patience. He will have no violence, he will not have the wheat injured. Let both grow together till the harvest. Ay, there is a final day, there is an hour of separation, there is a crisis in which the good are separated from the bad, the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares. The confusion is not everlasting: the work will be given up to the holy angels, they cannot mistake the good for the bad, or the bad for the good: the discriminating process shall go on steadily until every tare is out and every grain of wheat shall be saved for heaven’s garner.

Let us remit our case to the harvest. Do not be answering the fool and the enemy now, and thus wasting opportunities which ought to be usefully employed in endeavouring to do good, but wait till the harvest. Then shall all qualities be tested, then shall every man have his proper place and standing before God. It suits impatient men to be going to work now in this matter of discrimination. Our impatience is our littleness. It is the hindrance of every ministry, spiritual, moral, educational, commercial and there are fussy people who want to be doing something now, as they suppose their activity to be: they want to expel. O thou fool, if I begin the work of expulsion, it will be by throwing thee out from the topmost window of the church. Expel? It is not mine to anathematise or excommunicate, or open the door that any man may go out. My appeal is till the harvest. I am not a judge or an overseer invested with the responsibility of final criticism, I want to be a teacher, a friend, a helper, to see the very best side of every man, and to encourage that best side in continual and useful growth.

Leaving the parable for a moment, and not attempting to follow all its lines out, lest by mixture of metaphor I should fail of my immediate purpose, let me appeal to myself, and through myself to those who hear me, and who may need the appeal, to cultivate with a more ardent diligence the growth of the wheat. There is wheat in every one of you. Take that road of hope. And every one of you has his enemies that want to sow tares in his soul. What I say unto one I say unto all Watch. And some of you by the grace of God have been too much for the enemy, too wakeful: you have disappointed him to a degree which inflicts upon him the severest mortification. Some of you are nearly all wheat: I would to God I were myself. Let there be no violence in your education, no forcing, no dragging out with a hand that is unaccustomed to the process, but let there be solemn, quiet waiting, knowing that the harvest will come, and God will do what is right in the end of the age.

Fuente: The People’s Bible by Joseph Parker

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Ver. 24. The kingdom of heaven ] viz. here on earth. For we have eternal life already, 1. In pretio, 2. Promisso, 3. Primitiis, in the price, promise, firstfruits. As God prepared Paradise for Adam, so he hath heaven for his. Howbeit, he reserves not all for hereafter; but gives a grape of Canaan in this wilderness, where by righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, God’s people do even eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life, as it was once said of a reverend divine of Scotland.

Which sowed good seed in his field ] Among the Romans it was, probrum censorium agrum male colere, a fault punishable by the censors, to be an ill seedsman, Plin. lib. 18. And when they would highly commend any, they would say, “He is an honest man, and a good ploughman.” a

a Maiores nostri siquem laudabant, ita laudabant, virum bonum, bonumque colonum. Varro.

Fuente: John Trapp’s Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

24 30. ] SECOND PARABLE. THE TARES OF THE FIELD. Peculiar to Matthew . For the explanation of this parable see below, Mat 13:36-43 .

Fuente: Henry Alford’s Greek Testament

24. ] , is like the whole circumstances about to be detailed; like the case of a man ,’ &c. A similar form of construction is found in ch. Mat 18:23 , and in other parables in Matthew.

Fuente: Henry Alford’s Greek Testament

Mat 13:24-30 . The Tares . This parable has some elements in common with that in Mar 4:26-29 , whence the notion of many critics that one of the two has been formed from the other. As to which is the original, opinion is much divided. ( vide Holtz., H. C.) Both , I should say. The resemblance is superficial, the lesson entirely different. The Sower describes past experiences; the Tares is prophetic of a future state of things. But may it not be a creation of apostolic times put into the mouth of Jesus? No, because (1) it is too original and wise, and (2) there were beginnings of the evil described even in Christ’s lifetime. Think of a Judas among the Twelve, whom Jesus treated on the principle laid down in the parable, letting him remain among the disciples till the last crisis. It may have been his presence among the Twelve that suggested the parable.

Mat 13:24 . , again in Mat 13:31 , usually of food, here of parable as a mental entertainment; used with reference to laws in Exo 21:1 , Deu 4:44 . , aorist used proleptically for the future; cf. 1Co 7:28 . , likened to a man , inexactly, for: “to the experience of a man who,” etc., natural in a popular style. , aorist because the seed had been sown when the event of the parable took place. , good, genuine, without mixture of other seeds.

Fuente: The Expositors Greek Testament by Robertson



Mat 13:24 – Mat 13:30 .

The first four parables contained in this chapter were spoken to a miscellaneous crowd on the beach, the last three to the disciples in the house. The difference of audience is accompanied with a diversity of subject. The former group deals with the growth of the kingdom, as it might be observed by outsiders, and especially with aspects of the growth on which the multitude needed instruction; the latter, with topics more suited to the inner circle of followers. Of these four, the first three are parables of vegetation; the last, of assimilation. The first two are still more closely connected, inasmuch as the person of the sower is prominent in both, while he is not seen in the others. The general scenery is the same in both, but with a difference. The identification of the seed sown with the persons receiving it, which was hinted at in the first, is predominant in the second. But while the former described the various results of the seed, the latter drops out of sight the three failures, and follows its fortunes in honest and good hearts, showing the growth of the kingdom in the midst of antagonistic surroundings. It may conveniently be considered in three sections: the first teaching how the work of the sower is counter-worked by his enemy; the second, the patience of the sower with the thick-springing tares; and the third, the separation at the harvest.

I. The work of the sower counter-worked by his enemy, and the mingled crops.

The peculiar turn of the first sentence, ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed,’ etc., suggests that the main purpose of the parable is to teach the conduct of the king in view of the growth of the tares. The kingdom is concentrated in Him, and the ‘likening’ is not effected by the parable, but, as the tenses of both verbs show, by the already accomplished fact of His sowing. Our Lord veils His claims by speaking of the sower in the third person; but the hearing ear cannot fail to catch the implication throughout that He Himself is the sower and the Lord of the harvest. The field is ‘his field,’ and His own interpretation tells us that it means ‘the world.’ Whatever view we take of the bearing of this parable on purity of communion in the visible Church, we should not slur over Christ’s own explanation of ‘the field,’ lest we miss the lesson that He claims the whole world as His, and contemplates the sowing of the seed broadcast over it all. The Kingdom of Heaven is to be developed on, and to spread through, the whole earth. The world belongs to Christ not only when it is filled with the kingdom, but before the sowing. The explanation of the good seed takes the same point of view as in the former parable. What is sown is ‘the word’; what springs from the seed is the new life of the receiver. Men become children of the kingdom by taking the Gospel into their hearts, and thereby receive a new principle of growth, which in truth becomes themselves.

