|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.
Verse 2. - And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship. The article wrongly inserted in the Received Text (τὸ πλοῖον) suggests that it was the boat which, as some think, waited upon him. (For another occasion when he taught from a boat, cf. Luke 5:3.) And sat; and the whole multitude stood; was standing. The position of ἱστήκει at the end of the sentence in the Greek emphasizes their attitude. Their numbers compelled it, and they disregarded the fatigue. Further, the tense (pluperf., equivalent to imperf.) pictures them as patiently standing there. On the shore; beach (Revised Version); ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλόν: i.e. this part at least of the shore was covered with sand or pebbles. Possibly we have signs of an eyewitness, both in the exact description of the spot, and in the vividness of the ἱστήκει (comp. John 1:35, al.; and Bishop Westcott's remarks in Expositor, III. 5:248; cf., too, Introduction, p. 12.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And great multitudes were gathered unto him,.... Some on one account, and some on another; some to see his person, others his miracles; some healing for their bodies, and others for their souls; some for the loaves, and others to hear him preach; and of these there were several sorts, as the following parable shows.
So that he went into a ship: both for his own advantage, that he might not be crowded, and pressed by the people, and have more room, and a freer air to speak in, and for theirs, that they might both see and hear him better.
And sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore; as was the then custom of the Jewish doctors and hearers, the one to sit, and the other to stand. See Gill on Matthew 5:1. Christ sat upon the deck of the ship; or perhaps this ship was no other than an open boat, which was put to sea, some little distance from the shore; upon which the people stood in great numbers, with much convenience and attention.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship—the article in the received text lacks authority
and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore—How graphic this picture!—no doubt from the pen of an eye-witness, himself impressed with the scene. It was "the same day" on which the foregoing solemn discourse was delivered, when His kindred thought Him "beside Himself" for His indifference to food and repose—that same day retiring to the seashore of Galilee; and there seating Himself, perhaps for coolness and rest, the crowds again flock around Him, and He is fain to push off from them, in the boat usually kept in readiness for Him; yet only to begin, without waiting to rest, a new course of teaching by parables to the eager multitudes that lined the shore. To the parables of our Lord there is nothing in all language to be compared, for simplicity, grace, fulness, and variety of spiritual teaching. They are adapted to all classes and stages of advancement, being understood by each according to the measure of his spiritual capacity.
Matthew 13:2 Parallel Commentaries
Matthew 13:2 NIV
Matthew 13:2 NLT
Matthew 13:2 ESV
Matthew 13:2 NASB
Matthew 13:2 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible