It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, 1 so that the wild birds 2 come and nest in its branches.” 3
Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES."
It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can come and find shelter in its branches."
It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it."
Which is smaller than all seeds; but when it has come up it is greater than the plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and make their resting-places in its branches.
it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
"which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
it is grown
of the air
|NET © [draft] ITL|
it has grown
, so that
the wild birds
|NET © Notes||
1 sn This is rhetorical hyperbole, since technically a mustard plant is not a tree. This could refer to one of two types of mustard plant popular in Palestine and would be either ten or twenty-five ft (3 or 7.5 m) tall.
2 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).
3 sn The point of the parable seems to be that while the kingdom of God may appear to have insignificant and unnoticeable beginnings (i.e., in the ministry of Jesus), it will someday (i.e., at the second advent) be great and quite expansive. The kingdom, however, is not to be equated with the church, but rather the church is an expression of the kingdom. Also, there is important OT background in the image of the mustard seed that grew and became a tree: Ezek 17:22-24 pictures the reemergence of the Davidic house where people can find calm and shelter. Like the mustard seed, it would start out small but grow to significant size.