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English Bible Dictionary

Tares

 

There can be little doubt that the zizania of the parable, (Matthew 13:25) denotes the weed called "darnel" (Lolium temulentum). The darnel before it comes into ear is very similar in appearance to wheat; hence the command that the zizania should be left to the harvest, lest while men plucked up the tares "they should root up also the wheat with them." Dr. Stanley, however, speaks of women and children picking up from the wheat in the cornfields of Samaria the tall green stalks, still called by the Arabs zuwan. "These stalks," he continues, "if sown designedly throughout the fields, would be inseparable from the wheat, from which, even when growing naturally and by chance, they are at first sight hardly distinguishable." See also Thomson ("The Land and the Book" p. 420): "The grain is in just the proper stage to illustrate the parable, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. In those parts where the grain has headed out, the tares have done the same, and then a child cannot mistake them for wheat or barley; but where both are less developed, the closest scrutiny will often fail to detect them. Even the farmers, who in this country generally weed their fields, do not attempt to separate the one from the other." The grains of the L. temulentum, if eaten, produce convulsions, and even death.

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