Matthew 13:10–17 (LDGNT)
10Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς
11ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὅτι ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται
12ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ
13διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν
14καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἠσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε
15ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς
16ὑμῶν δὲ μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὅτι βλέπουσιν καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν ὅτι ἀκούουσιν
17ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν ἰδεῖν ἃ βλέπετε καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν καὶ ἀκοῦσαι ἃ ἀκούετε καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν
Lexham English Bible
Matthew 13:10–17 (LEB)
10And the disciples came up and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
11And he answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to those people it has not been granted.
12For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand,
14and with reference to them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says, “You will listen carefully and will never understand, and you will look closely and will never perceive.
15For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they hear with difficulty, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”
16But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear.
17For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it!
Lexham Context Commentary
Reason for the Parables (13:10–17)
The disciples, who are ever-present in Jesus’ ministry, come up to Jesus at this point to ask Jesus why he speaks to the crowds in parables. While this comes early in the parable discourse, Jesus has used several short parables and metaphors in the Gospel already (5:15–16; 7:24–27; 9:16, 17; 12:43–45). What is stated here at the front end of the parable discourse seems to apply to all the parables of Jesus through the Gospel. In response to the question, Jesus answers that the mysteries of the kingdom have been revealed to the disciples, but to the crowds they haven’t yet been granted. His speaking in parables fulfills the words of Isa 6:9–10.
13:10 The conversation with the disciples is a bit disjunctive in the flow of the narrative. In the previous passage, Jesus went just offshore in a boat to speak to the crowd. Now the disciples come up to him and ask about why he teaches the crowd with parables, presumably in private. The remainder of the parable discourse will continue this back-and-forth move between speaking parables to the crowds and offering the interpretations of the parables to the disciples. This back and forth showcases the message of this passage: that followers of Jesus are those who are part of God’s kingdom family (12:46–50), and the Father and Son reveal the kingdom to them (11:25–28).
13:11 Jesus responds to the question of the disciples from the previous verse. Jesus’ response indicates a clear division between the disciples and the crowds. The mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to the disciples (11:25–28), but not to the crowds. The other notable difference between the crowds and disciples in the narrative so far is that the disciples have chosen to follow Jesus. Those who receive the teachings of Jesus only in parable form remain outsiders of the kingdom of God.
13:12 As a means of supporting the statement from the previous verse, Jesus draws on what seems to be a flexible proverb that can apply in a variety of circumstances—he will use it again in 25:29. The disciples have received the mysteries of the kingdom, and they will continue to receive more of the teachings of Jesus. The crowds have received from Jesus’ teachings and ministry, but they have not responded correctly. People like this will receive only parables, and the ministry of Jesus will have no lasting impact for them because they have not responded properly.
13:13 Jesus now states his principle based on his response so far. The crowds have seen Jesus’ miracles and heard his teaching, and yet they have not properly responded with repentance and following him like the disciples have. This is why his teaching will remain concealed to them in parable form. The same language will be used after the quotation from Isaiah to characterize the disciples’ positive response to Jesus.
13:14–15 The citation formula for Isa 6:9–10 differs slightly from other quotations, including the verb “fulfill,” so this quotation should not be considered one of the ten formula quotations in the Gospel. The ten fulfillment formulas also have a christological focus, whereas this quotation is focused on the crowds. The language of the senses, hearing and seeing, which formed part of Jesus’ answer, anticipated the features of the Isaiah passage. The passage from Isaiah forms a chiasm of heart, ears, and eyes.
13:16 The same language used to describe the obstinate crowds in 13:13 is now used to describe the blessed disciples. Their eyes truly see and their ears truly hear. The disciples have made the choice to follow Jesus (4:18–22), and the Father and Son have opened their eyes to the truth (11:25–27).
13:17 Jesus draws attention to his final statement on this issue with “truly I say to you.” Jesus states that the prophets and righteous people of the past longed to see the day of the Messiah. Jesus has similarly mentioned ancient examples of those who would have repented had they seen Jesus’ miracle working (11:20–24).
Mangum, D. (Ed.). (2020). Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament (Mt 13:10–17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.