3 He told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered. 7 Other seeds fell among the thorns, and they grew up and choked them. 8 But other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 The one who has ears had better listen!”
4 Ezra 8:412 Esdras
40 So I have said, and so it is. 41 The farmer sows many seeds in the ground and plants many plants, but not all the seeds sown come up safely in season, nor do all the plants strike root. So too in the world of men: not all who are sown will be preserved.’ 42 To that I replied: ‘If I have won your favor, let me speak. 43 The farmer’s seed may never come up because it is given no rain at the right time, or it may rot because of too much rain. 44 But man, who was formed by your hands and made in your image, and for whose sake you made everything - will you compare him with seed sown by a farmer? 45 Surely not, O Lord above! Spare your own people and pity them, for you will he pitying your own creation.’
Notes and References
"... The third indication that the parable is retelling the story of Israel—and this is also an indication of where, within the story, the teller and hearers belong—lies at the heart of the narrative, in the idea of the “seed” itself. Within second-Temple Judaism, the idea of “seed” is capable of functioning as a shorthand for the “remnant” who will return when the exile is finally over. The “seed” is a metaphor for the true Israel, who will be vindicated when her god finally acts, “sown” again in her own land. (The usage goes back at least to Isaiah 6:13c “the holy seed is its stump”, referring to the tree of Israel, felled in the exile. Behind that, of course, are the promises to Abraham and his “seed”, reflected in, e.g., Tobit 4:12 ... compare Jubilees 1:15–18; 21:24; Psalms of Solomon 14:2f; 1 Enoch 62:8; 4 Ezra 8:41) For someone announcing the kingdom to tell a story about the seed being sown, then, would be to say: the remnant is now returning. The exile is over. Your god is at last sowing the good seed, creating his true Israel. It will not do to object that, in the parable’s interpretation, the “seed” is the “word.” That is precisely what we should expect, granted one of the central and classic prophecies of return from exile ..."
Wright, N. T. "Kingdom Refined: The Announcement" in Dunn, James D. G., and Scot McKnight, editors. The Historical Jesus in Recent Research (pp. 207-224) Eisenbrauns, 2005
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