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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 13

Verse 2

Matthew 13:2 . Τὸ πλοῖον , the vessel ) The article indicates a particular vessel which was wont to be had there. καὶ , κ . τ . λ ., and , etc.) sc. when the people saw Him. αἰγιαλὸν , beach ) Hesychius renders αἰγιαλὸς by ὁ παραθαλὰσσιος ἐν τόπῳ ψαμμώδειψηφίδας ἔχων , i.e. “the seaside in a sandy place, or abounding with pebbles.”

Verse 3

Matthew 13:3 . Ἐν παραβολαῖς , in parables ) The Evangelist here indicates a remarkable period of Christ’s teaching to the people in Galilee, as to the chief priests and elders of the people in Jerusalem. See Mark 12:1 , ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγειν , He BEGAN to speak to them in parables. [597] Parables are frequent in the East: but our Lord had previously taught much, in both places, without parables. The parables in the present passage are seven: four addressed to the people, in Matthew 13:3 ; Matthew 13:24 ; Matthew 13:31 ; Matthew 13:33 ; and three to the disciples, in Matthew 13:44-45 ; Matthew 13:47 . [598] The first four and the last three form severally two groups, which are, respectively, intimately connected together. The former are connected by the formula, “ another parable ;” the latter, by the formula, “ Again the kingdom of heaven is like ” And since the seventh refers more than any of the others to the end of the world, which the first does not refer to at all, but applies the prophecy of Isaiah to the people at the time of our Lord’s teaching, these seven parables have a most recondite meaning (see Mat 13:35 ), applying especially to distinct periods of the Church’s history and condition, besides the common and universal principles which they teach concerning the course and administration of the kingdom of heaven: and this in such a manner, that each begins successively to be fulfilled after that which preceded it, though no preceding one concludes before the beginning of that which follows. The first and second, and only these two, were explained to the apostles. In the first, before the explanation in the second, after it occurs the formula, “ He that hath ears to hear, let him hear . The first, indeed, was fulfilled, as we have already observed, in the first age namely, that of our Lord’s ministry; the second, in that of His apostles, and thenceforward, for then men began to sleep (see Mat 13:25 ); the third and fourth denote the propagation of the kingdom of God among princes and the whole human race; the fifth describes the darker condition of the Church; the sixth, the state of the kingdom of God when esteemed above all things; the seventh, the condition of the Church in the last days, greatly mixed. It may be asked, whether these seven parables extend through the whole period of the New Testament dispensation in such a manner that the three latter begin from the goal of the four former; or whether those four extend from the beginning to the end, and also these three? On the settlement of these questions depends a more accurate distribution, which I leave to be decided by the wise, [merely subjoining the following sketch]:

[597] Compare Matthew 21:23 . [Qy. 28]. E. B.

[598] The parable concerning the four different kinds of soil the Saviour explained to His disciples, at their request, before that He returned to the house all other witnesses , however, being out of the way whether His explanation was given on the sea or on land, Matthew 13:10 ; with which comp. Mark 4:10 . Then next He set forth the rest of the parables before the multitude, Mark 4:33 ; and, returning to the house , He cleared up also the parable of the tares for the disciples, who begged Him to do so, Matthew 13:36 ; with which comp. Mark 4:34 . After the setting forth of these parables, of which several are derived from the tillage of land, within the lapse of a few days the barley harvest began. In like manner the parable of the net ( Mat 13:47 ) cast into the sea , was put forth close by the sea. Harm. , p. 322.

1. The time of the apostles, Mat 13:16 2. After the decease of the apostles, Mat 13:25 3. Constantine, Mat 13:32 4. Nine centuries under the trumpet of the seventh angel, Mat 13:33 5. The kingdom of the Beast, and the Reformation, Mat 13:44 6. The kingdom of God esteemed above all things, Satan being bound, Mat 13:46 7. The last confusion, Mat 13:47 Ο σπείρων . He that soweth ) in the present tense; i.e. Christ.

Verse 4

Matthew 13:4 . Παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν , by the wayside ) when the field and the road touch each other.

Verse 5

Matthew 13:5 . Πετρώδη , rocky ) This expression does not indicate stones lying scattered over the field, but a continuous bed of rock under the ground, with only a slight covering of soil. οὐκ εἶχε , had not ) We must understand ἄλλα , other , in the nominative plural. πολλὴν = the Hebrew רב , much: it sometimes signifies too much; here, sufficiently much. ἐξανέτειλε , grew up high) not merely ἀνέτειλε , sprang up.

Verse 6

Matthew 13:6 . Ἐκαυματίσθη , they were scorched ) sc. in a less degree from without. ἐξηράνθη , they were dried up ) sc. utterly from within. [599]

[599] A man, to whom any degree of good begins to adhere, is liable to the loss of it, even though he may not lose it all at once. V. g.

Verse 7

Matthew 13:7 . Ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι , the thorns sprang up ) beyond the crop itself. They had not before then grown so high. Those who have heard the Word, yet do not grow in good, turn their strength to increase in evil.

Verse 8

Matthew 13:8 . Καλὴν , good ) sc. soft, deep, clean (purgatam, i.e. cleared of stones, thorns, and weeds). [600] ὃ μὲνδὲδὲ , some some some ) referring to ἄλλα , other , at the commencement of the same verse.

[600] Soft or friable, deep , and cleared of weeds and thorns, are respectively opposed to the hard stiff soil of the wayside, the shallow soil spread over the underlying rock, and the thorny ground. ED.