Side by side with the sower’s beneficent work the counter-working of ‘his enemy’ goes on. As the one, by depositing holy truth in the heart, makes men ‘children of the kingdom,’ the other, by putting evil principles therein, makes men ‘children of evil.’ Honest exposition cannot eliminate the teaching of a personal antagonist of Christ, nor of his continuous agency in the corruption of mankind. It is a glimpse into a mysterious region, none the less reliable because so momentary. The sulphurous clouds that hide the fire in the crater are blown aside for an instant, and we see. Who would doubt the truth and worth of the unveiling because it was short and partial? ‘The devil is God’s ape.’ His work is a parody of Christ’s. Where the good seed is sown, there the evil is scattered thickest. False Christs and false apostles dog the true like their shadows. Every truth has its counterfeit. Neither institutions, nor principles, nor movements, nor individuals, bear unmingled crops of good. Not merely creatural imperfection, but hostile adulteration, marks them all. The purest metal oxidises, scum gathers on the most limpid water, every ship’s bottom gets foul with weeds. The history of every reformation is the same: radiant hopes darkened, progress retarded, a second generation of dwarfs who are careless or unfaithful guardians of their heritage.

There are, then, two classes of men represented in the parable, and these two are distinguishable without doubt by their conduct. Tares are said to be quite like wheat until the heads show, and then there is a plain difference. So our Lord here teaches that the children of the kingdom and those of evil are to be discriminated by their actions. We need not do more than point in a sentence to His distinct separation of men where the seed of the kingdom has been sown into two sets. Jesus Christ holds the unfashionable, ‘narrow’ opinion that, at bottom, a man must either be His friend or His enemy. We are too much inclined to weaken the strong line of demarcation, and to think that most men are neither black nor white, but grey.

The question has been eagerly debated whether the tares are bad men in the Church, and whether, consequently, the mingled crop is a description of the Church only. The following considerations may help to an answer. The parable was spoken, not to the disciples, but to the crowd. An instruction to them as to Church discipline would have been signally out of place; but they needed to be taught that the kingdom was to be ‘a rose amidst thorns,’ and to grow up among antagonisms which it would slowly conquer, by the methods which the next two parables set forth. This general conception, and not directions about ecclesiastical order, was suited to them. Again, the designation of the tares as ‘the children of evil’ seems much too wide, if only a particular class of evil men-namely, those who are within the Church-are meant by it. Surely the expression includes all, both in and outside the Church, who ‘do iniquity.’ Further, the representation of the children of the kingdom, as growing among tares in the field of the world, does not seem to contemplate them as constituting a distinct society, whether pure or impure; but rather as an indefinite number of individuals, intermingled in a common soil with the other class. ‘The kingdom of heaven’ is not a synonym for the Church. Is it not an anachronism to find the Church in the parable at all? No doubt, tares are in the Church, and the parable has a bearing on it; but its primary lesson seems to me to be much wider, and to reveal rather the conditions of the growth of the kingdom in human society.

II. We have the patience of the husbandman with the quick-springing tares.

The servants of the householder receive no interpretation from our Lord. Their question is silently passed by in His explanation. Clearly then, for some reason, He did not think it necessary to say any more about them; and the most probable reason is, that they and their words have no corresponding facts, and are only introduced to lead up to the Master’s explanation of the mystery of the growth of the tares, and to His patience with it. The servants cannot be supposed to represent officials in the Church, without hopelessly destroying the consistency of the parable; for surely all the children of the kingdom, whatever their office, are represented in the crop. Many guesses have been made,-apostles, angels, and so on. It is better to say ‘The Lord hath not showed it me.’

The servant’s first question expresses, in vivid form, the sad, strange fact that, where good was sown, evil springs. The deepest of all mysteries is the origin of evil. Explain sin, and you explain everything. The question of the servants is the despair of thinkers in all ages. Heaven sows only good; where do the misery and the wickedness come from? That is a wider and sadder question than, How are churches not free from bad members? Perhaps Christ’s answer may go as far towards the bottom of the bottomless as those of non-Christian thinkers, and, if it do not solve the metaphysical puzzles, at any rate gives the historical fact, which is all the explanation of which the question is susceptible.

The second question reminds us of ‘Wilt Thou that we command fire. . . from heaven, and consume them?’ It is cast in such a form as to put emphasis on the householder’s will. His answer forbidding the gathering up of the tares is based, not upon any chance of mistaking wheat for them, nor upon any hope that, by forbearance, tares may change into wheat, but simply on what is best for the good crop. There was a danger of destroying some of it, not because of its likeness to the other, but because the roots of both were so interlaced that one could not be pulled up without dragging the other after it.

Is this prohibition, then, meant to forbid the attempt to keep the Church pure from un-Christian members? The considerations already adduced are valid in answering this question, and others may be added. The crowd of listeners had, no doubt, many of them, been influenced by John the Baptist’s fiery prophecies of the King who should come, fan in hand, to ‘purge His floor,’ and were looking for a kingdom which was to be inaugurated by sharp separation and swift destruction. Was not the teaching needed then, as it is now, that that is not the way in which the kingdom of heaven is to be founded and grow? Is not the parable best understood when set in connection with the expectations of its first hearers, which are ever floating anew before the eyes of each generation of Christians? Is it not Christ’s apologia for His delay in filling the r ? which John had drawn out for him? And does that conception of its meaning make it meaningless for us? Observe, too, that the rooting up which is forbidden is, by the proprieties of the emblem, and by the parallel which it must necessarily afford to the final burning, something very solemn and destructive. We may well ask whether excommunication is a sufficiently weighty idea to be taken as its equivalent. Again, how does the interpretation which sees ecclesiastical discipline here comport with the reason given for letting the tares grow on? By the hypothesis in the parable, there is no danger of mistake; but is there any danger of casting out good men from the Church along with the bad, except through mistake? Further, if this parable forbids casting manifestly evil men out of the Church, it contradicts the divinely appointed law of the Church as administered by the apostles. If it is to be applied to Church action at all, it absolutely forbids the separation from the Church of any man, however notoriously un-Christian, and that, as even the strongest advocates of comprehension admit, would destroy the very idea of the Church. Surely an interpretation which lands us in such a conclusion cannot be right. We conclude, then, that the intermingling which the parable means is that of good men and bad in human society, where all are so interwoven that separation is impossible without destroying its whole texture; that the rooting up, which is declared to be inconsistent with the growth of the crop, means removal from the field, namely, the world; that the main point of the second part of the parable is to set forth the patience of the Lord of the harvest, and to emphasise this as the law of the growth of His kingdom, that it advances amidst antagonism; and that its members are interlaced by a thousand rootlets with those who are not subjects of their King. What the interlacing is for, and whether tares may become wheat, are no parts of its teaching. But the lesson of the householder’s forbearance is meant to be learned by us. While we believe that the scope of the parable is wider than instruction in Church discipline, we do not forget that a fair inference from it is that, in actual churches, there will ever be a mingling of good and evil; and, though that fact is no reason for giving up the attempt to make a church a congregation of faithful men, and of such only, it is a reason for copying the divine patience of the sower in ecclesiastical dealings with errors of opinion and faults of conduct.

III. The final separation at the harvest.

The period of development is necessarily a time of intermingling, in which, side by side, the antagonistic principles embodied in their representatives work themselves out, and beneficially affect each other. But each grows towards an end, and, when it has been reached, the blending gives place to separation. John’s prophecy is plainly quoted in the parable, which verbally repeats his ‘gather the wheat into his barn,’ and alludes to his words in the other clause about burning the tares. He was right in his anticipations; his error was in expecting the King to wield His fan at the beginning, instead of at the end of the earthly form of His kingdom. At the consummation of the allotted era, the bands of human society are to be dissolved, and a new principle of association is to determine men’s place. Their moral and religious affinities will bind them together or separate them, and all other ties will snap. This marshalling according to religious character is the main thought of the solemn closing words of the parable and of its interpretation, in which our Lord presents Himself as directing the whole process of judgment by means of the ‘angels’ who execute His commands. They are ‘His angels,’ and whatever may be the unknown activity put forth by them in the parting of men, it is all done in obedience to Him. What stupendous claims Jesus makes here! What becomes of the tares is told first in words awful in their plainness, and still more awful in their obscurity. They speak unmistakably of the absolute separation of evil men from all society but that of evil men; of a close association, compelled, and perhaps unwelcome. The tares are gathered out of ‘His kingdom,’-for the field of the world has then all become the kingdom of Christ. There are two classes among the tares: men whose evil has been a snare to others for the ‘things that offend’ must, in accordance with the context, be taken to be persons, and the less guilty, who are simply called ‘them that do iniquity.’

Perhaps the ‘bundles’ may imply assortment according to sin, as in Dante’s circles. What a bond of fellowship that would be! ‘The furnace,’ as it is emphatically called by eminence, burns up the bundles. We may freely admit that the fire is part of the parable, but yet let us not forget that it occurs not only in the parable, but in the interpretation; and let us learn that the prose reality of ‘everlasting destruction,’ which Christ here solemnly announces, is awful and complete. For a moment He passes beyond the limits of that parable, to add that terrible clause about ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ the tokens of despair and rage. So spoke the most loving and truthful lips. Do we believe His warnings as well as His promises?

The same law of association according to character operates in the other region. The children of the kingdom are gathered together in what is now ‘the kingdom of My Father,’ the perfect form of the kingdom of Christ, which is still His kingdom, for ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb,’ the one throne on which both sit to reign, is ‘in it.’ Freed from association with evil, they are touched with a new splendour, caught from Him, and blaze out like the sun; for so close is their association, that their myriad glories melt as into a single great light. Now, amid gloom and cloud, they gleam like tiny tapers far apart; then, gathered into one, they flame in the forehead of the morning sky, ‘a glorious church, not having spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing.’

Fuente: Expositions Of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mat 13:24-30

24Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’28And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’29But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘”

Mat 13:24-30 The parable of the wild wheat is unique to Matthew (cf. Matt. 36-43). Here is an interesting paragraph from New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDOTTE), vol. 1, p. 299.

“The idea of the invisible church is found in Augustine, City of God; Wycliffe, De ecclesia; Luther, Preface to Revelation; Calvin, Institutes IV 1 7; and many other writers (see edition of Calvin’s Institutes, ed. J. T. McNeill, 1960, II 1022). The thought that is uppermost is not to minimize the importance of church membership, but to recognize the possibility of hypocrisy and deceit. In the last analysis, those who belong to God are visible to God alone. Membership of the true church is a fact which is not visible to man. The idea recalls the statement of 2Ti 2:19; ‘The Lord knows who are his.’It extends to the church what Paul says of Israel, that they are not all Israel who belong to Israel, but only “the children of promise” (Rom 9:6 f.). It recognizes the danger, which church members are warned against, of reaping corruption through sowing to the flesh (Gal 3:7; cf. Rom 8:12 f.). Paul recognized the need for discipline in his own life lest he should become a castaway (1Co 10:27; cf. Php 2:12; Php 2:19). The possibility of church members falling away is one of great themes of Hebrews (cf. Heb 2:3; Heb 3:7 to Heb 4:14; Heb 6:1-12; Heb 10:26-39; Heb 12:12-28). It is also suggested by the parables of the weeds (Mat 13:24-43) and the sheep and goats (Mat 25:31-46) and the example of Judas (Matt. Mat 10:4; Mat 26:14; Mat 26:25; Mat 26:47 ff.; matt Mat 27:3; Mar 14:10; Mar 14:43; Luk 6:16; Luk 22:3; Luk 22:47; Joh 13:2; Joh 17:12; Joh 18:22 ff.; Acts Mat 1:17 ff., acts Mat 1:25).”

These warnings do not jeopardize security, but give a balance to excessive confidence in an initial decision and ignores the mandate of discipleship and perseverance.

Mat 13:25 “the enemy” In this context the characterization refers to

1. Satan, Luk 10:19

2. false teachers, Matthew 7; 2 Peter 2

Anyone who distorts the gospel of the Kingdom. Only the grace of God can help believers understand the truth (cf. Mat 13:13; Mat 13:16-17; Mat 13:23) and resist error.

“the tares” Wild wheat (darnel) and domestic wheat looked exactly alike until they bore fruit. The wild seed had a dark grain, while edible wheat had a light brown grain.

Mat 13:27 “Sir” This is an example of the term kurios (Lord) used as a polite address. Remember context, context, context, not a dictionary or lexicon, determines word meaning. Dictionaries list only the way the word has been used in known literature or speech in a given language/culture.

Mat 13:29 “for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them” The context seems to relate this to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. There is no way for humans to know the hearts of other humans. God will set all things straight on Judgment Day. One of Satan’s most effective schemes is religion. People seem to be spiritual but they are not (i.e., Mat 7:21-23). The wheat and tares look alike, but time reveals the difference. Many people are fooled by religiosity (cf. Isa 29:13; Col 2:16-23) masquerading as true spirituality (cf. Matthew 7)!

