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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 13

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1 THAT same day Jesus went out and sat by the lakeside, 2where so many people gathered round him that he had to get into a boat. He sat there, and all the people stood on the shore. 3He told them many things in parables.

He said: ‘A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the footpath; and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil, and it sprouted quickly because it had no depth of earth; 6but when the sun rose it was scorched, and as it had no root it withered away. 7Some fell among thistles; and the thistles grew up and choked it. 8And some of the seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. 9If you have ears, then hear.’

10The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ 11He replied, ‘To you it has been granted to know the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven, but not to them. 12For those who have will be given more, till they have enough and to spare; and those who have not will forfeit even what they have. 13That is why I speak to them in parables; for they look without seeing, and listen without hearing or understanding. 14The prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled in them: “You may listen and listen, but you will never understand; you may look and look, but you will never see. 15For this people's mind has become dull; they have stopped their ears and shut their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes might see, their ears hear, and their mind understand, and then they might turn to me, and I would heal them.”

16‘But happy are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear! 17Truly I tell you: many prophets and saints longed to see what you now see, yet never saw it; to hear what you hear, yet never heard it.

18‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word that tells of the Kingdom, but fails to understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what has been sown in his heart; that is the seed sown along the footpath. 20The seed sown on rocky ground stands for the person who hears the word and accepts it at once with joy; 21it strikes no root in him and he has no staying-power; when there is trouble or persecution on account of the word he quickly loses faith. 22The seed sown among thistles represents the person who hears the word, but worldly cares and the false glamour of wealth choke it, and it proves barren. 23But the seed sown on good soil is the person who hears the word and understands it; he does bear fruit and yields a hundredfold, or sixtyfold, or thirty-fold.’

24Here is another parable he gave them: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man sowed his field with good seed; 25but while everyone was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel among the wheat, and made off. 26When the corn sprouted and began to fill out, the darnel could be seen among it. 27The farmer's men went to their master and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? So where has the darnel come from?” 28“This is an enemy's doing,” he replied. “Well then,” they said, “shall we go and gather the darnel?” 29“No,” he answered; “in gathering it you might pull up the wheat at the same time. 30Let them both grow together till harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the darnel first, and tie it in bundles for burning; then collect the wheat into my barn.’ ” ’

31This is another parable he gave them: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. 32Mustard is smaller than any other seed, but when it has grown it is taller than other plants; it becomes a tree, big enough for the birds to come and roost among its branches.’

33He told them also this parable: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour till it was all leavened.’

34In all this teaching to the crowds Jesus spoke in parables; indeed he never spoke to them except in parables. 35This was to fulfil the saying of the prophet a 13:35 prophet: some witnesses add Isaiah. :

I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret since the world was made.

36Then he sent the people away, and went into the house, where his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the darnel in the field.’ 37He replied, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world; the good seed stands for the children of the Kingdom, the darnel for the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed the darnel is the devil. The harvest is the end of time, and the reapers are angels. 40As the darnel is gathered up and burnt, so at the end of time 41the Son of Man will send his angels, who will gather out of his kingdom every cause of sin, and all whose deeds are evil; 42these will be thrown into the blazing furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear.

44‘The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure which a man found buried in a field. He buried it again, and in joy went and sold everything he had, and bought the field.

45‘Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like this. A merchant looking out for fine pearls 46found one of very special value; so he went and sold everything he had and bought it.

47‘Again the kingdom of Heaven is like a net cast into the sea, where it caught fish of every kind. 48When it was full, it was hauled ashore. Then the men sat down and collected the good fish into baskets and threw the worthless away. 49That is how it will be at the end of time. The angels will go out, and they will separate the wicked from the good, 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

51‘Have you understood all this?’ he asked; and they answered, ‘Yes.’ 52So he said to them, ‘When, therefore, a teacher of the law has become a learner in the kingdom of Heaven, he is like a householder who can produce from his store things new and old.’

53 WHEN Jesus had finished these parables he left that place, 54and came to his home town, where he taught the people in their synagogue. In amazement they asked, ‘Where does he get this wisdom from, and these miraculous powers? 55Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56And are not all his sisters here with us? Where does he get all this from?’ 57So they turned against him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet never lacks honour, except in his home town and in his own family.’ 58And he did not do many miracles there, such was their want of faith.

Notes:

a 13:35 prophet: some witnesses add Isaiah.

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