Matthew 13:44 MEANING

Matthew 13:44
(44) The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field.--Probably no parable in the whole series came more home to the imagination of the disciples than this. Every village had its story of men who had become suddenly rich by finding some hidden hoard that had been hastily concealed in time of war or tumult. Then, as now, there were men who lived in the expectation of finding such treasures, and every traveller who was seen searching in the ruins of an ancient town was supposed to be hunting after them. As far back as the days of Solomon such a search had become a parable for the eager pursuit of wisdom (Proverbs 2:4). Now they were told to find that which answered to it in their own experience. The conduct of the man who finds the treasure, in concealing the fact of his discovery from the owner of the field, hardly corresponds with our notions of integrity, but parables--as in the case of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1) and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:2)--do not concern themselves with these questions, and it is enough if they bring out the salient points--in this case, the eagerness of the man to obtain the treasure, and the sacrifice he is ready to make for it. Jewish casuistry, in such matters, applied the maxim, Caveat emptor, to the seller rather than the buyer, and the minds of the disciples would hardly be shocked at what would seem to them a natural stroke of sharpness.

In the interpretation of the parable, the case described is that of a man who, not having started in the pursuit of holiness or truth, is brought by the seeming accidents of life--a chance meeting, a word spoken in season, the example of a living holiness--to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, i.e., to Christ Himself, and who, finding in Him a peace and joy above all earthly treasure, is ready to sacrifice the lower wealth in order to obtain the higher. Such, we may well believe, had been the history of the publicans and the fishermen who made up the company of the Twelve. The parable had its fulfilment in them when they, at the bidding of their Lord, "forsook all and followed Him." Such, it need hardly be said, has been the story of thousands of the saints of God in every age of the Church's life from that day to this.

Verse 44. - The parable of the hidden treasure found. Matthew only. It seems probable, from ver. 51, that this and the next two parables were spoken to the disciples in private. They alone would appreciate the value of what they had found; to them alone could the warning be as yet given, that it is not sufficient to have been gathered within the gospel net. Observe in this parable that the treasure was found by chance, and it was near to the man without his knowing it. Again. To be omitted, with the Revised Version and Westcott and Hort. Its absence (contrast vers. 45, 47) suggests that this parable is the first of a group, marked as such either by our Lord beginning with it after he had made a pause, or by merely coming first in one of the sources that the evangelist used. The kingdom of heaven (ver. 24, note) is like unto treasure hid in a field (cf. Proverbs 2:4). Hid (hidden, Revised Version, κεκρυμμένῳ). It was not there by accident; it had been purposely placed there, hid by its former possessor for safety (Matthew 25:18, 25). Observe that, doubtless unintentionally on the part of the evangelist, the parable forms in this respect the complement to ver. 35b. In a field (ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ); in the field (Revised Version); cf. Matthew 1:23, note. The which when a man hath found, he hideth; which a man found, and hid (Revised Version). For fear some one else should take it. Premature assertion would lose the man the treasure. (For a similar truth in spiritual things, cf. Galatians 1:17.) And for joy thereof. So also the margin of the Revised Version; but and in his joy (Revised Version) is better (καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτοῦ). Goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Goeth... selleth... buyeth. All in the present tense. Our Lord in this parable (contrast ver. 46) brings the man vividly before us in each separate stage of his action. For the self-denial that is a necessary of acquiring gospel privileges, comp. Matthew 19:21 (where contrast the young man's grief with the joy spoken of here). Field. Observe that, though the figure is the same as in ver. 24, the thing signified is very different. Here field represents merely that which contains the treasure, perhaps the outward profession of Christianity. All. Westcott and Hort omit, chiefly on the authority of the Vatican manuscript (cf. ver. 46, note). And buyeth that field. Into the morality of the action our Lord does not enter; he only illustrates his teaching by an incident that must have happened not un-frequently in a country like Palestine, which had already been the scene of so many wars. But the transaction "was, at least, in entire accordance with Jewish law. If a man had found a treasure in loose coins among the corn, it would certainly be his, if he bought the corn. If he had found it on the ground, or in the soil, it would equally certainly belong to him, if he could claim ownership of the soil, and even if the field were not his own, unless others could prove their right to it. The law went so far as to adjudge to the purchaser of fruits anything found among these fruits" (Edersheim, 'Life,' 1:595).

13:44-52 Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure,.... By which is meant, not eternal life, the incorruptible inheritance, riches of glory, treasure in heaven; nor Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and all the riches of grace and glory; but the Gospel, which is a treasure consisting of rich truths, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; of the most valuable blessings, and of exceeding great, and precious promises; and reveals the riches of God, of Christ, and of the other world; and is a treasure unsearchable, solid, satisfying, and lasting: this is said to bid in a field. The Gospel was in some measure hid, under the former dispensation, from the Old Testament saints; and for a long time was hid from the Gentile world; and is entirely hid from them that are lost, who are blinded by the god of this world; and even from the elect of God themselves, before conversion: this is sometimes said to be hid in God, in his thoughts, counsels, and purposes, and in the covenant of his grace; and sometimes in Christ; who is the storehouse of truth, as well as of grace; and may be thought to be hid under the Mosaic economy, in the types and shadows of the ceremonial law: but here "the field" means the Scriptures, in which the Gospel lies hid; and therefore these are to be searched into for it, as men seek and search for silver and hid treasures, by digging into mines, and in the bowels of the earth:

the which when a man hath found; either with or without the use of means, purposely attended to, in order to find it; such as reading, hearing, prayer, and meditation: for sometimes the Gospel, and the spiritual saving knowledge of it, are found, and attained to, by persons accidentally, with respect to themselves, though providentially, with respect to God; when they had no desire after it, or searched for it, and thought nothing about it; though by others it is come at, in a diligent use of the above means:

he hideth; which is to be understood not in an ill sense, as the man hid his talent in a napkin, and in the earth; but in a good sense, and designs his care of it; his laying it up in his heart, that he might not lose it, and that it might not be taken away from him: anor joy thereof; for the Gospel, when rightly understood, brings good tidings of great joy, to sensible sinners,

goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field: which is not to be interpreted literally and properly; though a man that knows the worth and value of the Bible, rather than be without one, would part with all his worldly substance for one; but figuratively, and denotes the willingness of such souls, who are led into the glory, fulness, and excellency of the word of God, the scriptures of truth, and of the immense treasure of the Gospel therein, to part with all that has been, or is dear unto them; with their sins, and self-righteousness; with their good names and characters; their worldly substance, and life itself, for the sake of the Gospel, and their profession of it: and may also design the use of all means, to gain a larger degree of light and knowledge in the Gospel. It seems by this parable, according to the Jewish laws, that not the finder of a treasure in a field, but the owner of the field, had the propriety in it; when it should seem rather, that it ought to be divided. Such that have ability and leisure, may consult a controversy in Philostratus (l), between two persons, the buyer and seller of a field; in which, after the purchase, a treasure was found, when the seller claimed it as his; urging, that had he known of it, he would never have sold him the field: the buyer, on the other hand, insisted on its being his property; alleging that all was his which was contained in the land bought by him,

(l) De Vita Apollonii, lib. 2. c. 15.

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