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32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the
greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the 33 air come and lodge in the branches thereof. -Another parable spake
he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a
woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was 34 leavened.-All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in para35 bles, and without a parable spake he not unto them; that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open my
reth, in the rude province of Gali- individual in its application, it intilee, in the conquered land of Pales- mates that Christianity was to pertine, and borne to other countries vade his whole nature and being, by men whose nation were the scoff master every power, control every of other nations, and who them- taste, spiritualize every feeling, and selves held the lowest places of so- assimilate the whole man to the ciety among their countrymen, it spirit of Christ and God.—Three spread, it prevailed, it won atten- measures. Each equivalent to one tion, admiration, obedience, till it peck and a half English. The quanbecame the greatest’ of the reli- tity used at one time in making gions of the earth.”
bread. Till the whole was leavened. 32. Greatest among herbs. Ref- As the leaven would not cease its erence is here rade, not to the ab- action till the whole mass was afsolute size of the plant, but to the fected by it, so religion would not comparative greatness of the tree cease to work in the heart and in which sprang from so small a seed. the world until it has leavened the - Becometh a tree. The Jewish whole with its own spirit and powwriters mention a mustard plant so er. Thus beautifully Jesus ideallarge that a man might climb it, as izes the most common things, and he would a fig-tree; and another by them shadows forth the glorious so tall and spreading as to cover a energies of the Gospel. tent with one of its branches. 34, 35. See Mark iv. 33, 34.
-Birds of the air come and lodge in 34. Without a parable spake he not. the branches. So, under the mighty Not an assertion that he always power of the Christian kingdom, spoke in parables, but that upon the multitudes would find refuge and present occasion he chiefly used this protection. The Gospel would be- method of instruction. come a tree whose branches would 35. That it might be fulfilled. overshadow the whole earth, and The quotation was not so much a the leaves of which would be “ for fulfilment as an illustration. As the the healing of the nations."
Psalmist designed to give instruc33. Luke xiii. 20. Leaven.— tion in a parabolical and poetical Yeast, which has the property of form concerning the history of the assimilating to its own nature the past, so Jesus bad, after his example, meal or dough in which it is con- but not in accordance with any pretained. As in the preceding para- diction of his, thrown around his ble the extensive propagation of doctrines, of the future kingdom of Christianity is imaged, so here its God, the graceful garb of parables. diffusive and penetrating character -The prophet. Ps. lxxviii. 2. This is portrayed. Or, if limited to the psalm is ascribed to Asaph, chief
mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house. And 36 his disciples came unto him, saying: Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them: He that soweth 37 the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed 38 are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one ; the enemy, that sowed them, is the devil; the harvest is the 39 end of the world ; and the reapers are the angels. As, therefore, the 40
singer in the reign of David. 1 bad principles, and good and bad
39. The devil. It was supposed 36. Declare, i. e. explain. The among oriental nations, that there disciples did not understand the were two principles, one good, and parable of tares any more than that the author of all good, and the other of the sower. They shared in the evil, and the author of all evil. prejudices and ignorance of their Our Lord refers the evil in his day, and only excelled others in church to this reputed author of their having more of the truth- evil.-The end of the world. This seeking spirit.
but imperfectly expresses the origi37. He that soweth, &c. We learn nal. The sense is, the conclusion here, that the particular design of of this state of things, as some supthe parable was not so much
to il- pose, the end of the Jewish dispenlustrate the mixture of good and sation ; or, as others believe, the end evil in the general government of of the time, i. e. of the Christian God, as under the Christian dispen- dispensation. There is an indefisation. There would be good and niteness about the phrase, which
tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of 41 this world. The Son of Man shall send forth bis angels, and they
shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them 42 which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there 43 shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous
shine forth, as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath 44 ears to hear, let him hear. - Again the kingdom of heaven is like
unto treasure hid in a field, the which, when a man bath found, he
commentators have never fully dreadful sufferings of the wicked. cleared up. It is enough for us to The figure of a furnace of fire may know that there is to be a righteous also have been suggested by the judgment at the conclusion of this burning of the tares in verse 30.state of things, to which the Chris- Wailing and gnashing of teeth. The tian church, in common with the natural expressions of intense pain. rest of the world, will be subjected, 43. Shine forth, as the sun.
