Add parallel Print Page Options

The Parable of the Weeds

24 He presented them with another parable:[a] “The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed darnel[b] among the wheat and went away. 26 When[c] the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the darnel also appeared. 27 So the slaves[d] of the landowner[e] came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the darnel come from?’ 28 He said, ‘An enemy has done this!’ So[f] the slaves replied, ‘Do you want us to go and gather it?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the darnel you may uproot the wheat along with it. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At[g] harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burned, but then gather[h] the wheat into my barn.”’”

Read full chapter


  1. Matthew 13:24 tn Grk “He set before them another parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant and has not been translated.
  2. Matthew 13:25 tn Or “sowed poisonous weeds”; KJV “tares.” The Greek term ζιζάνιον (zizanion) is generally understood to refer to darnel (Lolium temulentum), an especially undesirable weed that bears an uncanny resemblance to wheat until the ears of grain appear (L&N 3.30; BDAG 429 s.v.). So close is the resemblance to genuine wheat that darnel is sometimes called “false wheat.” Darnel is considered poisonous; ingesting the weed causes feelings of drunkenness and can prove fatal. Under Roman law the sowing of such poisonous plants in someone else’s field was specifically prohibited (C. Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary [Eerdmans, 2009], 387). A number of recent English translations use “weeds,” but this does not convey the poisonous nature of darnel or the similarity in appearance to wheat.
  3. Matthew 13:26 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  4. Matthew 13:27 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.
  5. Matthew 13:27 sn The term landowner here refers to the owner and manager of a household.
  6. Matthew 13:28 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the owner’s statement.
  7. Matthew 13:30 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
  8. Matthew 13:30 tn Grk “burned, but gather”; “then” has been added to the English translation to complete the sequence begun by “First collect.”