Verse 9

Matthew 13:9 . Ὁ ἔχων , he that hath ) Cf. Matthew 13:11-13 . [601] Let him that heareth, hear: to him that hath shall be given.

[601] E. B. adds 43.

Verse 10

Matthew 13:10 . Διατί , κ . τ . λ ., why? etc.) It seemed a new thing to the disciples; see Matthew 13:3 .

Verse 11

Matthew 13:11 . Ὅτι , because ) This may be referred to the preceding διατί , why? Cf. in Matthew 13:13 , διὰ τοῦτο , therefore . ὑμῖν , to you ) who have. τὰ μυστήρια , the mysteries ) This term is applied, not to all things which all ought to know from revelation, but to those things which they, to whom secret things are revealed, know beyond those who know only what is strictly necessary. ἐκείνοις , to them ) who are without, in contradistinction to ὑμῖν , you , who are within. [602] οὐ δέδοται , it is not given ) sc. to comprehend mysteries fully and clearly. [603]

[602] In the original, “hoc vim habet removendi.” I have paraphrased it, so as to express Benge’s meaning in a manner intelligible to the English reader. (I. B.)

[603] In the original, “nosse mysteria nuda.” Literally, to know mysteries naked, i.e. fully revealed, without concealment or obscurity. (I. B.)

“Mysteria nuda,” mysteries without the clothing of the parabolic form or guise . ED.

Verse 12

Matthew 13:12 . Ἔχει , hath) to have , signifies to be rich. He who hath rejoices in this as his distinguishing criterion, viz. that he is one that hath , and becomes day by day more sure of perseverance. περισσευθήσεται , he shall be rendered more abundant [604] ) and shall surpass his former self. [605] ὅστις οὐκ ἔχει , whosoever hath not ) The conjunction ὅτι ( because ), in Matthew 13:13 , refers to this, and μήποτε ( lest at any time ), in Matthew 13:15 , to ἀρθήσεται ( shall be taken away ). καὶἔχει , even that which he hath ) shall be taken away. ἀρθήσεται , shall be taken away ) Even though he hear, yet he shall not hear; and that which he hath heard shall at length (undoubtedly after the judgment) be so taken away from him, that he shall be as if he had never heard anything. The damned shall be tortured with ignorance, and the thirst for knowledge.

[604] E. V. Shall have more abundance. (I. B.)

[605] “This is the case in things temporal, and much more so in things spiritual.” B. G. V.

Verse 13

Matthew 13:13 . Ὄτι , κ . τ . λ ., because , etc.) Our Lord, therefore, did not speak to the people in parables without a cause. And nevertheless He had often before spoken to them without parables, out of compassion (see ch. Matthew 9:36 , and Mar 6:34 ), and they had not profited [by His teaching]. οὐδὲ συνιοῦσι ) neither do they understand .

Verse 14

Matthew 13:14 . Καὶ , and ) therefore. ἀναπληροῦται , is now being refulfilled [606] ) This word differs from the simple verb πληροῦται ( is now being fulfilled ), which is employed elsewhere in citing prophecies. The saying of Isaiah ( Mat 6:9 ) was being fulfilled in his own days, and in the ages which followed, and also clearly and especially in the days of the Messiah. ἀκοῇ , κ . τ . λ ., by hearing , etc.) i.e. by however little you come short, yet you shall come short [of understanding what ye hear to the salvation of your souls].

[606] E. V. “is fulfilled.” (I. B.)

“Is receiving its complete ( full measure of) fulfilment.” ED.

Verse 15

Matthew 13:15 . Ἐπαχύνθη γὰρκαρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου , FOR this people’s heart is waxed gross ) It stands thus in the S. V.; but in the Hebrew there is no word corresponding to the Greek γᾶρ , for . The language, however, rapidly turns itself away from them. [607] ἡ καρδία , the heart, τοῖς ὠσὶ τούς ὀφθαλμοὺς , with their ears, their eyes ) These three occur again immediately in the opposite order: “ with their eyes,” “with their ears,” “with their heart .” The heart is the first in the beginning, the last in the end. From the heart corruption flows into the ears and eyes ; through the eyes and ears health [608] reaches the heart . ἐκάμμυσαν μήποτε ἰάσωμαι αὐτούς , they have closed, lest at any time I should heal them ) God therefore had wished to heal them; and it is clear that healing was close to them, if they had only turned to it. In Mark 4:12 , we read “ καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς τὰ ἁμαρτήματα ;” i.e. and their sins be forgiven them .” Cf. Psalms 103:3 . συνῶσι , should understand ) The seat [609] of σύνεσις , understanding , and νοήσις , perception , is the heart, not the brain: this is equally true of πώρωσις , hardening (see Joh 12:40 ), and of σκοτασμός , darkening (see Rom 1:21 ); as also of ἀπιστία , unbelief , and πίστις , faith , which is followed by ἐπιστροφή , conversion . [610]

[607] “Sermo autem celeriter se ab iis avertit.” This is one of many instances where it is impossible to find an English equivalent to the Latin “ Sermo ,” Bengel’s moaning is that whereas, in Matthew 13:9 , God had commanded the prophet to go and speak to the Jews, saying, “Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not,” in Matthew 13:8 , He suddenly changes the Sermo, i.e. the mode of speech, the direction of His words; and, instead of desiring Isaiah to address the people, turns from them, as it were, and gives an injunction to the prophet, regarding them, it is true, but not addressed to them: sc. “ Make the heart of this people fat , etc.” (I. B.)