Mat 13:30 “gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn” Ultimate destiny is related to what humans do with the message of Jesus Christ and the person of Jesus Christ (cf. Mat 13:42; Mat 13:50). It is interesting to note that it is Jesus who emphasizes the awesome, eternal consequences of rejecting personal faith in Himself.

Fuente: You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

Another. Greek. alos. App-124. The parables spoken outside (Mat 13:1) are introduced thus; those within the house by the word “again” (Mat 13:36): marking off the Structure p. 1336; and App-144.

The kingdom of heaven. See App-114.

heaven = the heavens. See note on Mat 6:9, Mat 6:10.

Fuente: Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

24-30.] SECOND PARABLE. THE TARES OF THE FIELD. Peculiar to Matthew. For the explanation of this parable see below, Mat 13:36-43.

Fuente: The Greek Testament

Mat 13:24. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

He knew that it was good. It had been tested: it was unmixed: it was good throughout.

Mat 13:25. But while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

It was a very malicious action. The thing has been done many times. Bastard wheat was sown in among the true wheat, so as to injure the crop.

Mat 13:26-27. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

We often have to ask that question. How comes this about? It was a true gospel that was preached, from whence then come these hypocrites these that are like the wheat, but are not wheat? For it is not the tare that we call a tare in England that is meant here, but a false wheat very like to wheat, but not wheat.

Mat 13:28. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.

The enemy could not do a worse thing than to adulterate the Church of God. Pretenders outside do little hurt. Inside the fold they do much mischief.

Mat 13:28-30. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The separation will be more in season, move easily and more accurately done when both shall have been fully developed when the wheat shall have come to its fullness, and the counterfeit wheat shall have ripened.

Mat 13:31-32. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds:

Commonly known in that country.

Mat 13:32-35. But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

How thoroughly impregnated our Lord was with the very spirit of Scripture. And he ever acted as if the Scriptures were uppermost in his mind. They seemed to be ever in their fullness before his soul.

Mat 13:36. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him,

Those house-talks, those explanations of the great public sermons and parables were sweet privileges which he reserved for those who had given their utter confidence to him.

Mat 13:36-44. Saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them unto a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found,

Stumbling upon it, perhaps, when he was at the plough turning up the old crop in which it was concealed.

Mat 13:44. He hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Some persons do stumble upon the gospel when they are not looking for it. I am found of them that sought me not is a grand free grace text. Some of those who have been most earnest in the kingdom of heaven were at one time most indifferent and careless, but God in infinite sovereignty put the treasure in their way gave them the heart to value it, and they obtained it to their own joy.

Mat 13:45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

He does not stumble at it: he is seeking pearls.

Mat 13:46-47. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

Bad fish and good fish, end creeping things and broken shells, and bite of seaweed, and pieces of old wreck. Did you ever see such an odd assortment as they get upon the deck of a fishing vessel when they empty out the contents of a drag net? Such is the effect of the ministry. It drags together all sorts of people. It is quite as well that we have not eyes enough to see one anothers hearts tonight, or else I dare say we should make about as queer a medley as I have already attempted to describe as being in the fishermans vessel.

Mat 13:48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

All a mixture. We cannot sort one from the other now, but when the net comes to shore then will be the picking over the heap. No mistakes will be made. The good will go into vessels, and the bad, and none but the bad, will be cast away.

Mat 13:49-50. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Not fire, then, which annihilates, but fire which leaves in pain and causes weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Fuente: Spurgeon’s Verse Expositions of the Bible

Mat 13:24. , He set before them[623]) as food is set before a guest.[624]- , in the field) sc. that in which He Himself is: for it is said In, not into His field.

[623] E. V. put He forth unto them.-(I. B.)

[624] , the kingdom of heaven) As often soever as mention is made of this in the discourses and parables of our Lord, this very expression is to be regarded as a succinct recapitulation of the whole Gospel.-V. g.

Fuente: Gnomon of the New Testament

Other Parables of the Kingdom

Mat 13:24-33

The tare was a species of rye grass, which in its earlier stages, closely resembled wheat. In this world, and in the Church, professors are closely mingled with possessors. But there come great times of revealing, in the trials and difficulties of life, and in fact Satan and his angels never sleep. Let us beware of them, but be not afraid: Christ is stronger.

The mustard seed and the leaven represent the extensive and intensive, the outward and inward, the objective and subjective, aspects of Christianity. Sometimes when the Church is reaching its branches to the farthest, its heart is being corrupted by the slow spread of evil. See 1Co 5:7-8. See what stress our Lord lays on unnoticed beginnings! What seed is smaller than the mustard! Yet it may be the gateway through which Nature may pour her inner energies, forcing the rootlet down and the green shoot up. And it requires but a very small amount of leaven to permeate a large quantity of meal. Bigness is not greatness. Watch the first speck of sin; cherish each grain of holy impulse.

Fuente: F.B. Meyer’s Through the Bible Commentary

Chapter 29

Three Instructive Parables

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

Mat 13:24-43

In Mat 13:24-43 our Lord Jesus gives us three very instructive parables, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a field containing both wheat and tares, a grain of mustard seed, and leaven hidden in three measures of meal.

In the middle of this passage (Mat 13:34-36) Matthew was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to give an explanation of why the Master spoke in parables. First, he tells us that it was our Lords common habit in preaching to use parables. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them (Mat 13:34). The Master was a great story teller. He did not strive for spell-binding oratory, intellectual argument, or theological recitation. He deliberately spoke in plain, simple language to clearly set forth and illustrate gospel truth. That is the kind of preaching that should be cultivated among Gods servants (1Co 2:3-5).

The word parable is the same word that is translated proverb in other places. Solomons wise sayings and instructive similitudes are called proverbs, or parables, by which he taught us wisdom. Behold, a greater than Solomon is here! By his parables he teaches us wisdom Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Mat 13:34 shows us the manner, or method of Christs preaching.

In Mat 13:35 we see the subject matter of his parables. Speaking in parables, he fulfilled the prophecy of the Old Testament scriptures (Psa 78:2). And the matter, the subject, the theme of these parables is things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. The gospel of Christ and the purposes of God toward the Gentile world were wrapped up in the Old Testament by the types and shadows of the law, which have now been fulfilled by Christ, in whom God has revealed himself and made known his grace.

