Differentiating the Good Seed from the Rest in Matthew 13.38

In the ESV, Matthew 13:38–39 reads:

“The field is the world, the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.”

In the NA27 it reads:

ὁ δὲ ἀγρός ἐστιν ὁ κόσμος, τὸ δὲ καλὸν σπέρμα οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας· τὰ δὲ ζιζάνιά εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ πονηροῦ, ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς ὁ σπείρας αὐτά ἐστιν ὁ διάβολος, ὁ δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοί εἰσιν.

A more helpful English translation would be

“…the good seed — these are the sons[1] of the kingdom…”

It seems that Matthew is trying to differentiate and place an emphasis on who the kingdom people are. In 8:12, οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας, are Jews, who by birth are “sons of the kingdom” but are thrown into outer darkness because of their rejection of the Messiah. As Matthew’s Gospel progresses it becomes increasingly clear that ethnicity is not the determining factor of kingdom status. At this juncture Jesus has declared that those who identify with him — these are the kingdom people and those who reject him are of the devil. People of the kingdom are the ones who identify with and are planted by the Son of Man.

Here are the ways other versions translate this passage:

  • Lexham English Bible - And the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom
  • HCSB - and the good seed—these are the sons of the kingdom.
  • NIV 2011 - and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.
  • NRSV - and the good seed are the children of the kingdom
  • NKJV - the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom
  • NET - and the good seed are the people of the kingdom.

  1. or people of the kingdom  ↩

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