Matthew 13:18
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
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(18) Hear ye therefore.—The “ye” is emphatic. The interpretation which is withheld from others is given to you.

Matthew 13:18-19. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower — A parable which our Lord judged to be so important that he introduced it with a double demand of attention, Hearken, behold; Mark 4:3; and concluded it with a third, and still more solemn demand thereof, who hath ears to hear, let him hear; and here, proceeding to the explanation of it, he calls for attention the fourth time. And the reason of this is evident: the parable sets before us, in a summary point of view, all the grand hinderances of our bearing fruit, and that in the same order in which they occur. The first danger is, lest the birds should devour the seed, or it should be trodden down. If it escape this, there is then another danger, namely, lest it be scorched, and wither away. It is long after this that the thorns spring up and choke the good seed. A vast number of those who hear the word of God, receive the seed as by the way-side. Of those who do not lose it by the birds, yet many receive it as on stony places. Many of them who receive it on a better soil, yet suffer the thorns to grow up and choke it: so that few even of these endure to the end, and bear fruit unto perfection: yet in all these cases, it is not the will of God that hinders, but their own voluntary perverseness. When any one heareth, &c. — The parable, it must be observed, only concerns the hearers of the gospel. As to those who decline, or neglect to hear it, their portion is frequently given them elsewhere, and their danger and misery declared with sufficient clearness; the word of the kingdom — Namely, of the kingdom of Christ, generally termed in the gospels, the kingdom of God, or of heaven: the word which describes the nature, and shows the excellency and necessity of the kingdom of grace, preparatory to that of glory, and points out the way leading thereto. See notes on Romans 14:17; and Mark 1:15. This is the good seed, which every sower sent by Jesus Christ will be careful to sow. Not the chaff of metaphysical speculations, of human traditions, and empty notions, nor the light corn of mere moral doctrines, much less the tares of superstitious injunctions, or of enthusiastical, or Pharisaic, or antinomian delusions; but the solid and well-bodied grain of the essential truths of the gospel of Christ. And understandeth it not — For the truths that are not understood, how often soever they are heard, are in this parable fitly compared to the seed which lies uncovered on the surface of the ground, exposed to be instantly picked up by the fowls of heaven. But why is not the word of the kingdom understood? Either, 1st, because, while delivered, it is not attended to; or, 2d, because it is not heard in a spirit of prayer for divine illumination, without which divine things are not understood, Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14. But the Greek expression, μη συνιεντος, may with equal propriety be rendered considereth it not. Considering or meditating upon the word heard, is like harrowing in and covering up the seed sown on the ploughed ground; in consequence whereof, and not otherwise, imbibing moisture from the earth, it vegetates and springs up. When the word is not thus understood and considered, then cometh the wicked one; Satan cometh immediately; (so Mark;) either inwardly filling the mind with thoughts of other things, and exciting earthly and carnal desires and dispositions in the heart; or by his agents, such as all they are that introduce other subjects when people should be considering what they have heard. And catcheth away that which was sown in his heart — Which was intended deeply to impress and sink into it; and to remain, not only in the understanding and memory, but also in the affections, as a seed of true piety and virtue. And now the seed, the truths heard, being taken away, with the good impressions produced thereby, no fruit is to be looked for. It is justly observed here by Dr. Whitby, that this industry of Satan to snatch the word out of our hearts, as it discovers his enmity against the gospel, so doth it highly commend the excellency and efficacy of it: for were it not of great importance to preserve it there, he would not be so industrious to snatch it thence. And were it not, when there, a powerful instrument to work within us that faith which purifies the heart, why doth he do this lest we should believe? See Luke 8:12. This is he that receiveth seed by the way-side — And a great proportion of most congregations are of this description.

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.See also Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15. "Hear ye, therefore, the parable of the sower." That is, hear the "explanation" or the "spiritual meaning" of the narrative given before. Mark adds Mark 4:13, "Know ye not this parable? And how, then, shall ye know all parables?" By which it seems that the Saviour regarded this as one of the simplest and plainest of the parables, and gave an explanation of it that they might understand the general principles of interpreting others.17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired—rather, "coveted."

to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them—Not only were the disciples blessed above the blinded just spoken of, but favored above the most honored and the best that lived under the old economy, who had but glimpses of the things of the new kingdom, just sufficient to kindle in them desires not to be fulfilled to any in their day. In Lu 10:23, 24, where the same saying is repeated on the return of the Seventy—the words, instead of "many prophets and righteous men," are "many prophets and kings"; for several of the Old Testament saints were kings.