[608] “Sanitas,” lit. soundness , an expression applied indifferently to mind or body, as in the well-known passage of Juvenal:

[609] “Subjectum quo.” (I. B.)

[610] The Hebrew accents undoubtedly connect the words καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσι ( and should be converted ) more closely with συνῶσι ( should understand ) than with ἰάσωμαι ( I should heal ). And in many passages of the Old Testament which are quoted in the New, the Hebrew accents agree more accurately with the force of the exact words of the Inspired original than the punctuation employed by the Greeks: e.g. Matthew 4:15 ; Matthew 19:5 ; Matthew 21:5 ; Luke 4:18 ; Acts 7:6 ; Acts 8:32 ; Hebrews 1:12 ; Hebrews 3:9 ; Hebrews 12:26 ; Hebrews 13:6 . And yet these Greeks were Christians. We ought not, therefore, to think that the Hebrew accents have originated with the modern Jews left to their blindness. Their origin is far more ancient, far more sublime.” APP. CRIT., Ed. II., p. 120.

“Ut sit mens sana in corpere sano.” (I. B.)

Verse 16

Matthew 13:16 . Ὀφθαλμοὶ ὦτα , eyes ears) i.e. those of your body, above the saints of the Old Testament; those of your soul, above the people now present. Their eyes and ears were the subject of which blessedness could be predicated. [611]

[611] “Subjectum quo beatitudinis.” (I. B.)

Verse 17

Matthew 13:17 . Προφῆται , prophets ) See Gnomon on 1 Peter 1:10 ; 1 Peter 1:12 . ἐπεθύμησαν , have desired ) And that desire was pious and precious in the sight of God: see Gnomon on John 8:56 . οὐκ εἶδον , have not seen ) See Hebrews 11:13 ; Hebrews 11:39 .

Verse 18

Matthew 13:18 . Ὑμεῖς , you ) in contradistinction to the people. τοῦ σπείροντος , of the Sower) i.e. so called from the Sower.

Verse 19

Matthew 13:19 . Μὴ συνίετος , understandeth it not ) The verb συνίεναι signifies to understand. [612] The Evil One, or devil, who especially, rather than his angels, is meant by the fowls of the air, has less power over those things which have entered into the σύνεσις , or understanding . ἁρπάζει , catcheth away ) sc. with violence and quick cunning, like a bird of prey; see Matthew 13:4 . ἐν τῂ καρδίᾳ , in his heart . ὁ σπαρεὶς , he that is sown) i.e. as a farm is sown.

[612] That such is Bengel’s meaning is clear from his own German Version, where he renders μὴ συνίεντος by “ und nicht vernimmt ” (I. B.)

Verse 20

Matthew 13:20 . Ὁ δὲ , κ . τ . λ ., but he , etc.) In every individual soul one distinguishing characteristic is especially conspicuous. εὐθὺς , immediately ) Too great haste and joyfulness is not always the best sign, when the whole strength pours itself forth in outward demonstrations, and consumes itself in them. μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων , with joy receiving ) see Galatians 4:14-15 .

Verse 21

Matthew 13:21 . Ῥίζαν , root ) which is plainly necessary, and springs from the word itself. πρόσκαιρός ἐστι , is temporary ) [613] He believes whilst the time inclines him; see Luke 8:13 . The adjective τρόσκαιρος , taken alone, expresses somewhat good, but without perseverance; it is therefore followed here by the adversative particle δὲ , but , and in Mark 4:17 , by εἶτα , afterwards . θλίψεως , affliction ) generally. διωγμοῦ , persecution ) specifically. [614] διὰ τὸν λόγον , because of the word ) when it is propagated by the mouth and expressed by the life. εὐθὺς , immediately ) That which is quickly produced, perishes quickly. [615]

[613] E. V. “dureth for a while.” (I. B.)

[614] Persecution can be brought to bear against one either by an unkind side look, or by a jesting speech added in the way of mockery. V. g.

[615] Σκανδαλίζεται ) He is offended , and therefore relapses into unbelief. V. g.

Verse 22

Matthew 13:22 . Ἠ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου , the deceitfulness of riches ) [616] Riches remove the soul from that tranquillity which is here opposed to the care of this world . [617] ἄκαρπος γίνεται , becometh unfruitful ) sc. the word in man becometh so (see Mar 4:19 ); i.e. , the word in him who hears it does not arrive at good and perfect fruit fit for use: the man bringeth no fruit to perfection , οὐ τελεσφορεὶ , Luke 8:14 . Thomas Magister [618] says, εὔκαρπα δένδρα , ὧνκαρπός ἐστι χρήσιμος ἀνθρώποις εὶς τροφήν · ἄκαρπα , τὸ ἐναντίον , ὧν τοῖς καρποῖς οὐ χρῶνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι · ἄκαρπον δὲ , τὸ μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν , παρʼ οὐδενὶ τῶν παλαιῶν εὕρηται : i.e. , “Trees which are styled εὔκαρπα , are those, the fruit ( ΚΑΡΠΌς ) of which is serviceable for food to men: ἌΚΑΡΠΑ , on the other hand, are those, the fruit of which men do not use for food: but ἌΚΑΡΠΟΝ , in the sense of having no fruit, is not found in any of the ancients.”

[616] Which is manifold in its varieties of form, and which, though it deceives men in an awful manner, yet scarcely ever seems to them worth while being taken into consideration at all. V. g.

[617] Συμπνίγει , choke ) Many engage in the discussion (treating) of the Word of GOD in such a way as if the heart were not a field in which the seed is to remain and grow, but a granary which can contain at one time less stores, at another time more at one time something, at another time nothing. V. g.

[618] THOMAS MAGISTER, surnamed THEODULUS ( ΘΕΟΔΟΥΛΟΣ , The Servant of GOD), was a Monk and a Grammarian, who flourished at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Saxius describes him as “ vocum Atticarum magister.” (I. B.)

Verse 23

Matthew 13:23 . Ὃς , who ) sc. the hearer; cf. Mark 4:20 : otherwise ὃς might also be referred to τὸν λόγον , the word. καρποφορεῖ , beareth fruit ) sc. perfect fruit. ὅ μὲνδὲδὲ , some some some ) The pronoun ὃ is clearly here in the accusative neuter; for the subject [619] ὃς , which occurs here in the singular number, cannot possibly be divided into three classes of good hearers of the word by Ὁ ΜῈΝΔῈΔῈ ( one another a third ), which is the common reading. [620] Moreover the protasis has ὃ in Matthew 13:8 , and the parallel passage in Mark 4:8 ; Mark 4:20 , has ἛΝ also twice over. [621] A single hearer’s plentiful, moderate, and less plentiful progress from three several grains, so to speak, is signified by a hundred, sixty , and thirty . [622] As there are three degrees of hearing without fruit, so there are also three degrees of fruitfulness; which is not, however, restricted precisely to the proportions an hundred, sixty, and thirty fold: for another grain might also produce forty, fifty, seventy, eighty, ninety fold, etc.: since there is a greater distance between the numbers one hundred and sixty, than there is between sixty and thirty. To him that hath shall be given.

[619] The word “ Subject ” is used here in its logical sense, viz. the Subject of the Proposition, i.e. the person or thing concerning which something else is predicated or asserted. (I. B.)

[620] Such is the reading of E. M. In his App. Crit. Bengel writes: “ ὅ ter) codd. nonulli vetusti apud Stapulensem , vel etiam alii apud Rus T. i., Harm. Evang. p. 1047; Ephrem Syrus f. σ . κ . δ . in vitâ Abrahamii; Isidorus Pelus. l. 2, ep. 144. Lat. Neogrœc . vel plures nee non Syr. ( ὁ ter) edd. Aug . 1, Byz. , etc., perinde ut versu 8, ὁ pro ὃ , et Marc . Matthew 4:8 , ἑν pro ἕν , non nulli habent codices.” (I. B.)

[621] i.e. the ἓν , which occurs three times in Mark 4:8 , is repeated as many times in Matthew 13:20 . (I. B.)

[622] When such a hearer turns the one and the same doctrine, on the opportunity of hearing it being given him even a hundred times, to his own profit and that of others. V. g.

Beng. does not seem to me to speak of a different reading , but of the common interpretation , that there are here three classes of good hearers. He plainly understands there to be the one and the same good hearer, who bears fruit from the same seed in different degrees at different times . Hence Luk 8:8 gives the one degree only, viz. the hundredfold, as the normal state of the believer’s fruitfulness. However, in opposition to Beng., the transition from ὃς to ὃ μὲν , ὃ δὲ , neut. nominative , would not be unnatural (whether taken of one and the same good hearer, or of different classes of good hearers), as the individual becomes in a manner identified with the seed in process of time, just as the nutritive elements of the soil become identified with, and taken up into, the young germ: hence σπαρείς , he who is sown (applicable to the seed , but here also to the person ), occurs in Matthew 13:19 , and ἄλλα , Matthew 13:8 , is nominative neuter, and plural, followed by ὃ μὲν , ὃ δὲ . There is no notable variety of readings in the case. ED.

Verse 24

Matthew 13:24 . Παρέθηκεν αὐτοῖς , He set before them [623] ) as food is set before a guest. [624] ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ , 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] Ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν , 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.

Verse 25

Matthew 13:25 . Τοὺς ἀνθρώπους , the men ) sc. those whose business it was to watch the field. The Lord Himself does not sleep. Αὐτοῦ , His ) it is not said their enemy. ζιζάνια , zizans [625] ) This word does not occur in the LXX. nor in the more ancient Greek writers; it is therefore evidently formed from the Hebrew ציץ , a flower . Many flowers which are noxious to the husbandman grow among the corn. ἀνὰ , κ . τ . λ ., throughout , etc.) everywhere among the wheat. ἈΠῆΛΘΕΝ , departed [626] ) on which account the zizans [627] remained for some time unnoticed.

[625] E. V. “ Tares .” “Apparently the darnel or bastard wheat (lolium album), so often seen in our fields and by our hedgerows; if so, what follows will be explained, that the ‘ tares ’ appeared when the wheat came into ear, having been previously not noticeable. It appears to be an Eastern word, expressed in the Talmud by זו ̇ נִים . Our Lord was speaking of an act of malice practised in the East; persons of revengeful disposition watch the ground of a neighbour being ploughed, and in the night following sow destructive weeds.” (Roberts’ Oriental Illustrations, p. 541, cited by Trench on the Parables, p. 68.) (The practice is not unknown even in England at present. Since the publication of the first edition of this Commentary, a field at Gaddesby, in Leicestershire, was maliciously sown with charlock [sinapis arvensis] over the wheat. An action at law was brought, and heavy damages obtained against the offender.) “Jerome in loc. says: ‘Inter triticum et zizania quod nos appellamus lolium, quamdiu herba est, et nondum culmus venit ad spicam, grandis similitudo est, et in discernendo nulla aut perdifficilis distantia.’ Jerome, it must be remembered, resided in Palestine.“ ALFORD in loc. Wordsworth says, that it was a degenerate wheat, and which may also be reclaimed into wheat. See also footnote 5. (I. B.)

