8:5 “A sower went out to sow 1 his seed. 2 And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled on, and the wild birds 3 devoured it.
8:12 Those along the path are the ones who have heard; then the devil 4 comes and takes away the word 5 from their hearts, so that they may not believe 6 and be saved.
1 sn A sower went out to sow. The background for this well-known parable is a field through which a well-worn path runs in the Palestinian countryside. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots: Isa 55:10-11.
2 tn Luke’s version of the parable, like Mark’s (cf. Mark 4:1-9) uses the collective singular to refer to the seed throughout, so singular pronouns have been used consistently throughout this parable in the English translation. However, the parallel account in Matt 13:1-9 begins with plural pronouns in v. 4 but then switches to the collective singular in v. 5 ff.
3 tn Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).
4 sn Interestingly, the synoptic parallels each use a different word for the devil here: Matt 13:19 has “the evil one,” while Mark 4:15 has “Satan.” This illustrates the fluidity of the gospel tradition in often using synonyms at the same point of the parallel tradition.
5 sn The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against.
6 tn The participle πιστεύσαντες (pisteusante") has been translated as a finite verb here. It may be regarded as an adverbial participle of attendant circumstance. From a logical standpoint the negative must govern both the participle and the finite verb.