Second and Seventh Parables or First Pair:

The Wheat and the Tares, and The Good and Bad Fish (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50).

The subject of both these parables—which teach the same truth, with a slight diversity of aspect—is:

The MIXED CHARACTER OF THE Kingdom in Its Present State, and the FINAL ABSOLUTE SEPARATION OF THE Two Classes.

The Tares and the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43).

Mark addeth a little check he gave them, Mark 4:13, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? Luke saith, The parable is this, that is, My meaning in and by the parable was this. You, seeing that you cannot satisfy yourselves, as the most that heard me, hearing a sound of words without understanding what they meant, and seeing that to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, and seeing that you see, God hath opened your eyes and ears to spiritual mysteries.

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower: my true sense and meaning in this parable, my scope in it, was to show you the different effects which the word of God preached hath upon men’s hearts, and the reasons of that difference.

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. That is, the interpretation of the parable; for they had heard the parable before, and had desired an explanation of it; which, though not mentioned by Matthew, is, by the other evangelists, Mark 4:10, Luke 8:9 and since it was given to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, therefore Christ calls upon them to attend unto, and hear, so as to understand the spiritual meaning of this parable. Mark relates, that he moreover said to his disciples at this time, "know ye not this parable?" Do ye not understand the meaning of it, so easy to be taken in? them as it were reproving for their dulness of hearing, notwithstanding the grace given them, and the advantages they enjoyed: "how then will ye know all parables?" all that he had delivered, or was about to deliver at this time, or should hereafter; which were of more difficult interpretation, and not so easy to be understood as this. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Matthew 13:18 f. Ὑμεῖς] emphatic, as in Matthew 13:16.

οὖν] for it is with you precisely as has been said in Matthew 13:16.

ἀκούσατε] not: understand (de Wette), but: hear, attend to the parable, that is, with a view to see the meaning that it is intended to convey.

παντὸς, κ.τ.λ.] an anacoluthon. The evangelist had perhaps intended to write: παντὸς ἀκούοντος

συνιέντος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἁρπάζει ὁ πονηρὸς τὸ ἐσπαρμένον, from the heart of every one that hears without understanding, the wicked one, and so on; but, from the circumstance of the ἔρχεται coming in the way, he was led to break off the construction with which he had set out. Bornemann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 107.

τ. λόγον τ. βας.] the preaching of the Messianic kingdom, Matthew 4:23, Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:3; Acts 28:31.

συνιέντος] understands, not: attends to it, which is grammatically and contextually (ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ) wrong (in answer to Beza, Grotius). Mark and Luke say nothing whatever here about the not understanding; it does not appear to have been found in the collection of our Lord’s sayings (λογία), but to have been added to the original narrative by way of explanation (Ewald), its adoption being now rendered further necessary owing to the turn given to the sentence by παντός, which latter would otherwise be out of place. The explanation given in this addition happens, however, to be correct; for the word that is not understood, that is, not appropriated through the understanding, lies on the surface of the heart without being incorporated with the inner life, and therefore, in presence of the devil’s temptations, is the more liable to be forgotten again, and cast away, so that faith fails to take possession of the heart (Romans 10:10).

οὗτός ἐστιν, κ.τ.λ.] a cutting short of a similitude before it is fully worked out, that is not uncommon owing to the liveliness of the Oriental imagination. Not the man, but the truth taught, is ὁ σπαρείς. What is meant is to this effect: This is he in whose case the seed was sown upon the road. Others (Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Beza, Erasmus Schmid, Maldonatus, Grotius, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Kuinoel) interpret: This is he who was sown upon the road. Paulus and Vater refer οὗτος to λόγος. Neither of the explanations harmonizes with Matthew 13:20; Matthew 13:22-23. That the loss of the seed is tantamount to the loss of one’s own life, though not stated in so many words (Lange), is implied in the nature of the case.

Matthew 13:18-23. Interpretation of the Sower (Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15).

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

Verses 18-23. - The explanation of the parable of the sower. Parallel passages: Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15. Observe that after the preceding verses St. Matthew's readers would the more easily catch the lesson of the parable. Verse 18. - Matthew only. Hear ye therefore; Revised Version, hear ye then, which leaves more room for the rightful emphasis on ye (ὑμεῖς) than the Authorized Version, but hardly gives the full force of οϋν (therefore), i.e. in accordance with the privileges that have been given you. The parable of the sower. Matthew 13:18
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