Matthew 13:24
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
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(24) Another parable.—The explanation of the parable of the Sower had been given apparently in the boat in which our Lord sat with His disciples. Then, again addressing Himself to the multitude on the shore, He spake the parables of the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven; then, dismissing the multitude (Matthew 13:36), He landed with His disciples, and went into the house which was for a time their home.



Matthew 13:24 - Matthew 13:30

The first four parables contained in this chapter were spoken to a miscellaneous crowd on the beach, the last three to the disciples in the house. The difference of audience is accompanied with a diversity of subject. The former group deals with the growth of the kingdom, as it might be observed by outsiders, and especially with aspects of the growth on which the multitude needed instruction; the latter, with topics more suited to the inner circle of followers. Of these four, the first three are parables of vegetation; the last, of assimilation. The first two are still more closely connected, inasmuch as the person of the sower is prominent in both, while he is not seen in the others. The general scenery is the same in both, but with a difference. The identification of the seed sown with the persons receiving it, which was hinted at in the first, is predominant in the second. But while the former described the various results of the seed, the latter drops out of sight the three failures, and follows its fortunes in honest and good hearts, showing the growth of the kingdom in the midst of antagonistic surroundings. It may conveniently be considered in three sections: the first teaching how the work of the sower is counter-worked by his enemy; the second, the patience of the sower with the thick-springing tares; and the third, the separation at the harvest.

I. The work of the sower counter-worked by his enemy, and the mingled crops.

The peculiar turn of the first sentence, ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed,’ etc., suggests that the main purpose of the parable is to teach the conduct of the king in view of the growth of the tares. The kingdom is concentrated in Him, and the ‘likening’ is not effected by the parable, but, as the tenses of both verbs show, by the already accomplished fact of His sowing. Our Lord veils His claims by speaking of the sower in the third person; but the hearing ear cannot fail to catch the implication throughout that He Himself is the sower and the Lord of the harvest. The field is ‘his field,’ and His own interpretation tells us that it means ‘the world.’ Whatever view we take of the bearing of this parable on purity of communion in the visible Church, we should not slur over Christ’s own explanation of ‘the field,’ lest we miss the lesson that He claims the whole world as His, and contemplates the sowing of the seed broadcast over it all. The Kingdom of Heaven is to be developed on, and to spread through, the whole earth. The world belongs to Christ not only when it is filled with the kingdom, but before the sowing. The explanation of the good seed takes the same point of view as in the former parable. What is sown is ‘the word’; what springs from the seed is the new life of the receiver. Men become children of the kingdom by taking the Gospel into their hearts, and thereby receive a new principle of growth, which in truth becomes themselves.

Side by side with the sower’s beneficent work the counter-working of ‘his enemy’ goes on. As the one, by depositing holy truth in the heart, makes men ‘children of the kingdom,’ the other, by putting evil principles therein, makes men ‘children of evil.’ Honest exposition cannot eliminate the teaching of a personal antagonist of Christ, nor of his continuous agency in the corruption of mankind. It is a glimpse into a mysterious region, none the less reliable because so momentary. The sulphurous clouds that hide the fire in the crater are blown aside for an instant, and we see. Who would doubt the truth and worth of the unveiling because it was short and partial? ‘The devil is God’s ape.’ His work is a parody of Christ’s. Where the good seed is sown, there the evil is scattered thickest. False Christs and false apostles dog the true like their shadows. Every truth has its counterfeit. Neither institutions, nor principles, nor movements, nor individuals, bear unmingled crops of good. Not merely creatural imperfection, but hostile adulteration, marks them all. The purest metal oxidises, scum gathers on the most limpid water, every ship’s bottom gets foul with weeds. The history of every reformation is the same: radiant hopes darkened, progress retarded, a second generation of dwarfs who are careless or unfaithful guardians of their heritage.

There are, then, two classes of men represented in the parable, and these two are distinguishable without doubt by their conduct. Tares are said to be quite like wheat until the heads show, and then there is a plain difference. So our Lord here teaches that the children of the kingdom and those of evil are to be discriminated by their actions. We need not do more than point in a sentence to His distinct separation of men {where the seed of the kingdom has been sown} into two sets. Jesus Christ holds the unfashionable, ‘narrow’ opinion that, at bottom, a man must either be His friend or His enemy. We are too much inclined to weaken the strong line of demarcation, and to think that most men are neither black nor white, but grey.

The question has been eagerly debated whether the tares are bad men in the Church, and whether, consequently, the mingled crop is a description of the Church only. The following considerations may help to an answer. The parable was spoken, not to the disciples, but to the crowd. An instruction to them as to Church discipline would have been signally out of place; but they needed to be taught that the kingdom was to be ‘a rose amidst thorns,’ and to grow up among antagonisms which it would slowly conquer, by the methods which the next two parables set forth. This general conception, and not directions about ecclesiastical order, was suited to them. Again, the designation of the tares as ‘the children of evil’ seems much too wide, if only a particular class of evil men-namely, those who are within the Church-are meant by it. Surely the expression includes all, both in and outside the Church, who ‘do iniquity.’ Further, the representation of the children of the kingdom, as growing among tares in the field of the world, does not seem to contemplate them as constituting a distinct society, whether pure or impure; but rather as an indefinite number of individuals, intermingled in a common soil with the other class. ‘The kingdom of heaven’ is not a synonym for the Church. Is it not an anachronism to find the Church in the parable at all? No doubt, tares are in the Church, and the parable has a bearing on it; but its primary lesson seems to me to be much wider, and to reveal rather the conditions of the growth of the kingdom in human society.

II. We have the patience of the husbandman with the quick-springing tares.

The servants of the householder receive no interpretation from our Lord. Their question is silently passed by in His explanation. Clearly then, for some reason, He did not think it necessary to say any more about them; and the most probable reason is, that they and their words have no corresponding facts, and are only introduced to lead up to the Master’s explanation of the mystery of the growth of the tares, and to His patience with it. The servants cannot be supposed to represent officials in the Church, without hopelessly destroying the consistency of the parable; for surely all the children of the kingdom, whatever their office, are represented in the crop. Many guesses have been made,-apostles, angels, and so on. It is better to say ‘The Lord hath not showed it me.’

The servant’s first question expresses, in vivid form, the sad, strange fact that, where good was sown, evil springs. The deepest of all mysteries is the origin of evil. Explain sin, and you explain everything. The question of the servants is the despair of thinkers in all ages. Heaven sows only good; where do the misery and the wickedness come from? That is a wider and sadder question than, How are churches not free from bad members? Perhaps Christ’s answer may go as far towards the bottom of the bottomless as those of non-Christian thinkers, and, if it do not solve the metaphysical puzzles, at any rate gives the historical fact, which is all the explanation of which the question is susceptible.

The second question reminds us of ‘Wilt Thou that we command fire. . . from heaven, and consume them?’ It is cast in such a form as to put emphasis on the householder’s will. His answer forbidding the gathering up of the tares is based, not upon any chance of mistaking wheat for them, nor upon any hope that, by forbearance, tares may change into wheat, but simply on what is best for the good crop. There was a danger of destroying some of it, not because of its likeness to the other, but because the roots of both were so interlaced that one could not be pulled up without dragging the other after it.

Is this prohibition, then, meant to forbid the attempt to keep the Church pure from un-Christian members? The considerations already adduced are valid in answering this question, and others may be added. The crowd of listeners had, no doubt, many of them, been influenced by John the Baptist’s fiery prophecies of the King who should come, fan in hand, to ‘purge His floor,’ and were looking for a kingdom which was to be inaugurated by sharp separation and swift destruction. Was not the teaching needed then, as it is now, that that is not the way in which the kingdom of heaven is to be founded and grow? Is not the parable best understood when set in connection with the expectations of its first hearers, which are ever floating anew before the eyes of each generation of Christians? Is it not Christ’s apologia for His delay in filling the r? which John had drawn out for him? And does that conception of its meaning make it meaningless for us? Observe, too, that the rooting up which is forbidden is, by the proprieties of the emblem, and by the parallel which it must necessarily afford to the final burning, something very solemn and destructive. We may well ask whether excommunication is a sufficiently weighty idea to be taken as its equivalent. Again, how does the interpretation which sees ecclesiastical discipline here comport with the reason given for letting the tares grow on? By the hypothesis in the parable, there is no danger of mistake; but is there any danger of casting out good men from the Church along with the bad, except through mistake? Further, if this parable forbids casting manifestly evil men out of the Church, it contradicts the divinely appointed law of the Church as administered by the apostles. If it is to be applied to Church action at all, it absolutely forbids the separation from the Church of any man, however notoriously un-Christian, and that, as even the strongest advocates of comprehension admit, would destroy the very idea of the Church. Surely an interpretation which lands us in such a conclusion cannot be right. We conclude, then, that the intermingling which the parable means is that of good men and bad in human society, where all are so interwoven that separation is impossible without destroying its whole texture; that the rooting up, which is declared to be inconsistent with the growth of the crop, means removal from the field, namely, the world; that the main point of the second part of the parable is to set forth the patience of the Lord of the harvest, and to emphasise this as the law of the growth of His kingdom, that it advances amidst antagonism; and that its members are interlaced by a thousand rootlets with those who are not subjects of their King. What the interlacing is for, and whether tares may become wheat, are no parts of its teaching. But the lesson of the householder’s forbearance is meant to be learned by us. While we believe that the scope of the parable is wider than instruction in Church discipline, we do not forget that a fair inference from it is that, in actual churches, there will ever be a mingling of good and evil; and, though that fact is no reason for giving up the attempt to make a church a congregation of faithful men, and of such only, it is a reason for copying the divine patience of the sower in ecclesiastical dealings with errors of opinion and faults of conduct.

III. The final separation at the harvest.

The period of development is necessarily a time of intermingling, in which, side by side, the antagonistic principles embodied in their representatives work themselves out, and beneficially affect each other. But each grows towards an end, and, when it has been reached, the blending gives place to separation. John’s prophecy is plainly quoted in the parable, which verbally repeats his ‘gather the wheat into his barn,’ and alludes to his words in the other clause about burning the tares. He was right in his anticipations; his error was in expecting the King to wield His fan at the beginning, instead of at the end of the earthly form of His kingdom. At the consummation of the allotted era, the bands of human society are to be dissolved, and a new principle of association is to determine men’s place. Their moral and religious affinities will bind them together or separate them, and all other ties will snap. This marshalling according to religious character is the main thought of the solemn closing words of the parable and of its interpretation, in which our Lord presents Himself as directing the whole process of judgment by means of the ‘angels’ who execute His commands. They are ‘His angels,’ and whatever may be the unknown activity put forth by them in the parting of men, it is all done in obedience to Him. What stupendous claims Jesus makes here! What becomes of the tares is told first in words awful in their plainness, and still more awful in their obscurity. They speak unmistakably of the absolute separation of evil men from all society but that of evil men; of a close association, compelled, and perhaps unwelcome. The tares are gathered out of ‘His kingdom,’-for the field of the world has then all become the kingdom of Christ. There are two classes among the tares: men whose evil has been a snare to others {for the ‘things that offend’ must, in accordance with the context, be taken to be persons}, and the less guilty, who are simply called ‘them that do iniquity.’

Perhaps the ‘bundles’ may imply assortment according to sin, as in Dante’s circles. What a bond of fellowship that would be! ‘The furnace,’ as it is emphatically called by eminence, burns up the bundles. We may freely admit that the fire is part of the parable, but yet let us not forget that it occurs not only in the parable, but in the interpretation; and let us learn that the prose reality of ‘everlasting destruction,’ which Christ here solemnly announces, is awful and complete. For a moment He passes beyond the limits of that parable, to add that terrible clause about ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ the tokens of despair and rage. So spoke the most loving and truthful lips. Do we believe His warnings as well as His promises?

The same law of association according to character operates in the other region. The children of the kingdom are gathered together in what is now ‘the kingdom of My Father,’ the perfect form of the kingdom of Christ, which is still His kingdom, for ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb,’ the one throne on which both sit to reign, is ‘in it.’ Freed from association with evil, they are touched with a new splendour, caught from Him, and blaze out like the sun; for so close is their association, that their myriad glories melt as into a single great light. Now, amid gloom and cloud, they gleam like tiny tapers far apart; then, gathered into one, they flame in the forehead of the morning sky, ‘a glorious church, not having spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing.’

Matthew 13:24-30. Another parable put he forth unto them — In which he further explains the case of unfruitful hearers, and shows that persons of various characters would profess to receive the gospel, and be accounted members of the Christian Church; but that there should be a final separation between them in the other world, however they might be blended together in this. The kingdom of heaven — This expression, as has been observed before, sometimes signifies the gospel dispensation, sometimes true religion under the gospel; sometimes the Church of Christ, and that as well in its militant as in its triumphant state. The phrase is also often used for a person or thing relating to any of those. Here the meaning seems to be, that Christ, preaching the gospel, may be likened to a man sowing good seed, &c. Or, that the state of things in the gospel Church may be illustrated in the following manner. Which sowed good seed in his field — God formed our first parents upright, and sowed nothing but good in his whole creation. And Christ sowed only the good seed of truth in his Church, and planted it with such as were truly righteous. But while men slept — Who were set to watch, namely, magistrates and ministers, the servants of the husbandman. Observe, reader, Satan hath a power to persuade, allure, seduce; but not to force. If the servants of Christ watched, and did their duty, there would be much less open wickedness in the world, and less secret sin in the Church than there is. His enemy came and sowed tares — Rather darnel, as it seems ζιζανια ought to be rendered. “It appears,” says Dr. Campbell, “from the parable itself, 1st, That this weed was not only hurtful to the corn, but otherwise of no value, and therefore to be severed and burnt. 2dly, That it resembled corn, especially wheat, since it was only when the wheat was putting forth the ear that these weeds were discovered. Now neither of these characters will suit the tare, which is excellent food for cattle, and sometimes cultivated for their use; and which, being a species of vetch, is distinguished from corn, from the moment it appears above ground. Therefore, as it cannot be the tare that is meant, it is highly probable that it is the darnel, in Latin lolium, namely, that species called by botanists temulentum, which grows among corn, not the lolium perenne, commonly called ray, and corruptly rye grass, which grows in meadows. For, 1st, This appears to have been the Latin word by which the Greek was wont to be interpreted. 2dly, It agrees to the characters above mentioned. It is a noxious weed; for when the seed of it happens to be mingled and ground with the corn, the bread made of this mixture always occasions sickness and giddiness in those who eat it; and the straw has the same effect upon the cattle. It is from this quality, and the appearance of drunkenness which it produces, that it has the specific name given it by botanists. And probably for the same reason it is called by Virgil, infelix lolium. It has also a resemblance to wheat sufficient to justify all that relates to this in the parable.” “The only English translation,” adds the doctor, “in which I have found the word darnel, is Mr. Wesley’s.”

When the blade was sprung up, &c., then appeared the tares, rather, the darnel, also — It was not discerned before, but now could easily be distinguished. So the servants of the householder — Or, of the proprietor of the estate, as οικοδεσποτης seems to signify here: came and said, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? — That is, good seed only; the seed of pure wheat, without any corrupt mixture? whence then hath it darnel? — He said, An enemy hath done this — A plain answer to the great question concerning the origin of evil. God made men (as he did angels) intelligent creatures, and consequently free either to choose good or evil; but he implanted no evil in the human soul. An enemy (with man’s concurrence) hath done this. Darnel in the Church is properly hypocrites, or mere outside Christians, such as have only the form of godliness without the power. Open sinners, such as have neither the form nor the power, are not so properly darnel as thistles and brambles, which ought to be rooted up without delay, and not suffered in the Christian community. Whereas, should fallible men attempt to gather up the darnel, they would often root up the wheat with it.