[626] He went his way , in order that he might not be observed. V. g.

[627] DR KITTO, in his Illustrated Commentary, says, “The Darnel, called Zuwan by the Arabs and Turks, and Zizanion by the Spaniards, is described by Dr Russell and Forskal as well known to the people of Aleppo, as often growing abundantly in their corn-fields. If its seeds remain mixed with the meal, it is found to occasion dizziness and other injurious effects upon those who eat of the bread: the reapers in that neighbourhood, however, do not separate the plant, but, after the threshing, reject the seeds by means of a van or sieve. We are also informed that, in other parts of Syria, the plant is drawn up by hand, in time of harvest, along with the wheat, and is then gathered out, and bound up in separate bundles.” (I. B.)

Verse 26

Matthew 13:26 . Τότε , then ) Where the good grows, there the evil becomes at length more apparent.

Verse 27

Matthew 13:27 . Κύριε , Lord ) The name of the Son of Man; see Matthew 13:37 . πόθεν , κ . τ . λ ., whence? etc.) The servants did not know who had done it, or when. ζιζάνια , zizans ) Zizans have a greater resemblance to wheat than thistles and thorns have; the toleration therefore of the former, does not involve as a consequence that of the latter. They often not only pass themselves off for wheat, but also attempt to root out the wheat as if it were zizans .

Verse 29

Matthew 13:29 . Οὔ , no ) The zeal of the godly against the zizans is not blamed, but yet it is reduced to order. ἅμα ) at the same time . τὸν σῖτον , the wheat ) which you might mistake for zizans .

Verse 30

Matthew 13:30 . Συναυξάνεσθαι , grow together ) Growth in good and evil takes place simultaneously, sometimes in the case of individuals, and generally in that of men taken collectively; and the further that ages proceed, the more conspicuous do they both become. ἐν τῷ καιρῷ , κ . τ . λ ., in the time ) Then it will at length be the right time to do so. πρῶτον , first ) that the godly may behold the punishment of the ungodly; the ungodly not see the glory of the godly. Thus in ch. 25, though the Judge addresses the righteous first, yet afterwards in the last verse the ungodly are banished into eternal fire before [the godly are admitted into heaven]. δέσμας , bundles ) As from σταθμός ; ( a standing place, station, etc .) comes στάθμη ( a carpenter’s rule, etc .), and from λῦμα ( physical or moral filth, etc .) comes λύμη ( outrage, etc .), so from δεσμὸς (a band or bond ) are derived δέσμα (a bond ), and δέσμη (a bundle ); see Eustathius. They will have no choice: those of like kind will be joined together. κατακαῦσαι , to burn utterly ) They will be burned, and that utterly. δὲ , but ) Then the separation will have been effected. συναγάγετε , collect ) and bring.

Verse 31

Matthew 13:31 . Ἄνθρωπος , a man ) The similitude is here taken from a man, as in Matthew 13:33 , from a woman; cf. Luke 15:4 ; Luke 15:8 .

Verse 32

Matthew 13:32 . Ὃ , which ) sc. seed : for κόκκος ( grain ) is masculine. μικρότερον , the least) i.e. not absolutely, but in the proportion which the seed bears to the plant. It was a well-known kind of seed, used proverbially; see ch. Matthew 17:20 . σπερμάτων , of seeds ) The world contains various seeds of wisdom, power, and virtue; the Christian faith has surpassed them all, having been propagated through the whole world. The kingdom of heaven is like a grain; and so is the whole of Christianity, faith, etc. These things may be variously expressed. The faith here intended is that of all those believers, who embrace it before others: the others are those who believe afterwards nations, kings, etc. μεῖζον λαχάνων δένδρον , greater herbs tree ) two classes of vegetables. Tremellius, [628] on this passage in the Syriac Version, adduces examples of such immense trees. It became a tree, one may say, in the time of Constantine. [629] τὰ πετεινὰ , the birds ) see Ezekiel 17:23 . κλάδοις , branches ) sc. widely spreading.

[628] EMMANUEL TREMELLIUS was born in the sixteenth century at Ferrara, of Jewish parents. He rendered himself master of the Hebrew language, and secretly embraced Protestantism. He became Professor of Hebrew at Heidelberg, from whence he went to Metz, and thence to Sedan. He made himself known by his Latin Version of the Syriac New Testament . He died in 1580. (I. B.)

[629] The kingdom of Christ is being extended now throughout the whole world. V. g.

Verse 33

Matthew 13:33 . Ἐνέκρυψεν , concealed ) The LXX. in Ezekiel 4:12 , render the Hebrew עוג [630] ( to bake ) by ἐγκρύπτω ( to conceal [631] ), whence is derived ἐγκρυφίας , a cake. ΣΆΤΑ [632] τρία , three measures ) As much as was generally carried by a man, or taken for baking, at once; see Genesis 18:6 . ἐζυμώθη , was leavened ) I would rather refer this to the propagation, than the corruption of the Church. The leaven is the kingdom of heaven itself, including both the gospel and the apostles. [633] ὅλον , the whole ) sc. flour. [634] A strong expression. This appears to refer to the whole human race, which consists of three measures, having spread over the earth from the three sons of Noah. [635]

[630] “ עוג , (1.) prop, to go in a circle.… Hence עֻגָה and מָעו ̇ ג a round cake.…

[631] i.e. , in the passage from Ezekiel, to cover with , sc. hot embers; E. V., bake . (I. B.)

