Matthew 13:3


King James Version (KJV)

And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

American King James Version (AKJV)

And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

American Standard Version (ASV)

And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;

Basic English Translation (BBE)

And he gave them teaching in the form of a story, saying, A man went out to put seed in the earth;

Webster's Revision

And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

World English Bible

He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, "Behold, a farmer went out to sow.

English Revised Version (ERV)

And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth to sow;

Clarke's Matthew 13:3 Bible Commentary

He spake many things unto them in parables - Parable, from παρα, near, and βαλλω, I cast, or put. A comparison or similitude, in which one thing is compared with another, especially spiritual things with natural, by which means these spiritual things are better understood, and make a deeper impression on an attentive mind. Or, a parable is a representation of any matter accommodated, in the way of similitude, to the real subject, in order to delineate it with the greater force and perspicuity. See more on this subject at the conclusion of this chapter. No scheme, says Dr. Lightfoot, of Jewish rhetoric was more familiarly used than that of parables; which, perhaps, creeping in from thence among the heathens, ended in fables.

It is said in the tract Sotah, chap. 9. "From the time that Rabbi Meri died, those that spake in parables ceased." Not that this figure of rhetoric perished in the nation from that time; but because he surpassed all others in these flowers, as the gloss there from the tract Sanhedrin speaks. "A third part of his discourses was tradition; a third part allegory; and a third part parable." The Jewish books every where abound with these figures, the nation inclining by a kind of natural genius to this kind of rhetoric. Their very religion might be called parabolical, folded up within the covering of ceremonies; and their oratory in their sermons was like to it. But is it not indeed a wonder, that they who were so much given to and delighted in parables, and so dexterous in unfolding them, should stick in the outward shell of ceremonies, and should not have brought out the parabolical and spiritual sense of them? Our Savior, who always spoke with the common people, uses the same kind of speech, and very often the same preface which they used, To what is it likened? See Lightfoot in loco. Though we find the basis of many of our Lord's parables in the Jewish writings, yet not one of them comes through his hands without being astonishingly improved. In this respect also, Surely never man spoke like this man.

Under the parable of the sower, our Lord intimates,

1. That of all the multitudes then attending his ministry, few would bring forth fruit to perfection. And

2. That this would be a general case in preaching the Gospel among men.

Barnes's Matthew 13:3 Bible Commentary

In parables - The word "parable" is derived from a Greek word signifying "to compare together," and denotes a similitude taken from a natural object to illustrate a spiritual or moral subject. It is a narrative of some fictitious or real event, in order to illustrate more clearly some truth that the speaker wished to communicate. In early ages it was much used. Pagan writers, as Aesop, often employed it. In the time of Christ it was in common use. The prophets had used it, and Christ employed it often in teaching his disciples. It is not necessary to suppose that the narratives were strictly true. The main thing - "the inculcation of spiritual truth" - was gained equally, whether it was true or was only a supposed case. Nor was there any dishonesty in this. It was well understood no person was deceived. The speaker was not "understood" to affirm the thing "literally narrated," but only to fix the attention more firmly on the moral truth that he presented. The "design" of speaking in parables was the following:

1. To convey truth in a more interesting manner to the mind, adding to the truth conveyed the beauty of a lovely image or narrative.

2. To teach spiritual truth so as to arrest the attention of ignorant people, making an appeal to them through the "senses."

3. To convey some offensive truth, some pointed personal rebuke. in such a way as to bring it "home" to the conscience. Of this kind was the parable which Nathan delivered to David 2 Samuel 12:1-7, and many of our Saviour's parables addressed to the Jews.

4. To "conceal" from one part of his audience truths which he intended others should understand. Thus Christ often, by this means, delivered truths to his disciples in the presence of the Jews, which he well knew the Jews would not understand; truths pertaining to them particularly, and which he was under no obligations to explain to the Jews. See Mark 4:33; Matthew 13:13-16.

Our Saviour's parables are distinguished above all others for clearness, purity, chasteness, importance of instruction, and simplicity. They are taken mostly from the affairs of common life, and intelligible, therefore, to all people. They contain much of "himself" - his doctrine, life, design in coming, and claims, and are therefore of importance to all people; and they are told in a style of simplicity intelligible to the child, yet instructive to people of every rank and age. In his parables, as in all his instructions, he excelled all people in the purity, importance, and sublimity of his doctrine.

Matthew 13:3

A sower went forth to sow - The image here is taken from an employment known to all people, and therefore intelligible to all.

Nor can there be a more striking illustration of preaching the gospel than placing the seed in the ground, to spring up hereafter and bear fruit.

Sower - One who sows or scatters seed - a farmer. It is not improbable that one was near the Saviour when he spoke this parable.

Wesley's Matthew 13:3 Bible Commentary

13:3 In parables - The word is here taken in its proper sense, for apt similes or comparisons. This way of speaking, extremely common in the eastern countries, drew and fixed the attention of many, and occasioned the truths delivered to sink the deeper into humble and serious hearers. At the same time, by an awful mixture of justice and mercy, it hid them from the proud and careless. In this chapter our Lord delivers seven parables; directing thefour former (as being of general concern) to all the people; the three latter to his disciples. Behold the sower - How exquisitely proper is this parable to bean introduction to all the rest! In this our Lord answers a very obvious and a very important question. The same sower, Christ, and the same preachers sent by him, always sow the same seed: why has it not always the same effect? He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!

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