From Life, Ministry, and Teachings of Jesus Christ: The Galilean Ministry (Unit 2) – Learn More

In the agricultural society of the first century world, many farmers depended on the quality of their crops. If an enemy aimed to sabotage their business, he would sow unpleasant seed (most likely a kind of darnel known by its Latin name, Lilium Temulentum) that would not be easily detected by the farmer as it sprouted. A darnel-like plant mimics cereal-like grains. When darnel grain is ground up with wheat, it produces a poisonous effect. Consuming darnel may cause headaches, drowsiness, and fatal convulsions. Darnel is known to be the “evil twin” of wheat or “bastard wheat” and, when planted among wheat, is hard to detect in its early stages.


Wheat Grain (Triticum): A major staple food that provides food energy and protien.

Wheat can be identified by the awn and the head. The awn is the bristle-like attachment of the wheat plant. The head resides in the kernels of the wheat plant.

When the awns become visible and heads begin emerging, it becomes apparent whether the grain is cereal grain or darnel.

Tares (Lilium Temulentum): In premature stages of the weed, the darnel plant mimics wheat grains, but it is poisonous. The darnel also has heads, but the awns are missing when the plants mature. When fully mature, the darnel will most likely produce a grain that is black. This “bastard wheat” is not edible but is to be seperated from the cereal grain. Eating a darnel grain can cause serious health problems.


“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ”First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ “ Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV 


At harvest time, the difference between the wheat and the tares becomes apparent. At this stage, it would have been obvious for the reapers to distinguish the wheat, which was to be havested, from the tares, which were to be gathered up and burned.

Spiritual Application
The Bible explains the meaning of the parable:
The Son of Man sows the good seeds (the sons of the kingdom) in the field (the world), but the devil deceitfully plants the tares (sons of the wicked one) among them. As the servant considers what to do with the tares, the landowner advises him to allow both plants to mature until the harvest (the end of the age). The reapers (the angels) will gather the tares and throw them into the furnace. “Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Matthew 13:36-43 NKJV