[632] ἐγκρυφίας , ου , ὁ , ἄρτος εγκ , a loaf baked in the ashes , Hipp. Luc. Dial. Mort. 20, 4, etc. LIDDELL and SCOTT. (I. B.)

[633] “Cujus rationes et evangelium et apostolos complectuntur.” (I. B.)

[634] A little leaven, as in evil, Galatians 5:9 , so in good, leavens the whole mass. V. g.

[635] This conjecture will not be thought ridiculous by him who remembers that there may be not merely one reason for a particular circumstance or expression (as the reason already given in the note above on σάτα τρία , which see), but several reasons. E. B.

No necessity, in fact, compels us to take the leaven in a bad sense: hence, as the word does not necessarily imply censure, bad leaven is termed the old leaven in 1 Corinthians 5:7 . V. g

(2.) denom. from עגְה to bake bread or cake, Ezra 4:12 .”

עֻגָה and עֻגָה (1 Kings 19:6 ; Eze 4:12 ), fem, a cake baked under hot cinders,” etc., GESENIUS. (I. B.)

Verse 35

Matthew 13:35 . Τὸ ῥηθὲν , which was spoken ) viz. Psa 78:2 ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου , φθέγξομαι προβλήματα ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς , I will open my month in parables, I will utter [things which have been] problems from the beginning . προφήτου , prophet ) who was the author of that psalm. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets; therefore the prophets could, after their manner, predicate of themselves those things which were afterwards most richly fulfilled in Christ. ἀνοίξω , I will open ) which before had not been done. ἀνοίξω , I will utter ) in Hebrew אביעה , I will pour out, which the LXX. elsewhere render ἐρεύγομαι in Psalms 19:3 , and ἐξερεύγομαι in Psalms 119:171 ; Psalms 145:7 . Hesychius renders ἐρεύγεται by ἀναβάλλει , throws up, i.e. as a spring does water. He also renders ἐρεύγετο by ἐβρύχετο , roared, ἔβρυεν , was overflowing with; but βρύχειν is said of the noise of the floods, and the roaring of the lion. Therefore the verb ἐρεύγομαι denotes a gushing spring, which resounds by reason of the abundance and impetuosity of its waters; whence the LXX. put ἐρεύγεσθαι also for שאג , to roar. καταβολῆς , foundation) It does not mean only the foundations, but also the building; see 2Ma 2:29 .

Verse 36

Matthew 13:36 . Φράσον , explain ) The disciples, being teachable, ask for further instruction.

Verse 38

Matthew 13:38 . Οὗτοι , these ) Of whom most account is taken; or especially the disciples then present. τοῦ πονηροῦ , of the wicked one ) The word is in the masculine gender.

Verse 39

Matthew 13:39 . Συντέλεια ἄγγελοι , consummation angels ) They form the predicate here, the subject elsewhere. συντέλεια in Matthew 13:49 , is the meeting or combination of the ends ( τῶν τελῶν ); see 1 Corinthians 10:11 .

Verse 41

Matthew 13:41 . Αὐτοῦ , His Αὐτοῦ , His ) Such is the majesty of the Son of Man. His are the angels (see the end of Mat 13:39 ); His is the kingdom of heaven ; His is the world ; cf. Matthew 13:24 , with Matthew 13:38 . βασιλείας , the kingdom ) which is the kingdom of grace. σκάνδαλα , stumbling-blocks) obstacles , which had hindered the good seed even in the case of others. The punishment of these is peculiarly great. [636]

[636] Τήν ἀνομίαν , iniquity ) for their part to the utmost of their ability, and as far as in them lies. V. g.

Verse 42

Matthew 13:42 . Καὶ βαλοῦσιν , and they shall cast ) This is repeated in the same words in Matthew 13:50 .

Verse 43

Matthew 13:43 . Τότε , then ) After the ungodly have been removed. ἐκλάμψουσιν , they shall shine forth ) They shall not burn as the ungodly, but they shall shine forth, singly, and much more, collectively. [637] The same word is employed by the LXX. in Daniel 12:3 . τοῦ Πατρὸς αὐτῶν , of their Father ) who is righteous and glorious. How great is the difference of the righteous from the children of the wicked one! see Matthew 13:38 . ὁ ἔχων ὦτα , κ . τ . λ ., he that hath ears , etc.) A formula suited, not only to the people, but also to the disciples.

[637] What can be sweeter, even to think of, than this? V. g.

Verse 44

Matthew 13:44 . Θησαυρῷ , treasure, store ) Not of corn, [638] but of gold, gems, etc. κεκρυμμένῳ ἔκρυψε , hidden he hid ) It had escaped the notice of him who found it; then, when he found it, he concealed it from others. He hid it in the same field in which he found it. Such are the earnestness and prudence of the saints; see Proverbs 7:1 . They find the things which are hidden; they hide them when found. The finding the treasure does not presuppose the seeking for it, as in the case of the pearls, which are found by diligent search. χαρᾶς , for joy ) Spiritual joy is an incentive to deny the world. αὐτοῦ , of it) i.e. the treasure; or else it is an adverb. [639] ὑπάγει , departeth ) In the present tense, as πωλεῖ , he sells ἀγοράζει , he buys . In Matthew 13:46 , the preterite is put. The state follows the act . [640]

[638] Cf. Jeremiah 41:8 . B. G. V.

