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The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

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Second and Seventh Parables or First Pair:

The Wheat and the Tares, and The Good and Bad Fish (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50).

The subject of both these parables—which teach the same truth, with a slight diversity of aspect—is:

The MIXED CHARACTER OF THE Kingdom in Its Present State, and the FINAL ABSOLUTE SEPARATION OF THE Two Classes.

The Tares and the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43).

24, 36-38. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field—Happily for us, these exquisite parables are, with like charming simplicity and clearness, expounded to us by the Great Preacher Himself. Accordingly, we pass to: Mt 13:36-38. See on Mt 13:36; Mt 13:38

25, 38, 39. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way—(See on Mt 13:38, 39).

26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also—the growth in both cases running parallel, as antagonistic principles are seen to do.

27. So the servants of the householder came—that is, Christ's ministers.

and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?—This well expresses the surprise, disappointment, and anxiety of Christ's faithful servants and people at the discovery of "false brethren" among the members of the Church.

28. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this—Kind words these from a good Husbandman, honorably clearing His faithful servants of the wrong done to his field.

The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?—Compare with this the question of James and John (Lu 9:54), "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume" those Samaritans? In this kind of zeal there is usually a large mixture of carnal heat. (See Jas 1:20).

29. But he said, Nay—"It will be done in due time, but not now, nor is it your business."

lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them—Nothing could more clearly or forcibly teach the difficulty of distinguishing the two classes, and the high probability that in the attempt to do so these will be confounded.

30, 39. Let both grow together—that is, in the visible Church.

until the harvest—till the one have ripened for full salvation, the other for destruction. (See on Mt 13:39).

and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers—(See on Mt 13:39).

Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them—"in the fire" (Mt 13:40).

but gather the wheat into my barn—Christ, as the Judge, will separate the two classes (as in Mt 25:32). It will be observed that the tares are burned before the wheat is housed; in the exposition of the parable (Mt 13:41, 43) the same order is observed: and the same in Mt 25:46—as if, in some literal sense, "with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked" (Ps 91:8).