Then, in Mat 13:36, we see something of our Saviors sovereign majesty. Before explaining the parable of the wheat and the tares, he sent the multitudes away and entered into a house with his disciples. Here is God almighty exercising his sovereign mercy, giving grace to whom he would, and making a clear distinction among men. To some he revealed his Word. From others he hid the meaning of his words. That is his prerogative as God (Mat 20:15; Exo 33:19).

In these three instructive parables our Savior shows us what we may expect to be the result of gospel preaching throughout the ages of time, and what both the righteous and the wicked may expect from God when time shall be no more.

Mustard Seed

First, lets read the parable of the mustard seed (Mat 13:31-32). Though our Lord Jesus gave the parable of the wheat and the tares before those of the mustard seed and the leaven, he explained it afterward. So we will look at the parables in this order: 1st the mustard seed, 2nd the leaven, and then, 3rd the wheat and tares.

(Mat 13:31-32) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: (32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

The parable of the grain of mustard seed is designed to teach us never to despise the day of small things (Zec 4:6-10). Gods thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. God almost always does things exactly opposite of what we would and of what we imagine he does. The gospel does not triumph all at once. The church and kingdom of God is not set up all at once, neither among us in the world, nor within us in our hearts.

The Church of God sprang from a very small seed sown in the earth. Gods works almost always begin in obscurity, with what appear to be insignificant things. And the gospel has been spread through the nations of the world very gradually. Occasionally, there have been great, sudden out-pourings of grace upon multitudes, as on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. But that has never been the normal method of Gods workings among men, and is not now. Normally, Gods church and kingdom grows and spreads gradually: consistently, but gradually. Like the grain of mustard seed sown in the ground, its growth is almost unobservable, but steady.

As the full grown mustard seed is the greatest and largest of all herbs, so the church and kingdom of God shall, in the end of the world, be immeasurably great and large. Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river (Psa 80:8-11). The number of Gods elect shall be ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. Untold millions and billions of people shall inhabit heavens glory with Christ!

Our Lord also compares faith to a grain of mustard seed. If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you (Luk 17:6). It begins small. It grows slowly. It becomes a great grace, honoring God and serviceable to men. As a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, Robert Hawker wrote, so the grace of God, when put by the Holy Ghost into the heart of a sinner, small and unnoticed as it is, produceth such vast things that angels look with wonder and astonishment at the change which is wrought (Luk 15:7).


Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (Mat 13:33).

The parable of the leaven is misinterpreted by many. We are often told that the leaven refers to the ever-increasing evil of the world. But our Lord is not talking about the world. He is talking about the kingdom of heaven. He is talking about his church. The parable of the leaven is very much the same in meaning as the parable of the mustard seed. It teaches us that the gospel prevails by degrees and works like leaven in the hearts of Gods elect.

The woman, the weaker vessel, represents gospel preachers who have the treasure of the gospel in earthen vessels (2Co 4:7). The leaven was hidden in three measures of meal. The regenerate heart, like meal, is soft and pliable. Leaven will never work in corn, but only in ground meal. So the gospel has no effect upon the stony, unregenerate heart. It only works upon broken hearts that have been ground by the Holy Spirit in conviction. Once the leaven is hidden in the dough, it works. So the word of God, hidden in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners by God the Holy Spirit, works and brings forth fruit (Heb 4:12). And the change it works, though it is universal, affecting the whole person (2Co 5:17), is gradual. This parable, like the parable of the mustard seed, is meant to show the wonderful works of God in and upon his elect. The grace of God in his children, like leaven, sanctifies them entirely, sanctifies the whole nature.

Wheat and Tares

Now, learn the parable of the wheat and the tares (Mat 13:24-30; Mat 13:36-43).

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn (Mat 13:24-30)

Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mat 13:36-43).

I will not attempt to explain every detail of this parable, because our Saviors explanation of it is crystal clear. Let me simply call your attention to the primary lessons to be learned from it.

The first lesson here taught is so obvious that it is astonishing how slow we are to learn it. There is no such thing as a perfect or pure church in this world. Every local church, every assembly of professed believers is a mixed multitude of true believers and people who merely profess, but do not possess faith in Christ. In the professing church of Christ, the children of the wicked one are mingled with the children of the kingdom. They spring up together, and grow together. This has been the experience of Gods saints in all ages.

Then, in this parable, our Lord teaches us that it is not the business of Gods servants to separate the wheat from the tares. We do not have the ability to do it. We are not authorized to do it. And we must not try to do it. We judge all things only by outward appearance. No mortal has the ability to look on the heart. That means that no human being has the ability to know who is saved and who is lost. If we try to separate the wheat from the tares, we will pull up the wheat and keep the tares every time.

Though we cannot discern one from the other, both are perfectly known to God from everlasting. The tares can no more become good seed, than good seed can become tares. They are a totally different race. Though they are to grow together until the harvest, and though the Church of God in this world will never be free from tares, yet the Lord knoweth them that are his. And blessed are those who, by the sweet and effectual operations of his grace, giving them life and faith in Christ, are made to know whose they are, and to whom they belong. What unspeakable mercy it is to be numbered by electing love among the seed of Christ, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Isa 44:3-5; Isa 59:21; Rom 8:17; Gal 3:16-29; 1Jn 3:1-2).

In the harvest time, at the end of the world, the Lord God will separate the wheat from the tares (Mat 13:40-43).

And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (Rev 14:15-20).

None but God can tell tares from wheat until the harvest time. Then, at harvest time, all shall be made to know, because the tares will stand tall and the wheat will bows their heads (Mat 25:31-46). C. H. Spurgeon, commenting on Mat 13:40-42, wrote

What a description! The outgathering of all things that offend, and of all persons who cause others to stumble, and who work evil, will be a consummation devoutly to be wished. Not only the outwardly wicked, but the false pretenders, the mock wheat, shall be removed The fate of these ungodly ones will be fire, the most terrible of punishments, but this will not annihilate them, for they shall exhibit the surest tokens of a living woe wailing and, gnashing of teeth. Sooner or later, this is what must come of evil men. Though in this world they flourish in the same field with believers, and can hardly be discerned from them, they shall be removed from such honorable association, and be cast, with the rubbish of the universe, into that great furnace of fire whose smoke goeth up for ever and ever. This the Son of man will do with authority, the angels are simply the executioners of the wrath of the Lamb.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The righteous are those sinners saved by the grace of God who have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them in free justification and imparted to them in regeneration. As Ralph Erskine put it, If you would have righteousness, you must have it in and from Christ. He has to give you both an imputed righteousness for justifying you, and an imparted righteousness for sanctifying you. By faith in Christ we receive internally what Christ has done for us externally. Because we were justified by Christs imputed righteousness at the cross, we are sanctified by his imparted righteousness in the new birth. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness (Isa 61:10).

