Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Saying 45

English

Jesus said, ‘Grapes are not harvested from thorn bushes, nor are figs gathered from thistles, because they do not produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his storage. A bad man brings forth evil from his wicked storage, which is in his heart, and he speaks evil. Because from the abundance of the heart, he brings forth evil.’


Interpretation

Thomas and Matthew each received this saying (Saying 45 and Matt 12.33–35) as already following the previous one (Saying 44 and Matt 12.31–32). Matthew’s author, as he sometimes does with his source material, duplicates the saying, placing the copy earlier in his narrative (Matt 7.16–20). When Luke used Matthew, the author saw this duplication and re-combined the two copies, keeping it in the earlier context (Luke 6.43–45).


Parallels

Sira

27.6 Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree, so a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of his mind.

Matthew

.16–20 ‘You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.’

12.33–35 ‘Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.’

Luke

6.43–45 ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil, for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.’

James

3.12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a grapevine figs?

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