Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
TARES ( ζιζάνια, Matthew 13:25 ff.; only in this passage in NT and only in Gr. and Lat. authors influenced by the NT; Arab. [Note: Arabic.] zawân [‘nausea’]; Syr. [Note: Syriac.] zizna ; Lat. and scientific name, Lolium temulentum [‘drunken’]).—The bearded darnel, a weed much resembling wheat in its earlier stages, and growing mostly in grain fields. Its area of distribution is wide, embracing Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, India, and Japan. The kernel is black, bitter, and smaller than wheat. As a matter of fact it is poisonous, producing dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, diarrhœa, convulsions, gangrene, and sometimes death; this is due, however, not to the darnel itself, but to the ergot which usually infests it. It does not harm poultry, for which it is raised and sold in Oriental markets. Though very closely resembling wheat till the grain is headed out, afterwards ‘even a child knows the difference’ (Thomson). See Tristram ( Nat. Hist. of the Bible , p. 486), and Thomson ( LB [Note: The Land and the Book.] , vol. ii. pp. 395–397) esp. for an explanation of the common Oriental but unscientific idea that darnel is degenerate wheat.
The parable of the Tares and its explanation are found only in Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43. Our interpretation of it is affected by a few exegetical details. In Matthew 13:24 the aorist ὡμοιώθη is significant (as also the aorists in Matthew 18:23 and Matthew 22:2, and the future in Matthew 25:1) if the use of this tense means that the Kingdom of heaven has ‘been made like,’ etc., by the course of events, that in the progress of the history it has become like. This ties the parable to the historical situation in which it was spoken, forbidding an exclusive reference to the future; while the fact that it is the Son of Man (= Messiah) who has sown the good seed (cf. Matthew 13:37) excludes all reference to the origin of evil in the world. The time of the parable is the time of the question of the servants ( Matthew 13:27), when the tares had been already recognized as such (ἐφάνη, Matthew 13:26). As to Matthew 13:25, it is not at all necessary to think that this was a common method of revenge in Jesus’ day and country. Thomson did not find a person in Palestine who had ever heard of sowing darnel maliciously. If new to Jesus’ hearers, it would emphasize this quite possible malice as extraordinary, unheard-of, and outrageous. In Matthew 13:26 χόρτος means the grassy crop, including all that grew in the field, and was chosen just in order to embrace both tares and wheat. ‘Made fruit’ does not mean ‘produced fruit,’ but refers to the period of the formation of the kernel. ‘Then,’ and not till then, appeared also the tares as tares. Matthew 13:27 and the following verse show that the idea of wheat degenerating into darnel is foreign to the parable; the servants think of mixed seed, the master of an independent sowing of darnel. Still less is there any idea in the parable that darnel may become wheat (B. Weiss). Weeding wheat ( Matthew 13:28-29) is common to-day in Palestine as in America, and has been observed there by Stanley, Thomson, and Robertson Smith; but it must be done either before the milk stage of the wheat, i.e. before it is headed out (impossible in this case on account of the similarity between wheat and darnel in the earlier growth), or later when the kernel has hardened. The reason for this is that any disturbance of the wheat when ‘in the milk’ is especially harmful to it. So the master will not allow the weeding then, lest the servants pull out and so disturb the roots of the wheat, interlaced as they are with the roots of the darnel. There is no question here of pulling up wheat for darnel by mistake. The darnel has already appeared as darnel, and just on that account comes the servants’ question ( Matthew 13:27). The question of the servants is then, from the point of view of the Galilaean agriculturists addressed, an intrinsically foolish one. No one who knew anything about farming would think of removing the darnel at that juncture. The master’s reply does not seem strange to the crowd. It is reinforced by their knowledge and common sense. So Jesus gains the approval of the common man to back His teaching. The harvesters of Matthew 13:30 (cf. Matthew 13:39) are different from the servants, although this is merely implied here, and is first made perfectly clear only in the explanation. It is absolutely necessary to avoid the mingling of the kernels of the darnel and the wheat, lest the bread be poisoned. This may be effected ( a ) by weeding, ( b ) by carefully picking out the stalks of darnel one by one from the cut grain, probably the former here (cf. Matthew 13:30; Matthew 13:28 συλλέξατε, συλλέξωμεν), or ( c ) by sifting (after threshing) with a sieve so constructed as to allow the smaller darnel seeds to fall through, while retaining the larger wheat. All three methods are used in Palestine to-day. The weeding would trample down the grain, to be sure; but, as to-day in America, it would rise again enough to be cut by the sickle, always used in Palestine; cf. Deuteronomy 16:9; Deuteronomy 23:25, Mark 4:29, Revelation 14:14-19. It is probable that τὰ σκάνδαλα in Matthew 13:41 is to be taken personally as in Matthew 16:23. The πάντα, not repeated before τοὺς ποιοῦντας, seems to include both under one vinculum; up to this time all, both tares and wheat, have been interpreted as persons ( Matthew 13:38); and, finally, only persons are subject to the final judgment ( Matthew 13:42).
