Parable of the Darnel

Posted by Thaddaeus

Matthew 13: 24-30


Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.  When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.  The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?  Where have the weeds come from?’  He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’  His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them.  Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”


Background:  This Parable of the Darnel is another of the seven parables Jesus tells on the day of parables.  On that fateful day, Jesus is rejected by the Pharisees probably at the home of Peter in Capernaum.  He leaves the town and crosses the Jordan to the other side.  This fulfills the words of Isaiah, “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, a people who has sat in darkness has seen a great light.”  Here Jesus shifts from straightforward teaching to parables.  He uses parables for two reasons: one to reveal divine mysteries for the benefit of the open-minded, humble of heart and another to conceal them from the close-minded, hardened of heart.  Darnel is a poisonous plant resembling wheat.  It can only be distinguished from wheat when the wheat crop is fully mature.  Farmers had to be careful to separate it during the harvest.  It signifies treachery.


Parable of the Darnel:  The Parable of the Darnel is explained by Jesus to the disciples in verses 36-43,  “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.  The weeds are the children of the evil one.  The enemy who sows them is the devil.  The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are the angels.  Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.  They will throw them into the fiery finance where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  The slaves are not allowed to pull up the weeds.  This  serves as a warning for us not to anticipate the final judgment of God.  God is merciful.  He alone will eliminate the sinful.