13:24-30, 36-43 This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ's care of it, the devil's enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master; Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and that with meekness. And though good and bad are together in this world, yet at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. Let us, knowing the terrors of the Lord, not do iniquity. At death, believers shall shine forth to themselves; at the great day they shall shine forth before all the world. They shall shine by reflection, with light borrowed from the Fountain of light. Their sanctification will be made perfect, and their justification published. May we be found of that happy number.The kingdom of heaven is likened ... - That is, the "gospel resembles." The kingdom of heaven (see the notes at Matthew 3:2) means here the effect of the gospel by its being preached. The meaning of this parable is plain. The field represents the "world," in which the gospel is preached. The "good seed," the truths preached by Christ and his apostles.24, 36-38. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field—Happily for us, these exquisite parables are, with like charming simplicity and clearness, expounded to us by the Great Preacher Himself. Accordingly, we pass to: Mt 13:36-38. See on [1289]Mt 13:36; [1290]Mt 13:38 See Poole on "Matthew 13:33".

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,.... Somewhat like the former, but with a different view: for whereas the design of the former was to show the different sorts of hearers that attend upon the ministry of the word, three parts in four being bad; this is to show the difference of members in churches, some being comparable to good seed, and others to tares.

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: by "the kingdom of heaven", is not meant the ultimate glory of the saints in heaven, or the state of happiness in the other world; for there will be no tares there; nor the Gospel, and the ministration of it, but the Gospel dispensation, and times, and kingdom of the Messiah; or rather the Gospel visible church state, on earth, called a "kingdom", of which Christ is king, and in which the saints are subject to him; where proper laws are made for the orderly government of it, and proper officers appointed to explain, and put those laws in execution; and which consists of various persons, united under one head, and independent of any other government: and it is styled the kingdom of heaven, in distinction from the kingdoms of this world; the subjects of it are, or should be, heaven born souls; the word, laws, and ordinances of it are from heaven; and there is some resemblance between a Gospel church state and heaven, and it is very near unto it, and is even the suburbs of it: or else the king Messiah himself is intended, who is compared to a man, a sower; and so it is explained, Matthew 13:37 "he that soweth the good seed is the son of man": which is a name and title of the Messiah, by which he is called both in the Old and New Testament; who, though the seed of the woman, yet was the son of man, as of Abraham, and David; and which denotes the truth, and yet the infirmity of his human nature: he is the sower that went about preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, in the Jewish world, or throughout Judea and Galilee, in his own person: and who also, by the ministry of his apostles, sowed the seed of the word in the several parts of the world, which was made effectual for the beginning of a good work of grace on the souls of many; for by "his field" is meant "the world", as appears from Matthew 13:38 and means either the whole world, in which both good and bad men live and dwell; and is the field Christ is the proprietor of, both by creation, as God, and by gift, as mediator: or the church, the visible Gospel church state throughout the world; which is as a field well tilled and manured; and is Christ's by gift, purchase, and grace: and by the good seed sown in it, are meant "the children of the kingdom"; as is said, Matthew 13:38 such as have a good work begun in them, and bring forth good fruit in their lives and conversations.

{4} Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

(4) Christ shows in another parable of the evil seed mixed with the good, that the Church will never be free and rid of offences, both in doctrine and manners, until the day appointed for the restoring of all things comes, and therefore the faithful have to arm themselves with patience and steadfastness.

Matthew 13:24. Αὐτοῖς] to the multitude. Comp. Matthew 13:3; Matthew 13:10; Matthew 13:34.

ὡμοιώθη] the Messiah’s kingdom has become like (see note on Matthew 7:26). The aorist is to be explained from the fact that the Messiah has already appeared, and is now carrying on His work in connection with His kingdom. Comp. Matthew 12:28.

σπείραντι (see critical remarks): the sowing had taken place; whereupon followed the act that is about to be mentioned. It is to be observed, moreover, that the kingdom is not represented merely by the person of the sower, but by his sowing good seed, and by all that follows thereupon (as far as Matthew 13:30); but to such an extent is the sower the leading feature in the parable, that we are thereby enabled to account for such phraseology as ὡμοιώθη ἡ βασιλείαἀνθρώπῳ σπείραντι. Comp. Matthew 13:45; Matthew 18:23; Matthew 10:1.

Matthew 13:24-30. The Tares. This parable has some elements in common with that in Mark 4:26-29, whence the notion of many critics that one of the two has been formed from the other. As to which is the original, opinion is much divided. (vide Holtz., H. C.) Both, I should say. The resemblance is superficial, the lesson entirely different.—The Sower describes past experiences; the Tares is prophetic of a future state of things. But may it not be a creation of apostolic times put into the mouth of Jesus? No, because (1) it is too original and wise, and (2) there were beginnings of the evil described even in Christ’s lifetime. Think of a Judas among the Twelve, whom Jesus treated on the principle laid down in the parable, letting him remain among the disciples till the last crisis. It may have been his presence among the Twelve that suggested the parable.

Matthew 13:24. παρέθηκεν, again in Matthew 13:31, usually of food, here of parable as a mental entertainment; used with reference to laws in Exodus 21:1, Deuteronomy 4:44.—ὡμοιώθη, aorist used proleptically for the future; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:28.—ἀνθρώπῳ, likened to a man, inexactly, for: “to the experience of a man who,” etc., natural in a popular style.—σπείραντι, aorist because the seed had been sown when the event of the parable took place.—καλὸν, good, genuine, without mixture of other seeds.

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.

Verses 24-30 - The parable of the tares. Matthew only. The parable of the sower dealt with the first reception of the gospel; this deals with the after-development. The aim of this parable is to prevent over-sanguine expectations as to the purity of the society of believers, and to hinder rash attempts to purify it by merely external processes. Archbishop Benson ('Dict. of Christian Biogr.,' 1:745) calls attention to the fact that the first extant exposition of this parable is in Cyprian's successful appeal to the Novatianists not to separate from the Church (Ep. 54.). The aim of the somewhat similar parable in Mark 4:26-29 is to show the slowness and gradualness of the growth of the kingdom of heaven, and also the certainty of its consummation. So many words and phrases in the two parables are identical, that the possibility of one being derived from the other, either by omission or addition, must be acknowledged, but the definiteness of the aim in each points rather to their being originally two distinct parables. The divisions of the parable are -

(1) The fact of tares being present as well as good seed, and its cause (vers. 24-28a).

(2) Although there is the natural desire to gather out the tares at once, yet, on account of the impossibility of doing so without destroying some of the good seed, this must not be attempted. At the proper time full separation shall be made by the proper agents (vers. 28b-30). Verse 24. - Another parable put he forth unto them; set he before them (Revised Version, παρέθηκεν αὐτοῖς); so also ver. 31. (cf. also Exodus 19:7; Acts 17:3). Elsewhere it is often used of setting food before any one; e.g. Mark 6:41; Mark 8:6; Luke 11:6; Acts 16:34. Them. The people (vers. 3, 10, 34). Saying, The kingdom of heaven. The principles of its establishment and full development. Is likened unto (ὡμοιώθη). The aorist regards the moment in our Lord's mind in which he made the comparison. Observe that the verb is transitional; in ver. 3 our Lord began his parable without any introduction, so that he might attract attention; here he says that he gives an illustration of the kingdom of heaven; but in the later parables of this discourse (vers. 31, 33, 44, 45, 47; cf. 52) he is able merely to say that the kingdom of heaven is, in its principles, etc., absolutely like (ὁμοῖα ἐστίν). A man which sowed. Explained as "the Son of man" in ver. 37. Good seed; "the sons of the kingdom" (ver. 38); i.e. the seed represents, not good or bad doctrine as such, but persons. In his field; "the world" (ver. 37). Not exactly the Church, i.e. the Church upon earth, but the world so far as it is the sphere of the Church's missionary activity, even the physical world so far as it becomes the scene of Divine sowing of the gospel. Matthew 13:24Put he forth (παρέθηκεν)

But this would be rather the translation of προβάλλω, from which πρόβλημα, a problem, is derived, while the word here used means rather to set before or offer. Often used of meals, to serve up. Hence, better, Rev., set he before them. See on Luke 9:16.

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