1tn Grk “and all the crowd.” The clause in this phrase, although coordinate in terms of grammar, is logically subordinate to the previous clause.

2tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

3sn Though parables can contain a variety of figures of speech (cf. the remainder of chapter 13), many times they are simply stories that attempt to teach spiritual truth (which is unknown to the hearers) by using a comparison with something known to the hearers. In general, parables usually advance a single idea, though there may be many parts and characters in a single parable and subordinate ideas may expand the main idea further. The beauty of using the parable as a teaching device is that it draws the listener into the story, elicits an evaluation, and demands a response.

4tn Grk “Behold.”

5sn A sower went out to sow. The background for this well-known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well-worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10-11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God.

6tn In Matthew’s version of this parable, plural pronouns are used to refer to the seed in v. 4 (αὐτά [Jaauta]), although the collective singular is used in v. 5 and following (indicated by the singular verbs like ἔπεσεν [epesen]). For the sake of consistency in English, plural pronouns referring to the seed are used in the translation throughout the Matthean account. In both Mark and Luke the collective singular is used consistently throughout (cf. Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8).

7tn Here and in vv. 7 and 8 δέ (de) has not been translated.

8sn The rocky ground in Palestine would be a limestone base lying right under the soil.

9tn Grk “it did not have enough depth of earth.”

10sn Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system.

11sn That is, crowded out the good plants.

12tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15, 13:43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

13tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

14tn Grk “And answering, he said to them.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

15tn This is an example of a “divine passive,” with God understood to be the source of the revelation (see ExSyn 437-38).

16tn Grk “to you it has been given to know.” The dative pronoun occurs first, in emphatic position in the Greek text, although this position is awkward in contemporary English.

17tn Grk “the mysteries.”

sn The key term secrets (μυστήριον, musthrion) can mean either (1) a new revelation or (2) a revealing interpretation of existing revelation as in Dan 2:17-23, 27-30. Jesus seems to be explaining how current events develop old promises, since the NT consistently links the events of Jesus’ ministry and message with old promises (Rom 1:1-4; Heb 1:1-2). The traditional translation of this word, “mystery,” is misleading to the modern English reader because it suggests a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand (L&N 28.77).

18sn What he has will be taken from him. The meaning is that the one who accepts Jesus’ teaching concerning his person and the kingdom will receive a share in the kingdom now and even more in the future, but for the one who rejects Jesus’ words, the opportunity that that person presently possesses with respect to the kingdom will someday be taken away forever.

19tn Grk “with hearing,” a cognate dative that intensifies the action of the main verb “you will listen” (ExSyn 168-69).

20tn Grk “look by looking.” The participle is redundant, functioning to intensify the force of the main verb.

21sn A quotation from Isa 6:9-10. Thus parables both conceal or reveal depending on whether one is open to hearing what they teach.

22sn This beatitude highlights the great honor bestowed on the disciples to share in this salvation.

23tn Grk “truly (ἀμήν, amhn) I say to you.”

24sn This is what past prophets and righteous people had wanted very much to see, yet the fulfillment had come to the disciples. This remark is like 1 Pet 1:10-12 or Heb 1:1-2.

25sn Interestingly, the synoptic parallels each use a different word for Satan here: Mark 4:15 has “Satan,” while Luke 8:12 has “the devil.” This illustrates the fluidity of the gospel tradition in often using synonyms at the same point of the parallel tradition.

26sn The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against.

27tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

28tn Grk “The one sown on rocky ground, this is the one.” The next two statements like this one have this same syntactical structure.

29tn Grk “is temporary.”

30tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

31tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

32tn Grk “the deceitfulness of riches.” Cf. BDAG 99 s.v. ἀπάτη 1, “the seduction which comes from wealth.”

33sn That is, their concern for spiritual things is crowded out by material things.

34tn The Greek is difficult to translate because it switches from a generic “he” to three people within this generic class (thus, something like: “Who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one instance a hundred times, in another, sixty times, in another, thirty times”).

35tn Grk “He set before them another parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

36tn Grk “sowed darnel.” The Greek term ζιζάνιον (zizanion) refers to an especially undesirable weed that looks like wheat but has poisonous seeds (L&N 3.30).

37tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

38tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.

39tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the owner’s statement.

40tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

41tn Grk “but.”

42tn Grk “burned, but gather.”

43tn Grk “put before.”

44tn Grk “He set before them another parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

45sn The mustard seed was noted for its tiny size.

46sn This is rhetorical hyperbole, since technically a mustard plant is not a tree. This could refer to one of two types of mustard plant popular in Palestine and would be either ten or twenty-five ft (3 or 7.5 m) tall.

47tn Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).

48sn The point of the parable seems to be that while the kingdom of God may appear to have insignificant and unnoticeable beginnings (i.e., in the ministry of Jesus), it will someday (i.e., at the second advent) be great and quite expansive. The kingdom, however, is not to be equated with the church, but rather the church is an expression of the kingdom. Also, there is important OT background in the image of the mustard seed that grew and became a tree: Ezek 17:22-24 pictures the reemergence of the Davidic house where people can find calm and shelter. Like the mustard seed, it would start out small but grow to significant size.

49tn Grk “hid in.”

50sn This measure was a saton, the Greek name for the Hebrew term “seah.” Three of these was a very large quantity of flour, since a saton is a little over 16 pounds (7 kg) of dry measure (or 13.13 liters). So this was over 47 lbs (21 kg) of flour total, enough to feed over a hundred people.

51tn Grk “it was all leavened.”

sn The parable of the yeast and the dough teaches that the kingdom of God will start small but eventually grow to permeate everything. Jesus’ point was not to be deceived by its seemingly small start, the same point made in the parable of the mustard seed, which preceded this one.

52tc A few important mss (א* Θ 1,13 33) identify the prophet as Isaiah, a reading that is significantly harder than the generic “prophet” because the source of this prophecy is not Isaiah but Asaph in Ps 78. Jerome mentioned some mss that had “Asaph” here, though none are known to exist today. This problem is difficult because of the temptation for scribes to delete the reference to Isaiah in order to clear up a discrepancy. Indeed, the vast majority of witnesses have only “the prophet” here (א1 B C D L W 0233 0242 ¤ lat sy co). However, as B. M. Metzger points out, “if no prophet were originally named, more than one scribe might have been prompted to insert the name of the best known prophet – something which has, in fact, happened elsewhere more than once” (TCGNT 27). In light of the paucity of evidence for the reading ᾿Ησαΐου, as well as the proclivity of scribes to add his name, it is probably best to consider the shorter reading as authentic.

tn Grk “was spoken by the prophet, saying.” The participle λέγοντος (legontos) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

53sn A quotation from Ps 78:2.

54tn Grk “And answering, he said.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

55tn Grk “the sons of the kingdom.” This idiom refers to people who should properly be, or were traditionally regarded as, a part of God’s kingdom. L&N 11.13 translates the phrase: “people of God’s kingdom, God’s people.”

56tn Grk “the sons of the evil one.” See the preceding note on the phrase “people of the kingdom” earlier in this verse, which is the opposite of this phrase. See also L&N 9.4; 11.13; 11.14.

57tn Grk “Therefore as.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated.

58tn Grk “the ones who practice lawlessness.”

59sn A quotation from Dan 3:6.

60sn An allusion to Dan 12:3.

61tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15, 13:9; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

62sn An allusion to Dan 3:6.

63tn Or “every scribe.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4. It is possible that the term translated “expert in the law” (traditionally, “scribe”) here is a self-description used by the author, Matthew, to represent his role in conveying the traditions about Jesus to his intended audience. See David E. Orton, The Understanding Scribe [JSNTSup].

64tn Grk “Now it happened that when.” The introductory phrase καὶ ἐγένετο (kai egeneto, “it happened that”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

65tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then.”

66sn Jesus’ hometown (where he spent his childhood years) was Nazareth, about 20 miles (30 km) southwest of Capernaum.

67tn Grk “them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

68sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23. Jesus undoubtedly took the opportunity on this occasion to speak about his person and mission, and the relation of both to OT fulfillment.

69tn Grk “synagogue, so that they.” Here ὥστε (Jwste) has not been translated. Instead a new sentence was started in the translation.

70sn The reference to Jesus as the carpenter’s son is probably derogatory, indicating that they knew Jesus only as a common laborer like themselves. The reference to his mother…Mary (even though Jesus’ father was probably dead by this point) appears to be somewhat derogatory, for a man was not regarded as his mother’s son in Jewish usage unless an insult was intended (cf. Judg 11:1-2; John 4:41; 8:41; 9:29).

71tn Grk “Where did he get these things?”