[639] Meaning “THERE.” In which case, instead of “ for joy THEREOF,” the passage would be rendered “ for the joy which he has found or stored up THERE, sc. in the field.” (I. B.)

[640] Τὁν ἀγρὸν ἐκεῖνον , that field ) with the treasure. If thou art influenced by the desire of true gain, follow this parable. V. g.

Verse 45

Matthew 13:45 . Οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ , of the heavens to a man ) Comparisons of heavenly from human things. See Matthew 13:52 ; ch. Matthew 18:23 , Matthew 20:1 , Matthew 22:2 . ἐμπόρῳ , a merchant ) The word ἔμπορος denotes one who travels and voyages for the sake of merchandise. μαργαρίτας , pearls ) The plural passes to the singular in the following verse.

Verse 46

Matthew 13:46 . Ἕνα , one ) An incomparable one; that is, the kingdom of heaven itself. [641]

[641] Πέπρακε , sold ) This is indeed to renounce all things whatsoever thou mayest possess. V. g.

Verse 47

Matthew 13:47 . Ἐκ παντὸς γένους , of every hind ) See John 21:11 , and Gnomon thereon.

Verse 48

Matthew 13:48 . Ἐπληρώθη , was filled ) The number of the wicked and the righteous will be completed in the last days. καὶ καθίσαντες , and having sat down ) Deliberately, with the purpose of performing their task. καλὰ σαπρὰ , good putrid ) Individuals out of every kind of fishes. [642] ἔξω , without ) sc. the net.

[642] How is it that the bad man does not loathe himself? V. g.

Verse 49

Matthew 13:49 . Πονηροὺς , the wicked ) and unrighteous. ἐκ μέδου , from the midst ) The wicked, although they are more in number, are not accounted of any value; [643] cf. Matthew 13:30 . ΤῶΝ ΔΙΚΑΊΩΝ , of the righteous ) and good. [644]

[643] Cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 3:12 . in voc. ἄχυρον . (I. B.)

[644] Matthew 13:50 . Εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρὸς , into the furnace of fire ) O what wretched beings are they who are tormented in that fire! V. g.

Verse 51

Matthew 13:51 . Πάντα , all things ) Our Lord was ready to explain the other parables also to His disciples; but they understood them, if not perfectly, yet truly.

Verse 52

Matthew 13:52 . Πᾶς γραμματεὺς , every scribe ) Jesus Himself is neither γραμματεὺς , a scribe , nor μαθητευθεὶς , discipled , i.e. instructed as or made a disciple ( initiatus ). He speaks therefore in the present instance of His disciples; and that which had previously been said to the disciples in plain words ( Mat 13:12 ), is now (that they have made such advance in learning as to be styled even scribes ) confirmed to them by a parable. A scribe is a man imbued with the doctrine, or even the letter, of the Old Testament; by παλαιά ( old ), therefore, are meant things known from Moses and the prophets. This is the genus: the species [645] is supplied by the clause μαθητευθείς , κ . τ . λ . i.e. a man instructed also in the doctrine of the New Testament: such is the force of καινὰ , new things then first revealed; see Matthew 13:35 . New things are here mentioned before old , as the latter receive light and savour from the former, and are at length tempered together most harmoniously. See 1 John 2:7-8 . μαθητευθεὶς , instructed ) as βασιλεύω signifies both to make a king, and to act the king, so also μαθητεύω , to make disciples (expressed in Joh 4:1 by μαθητὰς ποιεῖν ), and act or be a disciple ; see ch. Matthew 27:57 . The former meaning obtains in this passage. τῂ βασιλείᾳ , in the kingdom ) Others [646] read εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν , unto the kingdom . In either reading, by metonymy or prosopopœia, Christ Himself is intimated, as in ch. Matthew 11:12 . If you accept the latter reading, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3 ; if the former, [647] ch. Matthew 27:57 . ἀνθρώπῳ , unto a man ) Almost all the parables are taken from human affairs, for the sake of perspicuity. ἐκβάλλει , bringeth forth ) plentifully. θησαυροῦ , treasure) store , sc. of corn. καινὰ καὶ παλαιά , new and old ) a proverbial mode of speaking of a great plenty from the last and the present year; see Song of Solomon 7:13 . The new things, as from the treasures of the kingdom of heaven; the old things, as a scribe from the scriptures of the Old Testament; cf. Matthew 13:35 . [648]

[645] The words genus and species are here used in their logical sense. Bengel means to say that the character indicated is not only that of a “ scribe ,” generically (or universally), but of one who is “ instructed to the kingdom of heaven .” (I. B.)

[646] Such is the reading of E. M. In his App. Crit. Bengel writes: “ εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν ) edd. Bas . α . β . Stap . etc. Ex μαθητευθεὶς , εἰς facile iteratum. ( τῆ βασιλεία ) Bas . γ . Cypr. Par . 6, 8; Vsser , 2; Origenes constanter, sæpe; Cyrillus, Procopius . Placet Heinsio. Lectio media, unde ἐν τῆ βασιλεία , Med. Chrysost. Cyrillus alibi, Lat. Irenaeus , latine certe, Cant . (I. B.)

[647] The margin of both Editions, as well as the Germ. Vers., prefer the Dative. E. B.