Dan. and the good distinguished from the xii. 2, 3. Rev. ji. 28. An image bad.—The reapers are the angels. implying strength, beauty, and gloThe ministry of angels was sup- ry.-Who hath ears to hear, let him posed, among the Jews, to constitute hear. See note on Mat. xi. 15. à part of the divine government Three very important lessons are and providence. Ps. Ixxviii. 49. conveyed by this parable. One xci. 11. Acts vii. 53. Gal. iii. 19. against disappointment at finding Heb. ii. 2. Hence angels are intro- imperfections in the Christian duced in the imagery of the para- church, or even hypocrisy and ble, in harmony with the belief of wickedness; for it was predicted the times, and represented as per that there would be, by him who forming the work of their great knew what was in man. The task-master.
second is against persecution. The 40. Tares are gathered and burned. grossly immoral may be distinOn account of the scarcity of wood guished and expelled, but it is not in Palestine, it was the custom to for erring man to condemn his burn dried plants, hay, or stubble, brother for inodes of faith or cusfor cooking and other purposes. toms of worship. We must wait For the convenience of transporta. until the harvest, before we can pertion, they were tied in bundles. fectly know the true from the false,
41. All things that offend. Liter- the right from the wrong. The deally, all stumbling-blocks, i. e. all cision will fall to one in whom we persons or things that cause men to have perfect confidence. With patransgress. Mat. xvi. 27.-Them tience then let us wait the great is. which do iniquity. Synonymous sue. We learn, thirdly, from this with the last expression. False parable, the inconceivable misery teachers; wicked men ; any who consequent upon wickedness, and caused others to fall.
the glorious reward which awaits 42. A furnace of fire. Dan. iii. 11. the righteous. Mat. xxv. 41. Rev, xx. 14, 15. This 44. Treasure hid in a field. The refers to the oriental punishment allusion here is not, probably, to a of burning alive, and implies the treasure, as that of money, which severest infliction of pain, and the had been artificially concealed, but
hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and sellệth all that he hath, and buy-
-Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast 47
to some native precious mine, as it. He, like the man of the prece-
48. Cast the bad away.
The own exceeding great reward, and worthless on account of their smallatones for all losses.
ness or kind, for some sorts of fish 45. Merchant man, seeking goodly were unclean to the Jews. Lev. xi. pearls. It is customary in the east 10. This was an illustration pecuifor travelling merchants to pur- liarly appropriate to the fishing chase and exchange gems and oth- population of Galilee, whoin he er valuables. Wisdom is often was then addressing, likened to rubies, gold, and silver. 49. At the end of the world. The Ps. xix. 10. Prov. iii
. 13—15. See parable of the net and the fishes is note on Mat. vii. 6. The nearness explained in this and the following of the coasts of the Red Sea brought verse. Some understand, by the pearls into the Jewish market. end of the world, the end of the They were highly esteemed on ac Jewish dispensation by the sack of count of their
rarèness and beauty, Jerusalem, and others the destrucand were precious in proportion to tion of the world itself at the last their size. They are the product day. The object of the parable of a kind of oyster.
appears to have been to forewarn 46. Sold all that he had, and bought the early disciples that all kinds of
angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire ; there shall be wail51 ing and gnashing of teeth. -Jesus saith unto them: Have ye 52 understood all these things? They say unto him: Yea, Lord. Then
said he unto them: Therefore every scribe, which is instructed unto the
kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which 53 bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. And it
came to pass, that, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed
thence. 54. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in persons would be gathered into the doctor of the Jewish law, but Christian church, but that eventual- meaning here a teacher of Chrisly a separation would take place, tianity, as is expressed by the and that at the judgment, whether phrase, instructed unto the kingdom in the Jewish overthrow, or at the of heaven.—Householder. The faend of the material world, the good ther or master of a family.—Bringand the bad would meet respective- eth forth out of his treasure things ly with their merited rewards and new and old. This refers to provipunishments.--The angels. See ding for the sacred rites, according note on verse 39.
to Lightfoot. The wine, corn, or 50. See note on verse 42. Who fruits, new or old, of the present or can doubt that there is a fearful past years. A thrifty householder punishment awaiting the wicked, would be well stored with both, as here and hereafter, when Jesus him. might be required. So the reliself, the compassionate Teacher, gious instructer would study variehas described it with images of all ty in his teachings. He would that is most terrible to the appre- draw froin the old as well as the new bensions of men,—the outer dark- dispensation. He would teach the ness, the unquenchable fire, and the truths of natural and revealed renever dying worm ?
ligion; those which were old to his 51. Understood all these things? mind, and those which are now The parable which he had explain- learned for the first time from his ed furnished a clue for understand. Master himself. In his method of ing the rest. The thought is here instruction he was to combine presuggested of the importance of cept and parable. It is an imporhaving a rational belief. The Gos- tant rule for every minister of the pel is a revelation. If we would be Gospel to study variety, and, within enlightened or saved by it, it must just limits, novelty, both in the be through our clear comprehen- manner and matter of his dission of its truths, duties, and pro- courses, whilst at the same time the mises. Ill would it become us to
old and familiar should not pall call it a revelation from heaven, if upon his interest, or that of his it was not intelligible to the human bearers. He should adapt his mind. Its best emblem is light. teachings to the capacities, tastes,
52. As they understood his doc- and condition of his charge. trines, he inculcates in the follow 53–58. See Mark vi. 1-6. ing parable their obligations to 54. His own country, i. e. his own teach them. Every scribe, &c. A town, Nazareth, where he had been