Matthew 13:7
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
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(7) Among thorns.—Literally, the thorns, so familiar to the husbandman. These were not visible at the time of sowing. The ground had been so far cleared, but the roots were left below the surface, and their growth and that of the grain went on simultaneously, and ended in the survival, not of the fittest, but of the strongest. The ears shot up, and did not die suddenly, as in the preceding case, but were slowly strangled till they died away.

13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.Among thorns - That is, in a part of the field where the thorns and shrubs had been imperfectly cleared away and not destroyed.

They grew with the grain, crowded it, shaded it, exhausted the earth, and thus choked it.

3. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, &c.—These parables are SEVEN in number; and it is not a little remarkable that while this is the sacred number, the first FOUR of them were spoken to the mixed multitude, while the remaining THREE were spoken to the Twelve in private—these divisions, four and three, being themselves notable in the symbolical arithmetic of Scripture. Another thing remarkable in the structure of these parables is, that while the first of the Seven—that of the Sower—is of the nature of an Introduction to the whole, the remaining Six consist of three pairs—the Second and Seventh, the Third and Fourth, and the Fifth and Sixth, corresponding to each other; each pair setting forth the same general truths, but with a certain diversity of aspect. All this can hardly be accidental.

First Parable: The Sower (Mt 13:3-9, 18-23).

This parable may be entitled, The Effect of the Word Dependent on the State of the Heart. For the exposition of this parable, see on [1286]Mr 4:1-9, 14-20.

Reason for Teaching in Parables (Mt 13:10-17).

See Poole on "Matthew 13:9".

And some fell among thorns,.... On a spot of ground which was full of the roots of thorns, and briars, which was not cleared of them as it should be. We often read (e) of , "a field cleared of thorns"; but such was not this piece of ground, it was overrun with them, not on the surface of the earth, but within it: for it follows,

and the thorns sprung up: naturally, being neither sown nor planted; either before the seed, or, at least, as soon; and however grew faster, and higher,

and choked them; so that they came to nothing; hence the advice, "sow not among thorns", Jeremiah 4:3 and a lost kindness, or what is bestowed in vain, is expressed in this proverbial manner (f), , "thy beneficence is taken away, and cast among thorns": these point out such hearers who seemed to be contrite, to have the low ground of their hearts broken up, their consciences tender, and to have a true sense of sin, as well as to be outwardly reformed; and yet inwardly were full of the thorns of sinful lusts, particularly of the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things, and the pleasures of this life, which rendered the word useless and unfruitful; see Matthew 13:22 all which are comparable to thorns; it is hardly possible to be in the midst of, and meddle with these, without being scratched by them; they pierce, afflict, and wound, even where they have not their greatest power and influence; and where they do prevail, and get the ascendant, as they are fruitless themselves, they make others so too; they choke the word, and make that, and all ordinances, and opportunities, useless, and unserviceable. Thorns are a part of the earth's curse for the sin of man; and such persons in whom thorny cares and lusts prevail, as they are like unto the earth which beareth thorns, so, as that, they are rejected, and nigh to cursing, whose end is to be burned in everlasting flames of divine wrath and fury, Hebrews 6:8.

(e) Misn. Sheviith, c. 4. sect. 2. T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 34. 3. & 35. 1. T. Bab. Bechorot, fol. 34. 2.((f) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 63. 2. Bava Kama, fol. 83. 1. Cetubot, fol. 53. 2. & Betza, fol. 29. 2.

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
Matthew 13:7. ἐπὶ τὰς ἀκάνθας. Fritzsche prefers the reading ἐις because the seed fell not on thorns already sprung up, but on ground full of thorn seeds or roots. But the latter idea, which is the true one, can be expressed also by ἐπὶ.—ἀνέβησαν: the thorns sprang up as well as the corn, and growing more vigorously gained the upper hand.—ἔπνιξαν. Euthy. Zig. finds this idea in ἀνέβησαν, for which he gives as synonym ὑπερίσχυσαν.

7. thorns sprung up] The scholar will remember that Vergil mentions among the “plagues” of the wheat,

“Ut mala culmos

Esset robigo segnisque horreret in

arvis Carduus.”

Georg. i:150–153.

Matthew 13:7. Ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι, the thorns sprang up) beyond the crop itself. They had not before then grown so high. Those who have heard the Word, yet do not grow in good, turn their strength to increase in evil.

Verse 7. - And some fell among thorns; upon the thorns (Revised Version); which were sure to be close by (cf. Jeremiah 4:3). And the thorns sprang up (grew up, Revised Version, ἀνέβησαν), and choked them. Whether brambles or merely spinous weeds (on their abundance, see Tristram, 'Nat. Hist. of Bible,' p. 423, edit. 1889) are here referred to is not certain. Even the former might be comparatively low in sowing time, and only as they "grew up" cause serious injury to the wheat. Matthew 13:7Sprang up

The seed, therefore, fell, not among standing thorns, but among those beneath the surface, ready to spring up.

Trench ("Parables") cites a striking parallel from Ovid, describing the obstacles to the growth of the grain:

"Now the too ardent sun, vow furious showers,

With baleful stars and bitter winds combine

The crop to ravage; while the greedy fowl

Snatch the strewn seeds; and grass with stubborn roots,

And thorn and darnel plague the ripening grain."

Metamorphoses, v., 486.

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