[648] The new things already have the palm of superiority. V. g.

Tischend. with BC Syr. Orig. 3, 459 f , reads τῇ βασιλείᾳ . Lachm. with D bc Vulg. Iren. 237, Hil., reads ἐν τῂ βασιλείᾳ . Lachm. claims C for ἐν τῆ βας . in opposition to Tischend. Rec. Text, εἰς τ . βασιλείαν , is not supported by primary authorities. The shorter reading, τῇ βασιλείᾳ , is cœteris paribus preferable to the longer, as the shorter would be more likely to originate the other two, the longer ones, εἰς τ . βας . and ἐν τ . βας . (which look like glosses of the shorter), than either of them to originate it; ch. Mat 27:57 supports it. Besides, it is not simply members of the kingdom who are here spoken of, but those who, being already in it themselves, are qualified henceforth to be teachers for it. I prefer, with Olshausen and Storr, explaining it, “made a disciple for the kingdom,” i.e. , for its benefit; one who, being instructed himself , is capable of labouring for the kingdom. But Beng. takes τῇ βασιλείᾳ as a Prosopopœia the Kingdom meaning Jesus Christ , who is the embodiment of the Kingdom “made a disciple to the Kingdom,” i.e. to Jesus Christ. ED.

Verse 53

Matthew 13:53 . Ἐτέλεσεν , finished ) These parables form a regular and perfect whole, which He is therefore said to have finished ; see ch. Matthew 11:1 . [649] Thus, in Luke 7:1 , we have ἐπλήρωσε , He completed . These parables contain, however, besides the general condition of the Church of the New Testament, a more special account of future events. Cf. Gnomon on Matthew 13:3 , and on John 16:13 . μετῆρεν , He departed , Lat. migravit ) [650] He ended for the time His sojourn at Capernaum. [651] Thenceforward Jesus did not remain so long in one place, being harassed by Herod.

[649] sc. ἐτέλεσεν διατάσσων τοῖς δώδεκα . ED.

[650] The word implies change of abode as well as departure. (I. B.)

[651] In the same manner, the same word, μετῆρεν , is used in ch. Mat 19:1 of the last journey of the Saviour from Galilee to Judea, which He took before the Passion. Comp. Jeremiah 39:9 . Therefore that verb is opposed to the dwelling which, for a considerably long time, Jesus had had at Capernaum, ch. Matthew 4:13 . Not long after, the Saviour returned thither afresh; but after having made a survey [lustratione, a purifying examination : see Joh 6:66-71 ] of His disciples, He presently departed again, John 6:22-71 [see Mat 13:24 ]. The same thing happened after the interval of nearly a year, Matthew 17:24 : and this was the last of all His visits there. His address to the city of Capernaum, Luke 10:15 , was delivered at a distance from it, when He had already finished no inconsiderable part of the journey which led to the Passion: comp. Luke 9:51 . He subsequently addressed Jerusalem in the same manner from a distance, Luke 13:34 . Harm. , p. 324.

Verse 54

Matthew 13:54 . [652] Σοφία , wisdom δυνάμεις , mighty works) supernatural powers : See 1 Corinthians 1:24 . We ought to be carried forward, by admiration of the teaching and works of our Lord, to a believing (fidelem) recognition of His person; otherwise admiration ends in stupor.

[652] Εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ) In the same way as He had gone forth into public, in a manner which was clearly “His custom,” at Nazareth, Luke 4:16 : so, having left Capernaum, He returned afresh to Nazareth. It was then that the people of Nazareth said those things which He had foretold in Luk 4:23 they would say. [See Gnomon there: where Beng. explains, “Ye will say,” etc., thus: This feeling, owing to which ye say ( Mat 13:22 ), Is not this Joseph’s Son? will wax stronger, when ye shall hear of my future miracles, which, owing to your unbelief, shall be less numerous among you than others: You will then say , Physician, heal thyself. ED.] Harm. , l. cit.

Verse 55

Matthew 13:55 . Τοῦ τέκτονοςμήτηρ , of the carpenter His mother ) Hence it may be inferred that Joseph had long been dead, and that Mary had lived in obscurity. Μαριὰμ Ἰάκωβος , Mary James ) They speak of them thus as if they had nothing but a name, by which name they were well known.

Verse 56

Matthew 13:56 . Ἀδελφαὶ , sisters ) These they do not condescend even to name.

Verse 57

Matthew 13:57 . Ἐσκανδαλίζοντο , they were offended ) as it happens with those who observe one thing, but neglect to observe another, which ought rather to have been observed. προφήτης , κ . τ . λ ., a prophet , etc.) In a prophet there are two parts: the one which he possesses in common with others, ordinary, natural, domestic; the other, which is peculiar to his calling, heavenly, spiritual, public. Those who know the former do not observe the latter. Familiarity breeds contempt. Such is the case in our own country, much more so in our home. ἄτιμος , contemned ) The contempt which a prophet meets with elsewhere, is not contempt if it be compared with that which he meets with in his own country; elsewhere he certainly receives some honour.

Verse 58

Matthew 13:58 . Ἀπιστίαν , unbelief ) The reason why many miracles are not performed at present, is not so much planted Christianity, as reigning infidelity. [653]

[653] In the original, “non tam est fides plantata quam infidelitas regnans; i.e. it is not so much that Christianity, having been already planted, does not require the aid of miracles, as that the wide prevalence of unbelief prevents their being performed. (I. B.)

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/matthew-13.html. 1897.