Matthew 13:26

ESV So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
NIV When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
NASB And when the wheat sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also became evident.
CSB When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared.
NLT When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
KJV But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

What does Matthew 13:26 mean?

This parable of Jesus describes an attack on a farmer's crop. The farmer planted a field with only good wheat seeds. During the dark of night, his enemy came and planted weeds in the field, as well (Matthew 13:24–25). Now Jesus reveals just how effective the attack has been. By the time the wheat plants begin to develop, the weeds are entrenched.

Bible scholars say the weed Jesus describes was likely "darnel," a semi-poisonous ryegrass that closely resembles wheat in the early stages of its growth. These plants are also known as "tares," and the use of that term in translations such as the King James Version is why this is often called "the parable of the wheat and the tares." This is a common plant, and the attack Jesus describes here has historically been one way of sabotaging another's crops.

Only later, after the wheat begins to bear grain, would the difference become obvious. By that time, though, the roots of the weeds and the wheat would likely have been entangled. As Jesus will show, the only good solution was to harvest the wheat and weeds together and then to separate them (Matthew 13:29–30). Later (Matthew 13:36–43), Jesus will explain to His disciples exactly what each element of this parable represents.
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