The correct interpretation of this parable flows directly from its historical setting. It is a stage in the development of the Kingdom which allows itself to be described (ὡμοιώθη, v. 24) by the story of the Tares. The men addressed, whether the Twelve or the multitudes, were Jews, with the common Jewish ideas of the Messianic Kingdom, and these ideas Jesus was engaged in modifying and spiritualizing. The Sower had been a parable of disillusionment, disclosing that the success of the Messianic Kingdom would not be so universal or immediate as they had fondly imagined, that its method was to be preaching and not cataclysm, that it depended for its spread on its reception in human hearts. The Tares is equally a parable of disillusionment. John the Baptist had at least, publicly and prevailingly, described the Messiah as coming for judgment ( Matthew 3:10-12), and this was in perfect accord with the popular anticipation that the Messianic reign would begin with a judgment (Schürer, HJP [Note: JP History of the Jewish People.] ii. ii. 163–168, 181). But Jesus had not shown any indication of being such a judge, nay He had taken quite another course ( Matthew 12:15-21), so that doubt came into the mind even of John the Baptist ( Matthew 11:2 ff.). For the inauguration of the Messianic reign with a judgment the disciples were eagerly looking. ‘On that day’ ( Matthew 13:1) of the parables, or at least a short time before it, the Pharisees had shown their true colours by charging that Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons ( Matthew 12:22-32). Jesus had indeed given them a solemn warning ( Matthew 12:32), but no lightning stroke had destroyed them, and the disciples were disappointed. Their spirit, described in the question of Matthew 12:28, was later expressed by James and John ( Luke 9:54 f.), ‘Lord, wilt thou that we bid fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ In this parable Jesus teaches them that the judgment which they momentarily expected, the separation of the sons of the Kingdom and the sons of the Evil One, shall surely come, not now, but at the end of the age, and that meantime the wicked shall continually spring up among the righteous. This is to be expected, and is to be borne with patience . The parable therefore discloses the fact that, instead of being victorious at one stroke, the progress of the Kingdom is to be continually hindered and hampered (cf. τὰ σκάνδαλα, Matthew 13:41), till the consummation of the age.
This interpretation leaves unanswered those questions about Church discipline which have made the parable an ecclesiastical battle-ground for centuries, because the parable has nothing to do with such controversies . (1) The field is not the Church, but the world of men ( Matthew 13:38), the Messiah’s world which He is sowing, just as it is in the Sower, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven. (2) The Kingdom is not the Church, but the Messianic Kingdom of Jewish expectation. It is extremely doubtful if the Kingdom ever = the Church, certainly never the visible, organized Church. (3) There was no background for the idea of ‘Church,’ much less of Church discipline, in the disciples’ minds at this time. It is only at Caesarea Philippi ( Matthew 16:18) and afterwards (only Matthew 18:17), that Jesus begins to introduce that idea in a very rudimentary way, by what Aramaic word we know not. (4) If the parable refers to Church discipline, it forbids it in toto , while the parable of the Net on a similar interpretation makes it impossible. It is idle to say that it prohibits only the exclusion of masses, and permits that of the very bad, or inculcates a general attitude of mind towards Church discipline. (5) All men are to appear at the Judgment, not merely professing Christians ( Matthew 25:31-32). (6) The Apostles did not so understand the parable, for they insisted on Church discipline ( 1 Corinthians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:13, 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Revelation 2:14-16; Revelation 2:20-23; cf. Matthew 18:15-20). The history of the interpretation of the parable shows that such a use of it was first made by Cyprian during his bishopric (248–258), in support of his theories of the Church. Tertullian, a half century earlier, may have held it. Origen (b. 182, d. 250) knew of this interpretation, but rejected it. Irenaeus knew nothing of it. (7) Last and most important, such an interpretation ignores the historical situation, would have been a riddle to the disciples (cf. Bruce, Parabolic Teaching , p. 43), a prophecy with no root in the present; it takes no account of the emphasis in Christ’s interpretation, and of His omission of the servants’ question and the master’s answer therein (cf. Matthew 25:28-30 a. with Matthew 25:37-43).
Two objections to the interpretation of the parable proposed in this article deserve attention. (1) In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says that the angels shall gather out of His Kingdom all offences and them that do iniquity, whence it is inferred that the tares were in the Kingdom and not in the world. It is admitted that the word ‘Kingdom’ is used in this parable in a very loose sense. But this is the universal fact throughout the Synoptics, in proof of which the long controversies in the theological world about its meaning are conclusive (cf. Sanday in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible ii. 619 f.). The Kingdom of Matthew 25:24, which the course of events has already made like the field of the following narrative, is a most intangible and indefinable entity, a congeries of truths and principles characteristic of the coming age, which take shape in the world as they embody themselves in the lives of men. In the process of taking shape, the parable tells us, opposition has risen in the world of men which these truths and principles claim as their rightful sphere, and which men expect them to occupy. The sons of the Kingdom ( Matthew 25:38) are those who receive these truths and embody them in their lives and conduct. These are sown in the wide field of the world of men, which the Messiah claims as rightfully His—His Kingdom ( Matthew 25:41), or, if preferred, which He calls His Kingdom at His coming to claim it as such (cf. Matthew 16:28, 2 Timothy 4:1, Revelation 11:15; cf. Matthew 13:49). Finally, the Kingdom of their Father ( Matthew 13:43, cf. Matthew 26:29; Matthew 25:34; Matthew 25:46) is the consummated Kingdom of glory. (2) The related parable of the Net ( Matthew 13:47-50) is supposed to refer to the discipline of the Church. This is, however, a mistake. ( a ) The Kingdom is not like the Net; but its principles and history, here especially its consummation, are illustrated by the following story (cf. Mark 4:26). ( b ) The explanation of Matthew 13:49-50 lays not the slightest emphasis on anything except the consummation. ( c ) Those who draw the net and those who separate the good and the bad are the very same persons ( Matthew 13:48), i.e. the angels ( Matthew 13:49). ( d ) The parable, if it relates to Church discipline, makes that absolutely impossible. ( e ) Its position at the end of the sermon of Matthew 13, whether due to Jesus or Mt. or an editor, is an additional proof that its teaching is the same as that of the Tares: i.e. at the end of the age, and only then, shall the good and the bad be separated.
The historical criticism of the Gospels gives no assured results here. Holtzmann and Pfleiderer think that the Evangelist has worked over and added new traits to Mark 4:26 ff. B. Weiss says that Mt. and Mk. have worked over the same original parable, Mt., however, adding only Mark 4:25; Mark 4:27-28 a. The explanation, as also that of the Sower, is from the Evangelist’s hand. Jülicher acknowledges an unrecognizable parable-kernel here, which lies at the bottom of both Mt. and Mk. The parable, as it stands in Mt., is, however, the result of a working over of Mk.’s parable and the original parable, the companion of the Net, while the explanation is from the same editor’s hand. Hilgenfeld and Holsten look on Mk.’s parable as a weakened form of the Tares, or a substitute for it. J. Weiss thinks that the idea of gradual development is not in this or its sister parables.
Literature.—Broadus, Com. on Mt .; Jülicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu , ii. 546–569; also B. Weiss, Zahn, Goebel, Trench, and Bruce ( Parabolic Teaching ), cf. his remarks in Expos. Gr. Test., in loc .; Arnot ( Parables ) may be compared as a pioneer of the correct interpretation. See also R. Flint, Christ’s Kingdom upon Earth (1865), 122; H. S. Holland, God’s City (1894), 181; R. J. Campbell, The Song of Ages (1905), 77. The controversy of the Donatists with Augustine first brought out the arguments on both sides.
Frederick L. Anderson.
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary 
Our blessed Lord having been graciously pleased to speak of the mysteries of his kingdom under the similitude of good seed, as in opposition to tares, the subject becomes exceedingly interesting, that we may obtain a just and proper notion concerning the tares.
I do not presume to speak decidedly on any subject but such as God the Holy Ghost hath been pleased most clearly to reveal; and therefore what the eastern writers have said on the article of tares, I only venture to relate, as the matter appears in their account, leaving the reader to his own conclusions under the grace of God. But if what they have said concerning tares be true, it serves to throw a more beautiful light on our Lord's parable concerning them than is generally understood.