Though, in this world, the righteous are slandered and reproached as evil, though they are incessantly opposed, afflicted, and persecuted, in that day they shall shine forth, as John Gill wrote, in the robe of Christs righteousness, in perfect holiness of nature, in all felicity and prosperity of soul, and in the shining dazzling robes of glory, incorruption, and immortality, on their bodies. They shall shine forth as the sun, having no spot in them or upon them, without any clouds of darkness. They will be as Christ himself, the Sun of righteousness, with whom and in whose glory they shall appear, faultless, without spot or wrinkle, before the presence of his glory!

They shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. When Christ our Mediator has delivered up the kingdom to the Father, even the Father, when he has put all things under his feet, that God may be all in all, the righteous shall shine forth as everlasting monuments and trophies of grace (Eph 2:7) to the praise, honor, and glory of the triune God (Eph 1:6; Eph 1:12; Eph 1:14).

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Our Redeemer calls us to pay attention to and reflect upon what he has taught us in these instructive parables. Blessed are they who, having ears to hear, hear and understand by his grace the things here declared by the Son of God.

Fuente: Discovering Christ In Selected Books of the Bible


This parable Mat 13:24-30 is also interpreted by our Lord Mat 13:36-43. Here the “good seed” is not the “word,” as in the first parable Mat 13:19; Mat 13:23 but rather that which the word has produced. 1Pe 1:23, viz.: the children of the kingdom. These are, providentially Mat 13:37 “sown,” i.e. scattered, here and there in the “field” of the “world” Mat 13:38. The “world” here is both geographical and ethnic–the earth-world, and also the world of men. The wheat of God at once becomes the scene of Satan’s activity. Where children of the kingdom are gathered, there “among the wheat” Mat 13:25; Mat 13:38; Mat 13:39. Satan “sows” “children of the wicked one,” who profess to be children of the kingdom, and in outward ways are so like the true children that only the angels may, in the end, be trusted to separate them Mat 13:28-30; Mat 13:40-43. So great is Satan’s power of deception that the tares often really suppose themselves to be children of the kingdom Mat 7:21-23. Many other parables and exhortations have this mingled condition in view (e.g.)

Mat 22:11-14; Mat 25:1-13; Mat 25:14-30; Luk 18:10-14; Heb 6:4-9

Indeed, it characterizes Matthew from Chapter 13 to the end. The parable of the wheat and tares is not a description of the world, but of that which professes to be the kingdom. Mere unbelievers are never the children of the devil, but only religious unbelievers are so called (cf) Mat 13:38; Joh 8:38-44; Mat 23:15.

The kingdom (See Scofield “Mat 3:2”).

Fuente: Scofield Reference Bible Notes

put: Mat 21:33, Jdg 14:12, Jdg 14:13, Isa 28:10, Isa 28:13, Eze 17:2

The kingdom: Mat 13:33, Mat 13:44, Mat 13:45, Mat 13:47, Mat 3:2, Mat 20:1, Mat 22:2, Mat 25:1, Mar 4:30, Luk 13:18, Luk 13:20

good: Mat 13:19, Mat 13:37, Mat 4:23, Col 1:5, 1Pe 1:23

Reciprocal: Gen 1:12 – herb Mat 4:17 – kingdom Mat 13:31 – put Mat 18:23 – is Mar 4:26 – as Luk 8:5 – sower

Fuente: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


The reader should first see the comments at verse 3 about the right use of parables. The one now before us is for a different purpose from the one just concluded. The main point in this is to show what is going to take place at the judgment day. But in order to explain why that will be done it is necessary to tell what was going on in the world before that. In relating those details the Lord mentions some things that do not represent the activities within the church. The items of the parable will first be given and the explanation will follow a little later in the chapter. It starts with the simple fact that a man sowed good seed in his field as no man would sow any other kind in his own territory.

Fuente: Combined Bible Commentary

THE parable of the wheat and tares, which occupies the chief part of these verses, is one of peculiar importance in the present day. (Footnote: The consideration of the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven is purposely deferred till a future part of the Exposition.) It is eminently calculated to correct the extravagant expectations in which many Christians indulge, as to the effect of missions abroad, and of preaching the Gospel at home. May we give it the attention which it deserves!

In the first place, this parable teaches us, that good and evil will always be found together in the professing Church, until the end of the world.

The visible Church is set before us as a mixed body. It is a vast “field” in which “wheat and tares” grow side by side. We must expect to find believers and unbelievers, converted and unconverted, “the children of the kingdom, and the children of the wicked one,” all mingled together in every congregation of baptized people.

The purest preaching of the Gospel will not prevent this. In every age of the Church, the same state of things has existed. It was the experience of the early Fathers. It was the experience of the Reformers. It is the experience of the best ministers at the present hour. There has never been a visible Church or a religious assembly, of which the members have been all “wheat.” The devil, that great enemy of souls, has always taken care to sow “tares.”

The most strict and prudent discipline will not prevent this. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Independents, all alike find it to be so. Do what we will to purify a church, we shall never succeed in obtaining a perfectly pure communion. Tares will be found among the wheat. Hypocrites and deceivers will creep in. And, worst of all, if we are extreme in our efforts to obtain purity, we do more harm than good. We run the risk of encouraging many a Judas Iscariot, and breaking many a bruised reed. In our zeal to “gather up the tares,” we are in danger of “rooting up the wheat with them.” Such zeal is not according to knowledge, and has often done much harm. Those who care not what happens to the wheat, provided they can root up the tares, show little of the mind of Christ. And after all there is deep truth in the charitable saying of Augustine, “Those who are tares to-day, may be wheat to-morrow.”

Are we inclined to look for the conversion of the whole world by the labors of missionaries and ministers? Let us place this parable before us, and beware of such an idea. We shall never see all the inhabitants of earth the wheat of God, in the present order of things. The tares and wheat will “grow together till the harvest.” The kingdoms of this world will never become the kingdom of Christ, and the millennium begin, until the King Himself returns.

Are we ever tried by the scoffing argument of the infidel, that Christianity can not be a true religion, when there are so many false Christians? Let us call to mind this parable, and remain unmoved. Let us tell the infidel, that the state of things he scoffs at does not surprise us at all. Our Master prepared us for it 1800 years ago. He foresaw and foretold, that His Church would be a field, containing not only wheat, but tares.

Are we ever tempted to leave one Protestant Church for another, because we see many of its members unconverted? Let us remember this parable, and take heed what we do. We shall never find a perfect Church. We may spend our lives in migrating from communion to communion, and pass our days in perpetual disappointment. Go where we will, and worship where we may, we shall always find tares.

In the second place the parable teaches us, that there is to be a day of separation between the godly and ungodly members of the visible Church, at the end of the world.

The present mixed state of things is not to be for ever. The wheat and the tares are to be divided at last. The Lord Jesus shall “send forth his angels” in the day of His second advent, and gather all professing Christians into two great companies. Those mighty reapers shall make no mistake. They shall discern with unerring judgment between the righteous and the wicked, and place every one in his own lot. The saints and faithful servants of Christ shall receive glory, honor, and eternal life. The worldly, the ungodly, the careless, and the unconverted shall be “cast into a furnace of fire,” and receive shame and everlasting contempt.

There is something peculiarly solemn in this part of the parable. The meaning of it admits of no mistake. Our Lord Himself explains it in words of singular clearness, as if He would impress it deeply on our minds. Well may He say at the conclusion, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

Let the ungodly man tremble when he reads this parable. Let him see in its fearful language his own certain doom, unless he repents and is converted. Let him know that he is sowing misery for himself, if he goes on still in his neglect of God. Let him reflect that his end will be to be gathered among the “bundles” of tares, and be burned. Surely such a prospect ought to make a man think. As Baxter truly says, “We must not misinterpret God’s patience with the ungodly.”

Let the believer in Christ take comfort when he reads this parable. Let him see that there is happiness and safety prepared for him in the great and dreadful day of the Lord. The voice of the archangel and the trump of God will proclaim no terror for him. They will summon him to join what he has long desired to see, a perfect Church and a perfect communion of saints. How beautiful will the whole body of believers appear, when finally separated from the wicked! How fine will the wheat look in the garner of God, when the tares are at length taken away! How brightly will grace shine, when no longer dimmed by incessant contact with the worldly and unconverted! The righteous are little known in the present day. The world sees no beauty in them, even as it saw none in their Master. “The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1Jn 3:1.) But the righteous shall one day “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” To use the words of Matthew Henry, “their sanctification will be perfected, and their justification will be published.” “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:4.)

Fuente: Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

Mat 13:24. Set he before them. With the double purpose already spoken of; the word being often used in reference to food.

The kingdom of heaven. The subject in all seven parables. Christs reign in the new economy of salvation.

Is likened, or made like. Not is like, as in the succeeding parables. The speedy establishment of the kingdom is implied; hence this parable is referred to the first stage of Christianity.

Good seed, i.e., of a good kind and good of its kind.

His field. The world (Mat 13:38) is His though the devil works in it.

Fuente: A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

The design and scope of this parable is, to shew that there is no expectation of universal purity in the church of God in this life; but as the tares and the wheat grow together in the same field, so hypocrites and sincere Christians are and will be intermixed in the same church, and can hardly be discerned one from the other.

St. Jerome observes, That in the eastern countries, the tares and the wheat were so like one another, whilst they were in the blade, that there was no knowing them asunder.

Learn, 1. That in the outward and visible church, there ever has been and will be a mixture of good and bad, of saints and sinners, of hypocrites, and sincere Christians, until the day of judgment.

2. That in that day Christ will make a thorough and perfect separation, and divide the tares from the wheat; that is, the righteous from the wicked.

3. That in the meantime none ought to be so offended at this mixture in the church, as to separate from church communication on that account: until the harvest, it is not to be expected that the tares and the wheat should be perfectly separated.

Yet observe, 4. That though the tares are forbidden to be plucked up when sown, yet it is the church’s duty, all she can, to hinder their sowing. Though we must not root the wicked up, yet we must prevent the rooting of wickedness all we can. Our Saviour, that forbad to pluck up the cares, did not forbid to hinder their sowing.

Note here, How vain is the collection of the Erastians from hence, that the wicked are not to be cut of by excommunication from the communion of the church; nor doth this text prove that the magistrates may not cut off evil doers; seeing this was not spoken to them, but to the ministers of the church.

Fuente: Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Mat 13:24-30. Another parable put he forth unto them In which he further explains the case of unfruitful hearers, and shows that persons of various characters would profess to receive the gospel, and be accounted members of the Christian Church; but that there should be a final separation between them in the other world, however they might be blended together in this. The kingdom of heaven This expression, as has been observed before, sometimes signifies the gospel dispensation, sometimes true religion under the gospel; sometimes the Church of Christ, and that as well in its militant as in its triumphant state. The phrase is also often used for a person or thing relating to any of those. Here the meaning seems to be, that Christ, preaching the gospel, may be likened to a man sowing good seed, &c. Or, that the state of things in the gospel Church may be illustrated in the following manner. Which sowed good seed in his field God formed our first parents upright, and sowed nothing but good in his whole creation. And Christ sowed only the good seed of truth in his Church, and planted it with such as were truly righteous. But while men slept Who were set to watch, namely, magistrates and ministers, the servants of the husbandman. Observe, reader, Satan hath a power to persuade, allure, seduce; but not to force. If the servants of Christ watched, and did their duty, there would be much less open wickedness in the world, and less secret sin in the Church than there is. His enemy came and sowed tares Rather darnel, as it seems ought to be rendered. It appears, says Dr. Campbell, from the parable itself, 1st, That this weed was not only hurtful to the corn, but otherwise of no value, and therefore to be severed and burnt. 2dly, That it resembled corn, especially wheat, since it was only when the wheat was putting forth the ear that these weeds were discovered. Now neither of these characters will suit the tare, which is excellent food for cattle, and sometimes cultivated for their use; and which, being a species of vetch, is distinguished from corn, from the moment it appears above ground. Therefore, as it cannot be the tare that is meant, it is highly probable that it is the darnel, in Latin lolium, namely, that species called by botanists temulentum, which grows among corn, not the lolium perenne, commonly called ray, and corruptly rye grass, which grows in meadows. For, 1st, This appears to have been the Latin word by which the Greek was wont to be interpreted. 2dly, It agrees to the characters above mentioned. It is a noxious weed; for when the seed of it happens to be mingled and ground with the corn, the bread made of this mixture always occasions sickness and giddiness in those who eat it; and the straw has the same effect upon the cattle. It is from this quality, and the appearance of drunkenness which it produces, that it has the specific name given it by botanists. And probably for the same reason it is called by Virgil, infelix lolium. It has also a resemblance to wheat sufficient to justify all that relates to this in the parable. The only English translation, adds the doctor, in which I have found the word darnel, is Mr. Wesleys.

