Barry Newman's Blog

October 18, 2012

The Parables of Jesus (part VIII) – The Parable of the Sower (part III)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The Parable of the Sower — barrynewman @ 9:22 pm

The Parable

The details of the parable are similar across all three accounts with Luke being generally more cryptic than Matthew and Mark, and with Mark adding a little more detail here and there. There were four areas on which the seed thrown by the sower fell.  Some fell along the path, Luke adding that it was trodden under foot. (Is this addition an indication that Luke needs to make clear what otherwise might not be, that the seed was never going to be likely to sprout even if the path was later ploughed – see below?) Birds came and devoured it, Luke adding that they were birds of the air. (There may be an indication here of Luke translating for his Gentile audience a Semitic phrase, “the birds of heaven”.) Other seed fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil and immediately it sprung up, since it had little depth in soil and when the sun rose it was scorched and since it had no root it withered away.  Luke simply records that as it grew up it withered away because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked it, Mark adding that it grew no grain. Finally some seed fell on good soil. Matthew and Mark record that it brought forth grain, Mark adding “growing up and increasing”, both indicating that the gain was a hundredfold, sixtyfold and thirtyfold, with Mark inverting that order.  Luke simply refers to the gain being a hundredfold.  All Gospels record Jesus as concluding the parable with. “He who has ears (to hear – Mark and Luke), let him hear.”

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