Matthew 13:9
Who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Who hath ears to hear.—The formula had been used, as we have seen before (comp. Note on Matthew 11:15). It was probably familiar in the schools of the Rabbis, when they were testing the ingenuity or progress of their scholars.

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.Who hath ears ... - This is a proverbial expression, implying that it was every man's duty to pay attention to what was spoken, Matthew 11:15. 3. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, &c.—These parables are SEVEN in number; and it is not a little remarkable that while this is the sacred number, the first FOUR of them were spoken to the mixed multitude, while the remaining THREE were spoken to the Twelve in private—these divisions, four and three, being themselves notable in the symbolical arithmetic of Scripture. Another thing remarkable in the structure of these parables is, that while the first of the Seven—that of the Sower—is of the nature of an Introduction to the whole, the remaining Six consist of three pairs—the Second and Seventh, the Third and Fourth, and the Fifth and Sixth, corresponding to each other; each pair setting forth the same general truths, but with a certain diversity of aspect. All this can hardly be accidental.

First Parable: The Sower (Mt 13:3-9, 18-23).

This parable may be entitled, The Effect of the Word Dependent on the State of the Heart. For the exposition of this parable, see on [1286]Mr 4:1-9, 14-20.

Reason for Teaching in Parables (Mt 13:10-17).

Ver. 4-9. There is some difference in the terms used by Mark and Luke in their relations of this parable, Mark 4:3-8, and Luke 8:4-8; but none that are material, nor much to be considered by us, being they are in the parable. I shall when I come to it more exactly consider what differences there are betwixt the evangelists in the terms they use in the explication which our Saviour giveth us of the parable; which he did not give before the multitude, but when he was alone, saith Mark, Mark 4:10. That which our Saviour spoke to the whole multitude was this. Now whether there were indeed any such sower, yea or no, is not at all material: our Saviour’s design was not to inform them in a matter of fact, but of the different success of the preaching of the word; and for this purpose he brought this similitude, leaving the generality of the hearers to study out his meaning, concluding,

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear; which is an epiphonema, or conclusion of a speech, we met with before, and spake something to. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Not externally only, but internally; he that has ears given him to hear, so as to understand, let him make use of them, and seriously consider of, and diligently attend to the use and importance of this parable. It is a way of speaking used by Christ, when anything of moment was delivered, and not so easy to be understood, on purpose to quicken the attention of his auditors, and stir up in them a desire of understanding what was said; which effect this had upon his disciples; see Mark 4:10. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 13:9-10. See on Matthew 11:15.

The parabolic discourse is resumed at Matthew 13:24, after Jesus has finished the private exposition of those already spoken, into which he was led in consequence of the question addressed to him by the disciples. The exposition was given in the boat, where it is sufficiently possible to conceive such a conversation to have taken place without the necessity of our regarding the whole situation as imaginary (Hilgenfeld), or without our having to suppose it “rather more probable” that the exposition took place after the whole series of parables was brought to a close (Keim).

Matthew 13:10. The question, which in Matthew is framed to suit the reply (Neander, Weiss, Holtzmann), appears in a different and certainly more original form (in answer to Keim) in Mark 4:10; Luke 8:9.Matthew 13:9. ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκ. ἀκ. An invitation to think of the hidden meaning, or rather a hint that there was such a meaning. The description of the land in which the sower carried on his operations would present no difficulties to the hearers: the beaten paths, the rocky spots, the thorny patches were all familiar features of the fields in Palestine, and the fate of the seed in each case was in accordance with common experience. But why paint the picture? What is the moral of the story? That Jesus left them to find out.Matthew 13:9. Ὁ ἔχων, he that hath) Cf. Matthew 13:11-13.[601] Let him that heareth, hear: to him that hath shall be given.

[601] E. B. adds 43.Verse 9. - Who hath ears to hear (Revised Version omits to hear), let him hear. So in all the accounts. Observe that it is not only a call to understand the parable, but is in itself a summary of the chief lesson of the parable. (On the phrase, see Matthew 11:15, note.)
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