They describe the tares, as in form and colour, so much alike to the pure grain, that to a common eye the difference is not discernable. In the blossoming season the resemblance is said not to be so striking then as in the earlier appearance; but from that time to the fruit forming and advancing to ripeness, the discovery becomes more and more discernable. Hence, the reader will remember the caution given by the householder, not to gather up the tares until the time of harvest, test in plucking up the tares the servants should gather up the true seed with them.
But what makes the parable of Christ so truly striking on the subject is, that while the tares are said to have carried with them so strong a resemblance to the pure seed, the tares differed so very highly from it in quality as to be little short of being poisonous. They possessed the power of intoxicating, and formed a very heavy load on the stomach of those, who by accident, gathered them mingled with their corn.
The parable of our Lord of the wheat and tares contains in its first, plain and obvious sense many delightful instructions; but under this view which eastern writers give, that tares are not simply weeds, that by springing up with good seed check the growth, but are destructive and poisonous, the parable becomes infinitely more pointed. Our Lord indeed, when speaking of the tares, and explaining to his disciples in private the parable, expressly calls them "the children of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them the devil." (See Matthew 13:38-39) But this view of them, as in their nature poisonous, however in appearance like to the good seed, is certainly a striking beauty in the parable.
I would only beg to add a short observation upon the subject, and just to say, under this view, how mistaken must be the notion of those, who fancy that when our Lord said, Let both grow together until the harvest, that this was meant to say, perhaps the tares if continued under the means of grace might become good corn. Surely the Lord Jesus meant no such thing. Never can the children of the kingdom become devils, however too often found in such company, and doing Satan's service, and wearing his livery. Neither can the children of the wicked one become heirs of the kingdom, however like tares in the midst of the good seed they may grow up in the same field, and bear an outward resemblance for a while to the true corn. They are all along defined whose they are, and to whom they belong; and to his all-seeing and discriminating eye they are well known, and their different characters, with their final issue, appointed and determined from everlasting. "In the time of harvest, (saith the Lord Jesus) I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind therein bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ( Matthew 13:30)
Smith's 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. 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 ( Lolium temulentum ), if eaten, produce convulsions, and even death.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Matthew 13:24-30. Ζizanion , Arabic, Zowan , Hebrew Zownin ; Zan means "nausea." Not our vetch, but darnel; at first impossible to distinguish from wheat or barley, until the wheat's ear is developed, when the thin fruitless ear of the darnel is detected. Its root too so intertwines with that of the wheat that the farmer cannot separate them, without plucking up both, "till the time of harvest." The seed is like wheat, but smaller and black, and when mixed with wheat flour causes dizziness, intoxication, and paralysis; Lolium Temulentum , "bearded darnel", the only deleterious grain among all the numerous grasses.
French, Ivraie , "tipsy grass," from from whence our harmless "rye grass" is named. Hollow professors, having the form without the reality of godliness, nay, even hurtful and bad ( Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6; Ezekiel 33:31). None but the Lord of the harvest can distinguish the seeming from the real. The attempt to forestall His judgment for the sake of securing a pure church has always failed, and has only tended to foster spiritual pride and hypocrisy. Trench makes the "tares" into degenerate wheat (Parables, 91); sin is not a generation but a degeneracy.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words 
is a kind of darnel, the commonest of the four species, being the bearded, growing in the grain fields, as tall as wheat and barley, and resembling wheat in appearance. It was credited among the Jews with being degenerate wheat. The rabbis called it "bastard." The seeds are poisonous to man and herbivorous animals, producing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions and even death (they are harmless to poultry). The plants can be separated out, but the custom, as in the parable, is to leave the cleaning out till near the time of harvest, Matthew 13:25-27,29,30,36,38,40 . The Lord describes the tares as "the sons of the evil one;" false teachings are indissociable from their propagandists. For the Lord's reference to the Kingdom see Kingdom.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
A noxious plant of the grass family, supposed to mean the darnel, the "infelix lolium" of Virgil, now called Siwan or Zowan by the Arabs. It grows among the wheat everywhere in Palestine, and bears a great resemblance to it while growing, so much so that before they head out the two plants can hardly be distinguished. The grains are found two or three together in a dozen small husks scattered on a rather long head. The Arabs do not separate the darnel from the wheat, unless by means of a fan or sieve after threshing, Matthew 13:25 - 30 . If left to mingle with the bread, it occasions dizziness, and often acts as an emetic.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
TARES (Gr. zizania , Arab. [Note: Arabic.] zuwÃ¢n ) are certain kinds of darnel growing plentifully in cornfields. The bearded darnel ( Lolium temulentum ) most resembles wheat. The seeds, though often poisonous to human beings on account of parasitic growths in them, are sold as chicken’s food. When harvest approaches and the tares can be distinguished, they are carefully weeded out by hand by women and children (cf. Matthew 13:24-30 ).
E. W. G. Masterman.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
ζιζάνια.A noxious weed, known as darnel. It closely resembles wheat until it is in ear. At the approach of the harvest it can be distinguished, and women and children have been seen in Palestine picking out the tall stalks of ziwÃ¢n , as it is called by the Arabs. It is the Lolium temulentum. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares the Lord compares to tares those introduced into the kingdom by Satan, who will be consumed in judgement. Matthew 13:25-40 . See PARABLES.
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Tares. Bearded darnel ( Lolium Temulentum ), a grass sometimes found in our own grain-fields, but very common in Eastern countries. Matthew 13:25. Until the head appears its resemblance to wheat is very close. Travellers describe the process of pulling up this grass and separating it from the genuine grain, and their descriptions perfectly accord with the language of our Saviour in the parable.
Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types 
Matthew 13:25 (a) Our Lord Himself tells us that the tares are the children of Satan. They are religious sinners, who are only professing Christians. They associate with Christians, as the tares grow with the wheat. In the little pods at the top of the wheat stalk, or that which looks like wheat, there are no grains. The pods are empty. So the hypocrite has no value - no eternal life.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Lolium Matthew 13:25-30 13:36-40
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
( Ζιζάνια ; Vulg. Zizania ). There can be little doubt that the Ζιζάνια of the parable ( Matthew 13:25) denote the weed called "darnel" (Lolium Temulentum), a widely distributed grass, and the only species of the order that has deleterious properties. The word used by the evangelist is an Oriental, and not a Greek, term (the native Greek word seems to be Αιρα , Dioscor. 2, 91). It is the Arabic Zaw '''''Â''''' N'' the Syriac Ziz À Na, and the Zoni ( זוֹנַין ) of the Talmud (Mishna, 1, 109; see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. s.v.). The derivation of the Arabic word from z Â n, "nausea," is well suited to the character of the plant, the grains of which produce vomiting and purging, convulsions, and even death. Volhey (Trav. 2, 306) experienced the ill effects of eating its seeds; and "the whole of the inmates of the Sheffield work house were attacked some years ago with symptoms supposed to be produced by their oatmeal having been accidentally adulterated with lolium" (Engl. Cyclop s.v. "Lolium").
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 nen plucked up the tares " ‘ they should root up also the wheat with them." Prof. Stanley, however (Sinai and Palest. p. 426), speaks of women and children picking out 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 (Land and Book, 2, 111): "The grain is just in the proper stage to illustrate the parable. In those parts where the grain has headed out, the tares have done the sa
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
The word (zizanion) thus rendered occurs in , and several of the following verses. It is evident from the narrative that the wheat and the zizanion must have had considerable resemblance to each other in the herbaceous parts, which could hardly be the case, unless they were both of the family of the grasses. That such, however, is the case, is evident from what Volney says, that the peasants of Palestine and Syria do not cleanse away the seeds of weeds from their corn, but even leave that called Siwan by the Arabs, which stuns people and makes them giddy, as he himself experienced. The Ziwan of the Arabs is concluded to be our Darnel, the Lolium temulentum of botanists, and is well suited to the palate. It is a grass often found in corn-fields, resembling the wheat until both are in ear, and remarkable as one of the very few of the numerous family of grasses possessed of deleterious properties.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
târz ( ζιζάνια , zizánia ( Matthew 13:25 ff), margin "darnel"): Zizania is equivalent to Arabic zuwān , the name given to several varieties of darnel of which Lolium temulentum , the "bearded darnel," is the one most resembling wheat, and has been supposed to be degenerated wheat. On the near approach of harvest it is carefully weeded out from among the wheat by the women and children. Zuwān is commonly used as chickens' food; it is not poisonous to human beings unless infected with the mold ergot.
- Tares from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Tares from Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
- Tares from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Tares from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Tares from Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words
- Tares from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Tares from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Tares from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Tares from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Tares from Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types
- Tares from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Tares from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Tares from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Tares from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
- Tares from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia