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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 13

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Verses 1-99

C. (8) Illustrations of His parabolic teaching, 13:1-52.

13. The editor now comes to Mar_4.


(M) 1. On that day Jesus went (out of the house?), and sat by the sea.] Mk has: “And again He began to teach by the sea.”

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ] inserted to make the connection closer, as in 22:23 and as a substitute for Mk.’s πάλιν which Mt. often omits. ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας if genuine is a reminiscence of Mark 3:19b καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς οἶκον, which Mt. had omitted, but which still underlies 12:46; but D S1 a b e ff 12 g1 k omit ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας. B omits ἐκ. C E al have�


(M) 2. And there were gathered to Him many multitudes, so that He embarked into a boat, and sat.) Mk. has: “And there is gathered to Him a very great multitude, so that He embarked into a boat, and sat in the sea.”—συνήχθησαν] for Mk.’s hist. pres., as often.—ὄχλοι for Mk.’s singular, as often. Mt. omits Mk.’s superfluous ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.

(M) And all the multitude had taken its stand on the shore.] Mk. has: “And all the multitude were at the sea upon the land.”—ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλόν] For αἰγιαλός cf. v. 48. Mt. avoids Mk.’s redundant “at the sea upon the land.” Cf. Introduction, p. xxiv.

(M) 3. And He spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went out to sow.] Mk. has: “And He was teaching them many things in parables, and He said to them in His teaching, Hear; Behold, the sower went out to sow.”

πολλά] Mt. generally omits Mk.’s adverbial πολλά.—ἐλάλησεν] abbreviates Mk.’s ἐδίδασκεν—καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ. See Introduction, p. xxiv.—τοῦ σπείρειν] for Mk.’s σπεῖραι. Mt. has τοῦ with inf. 7 times. The present tense emphasises the continuance of the action. See Blass, p. 196 f., and note on 11:1.

(M) 4. And during his sowing, some fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured them.] Mk. has: “And it came to pass during the sowing, some (ὅ) fell by the wayside, and the birds came and devoured it.”—ἅ] Mk. has the singular. For Mt.’s preference for plurals, see on 8:26.—ἐλθόντα—κατέφαγεν] for Mk.’s ἦλθεν καὶ κατέφαγεν.

(M) 5. And others fell upon the stony places, where they had not much earth; and immediately they sprang up, because they had not depth of earth.] Mk. has: “And other fell upon the stony place, and where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had not depth of earth.”—ἄλλα] plural again, and so in πετρώδη for Mk.’s ἄλλο and πετρῶδες; see on 8:26. But Mk. has ἄλλα in v. 8 and πετρώδη in v. 16.—ἄλλα δέ] for Mk.’s καὶ ἄλλο, as often.

(M) 6. And the sun having risen, they were scorched; and because they had not root they withered.] Mk. has: “And when the sun rose,” etc.

(M) 7. And others fell upon the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.] Mk. has: “And other (sing.) fell into the thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it gave no fruit.”—ἄλλα δέ for Mk.’s καὶ ἄλλο, as Often.—ἀπέπνιξαν] Mk. has συνέπνιξαν. In Mt. א D have the simple verb, which occurs also in 18:28, Mark 5:13.�

(M) 8. And others fell upon the good ground, and was giving fruit.] Mk. has: “And others fell into the good ground, and was giving fruit, growing and increasing.” Mt. omits Mk.’s rather obscure last three words, see Swete.—ἄλλα δέ] for Mk.’s καὶ ἄλλα, as often. ἐπί is easier than Mk.’s εἰς. “Some an hundred, and some sixty, and some thirty fold.” Mk. has: “And was bearing one thirty, and one sixty, and one an hundred fold.” Mk.’s εἷς—ἒν—ἕν is due to mistranslation of the Aramaic על חדא or Hebrew חד; cf. על חד מאה, Genesis 26:12 (Targ.) = an hundred fold, חד שבעה Daniel 3:19 = sevenfold. Cf. Exp. Times, xiii. p. 330, and so now Wellhausen on Mt. Mt. has avoided the Aramaism by substituting ὅ—ὅ—ὅ.

(M) 9. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.] Mk. has: “And He said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The words occur again in Matthew 11:15 and 13:43.




1-9. Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. in the following:

ὄχλοι πολλοί, Mat_2 = ὄχλου πολλοῦ, Luk_4. Mk. has ὄχλος πλεῖστος.


τοῦ σπείρειν, Mat_3 = τοῦ σπεῖραι, Luk_5. Mk. has σπεῖραι alone.


ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτόν, Mat_4, Luk_5. Mk. has καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν.


ὁ ἔχων, Mat_9, Luk_8. Mk. has ὃς ἔχει.

(M) 10. And the disciples came and said to Him, Why dost Thou speak to them in parables?] Mk. has: “And when He was in private, those who were around Him with the Twelve were asking Him the parables.” This is ambiguous. Lk. interprets it to mean, “asked Him the meaning of the parable.” In Mk. we must understand that vv. 10-33 refer to teaching on some occasion other than that implied in vv. 1-9, 35-36. This explains Mk.’s plural παραβολάς. On some other occasion the Twelve and others asked for an explanation of the parable of the Sower and of other parables. But Mt. prefers to treat Mk 10-33 as a part of the same scene as Mk. 1-9, Mark 1:35-36. He therefore omits “And when He was in private,” and changes “Asked Him about the Parables” into “Said to Him, Why dost Thou speak to them in parables?” For προσελθόντες, see on 4:3.—οἱ μαθηταί] “disciples” in a wide sense. Mt. thus avoids representing the Twelve as ignorant of the reason of Christ’s use of parables. See Introduction, p. xxxiii.


(M) 11. And He answered and said that, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to them it has not been given.] Mk. has: “And He said to them, To you the secret of the kingdom of God has been given, but to those outside all things happen in parables.”—μυστήρια] for the plural, see on 8:26. The singular might suggest that the very conception of the kingdom was something unknown. But the idea of the kingdom was current and familiar. Christ’s teaching about it contained, however, many things unfamiliar. Hence the plural. Mt. adds the explanatory γνῶναι.—δέδοται] Christ’s teaching about the kingdom had familiarised His disciples with many conceptions (μυστήρια) of its nature and near approach which remained unknown to the masses of the people.—μυστήρια] The word is used in the LXX. to denote a “secret”; cf. Wis 2:22 “the secrets of God,” To 12:7 “the secret of a king,” Jth 2:2 the same, 2 Mac 13:21. The representation of eschatological ideas, immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body, future judgement, Messianic kingdom as “secrets” revealed to the elect, is especially characteristic of the Apocalyptic and Sibylline literature, and the word in this sense has been adopted by the New Testament writers. See Armitage Robinson, Ephesians, pp. 234 ff. S1 a b e ff k omit τῶν οὐρανῶν.

ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δεδόται] Mk. has the obscure ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἕξω ἐν παραβολαῖς πάντα γίνεται, which may perhaps mean, “all spiritual teaching is like an unexplained parable to the uninitiated,” or “to the multitude outside (the place where we are).”

(M) 12. For whosoever hath, there shall be given to him, and increased. But whosoever hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken from him.] Mk. has a similar clause in 4:25 “For he who bath, there shall be given to him; and he who hath not, there shall be taken from him even that which he hath.” Similar words occur in 25:29 in the parable of the Talents, and Mt. here adds καὶ περισσευθήσεται to assimilate to that passage or in anticipation of καὶ προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν, Mark 4:24. Here the words seem to refer to spiritual opportunities. The disciples “had,” e.g., faith to receive the revelation of the secrets of the kingdom. Hence these secrets were entrusted to them. The masses of the people “had not” such capacity for divine truth. Hence these secrets were withheld from them, because the parabolic form in which Christ taught them only yielded its “secret” to those who already had some understanding of the nature of the secrets concerned. But the verse does not seem entirely applicable here, because it is difficult to give any adequate meaning to the last clause. The teaching in parables did not bring about the “taking away even what he hath.” Mt. has probably added them here in order to afford at least a partial explanation of Mk.’s obscure “all things happen in parables.”


(M) 13. Therefore I speak to them in parables: because seeing they do not see; and hearing they do not hear, nor understand.] Mk. has: “(Happen in parables) in order that seeing they may see, and not see; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest they should turn, and be forgiven.”

The verse in Mk. is an adaptation of Isaiah 6:9, Isaiah 6:10

Mt., however, has explained the question of Mark 4:10 as asking after the reason of Christ’s use of parables, διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς; and introduces this use of Isaiah’s language with the direct answer, “Therefore I speak to them in parables.” He cannot, therefore, continue with Mk.’s ἵνα, the effect of which would be to represent Christ’s speaking in parables as purposely adopted in order to prevent the people from understanding the teaching underlying them. The editor feels that this would be intolerable. He therefore changes ἵνα, into ὅτι, and substitutes indicatives for Mk.’s subjunctives. “I speak in parables, because the people are not able to receive nor to understand the ‘secrets’ when revealed in plain language.” “They see, and yet do not see; and they hear, and yet do not hear, nor understand.” Nothing is here said (as apparently in Mk.) of the object gained by the use of parables, but an explanation is given of the causes which made it necessary. But there is implied the inference that the object was to present the “secrets” of the kingdom in a form which would enable all such as had (v. 12) capacity to understand, to penetrate their meaning, whilst it would shroud these divine secrets from those who had no qualifications for appreciating them. In this way Christ fulfilled His own saying, “Give not that which is holy to dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine” (7:6). D S1 S2 a b c d e ff k add μή ποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν from Mk.

14, 15. Mt. here introduces the direct quotation, which is indirectly employed in Mark 5:12.


(E) And there is being fulfilled for them the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, With hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive. For the heart of this people was made fat, and with their ears they heard heavily, and their eyes they smeared; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should turn, and I should heal them.]

καὶ�Mark 4:12. He therefore uses an introductory phrase of his own, which was suggested, no doubt, by the πληρωθῇ of the recurring formula. The quotation which follows seems to be verbally identical with the LXX. of Isaiah 6:9-10, even to the unexpected fut. ind. ἰάσομαι of the last clause.

16-17. Cf. Luke 10:23-24, Mark 4:13.

(L) But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and did not see; and to hear the things which ye hear, and did not hear.] Mk. has: “And He saith to them, Do ye not know (οἴδατε) this parable, and how shall you understand (γνώσεσθε) all the parables ?” Mt. omits this reproach (see Introduction, p. xxxiii), and substitutes for it a passage from the Logia containing a statement of the privileges of the disciples. This saying also occurs in Luke 10:23-24 in a different context (the return of the Seventy), and differently worded: “And turning to the disciples, privately He said, Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see; for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which ye see, and did not see; and to hear the things which ye hear, and did not hear.”


ὑμῶν δέ.] The ὑμῶν is emphatic, and contains a direct contrast to those referred to in αὐτοῖς, vv. 10-13, ἐκείνοις, v. 11, and in vv. 13-15. “They” cannot understand the parablies, and that is why I use the parabolic method, because they are not capable of appreciating the “secrets” when plainly taught in literal language; “for they have blinded their eyes to the light of divine truth. But blessed are your eyes, for they see this divine light.”

(E) 18. Ye therefore hear the parable of the sower.] The words are inserted by the editor.—ὐμεῖς] “Because your eyes see, you are able to understand and to receive the ‘secrets’ which the parable enfolds.”

(M) 19. In the case of every one who hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand, them comes the evil one, and wrests away that which was sown in his heart. This is he who was sown by the wayside.] Mk. has: “The sower sows the word. These are they who (are) by the wayside, where the word is sown. And when they hear, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which was sown into them.” Mk’s explanation of the parable suffers from condensation. “These are they who are by the wayside” interprets ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τήν ὁδόν, v. 4, i.e. the seed which fell by the wayside describes the case of the people who hear the doctrine and allow it quickly to be lost from their memory and understanding. Properly speaking, “that which fell by the wayside” is the doctrine, and the wayside represents superficial hearers; but Mk.’s loosely connected words seem to confuse the seed sown, i.e. the doctrine, with the people amongst whom it is sown, i.e. those who hear it. Mt. might have simplified by saying in his last clause, “This is, i.e. this is represented by, that which was sown by the wayside”; but he follows Mk.’s confusion between the seed sown and the people amongst whom it is sown. He adds καὶ μὴ συνιέντος to explain why the evil one succeeds in wresting the seed from them, and substitutes ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ for Mk.’s harsher εἰς αὐτούς—ὁ πονηρός, as in v. 38.

(M) 20, 21. And he that was sown upon the stony places, this is he who hears the word, and straightway with joy receives it; but hath not root in himself, but is ephemeral; and when tribulation or persecution for the word cometh, straightway is made to stumble.] Mk. has: “And these are they likewise who are being sown on the stony places, who, when they hear the word, straightway with joy receive it; and have not root in themselves, but are ephemeral. Then when tribulation or persecution for the word cometh, straightway they are made to stumble.” There is here again the same confusion in Mk., followed by Mt., between the seed and the people amongst whom it is sown.—σπαρείς] and so in v. 22 for Mk.’s less suitable σπειρόμενοι. Mk. has σπαρέντες in v. 20. ὁ δέ for καὶ οὗτοι; and οὐκ ἔχει δέ for καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν, as often; τὸν λόγον throughout this chapter means the good news of the kingdom; cf. v. 19.

(M) 22. And he that was sown into the thorns, this is he who hears the word; and the care of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.] Mk. has: “And others there are who are being sown into the thorns. These are they who heard the word; and the cares of the world, and the desires concerning the rest, enter in and choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Again the same verbal confusion. Lk. here simplifies by substituting the neuter: “And that which was sown,” etc. Mt. omits καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι as being involved in ἡ μέριμνα τοῦ αἰῶνος. τοῦ αἰῶνος probably implies the distinction between this and the coming age; see on 12:32.

(M) 23. And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he who hears the word and understands, who brings forth and produces fruit, some an hundred fold, and some sixty, and some thirty.] Mk. has: “And these are they who were sown upon the good ground, who hear the word and receive it, and bring forth fruit, one thirty fold, and one sixty, and one an hundred. Lk., again, has the neuter—“that which,” etc. συνιείς, cf. v. 19, explains Mk.’s παραδέχονται.—ὃ—ὃ—ὅ] for Mk.’s ἕν—ἕν—ἕν. See on v. 8.—ὂ δέ] for Mk.’s καί, as often.

The parable as it stands here seems to describe the reception of the word, or good news, or teaching (v. 19) about the secrets of the kingdom (v. 11) as taught by Christ. Some do not understand it (v. 19). Some cannot endure the persecution with which its disciples are assailed (vv. 20-21). Some are too much preoccupied by worldly pursuits to allow it to influence them (v. 22). But others welcome it, and become true disciples of the kingdom (v. 28); cf. v. 52.

10-23. Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. in the following:

οἱ μαθηταί, Mat_10; οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, Luk_9. Mk. has οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα.


ὁ δὲ—εἷπεν—γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια, Mat_11, Luk_10. Mk. has καὶ ἔλεγεν—τὸ μυστήριον.


ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ, Mat_19 =�Luk_12. Mk. has εἰς αὐτούς.


δέ, Mat_20, Luk_13; Mat_22, Luk_14; Mat_23, Luk_15. Mk. has καί.


24-30. The tares.

(L) 24. Another parable He put forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.]

ὡμοιώθη] The usual introduction of a parable in the later Jewish literature is: “A parable. To what is the matter like? To,” etc. See Bacher, Exeg. Term. i. 121, ii. 121. The use of parables is very common in this literature. Examples from the Mechilta may be seen in Fiebig, A1tjüd. Gleichnisse. All the parables in Mt. which are not borrowed from Mk. are introduced with the formula ὡμοιώθη or ὁμοία ἐστί, except 25:14-30, which is introduced with a simple ὥσπερ, a method also used in the Jewish parables. Cf. Fiebig, p. 78.

(L) 25. And whilst men were sleeping, the enemy came and sowed tares in the midst of the wheat, and went away.]

(L) 26. But when the blade sprouted and made fruit, then appeared also the tares.]

(L) 27. And the servants of the householder came, and said to him, Lord, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? Whence, therefore, hath it tares?]

(L) 28. And he said to them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say to him, Dost thou wish, therefore, that we go and gather them?]

(L) 29. And he saith, No, lest as you gather the tares ye root up also with them the wheat.]

(L) 30. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather first the tares, and bind them into bundles to burn them; but the wheat gather into my granary.]

αὐτὰ εἰς δέσμας L X Δ S1 S2 a b c g1 2 ff2 q omit εἰς. D e f h k omit αὐτά. Epiph. quoted by Tisch. gives δέσμας δέσμας; cf. συμπόσια συμπόσια, Mark 6:39; and see Moulton, p. 97.

31. Mt. here omits Mk.’s added sayings, 4:21-25. He has already inserted a parallel to 4:21 in 5:15, and to 4:22 in 10:26. A parallel to 4:23 has already been given twice in 13:9= Mark 4:9, and in 11:15. A parallel to Mark 4:24 has been given in 7:2b, and to 4:25 in v. 12. This, therefore, brings the editor to 4:26-29.But it is probable that in the Logia he had before him a group of parables containing the Tares, the Mustard Seed, the Leaven, the explanation of the Tares, the Hid Treasure, the Goodly Pearl, the Drag-net, and a conclusion. He turns now to this source, and borrows from it, thus omitting Mark 4:26-29, and substituting for 4:30-32 the similar parable of the Logia. After the third Logian parable, the Leaven, he turns back to Mk. and borrows Mk.’s conclusion, 4:33-34, before continuing with the explanation of the Tares from the Logia. Thus:


Mat_13.Mar_4.


Seed growing secretly, omitted 26-29.

Tares, 24-30 —

Mustard Seed, 31-32 substituted for 30-32.

Leaven, 33 —

Conclusion, 34-35 33-34.



It may seem strange that, having once abandoned Mk at 13:24, he should take the trouble to borrow from him 4:33-34, and that he should place this not after the Mustard Seed as in Mk., but after the Logian parable of the Leaven. By so doing he seems to introduce into his chapter two conclusions, 13:34-35 from Mk., and 51-52 from the Logia.

But let us suppose that the Logia contained two groups of three parables, separated by the explanation of the Tares, and ended with the conclusion, vv. 51-52. Thus:

13:24-30 Tares First group.

31-32 Mustard Seed First group.

33 Leaven First group.

36-43 Explanation of Tares.

44 Hid Treasure Second group.

45-46 Goodly Pearl Second group.

47-50 Draw Net Second group.



Of course, the difficulty here is in the position of the explanation of the Tares. Why does it not stand immediately after the parable? Moreover, the reference to the house, v. 36, is improbable as a feature of the Logia. In any case this is probably due to the editor. It does not help us to attribute the whole of vv. 36-43 to the editor, because the position of the section remains a difficulty, and because the section is characterised throughout by phrases which are probably due to the Logia.

It is easiest, therefore, to suppose that the Logian parables were arranged as above in two groups of three, separated by the explanation of the Tares. The editor having once deserted Mk., inserts the first group of three, and then adds Mk.’s conclusion. He did not place it immediately after the mustard seed, where Mk. has it, because he did not care to break up the grouping into three. For his liking for this arrangement, see Introduction, p. lxv.

31, 32. Cf. Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18, Luke 13:19.


(LM) 31. Another parable He put forth to them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field.] Mk. has: “And He said, How shall we liken the kingdom of God, or in what parable shall we set it forth? As a grain of mustard seed?”

ὁμοία ἐστίν] see on v. 24. Mt. avoids Mk.’s redundancy; cf. Introduction, p. xxiv. For Mk.’s ὡς, cf. 25:14, and see on v. 24.

(LM) 32. Which indeed is less than all seeds. But when it has grown it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in its branches.] Mk. has: “Which when it is sown upon the earth, though it is less than all seeds which are upon the earth, and when it is sown, grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and makes great branches, so that the birds of the heaven are able to lodge under its shadow.”

ὃ μικρότερον μέν ἐστιν] Mt. simplifies Mk.’s harsh construction, ὃς—μικρότερον ὄν. He also avoids the repetition of ὅταν σπαρῇ and ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.—κατασκηνοῖν] cf. Psalms 104:12.—ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ] Mk. has ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ. Both expressions are used of birds in connection with trees. For ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ, cf. Ezekiel 17:23; and for ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ, Daniel 4:18 Th. The latter phrase expresses more suitably here the size of the tree.

Mt. and Lk. have several agreements in this parable as against Mk.; cf. ὁμοία ἐστίν. Mt. Lk. ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔσπειρεν ἐν τῷ�Mark 4:26-29, combined with these variations and with the fact that the interpretation of the Tares does not immediately follow that parable, but comes later, after other parables in vv. 36-43, suggests that he borrowed the whole section 24-52 (excepting v. 34) from the Logia. In that case, when he came to Mark 4:26 he turned to his other source for all that follows down to v. 52. His variations from Mark 4:30-32 are then due chiefly to the fact that this parable stood in the Logia in a form which differed from that of Mk. Lk. at 8:18 omits Mark 4:26-34, but has the parable of the Mustard Seed combined with that of the Leaven later in his Gospel at 13:18-21. He probably, therefore, borrowed them from a non-Marcan source, which may have been the first Gospel, or a source which contained these two parables in the same order and largely in the same language as the Logia.


The parable seems to describe the future propagation of the word or doctrine of the kingdom. Starting from small beginnings in the teaching of Christ, it will spread rapidly and win many adherents.

31, 32. Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. in the following:

ὁμοία ἐστίν—ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος—αὐτοῦ, Mt 31, Luke 18:19.


αὐξηθῇ, Mt 32 = ηὔξησεν, Luk_19. Mk. has σπαρῇ.


δένδρον, Mt 32 = εἰς δένδρον, Luk_19. Mk. has μεῖζον πάντων τῶν λαχάνων.


ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ, Mt 32, Luk_19. Mk. has ὑπὸ τὴν σκιὰν αὐτοῦ.

33. Cf. Luke 13:20, Luke 13:21.


(L) Another parable He spake to them; The kingdom of the heavens is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.] Lk. has: “And again He said, To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like to leaven,” etc.—ὁμοία ἐστίν] for this and for Lk.’s τίνι ὁμοιώσω—ὁμοία ἐστίν, see on v. 24. The parable, like that of the Mustard Seed, describes the propagation of the doctrine of “the kingdom.” Like leaven, this will spread rapidly until it has accomplished the purpose for which it was taught.

34. The editor now inserts Mk.’s conclusion, 4:33-34.

(M) 34. All these things spake Jesus in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable He was speaking nothing to them.] Mark 4:33, Mark 4:34 has: “And with many such parables He was’ speaking to them, as they were able to hear. And without a parable He was not speaking to them. But privately He was interpreting all things to His disciples.” Mt. has omitted Mk 33b and 34b on account of the ambiguity of 33b “as they were able to hear.”


35. He now adds one of the series of quotations from which he has elsewhere borrowed.

(O) 35. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.]—ὅπως πληρωθῇ] see Introduction, p. lxi, and on 1:22. The quotation is from Psalms 77:2. The LXX. there has:�Psalms 18:3; and for κεκρυμμένα, cf. 2 Mac 12:41. καταβολὴ κόσμου does not occur in the LXX., but here, 25:34, Luke 11:50, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, three times in Heb., 1 P. 1:20, and Revelation 13:8 and 17:8. Cf. also Ass. Mos 1:14 “ab initio orbis terrarum” =πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, with Charles’ note, p. 58. But see critical note on p. 154.

(EL) 36. Then having left the multitudes, He went into the house; and there came to Him His disciples, saying, Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.] —τότε] see on 2:7.—ἀφείς] as in 26:44, 22:22.—εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν] cf. 13:1. Mt.’s references to place in this chapter are very vague; vv. 2-9 were spoken in the boat. προσελθόντες, v. 10, may or may not suggest a change of scene, but in the former case nothing is said of the disembarkation nor of the scene of the following section, 10-35. The reference here to τοὺς ὄχλους suggests that the whole of 2-35 was spoken in the boat. If so, christ now disembarks and returns to the house. Since the reference to the boat and the house are borrowed from Mk., it seems probable that τότε�Deuteronomy 1:5, Daniel 2:6 LXX., 1 Mac 12:8, and several times in 2 Mac.


(L) 37. And He answered and said, He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.]

(L) 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.]—οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας] i.e. those who are qualified to enter into it; cf. “Son of the coming world,” Taanith 22a, and other phrases quoted by Dalm. Words, p. 115. The phrase is used with rather a different application in 8:12. There it means “those who were chosen to enter the kingdom, but have failed to justify the choice.”

(L) 39. And the enemy who sowed them is the devil; and the harvest is the consummation of the age; and the reapers are angels.]—συντέλεια αἰῶνος] The phrase occurs in vv. 40, 49, 24:3 and 28:20. In the two latter it seems to have been inserted by the editor into his source. If this section is Logian, the phrase in 24:3 and 28:20 will be due to the influence of Logian language on the editor. If this section is wholly editorial the phrase points to the Jewish origin of the editor, for it is characteristic of Jewish, especially of apocalyptic, literature. It occurs in Hebrews 9:26. Cf. συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων, Test. Lev_10; “consummation of the age,” Apoc. Bar 83:7; “consummation of the world,” 54:21; Daniel 12:13 συντέλειαν ἡμερῶν; “consummation of the times,” Apoc. Bar 13:3, 27:15; “of time,” 29:8; “the day when the great consummation of the great world will be consummated,” Enoch 16:1; “the end of this time,” 2 Es 7:113; “the consummation of the end of the days,” Ass. Mos 1:18. Cf. Dalm. Words, p. 155; Volz, Jüd. Eschat. p. 166.—ἄγγελοι] cf. 24:31.


(L) 40. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned with fire; so shall it be at the consummation of the age.]

(L) 41. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather together out of His kingdom all stumbling-blocks, and they who do lawlessness.]—ἀποστελεῖ] cf. 24:31.—ἐκ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ] This must not be interpreted in such a way as to suggest that the kingdom is conceived of as a present condition of things within which tares and wheat grow together. When the Son of Man has come, then the kingdom also will have come. Hence at that future date the tares can be said to be gathered out of His kingdom.

(L) 42. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.]—κάμινον τοῦ πυρός] only again in v. 50 a Logian passage; cf. “furnace of Gehenna,” 2 Es 7:36, and see Volz, Jüd. Eschat. p. 285.—ἐκεῖ ἔσται, κ.τ.λ.] See on 8:12.

(L) 43. Then the righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.]

τότε] see on 2:7.—οἱ δίκαιοι ἐκλάμψουσιν] Cf. Daniel 12:3 Th. καὶ οἱ συνιέντες λάμψουσιν—καὶ�


The parable deals with the period prior to the future establishment of the kingdom, during which Christ and His disciples preach its “secrets” and announce its coming. See Introduction, p. lxx.

35. Add Ἠσαίου, א* curss. and MSS. known to Eus. and Jer. Omit אb B C D S1 S2. The word is certainly not genuine.—καταβολῆς κόσμου] אb B 1 22 k omit κόσμου. S1 S2 have “from of old” ܕܡܢ ܩܕܝܡ, assimilating to the Syriac and to the Hebrew of the Psalm, which has מני קדם. It seems probable that Mt. wrote καταβολῆς, that S1 and S2 assimilated to the Hebrew, and that the mass of authorities have added κόσμου to assimilate to the general usage of the N.T.

36. διασάφησον] א* B; φράσον אo C D al S1 S2 ܦܫܩ probably implies διασάφησον.

44-50. Three Parables from the Logia.

(L) 44. The kingdom of the heavens is like treasure hidden in the field; which a man found and hid, and from joy goes and sells all that he hath, and buys that field.] This and the following parable deal rather with the nature of the doctrine of “the kingdom” than with the method of its propagation, as in the previous parables. The good news of the kingdom is of such value that men will give up everything else to accept it.

