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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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Matthew 13:25-27 ; Matthew 13:29-30 ; Matthew 13:36 ; Matthew 13:38 ; Matthew 13:40 . It is not easy to determine what plant or weed is here intended, as the word zizania is neither mentioned in any other part of Scripture, nor in any ancient Greek writer. Some Greek and Latin fathers have made use of it, as have also Suidas and Phavorinus: but it is probable that they have all derived it from this text. As this Gospel was first written in Syriac, it is probably a word belonging to that language. Buxtorf gives several interpretations, but at last concludes with submitting it to the decision of others. In a treatise in the Mishus, called "Kilayim," which treats expressly of different kinds of seeds, a bastard or degenerate wheat is mentioned by the name of זונים , which the very sound, in pronouncing, proves to be the same as the zizanion; and which may lead to the true derivation of the word, that is, from the Chaldee זן , "a kind," or "species" of grain, namely, whence the corrupt Hebrew or Syriac זניא , which in the ancient Syriac version answers to the Greek ζιζανια , Matthew 13:25 , &c. In Psalms 144:13 , the words מזן אלאּ?זן , are translated, "all manner of store;" but they properly signify "from species to species." Might not the Chaldee word זונין , and the Greek word ζιζανιον , come from the psalmist's זנאּ?זן , which might have signified a "mixture" of grain of any kind, and be here used to point out the mixing bastard or degenerate wheat among the good seed-wheat? Mintert says, that "it is a kind of plant, not unlike corn or wheat, having at first the same sort of stalk, and the same viridity, but bringing forth no fruit, at least none good:" and he adds, from John Melchior, "ζιζανιον does not signify every weed in general which grows among corn, but a particular seed, known in Canaan, which was not unlike wheat, but, being put into the ground, degenerated, and assumed another nature and form." Parkhurst, and Dr. Campbell, render it "the darnel," "lolium temulentum." The same plant is called "zizana" by the Spaniards; as it appears to be zuvan, by the Turks and Arabs. "It is well known to the people at Aleppo," says M. Forskal; "it grows among corn. If the seeds remain mixed with the meal, they occasion dizziness to those who eat of the bread. The reapers do not separate the plant; but after the threshing, they reject the seeds by means of a van or sieve." Other travellers mention, that in some parts of Syria, the plant is drawn up by the hand in the time of harvest, along with the wheat, and is then gathered out, and bound up in separate bundles. In the parable of the tares, our Lord states the very same circumstances. They grew among the grain; they were not separated by the tillers, but suffered to grow up together till the harvest; they were then gathered from among the wheat with the hand, and bound up in bundles.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Tare'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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