When the blade was sprung up, &c., then appeared the tares, rather, the darnel, also It was not discerned before, but now could easily be distinguished. So the servants of the householder Or, of the proprietor of the estate, as seems to signify here: came and said, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? That is, good seed only; the seed of pure wheat, without any corrupt mixture? whence then hath it darnel? He said, An enemy hath done this A plain answer to the great question concerning the origin of evil. God made men (as he did angels) intelligent creatures, and consequently free either to choose good or evil; but he implanted no evil in the human soul. An enemy (with mans concurrence) hath done this. Darnel in the Church is properly hypocrites, or mere outside Christians, such as have only the form of godliness without the power. Open sinners, such as have neither the form nor the power, are not so properly darnel as thistles and brambles, which ought to be rooted up without delay, and not suffered in the Christian community. Whereas, should fallible men attempt to gather up the darnel, they would often root up the wheat with it.

Fuente: Joseph Bensons Commentary on the Old and New Testaments



(Beside the Sea of Galilee.)

Subdivision D.


aMATT. XIII. 24-30.

a24 Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that [336] sowed good seed in his field: 25 but while men slept [while they innocently rested, not while they were negligent], his enemy came and sowed tares [darnel, which closely resembles our cheat] also among the wheat, and went away. [Though not common, there have been instances of such malignant mischief as is here indicated.] 26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. [The difference between darnel and wheat does not become apparent until the two kinds of grain are nearly ripe.] 27 And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? 28 And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. [The roots of wheat and darnel so intertwine that they can not be separated without pulling up both. Jesus’ explanation of this parable will be found below in Subdivision F.]

[FFG 336-337]

Fuente: McGarvey and Pendleton Commentaries (New Testament)


Mat 13:24-53. He presented to them another parable, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a man sowing good seed in his field. While the people were asleep, his enemy came, and sowed tares in the midst of the wheat, and went away. Wheat is the great crop in the Holy Land; there being no American corn there, the term is applied generically to wheat and barley and all cereals. Where the Scripture says corn and wine, it means wheat and wine. The tare in that country is a kind of darnel, bastard wheat, which looks precisely like the wheat till the development of the grain reveals the counterfeit. And when the blade sprang up and produced fruit, then the tares also appeared. We see that during the growth of the crop, everything looked right, like the wheat in our fields; not so much as a negative suspicion till the grain was formed, and then all could recognize the tares clearly and unmistakably. The application is simple and easy; the counterfeit Church members appear all right externally, and even officially. The test in their case hinges on the fruit problem.

Therefore being made free from sin, we have our fruit unto sanctification, and the end everlasting life. (Rom 6:22.)

You see that the fruit is holiness, and here comes the test. If they are not all right on experimental and practical holiness, the fruit is all a failure. A holiness revival in a Church, as a rule, will show up the tares very conspicuously. The servants of the landlord, having come, said to him, Lord, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence then hath it tares? And he said to them, An inimical man did this. And the servant said to him, Then do you wish, having gone, that we may gather them? And he said, No; lest gathering the tares, you may, along with them, root out the wheat. This does not mean that we are not to excommunicate wicked, immoral people. Remember, these tares look just like the wheat, except the grain.

So they are not disorderly people, but hypocrites, loyal to the Church, zealous for God, and all right every way, except they lack Holy Ghost religion. Even this they claim; but prove spurious in the spiritual harvest, evincing to the spiritually minded their interior emptiness, especially manifested in a general Holy Ghost and fire revival. Let them both grow together till the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather my wheat into my barn. As we see further on, the harvest is the end of the present age, when the great tribulation will gather all the tares, the destruction beginning on the earth, and continuing forever in the regions of woe, followed by the glorious millennium, heavens harvest, during which the kingdom of glory will be populated with the millions of earth, the comparatively few, having been saved during the Satanic ages, being the first-fruits.

Fuente: William Godbey’s Commentary on the New Testament

Mat 13:24-30, Mat 13:36-43. The Wheat and the Tares.Mt. only. The parable is a substitute for rather than an adaptation of Mar 4:26-29*. We need not deny its genuineness on the plea that the standpoint is that of the Church with its mixed elements. The field is the world, not the Church. As in the parable of the seed growing secretly, the non-interference of man is illustrated. Only the great Assize can determine between good and bad. The genuineness of the explanation is more doubtful than in the case of the Sower, and may be an imitation of it. It is mechanical and conventionally apocalyptic.

Mat 13:31-35. The Mustard Seed and the Leaven (Mar 4:30-34*, Luk 13:18-21)The leaven (omitted from Mk.), usually an illustration of evil, is here a ferment of good (cf. salt, Mat 5:13), either the disciples or the Gospelthe doctrine of the Kingdom. The point of the quotation (Psa 78:2; some MSS. curiously add Isaiah after the prophet) in Mat 13:35 is in the second clausethe Kingdom foreordained and predestined is now ushered in by Jesus.

Mat 13:36-43. See above.

Fuente: Peake’s Commentary on the Bible

13:24 {4} Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

(4) Christ shows in another parable of the evil seed mixed with the good, that the Church will never be free and rid of offences, both in doctrine and manners, until the day appointed for the restoring of all things comes, and therefore the faithful have to arm themselves with patience and steadfastness.

Fuente: Geneva Bible Notes

The parable of the weeds 13:24-30

"Between these two parables [the parable of the soils, Mat 13:2-23, and the parable of the homeowner, Mat 13:52] are six parables that reveal new truths about God’s kingdom. Jesus called them ’the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mat 13:11). These new truths revealed that a new age would intervene before the millennial kingdom would come; this new age is the present church-age dispensation. Because Israel refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah, a drastic change was made in God’s prophetic program occurred. Whereas the kingdom had been proclaimed as near, now a formerly unpredicted period of time would intervene before the kingdom would come. These parables contain truths not seen in the Old Testament." [Note: Idem and Quine, p. 139.]

"The parable of the sower shows that though the kingdom will now make its way amid hard hearts, competing pressures, and even failure, it will produce an abundant crop. But one might ask whether Messiah’s people should immediately separate the crop from the weeds; and this next parable answers the question negatively: there will be a delay in separation until the harvest." [Note: Carson, "Matthew," pp. 315-16.]

Fuente: Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Jesus told the crowds another parable. He literally said, "The kingdom of heaven has become like . . ." Matthew used the aorist passive tense, homoiothe. This is very significant because it indicates a change in the kingdom program. The change was a result of Israel’s rejection of Jesus. In all these parables Jesus did not mean that any single person or object in the parable symbolized the kingdom. The narrative itself communicated truth about the kingdom.

"The parable of the wheat and tares is not a description of the world, but of that which professes to be the kingdom [i.e., Christendom]." [Note: The New Scofield . . ., p. 1015.]

Fuente: Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)