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Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!


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36-38. 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, &c.—In the parable of the Sower, "the seed is the word of God" (Lu 8:11). But here that word has been received into the heart, and has converted him that received it into a new creature, a "child of the kingdom," according to that saying of James (Jas 1:18), "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures." It is worthy of notice that this vast field of the world is here said to be Christ's own—"His field," says the parable. (See Ps 2:8).

38. The tares are the children of the wicked one—As this sowing could only be "while men slept," no blame seems intended, and certainly none is charged upon "the servants"; it is probably just the dress of the parable.

39. The enemy that sowed them is the devil—emphatically "His enemy" (Mt 13:25). (See Ge 3:15; 1Jo 3:8). By "tares" is meant, not what in our husbandry is so called, but some noxious plant, probably darnel. "The tares are the children of the wicked one"; and by their being sown "among the wheat" is meant their being deposited within the territory of the visible Church. As they resemble the children of the kingdom, so they are produced, it seems, by a similar process of "sowing"—the seeds of evil being scattered and lodging in the soil of those hearts upon which falls the seed of the world. The enemy, after sowing his "tares," "went his way"—his dark work soon done, but taking time to develop its true character.

The harvest is the end of the world—the period of Christ's second coming, and of the judicial separation of the righteous and the wicked. Till then, no attempt is to be made to effect such separation. But to stretch this so far as to justify allowing openly scandalous persons to remain in the communion of the Church, is to wrest the teaching of this parable to other than its proper design, and go in the teeth of apostolic injunctions (1Co 5:1-13).

And the reapers are the angels—But whose angels are they? "The Son of man shall send forth His angels" (Mt 13:41). Compare 1Pe 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom—to which they never really belonged. They usurped their place and name and outward privileges; but "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners [abide] in the congregation of the righteous" (Ps 1:5).

all things that offend—all those who have proved a stumbling-block to others

and them which do iniquity—The former class, as the worst, are mentioned first.

42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire—rather, "the furnace of fire":

there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth—What terrific strength of language—the "casting" or "flinging" expressive of indignation, abhorrence, contempt (compare Ps 9:17; Da 12:2): "the furnace of fire" denoting the fierceness of the torment: the "wailing" signifying the anguish this causes; while the "gnashing of teeth" is a graphic way of expressing the despair in which its remedilessness issues (see Mt 8:12)!

43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father—as if they had been under a cloud during the present association with ungodly pretenders to their character, and claimants of their privileges, and obstructors of their course.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear—(See Mr 4:9).




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