(L) 45, 46. Again, the kingdom of the heavens is like a merchant, seeking goodly pearls. And having found one precious pearl, he went and sold all that he hath, and bought it.]

ὁμοία ἐστί] see on v. 24.—ἀνθρώπῳ ἐμπόρῳ] cf.�

μετῆρεν ἐκεῖθεν] μετῆρεν occurs again in 19:1 for Mk.’s ἔρχεται, here for Mk.’s ἐξῆλθεν. ἐκεῖθεν in Mk. refers to the house of Jairus; here, to the house of Matthew 13:36.—εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ] in Mk. apparently means Nazara, cf. Mark 1:9, and so, no doubt, in Matthew 2:23.—ἐλθών] Mt. as usual avoids Mk.’s hist. pres. ἔρχεται, and omits καὶ�


(M) 55. Is not this the Son of the carpenter? Is not His mother called Mary? and His brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and, Judas?] Mk. has: “Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon?” Mt. has substituted “the Son of the carpenter” for “the Carpenter,” from a feeling that the latter was hardly a phrase of due reverence. Mk.’s striking phrase “the Carpenter” is occasionally echoed in later writers; cf. Celsus ap. Origen, vi. 34: ἦν τέκτων τὴν τέχνην. Origen, vi. 36, denies that Jesus was called τέκτων anywhere in the Gospels; Just Tryph. 88: τὰ τεκτονικὰ ἔργα ἠργάζετο ἐν�Mar_2. See note on v. 54.—πρὸς ἡμᾶς] for Mk.’s ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς, see Introduction, p. xxiv. For εἶναι πρός, see Abbott, Johannine Grammar, 2363a. 2364.—πρός] implies the familiarity of daily intercourse.

(M) 57. And they were made to stumble in Him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his native town, and in his house.] Mk. has: “And they were made to stumble in Him. And Jesus said to them that a prophet is not without honour, save in his native town, and amongst his kindred, and in his house.” For σκανδαλίζεσθαι, see on 5:29.—ὁ δέ] as often for Mk.’s Καί, see Introduction, p. xx.—εἶπεν] as often for Mk.’s ἔλεγεν. Mt. often omits Mk.’s ὅτι; cf. Introduction, p. xx.—οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης, κ.τ.λ.] cf. the similar sayings, Luke 4:24, John 4:44; and Sayings of Jesus, No. 6: οὐκ ἔστιν δεκτὸς προφήτης ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ. Mt. omits καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ, as implied in the next clause; see Introduction, p. xxiv.


(M) 58. And He did not do there many miracles because of their unbelief.] Mk. has: “And He could not do there any miracle, save that He laid His hands on a few sick folk, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief.” For the omission of ἐδύνατο and of ἐθαύμασεν, see Introduction, p. xxxi.

55. τέκτονος] S2 a b ff2 g1 h add “of Joseph”; S1 has “of Joseph” only. The true reading in Mk. seems to be ὁ τέκτων ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας; so א B D Δ. Mt. has changed from the motives above explained. The variants in Mk. are due to assimilation to Mt. Mt. has no objection to the phrase “Son of Joseph,” but might not unnaturally wish to avoid “the carpenter.”

The editor now comes to Mark 6:6-13. This he has already inserted (9:35ff.). So he passes to Mark 6:14-29. From this point in his Gospel the grouping of material taken from Mk. and elsewhere under subject-heads ceases to be observable. Henceforth he follows Mk.’s order, expanding it and adding to it other material.










M the Second Gospel.

S Syriac version: Sinaitic MS.

E editorial passages.

al i.e. with other uncial MSS.

Targ. Targum.

LXX. The Septuagint Version.

S Syriac version: Curetonian.

L the Matthæan Logia.

X passages in which Mt. and Lk. agree closely, borrowed from an unknown source or sources.

Th. Theodotion.

O quotations from the Old Testament borrowed from a collection of Messianic prophecies. See pp.61 f.

Dalm. Dalman.

Eus. Eusebius.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Matthew 13". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/matthew-13.html. 1896-1924.
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