Matthew 13 – The Sower and Seed Parable – The Gospels

That same day, when Jesus had left the house and was sitting by the sea, 2 such great crowds gathered round him, that he got into a boat, and sat in it, while all the people stood upon the beach. 3 Then he told them many truths in parables.

“The sower,” he began, “went out to sow; and, 4 While sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it had not much soil, and, having no depth of soil, sprang up at once. 6 As soon as the sun had risen, it was scorched, and, having no root, withered away. 7 Some, again, fell into the brambles; but the brambles shot up and choked it. 8 Some, however, fell on good soil, and yielded a return, sometimes one hundred, sometimes sixty, sometimes thirty fold. 9 Let those who have ears hear.”

10 Afterwards his disciples came to him, and said: “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 “To you,” answered Jesus, “the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given, but not to them.1 12 For, to all who have, more will be given, and they shall have abundance; but, from all who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 That is why I speak to them in parables, because, though they have eyes, they do not see, and though they have ears, they do not hear or understand.”

14 “And in them is being fulfilled that prophecy of Isaiah which says: ‘You will hear with your ears without ever understanding, And, though you have eyes, you will see without ever perceiving, 15 For the mind of this nation has grown dense, And their ears are dull of hearing, Their eyes also have they closed; Lest some day they should perceive with their eyes, And with their ears they should hear, And in their mind they should understand, and should turn—and I should heal them.’“

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16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear; 17 For I tell you that many prophets and good men have longed for the sight of the things which you are seeing, yet never saw them, and to hear the things which you are hearing, yet never heard them. 18 Listen, then, yourselves to the sower and seed parable.”

19 When anyone hears the message of the kingdom without understanding it, evil comes and snatches away what has been sown in their minds. These receivers are signified by the seed which was sown along the path. 20 By the seed which was sown on rocky places is meant the receivers who hear the message, and at once accept it joyfully; 21 But, as they have no roots, they stand for only a short time; and, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the message, they fall away at once.

22 By the seed which was sown among the brambles is meant the receivers who hear the message, but the cares of life and the glamour of wealth completely choke the message, so that it gives no return. 23 But by the seed which was sown on the good ground is meant the receivers who hear the message and understand it, yielding a return, sometimes one hundred, sometimes sixty, sometimes thirty fold.”

24 Another parable which Jesus told them was this: “The kingdom of heaven is compared to a farmer who sows good seed in their field. 25 But, while everyone was asleep, their enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So, when the blades of corn shot up, and came into ear, the weeds made their appearance also. 27 Seeing this, the owner’s servants came to him, and said ‘Was not it good seed that you sowed in your field? Where, then, do the tares in it come from?'”

28 “’An enemy has done this,’ was his answer. ‘Do you wish us, then,’ they asked,’ to go and gather them together?’ 29 ‘No,’ said he, ‘for I fear that while you are gathering the tares you should root up the wheat as well. 30 Let both grow side by side till harvest; and then I shall say to the reapers, gather the tares together first, and tie them in bundles for burning; but bring all the wheat into my barn.’“

31 Another parable which he told them was this: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard-seed, which a farmer takes and sows in the field. 32 This seed is smaller than all other seeds, but, when it has grown up, it is larger than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that ‘the wild birds come and roost in its branches.’“ 33 This was another parable which Jesus related: “The kingdom of heaven is like some yeast which a baker took and covered up in three pecks of flour, until the whole had risen.”2

34 Of all this Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables; indeed to them he used never to speak at all except in parables,3 35 in fulfillment of these words by the prophet: ‘I will speak to them in parables; I will utter things kept secret since the foundation of the world.’ 36 Then Jesus left the crowd, and went into the house. Presently his disciples came to him, and said: “Explain to us the parable of the tares in the field.”

37 And he answered: “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world. By the good seed is meant the people of the kingdom. The tares are the wicked, 39 And the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest–time is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 And, just as the tares are gathered and burnt, so it will be at the close of the age.”

41 “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom all that hinders, and those who live in sin, 42 And ‘will throw them into the fiery furnace,’ where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine, like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Let those who have ears hear.”

44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which people find and hide again, and then, in their delight, go and sell everything that they have, and buy that field.4 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven are like merchants in search of choice pearls. 46 Finding one of great value, they go and sell everything that they have and buy it.”

47 “Or again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was cast into the sea, and caught fish of all kinds. 48 When it was full, they hauled it up on the beach, and sat down, and sorted the good fish into baskets, but threw the worthless ones away. 49 So will it be at the close of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous, 50 And ‘will throw them into the fiery furnace,’ where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”

51 “Have you understood all this?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they answered. 52 Then he added: “So every teacher of the law, who has received instruction about the kingdom of heaven, are like householders who produce from their stores things both new and old.” 53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he withdrew from that place.

54 Going to his own part of the country, he taught the people in their synagogue in such a manner that they were deeply impressed. “Where did he get this wisdom?” they said, “and the miracles? 55 Is not he the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, too: are not they all living among us? Where, then did he get all this?” 57 These things proved a hindrance to their believing in him; whereupon Jesus said: “Prophets are not without honor, except in their own countries and houses.”

58 And he did not work many miracles there, because of their want of faith.


To read Chapter 14 of the Gospel of Matthew, please go to: The Head of John the Baptist.

  1. Discover why it is difficult to believe that Jesus made this statement to the disciples and why we must take a critical eye to what appears in the Gospels by reading the introduction to The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life at: The Lord’s Prayer Commentary. []
  2. Learn the meaning of the parable of the baker & the kingdom of heaven at: Our Daily Bread Meaning. []
  3. Read an explanation of this Gospel of John passage and learn why Jesus spoke in parables by going to the Lord’s Prayer commentary: Hallowed Be Thy Name. []
  4. Explore the Living Hour’s commentary on the parable of the hidden treasure & the parable of the wheat and tares in Thy Kingdom Come—Chapter 3 of The Lord’s Prayer book. []