Matthew 13:1-43

Note: Only the parables of the sower and tares are explained. There is a regular pattern, with the reference as to why Jesus spoke in parables separating each  parable from its explanation. However, bundled with the parable of the tares are two other parables introduced by the term “Another”. (The parables later in the chapter are introduced by “Again”.) In this symmetry the all embracing parable of the response to the gospel is matched against parables that specify predictions of false teaching and false disciples, but also of the victory of the gospel.  The injunction – Who hath ears to hear, let him hear – comes after the parable of the sower but after the explanation of the parable of the tares.

A. 13:1- 9 Parable of Sower.

B. 13:10-18 Why did Jesus  speak in parables.

C. 13:19-23 Explanation of parable of sower.

A’. 13:24-33 Parables of wheat and tares, mustard seed and leaven.

B’. 13:34-35 Why did Jesus speak in parables.

C’. 13:36-43 Explanation of parable of the tares.

A. 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables,  saying,

Parable of the Sower
Way side – Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Stony places – 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Thorns – 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Good ground – 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

B. Why Jesus spoke in parables
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him,
Why speakest thou unto them in parables? … 

C. Explanation of Parable of the Sower

Way side – 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Stony places – 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Thorns – 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Good ground – 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

A’. Parable of the tares
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:

25 But while men slept, his enemy came

and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers,

Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them:

but gather the wheat into my barn.

Parable of the mustard seed
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Parable of the leaven
33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

B’. Why Jesus spoke in parables
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them …

C’. Explanation of parable of the tares
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them,

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world;

 the good seed are the children of the kingdom;
the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil;

the harvest is the end of the world;

 and the reapers are the angels.

 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

3 thoughts on “Matthew 13:1-43”

  1. Very nice. You pick up on much of what is happening here in Matthew 13. There is a dual structure laid on top of one another, But the chiasmus is what gives us the chief insights.
    Do you see the over arching chiasm here? It is not easy, to be sure. But once seen, it cannot be unseen.
    And why here? Why in Matthew 13? It all revolves around the inclusio stories.

  2. Is there something missing from the concluding phrase (comes after the parable of the sower but after the explanation of the parable of the tares) in the introductory remarks?

  3. Just like “the first will be last and the last will be first” are chiasm markers, I think the 3 references to “He who has ears, let him hear” are markers.

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