Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 - parable of the [sower] or [the four soils] or [the miraculous harvest]?
v1 εν τη ημερα (α) that same day - at that time.
εξελθων (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "went out" - attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb " sat";
της οικιας (a) gen. "of the house" - The genitive is ablative, source / origin; "from the house." παρα + acc. "by" - την θαλασσαν (α) "the sea" i.e. Galilee, hence "at about the same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach".
v2 οχλοι πολλοι "large crowds" - συνηχθησαν (συναγω) aor. pas. "gathered"
ωστε + inf. "so that [he got into a boat and sat]
ειστηκει (ιστημι) pluperf. "stood" - The cultural teaching stance of the time is adopted; the teacher sits and the students stand.
v3 παραβολαις dat. "parables" - a story which points to another meaning beyond its face value. The word can be used of illustrations (teaching parables) but also of gospel riddles (kingdom parables). The synoptics have Jesus preaching the news of the coming kingdom openly in much the same form as John, but as rejection and opposition sets in, Jesus begins to present the news of the coming kingdom in the form of riddles. This unclear revelation of the kingdom serves to enact the judgment of God on a stiff-necked people, so "let anyone with ears listen!"
ο σπειρων (σπειρω) pres. part. "a farmer" – actually one who sows
του σπειρειν (σπειρω) "to sow his seed" .
v4 εν τω + inf. "as [he was scattering the seed]" - α pl. pro. "some" μεν .... δε ... an adversative comparative construction. The contrasting δε is picked up in v5, 7 and 8; "some seeds [fell] but others"
παρα + gen. "along" beside [the road]- the compacted ground beside a path.
ελθοντα (ερχομαι) aor. "came" - the birds came and ate.
v5 τα πετρωδη (ης ου) "rocky places" – a shelf of rock covered by a thin layer of soil.
εξανετειλεν (εξανατελλω) αορευθεως adv. "it sprang up immediately”
δια "because - on account of a causal clause. Shallow ground causes an earlier germination because, with rock so close to the surface, it warms up in Spring much more quickly than deeper ground which has been mulched/fertilized. As Yoda would say “Not just a carpenter he is!”
v6 ανατειλαντος (ανατελλω) gen. aor. part. "when [the sun] came up" – i.e. the heat of the day.
εκαυματισθη (καυματιζω) aor. pas. "the plants were scorched" - burnt up, dried out.
v7 επνιξαν (πνιγω) aor. "choked".
v8 την γην την καλην "good soil".
εδιδου (διδωμι) imperf. "it produced" – lit. they were giving i.e. the plants kept on producing.
ο μεν ...... ο δε .....ο δε ......”the one ..... the other ..... the other” .... an adversative comparative; "some on the one hand .... some on the other..... and still some other .....". In Mark the reference to three harvests probably serves to balance the three wasted sowings. It is sometimes argued that there is significance in the size of the harvest, particularly by those who view the parable as climactic, ie. the excessive bounty has eschatological meaning. But it has been shown that seed in Syria could easily yield a hundredfold (Davies & Allison)and since the story is simple yet needs explanation: good seed going into good ground bearing a good crop seems hardly an outcome worthy of parabolic reflection!
v9 ο εχων (εχω) pres. part. "he who has [hears]" ακουετω (ακουω) pres. imp. "hear!"
An imperative, so "pay attention"!
v18 υμεις you. The emphatic use of the pronoun - either the crowd or the disciples.
v19 ακουοντος (ακουω) gen. pres. part. "when [anyone] hears".
της βασιλειας (a) "[the message] of the kingdom" - genitive i.e. anyone hearing the preaching about the kingdom".
μη συνιεντος (συνιημι) gen. pres. part. "does not understand it" in the sense of failing to address the spiritual truths contained in the gospel, rather than not being able to comprehend those truths, ie. the problem revealed by the Greek here is the unreceptive attitude of the hearers rather than the inadequacy in the communicating of the message". Some people hear the message about the kingdom; but like hardened paths, they do not let the truth penetrate.
αρπαζει (αρπαζω) pres. "snatches away" that the evil one snatches away "the living results of or the spiritual truth of the message. Having been rejected, the ideas are subsumed into the business of everyday life.
ουτος εστιν ο παρα την οδον σπαρεις " the seed sown along the path" – who is the identity of ουτος, "this/this one"- the pronoun is usually taken to represent the one who hears the word of the kingdom, yet, in what sense is this person being sown along the path? It is the seed that is sown. i.e. the situation where a person hears the gospel but fails to respond to it and then forgets what he has heard.
v20 σπαρεις (σπειρω) aor. pas. part. "the one who receives the seed" - the one having been sown
ο .... ακουων (ακουω) pres. part. "the one who hears"
λαμβανων (λαμβανω) pres. part. "receives [it]" attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying "hearing"; so "hears the word and accepts it with joy".
v21 προσκαιρος adj. "lasts only a short time" – temporary
γενομενης (γινομαι) gen. aor. part. "when [trouble or persecution] comes".
δια + acc. "because of [the word]".
σκανδαλιζεται (σκανδαλιζω) pres. pas. "he [quickly] falls away" - is offended/falls into a trap, is tempted/stumbles.
v22 του αιωνος (ων ωνος) gen. "[the anxieties] of this life" - [ [the worries] which preoccupy men in the world", or objective, "[the worries] for things of the world."
του πλουτου (ος) gen. "[deceitfulness] of riches"
συμπνιγει (συμπνιγω pres. "choke [it]" – idiom, smothers the truth.
γινεται (γινομαι) pres. "making it [barren]. The subject is usually regarded as τον λογον, "the word", so the word is choked and does not produce a renewed spiritual life in the person.
v23 την καλην adj. "good soil" attributive limiting an assumed "soil".
ο .... συνιεις (υνιημι) pres. part. "[hears the word and] understands" - the one [hearing and] understanding. As for ακουων, "hearing", the participle serves as a substantive. The sense of "understands" as in v19, i.e. the illustration in the parable where seed is sown on good ground and grows to produce fruit represents the situation where a person hears the gospel, "grasps the message" and is converted by it.
καρποφορει (καρποφορεω) pres. "produces a crop" - the various levels of fruitfulness has tended to promote an interpretation where the hearing and understanding the gospel involves putting it into practice and thus bearing the fruits of the spirit but the image is of the fruit of salvation; i.e. those who take in the message of the kingdom they are converted.
ο μεν .... ο δε .... ο δε ..... " on the one hand ....., but then on the other hand, ..... but also on the other hand ...... adversative comparative construction.