Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was a hundred, sixty, and thirty times as much as had been planted!Matthew 13:8
Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!Mark 4:8
Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.Luke 8:8
The use of thirty, sixty and one hundred fold is limited in the Bible text. The parallel passages in Matthew [13:8 and 13:23] and Mark [4:8 and 4:20] are the only occurrences of 30-fold and 60 fold in the whole Bible. So we don’t have other passages to check the usage and the background. The usage of 100-fold is almost the same as it is for 30 and 60-fold – I.e. Mark 4:8, 20 and Matthew 13:8, 23. But there is also one other verse in each gospel where a hundred times or 100-fold is used. I.e. Matthew 19:29 and Mark 10:30. This is found in the passage related to leaving houses, brothers, sisters mothers fathers children of farms for the sake of the gospel. What is interesting here is that Luke doesn’t use the word “100-fold” (Luke 18:30) but like Matthew, uses “many times” instead of “100-fold”. In the Matthew passage the original documents of the New Testament are divided in their witness between “many times” and “100-fold”. It appears most likely that the documents which record the reading “100-fold” have been harmonised to find the readings in Matthew 13:8 and 13:23. Whereas the Lukan reading in 18:30 is original.
Luke of course uses 100-fold or 100 times in our passage under study at the moment. Luke 8:8.
There are two other uses of “100-fold” in the Old Testament.
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him.Genesis 26:12
But Joab replied to the king, “May the LORD your God let you live to see a hundred times as many people as there are now! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this?”2 Samuel 24:3
A survey of the use of the pure numbers 100, 60 and 30 yields the following:
Here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty shekels of silver, as measured by the sanctuary shekel.Leviticus 27:3
60 was the upper limit of usefulness, 20 was the lower limit.
There is another interesting use of “30” is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Numbers.
List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.Numbers 4:3
This refrain is repeated in 4:23, 30, 35, 39, 43 and 47. This refers to the fact that men who were 30 were now eligible for service in the Tabernacle or later in the temple. Notice Jesus then starts his public ministry at age 30.
Oh there are many other references to 30, 60 and 100 but all the others are merely using the numbers to count things.
Another interesting usage to note about the numbers 30, 60 and 100 is the fact that Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. (Gen 21:5) Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born. (Gen 25:26) but Jacob wasn’t 30 when any of his sons were born. We are not told how old Jacob was when each of his sons were born. But we are told that Joseph was 30 when he was given his role by Pharaoh in Egypt. (Gen 41:46) Of course that fits the age of entry into service mentioned above. There are many who make much of this and come up with grand theories of significance in the context of the sowing of the seed. But is it biblical or is it fanciful?
The ball is back in your court again. Time to ponder whether 30, 60 and 100 carry great significance when used in the context of the seed in the parable of the sower. Time for you to decide.
Three principles for success:
- know more than others
- work more than others
- expect less than others
To be successful in God’s work is to fall in line with His will and to do it His way. All that is pleasing to Him is a success.Henrietta C Mears
We are most successful when we take from God’s wisdom or revelation and share it with others – moment by moment.Ian Vail