Matthew 13:14 MEANING

Matthew 13:14
(14) In them is fulfilled.--The Greek verb expresses complete fulfilment, but the tense is that of a work still in progress. The prominence given to these words of Isaiah's in the New Testament is very noticeable. Our Lord quotes them here, St. John in John 12:40. St. Paul cites them in Acts 28:26. The quotation is from the LXX. version. It is as though the words which sounded at the very opening of Isaiah's prophecy as the knell of the nation's life, dwelt on the minds of the Master and His disciples, and prepared them for the seeming fruitlessness and hopelessness of their work.

Verse 14. - And in them; and unto them (Revised Version); i.e. with reference to them (cf. Jude 1:14). Is fulfilled. Completely (ἀναπληροῦται; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:16). The present, because the process is still going on. The prophecy of Esaias, which saith (Isaiah 6:9, 10). Not quoted in this form in the parallel passages; for Mark 4:12 and Luke 8:10 are really nearer our ver. 13. The quotation is taken verbally from the LXX., and so in Acts 28:26, 27. But John 12:40, on the contrary, is nearer the Hebrew. By hearing ye shall hear (ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε). A too literal translation of the Greek attempt to reproduce the Hebrew idiom, which is rather "hear ye indeed" as a continued action (שמעו שמוע). And shall not understand (Matthew 11:25, note); and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive. You may gaze at the object, but you shall not really see it. So with the bodily eye, an image may be formed in the retina, yet no impression conveyed to the brain.

13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias,.... In Isaiah 6:9

which saith, which runs, or may be read thus,

by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive. The words are a prophecy concerning the people of the Jews, which began to be accomplished in the times of Isaiah; and were again fulfilled in the times of some after prophets; and had been in part fulfilled under the more plain and easy ministry of Christ; and was to have a further accomplishment under this parabolical way of preaching; as it also was to have, and had, a yet further completion under the ministry of the apostles; see Acts 28:26 and the judicial blindness here predicted was to go on among them, until the land of Judea was utterly destroyed by the Romans, and the cities and houses thereof left without any inhabitants; all which accordingly came to pass: for that this prophecy refers to the times of the Messiah, and to the people of the Jews, is clear from this one observation made by Christ himself, that Esaias foretold those things when he saw the glory of the Messiah, and spake of him, John 12:40 and because it was to have, and had, its accomplishment over and over again in that people, therefore the word which may be rendered "is fulfilled again", is made use of. The sense of the prophecy is, with respect to the times of the Messiah, that the Jews, whilst hearing the sermons preached by him, whether with, or without parables, should hear his voice, and the sound of it, but not understand his words internally, spiritually, and experimentally; and whilst they saw, with the eyes of their bodies, the miracles he wrought, they should see the facts done, which could not be denied and gainsayed by them, but should not take in the clear evidence, full proof, and certain demonstration given thereby, of his Messiahship. In the prophecy of Isaiah, the words run in the imperative, "hear ye, see ye", &c. but are here rendered in the future, "shall hear, shall see", &c. which rendering of the words is supported and established by the version of the Septuagint, by the Chaldee paraphrase, and by many Jewish commentators (l); who allow, that the words in Isaiah may be so understood, which is sufficient to vindicate the citation of them, by the evangelist, in this form of them.

(l) In R. David Kimchi in Isa. vi. 9.

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