ISRAEL PHOTOS IV -- Pilgrimage

Parable of the Wheat and Tares

Matthew 13 (WEB)
24 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds[a] also among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the blade sprang up and produced fruit, then the darnel weeds appeared also. 27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did these darnel weeds come from?’ 28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’ 29 “But he said, ‘No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds, you root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Tares -- lolium temulentum 18th century drawing (public domain)

In Israel and Palestine there is a grassy weed named lolium temulentum called zawan in Arabic. Zawan may also refer to other grassy weeds in the area. When the sprout starts to form a green shoot it appears like wheat. By the time the husks appear, it may be identified as zawan. The zawan may have a tendency to host a bacteria that causes dizziness and nausea. Since the tares are poisonous, they cannot be fed to people, livestock, or chickens.

In the 19th century a man traveling in the Holy land observed: "As in his day, so now, the wheat and tares grow together, and all the facts of the parable are illustrated to the modern traveler. Tares abound throughout the country, and in many respects they resemble the American cheat. The stalk stands perfectly erect, and the small grains are arranged compactly one above the other. Having a bitter taste, they produce dizziness when eaten, whether by man or beast, and are regarded as a strong soporific poison. If the saviour designed it to represent the good and bad in his church, no illustration could have been selected more appropriate and impressive. The "wheat and tares" derive nourishment from the same soil; they are so much alike before the grain is headed out that it is quite impossible to distinguish the stalk of the one from that of the other, even to those accustomed to weed their fields; and so intertwined are the roots of both, "that they must grow together until the harvest" before the wheat can be gathered into the garner and the tares collected to be burnt. From Dan to Beersheba, by John Philip Newman, 1864:

In 1913 Rev. J.T. Duward published an account of a harvest scene he witnessed while riding horseback on the road between Nazareth and Cana: "An early field is being reaped to our left, and with both tares and wheat we see ... When the grain has a good start it grows considerably higher than the zawan, the Arab cockle. The reapers ... cut off the wheat, it being the tallest above the zawan, thus preventing the chess being gathered with the wheat. The tares and the bottom of the wheat straw are then gathered for fuel." In times past dried grass was used to cook meals as fire wood was scarce.

Nazareth Synagogue
Churches of the Annunciation
Latin Tradition -- Mount of Precipitation
Nazareth Aerial View
Museum of the Basilica
Hot Springs at Tiberias
Stone Water Jars at Capernaum
A 1909 Galilee Fishing Description
The Giant Mustard Plant
Kursi and the Gadarene Demoniac
Jar of Ointment
Wheat and Tares

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