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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Tares

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(ζιζάνια ; Vulg. zizania). There can be little doubt that the ζιζάνια of the parable (Matthew 13:25) denote the weed called "darnel" (Lolium temulentum), a widely distributed grass, and the only species of the order that has deleterious properties. The word used by the evangelist is an Oriental, and not a Greek, term (the native Greek word seems to be αιρα, Dioscor. 2, 91). It is the Arabic zawâ n, the Syriac zizà na, and the zoni (זוֹנַין ) of the Talmud (Mishna, 1, 109; see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. s.v.). The derivation of the Arabic word from zâ n, "nausea," is well suited to the character of the plant, the grains of which produce vomiting and purging, convulsions, and even death. Volhey (Trav. 2, 306) experienced the ill effects of eating its seeds; and "the whole of the inmates of the Sheffield work house were attacked some years ago with symptoms supposed to be produced by their oatmeal having been accidentally adulterated with lolium" (Engl. Cyclop s.v. "Lolium").

The darnel before it comes into ear is very similar in appearance to wheat; hence the command that the zizania should be left to the harvest, lest while nen plucked up the tares " they should root up also the wheat with them." Prof. Stanley, however (Sinai and Palest. p. 426), speaks of women and children picking out from the wheat in the cornfields of Samaria the tall green stalks, still' called by the Arabs zuwan. "These stalks," he continues, "if sown designedly throughout the fields, would be inseparable from the wheat, from which, even when growing naturally and by chance, they are at first sight hardly distinguishable." See also Thomson (Land and Book, 2, 111): "The grain is just in the proper stage to illustrate the parable. In those parts where the grain has headed out, the tares have done the sa


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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tares'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/t/tares.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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