Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Ordinary A33


That same day JesusA went out of the houseB and sat beside the sea.C Such great crowds gatheredD around him that he got into a boatE and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.F 

Notes on verses 1-2

A “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
B “house” = oikia. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.
C “sea” = thalassa. Perhaps from hals (sea, salt, a boy of saltwater) or halas (salt; can be figurative for prudence). This is the sea, a lake, or seashore.
D “gathered” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
E “boat” = ploion. From pleo (to sail, voyage); probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow). This is a boat, ship, or vessel.
F “beach” = aigialos. Perhaps related to “sea” in v1. 6x in NT. From aix (a wave) OR from aisso (to rush) + hals (see note C above). This is seashore, sandy beach, lakeshore. It is a beach where waves crash.

And he told them many things in parables,G saying: “Listen!H A sowerI went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seedsJ fell on the path,K and the birds came and ate them up.L 

Notes on verses 3-4

G “parables” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.
H “listen” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
I “sower” = speiro. Probably from spao (to pull or draw like one draws a sword). This is sowing a seed or scattering. It is sowing in a literal or figurative sense.
J {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
K “path” = hodos. This is way, road, path, or journey. It can imply progress along a route.
L “ate…up” = katesthio. 15x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + esthio (to eat or figuratively to devour or consume like rust). This is to eat up, to consume totally so that there is nothing left. It can also be to annoy, injure, or squander.

5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground,M where they did not have much soil, and they sprang upN quickly,O since they had no depthP of soil. 

Notes on verse 5

M “rocky ground” = petrodes. 4x in NT. From petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; a cave or stony ground) + –odes (similar to) OR from petra (see above) + eidos (form, shape, sight, appearance); {from eido (to know, remember, perceive – to see and so understand)}. This is rocky or stony.
N “sprang up” = exanatello. 2x in NT – both in Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 and Mark 4. From ek (from, from out of) + anatello (rise, shine, or dawn; most often used of the sun; figuratively, achieving a goal or reaching consummation after completing the needed steps); {from ana (up, again, back, anew) + tello (to cause to arise); {from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax)}. This is to rise up from as a plant springing up from the ground – to germinate.
O “quickly” = eutheos. From euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked). This is directly, soon, at once.
P “depth” = bathos. 8x in NT. From bathus (deep in a literal or figurative sense); from the same root as basis (step, foot). This is depth, fullness, profundity, or immensity. This is where the term “bathysphere” comes from, but not the English word “bath.”

But when the sun rose,Q they were scorched;R and since they had no root,S they withered away.T 

Notes on verse 6

Q “rose” = anatello. Related to “sprang up” in v5. 9x in NT. See note N above.
R “scorched” = kaumatizo. 4x in NT. From kauma (heat, burn, a glow); from kaio (to burn, light, kindle). This is to burn up or scorch.
S “root” = rhiza. 17x in NT. This is a root literally or figuratively so it would be the root of what comes from it – shoot, source, descendant. This is where the word “rhizome” comes from.
T “withered away” = xeraino. 15x in NT. From xeros (dry, arid, withered; can also refer to dry land or imply something that is shrunken). This is to dry up, wither, ripen, pine.

Other seeds fell among thorns,U and the thorns grew up and chokedV them. Other seeds fell on goodW soil and brought forth grain,X someY a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”Z

Notes on verses 7-9

U “thorns” = akantha. 14x in NT. From akmen (even now, still yet); from the same as akmazo (ripe, to be vigorous); from akme (point, edge); related to ake (a point). This is thorn or thorn bush.
V “choked” = pnigo. 3x in NT. Perhaps from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is to choke, throttle, wheeze, strangle, or drown.
W “good” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
X “grain” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.
Y {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v4. See note J above.
Z “listen” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

18 “HearAA then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the wordBB of the kingdomCC and does not understandDD it, the evil oneEE comes and snatches awayFF what is sown in the heart;GG this is what was sown on the path. 

Notes on verses 18-19

AA “hear” = akouo. Same as “listen” in v9. See note Z above.
BB “word” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
CC “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
DD “understand” = suneimi. From sun (with, together with) + hiemi (to send, put). This is to put together – used figuratively to mean understand, consider, gain insight. It is bringing together facts or notions and synthesizing them into a whole. It is making a summary to arrive at a final conclusion that includes how to apply the insight to life. It can also imply acting piously or being wise.
EE “evil one” = poneros. From poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome. Properly, it is something that bears pain – it emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
FF “snatches away” = harpazo. Perhaps related to “grain” in v8. 14x in NT. See note X above.
GG “heart” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.

20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;HH 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while,II and when troubleJJ or persecutionKK arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.LL 

Notes on verses 20-21

HH “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
II “a while” = proskairos. 4x in NT. From pros (at, to, toward, with, among) + kairos (season, opportunity, occasion; spiritually significant time – the right time or appointed time). This is for a season, fleeting, temporary, or something that only lasts for a short time.
JJ “trouble” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.
KK “persecution” = diogmos. 10x in NT. From dioko to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight). This is chase, pursuit, or persecution. It is hunting someone like an animal.
LL “falls away” = skandalizo. From skandalon (the bait or portion of the trap that closes down on the victim – the trap’s trigger; a stumbling block, offense, or cause for error; something that sets into motion a negative cause and effect; something that causes one to stumble); perhaps from kampto (to bend or bow). This is to put a stumbling block in someone’s way. Figuratively, causing someone to sin or preventing them from good action. It can also mean to shock or offend. Literally, this is falling into a trap or tripping someone up. So, here, enticing someone to sin or apostasy.

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the caresMM of the worldNN and the lureOO of wealthPP chokeQQ the word, and it yields nothing.RR 

Notes on verses 22

MM “cares” = merimna. 6x in NT. Perhaps from merizo (to divide, part, share, distribute, assign; figuratively, to differ); from meros (part, share, portion figurative or literal); from meiromai (to get your share, receive one’s allotment). This is a portion removed from the whole. Figuratively, it is care, worry, or anxiety that tears a person apart.
NN “world” = aion. Literally “present age.” From the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.
OO “lure” = apate. 7x in NT. Perhaps from apatao (to deceive, seduce, cheat, delude; focuses on the method used to lure astray). This is deception, cheating, treachery, fraud.
PP “wealth” = ploutos. From polus (much, many, abundant) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is abundance, wealth, or riches. It could refer to money/possessions or spiritual abundance. It can also be used for a valuable bestowment.
QQ “choke” = sumpnigo. Related to “choked” in v7. 5x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + pnigo (see note V above). This is to choke, crowd, press against, cut off, strangle, drown.
RR “yields nothing” = akarpos + ginomai. Literally “it becomes unfruitful.” Akarpos is related to “grain” in v8. 7x in NT. From a (not, without) + karpos (see note X above). This is barren in a literal of figurative sense – unfruitful, without profit. Ginomai is to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another. This is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.

23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruitSS and yields, in one caseTT a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Notes on verses 23

SS “bears fruit” = karpophoreo. Related to “grain” in v8 & “nothing” in v22. 8x in NT. From karpophoros (fruitful, productive; fruitful in a literal or figurative sense); {from karpos (see note X above) + phero (to bear, bring, carry, lead)}. This is to be fertile or bear fruit in a literal or figurative sense.
TT {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v4. See note J above.

Image credit: “Parable of the Sower” by Antonios Fikos.

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