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"Seed” in the Revised Standard Version
Those who regularly use the Revised Standard Version should take careful note of Genesis 13:15: “For all the land which you (Abraham) see I will give to you and your descendants [AV: ‘seed’] forever.”
The Seed Growing in Secret
The farmer goes into his field Sowing, not knowing, what will yield, The seeds lie hidden ’neath the sod, Its future in the hands of God.
A farmer went into his field Sowing, expecting bounteous yield, And as he cast the seed around It fell on different types of ground.
He Saith Not, and to Seeds, as of Many
Paul’s argument in Galatians 3:16 turns upon the use in the Hebrew texts of the promises made to Abraham of a singular word to denote “seed,” and not a plural word denoting “seeds.” It is not clear from Paul’s words which of the verses in Genesis he lie had in mind when he was writing to the Galatian Christians. Genesis 22:18 has been suggested as the probable verse on which Paul based his argument. It matters not, however, which of the Genesis promises formed the basis of Paul’s argument, for in each of them the word translated “seed” in the Authorised Version is the Hebrew word zera, a singular noun, which is used in the singular to denote one person, but is also used collectively to denote many persons.
Jesus “The Seed of the Woman”?
C.G.C. (Bristol) writes: “Paul showed clearly in his writings that Jesus was of the seed of Abraham and also of the seed of David, but nowhere do we find the Saviour spoken of as ‘the seed of the woman’ (Genesis 3:15), nor do we find any reference in Apostolic epistles to the promise in Eden in connection with Jesus. Can you say why this should be so?”
fur ́ō (תּלם, telem): The word is translated “furrows” in Job 39:10; 31:38; Psalms 65:10; Hosea 10:4; 12:11 (Psalms 65:10 the King James Version, “ridges”). In these passages the fields are pictured as they were in the springtime or late autumn. When the showers had softened the earth, the seed was sown and the soil turned over with the plow and left in furrows, not harrowed and pulverized as in our modern farming. The Syrian farmer today follows the custom of his ancient predecessors.
sēd (Old Testament always for זרע, zera‛, Aramaic (Daniel 2:43) זרע, zera‛, except in Joel 1:17 for פּרדות, perudhōth (plural, the Revised Version “seeds,” the King James Version “seed”), and Leviticus 19:19 (the King James Version “mingled seed”) and Deuteronomy 22:9 (the King James Version “divers seeds”) for כּלאים, kil'ayim, literally, “two kinds,” the Revised Version “two kinds of seed.” Invariably in Greek Apocrypha and usually in the New Testament for σπέρμα, spérma, but Mark 4:26-27; Luke 8:5, 11; 2 Corinthians 9:10 for σπόρος, spóros, and 1 Peter 1:23 for σπορά, sporá): (1) For “seed” in its literal sense see AGRICULTURE. Of interest is the method of measuring land by means of the amount of seed that could be sown on it (Leviticus 27:16). The prohibition against using two kinds of seed in the same field (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:9) undoubtedly rests on the fact that the practice had some connection with Canaanitish worship, making the whole crop “consecrated” (taboo). Jeremiah 31:27 uses “seed of man” and “seed of beast” as a figure for the means by which God will increase the prosperity of Israel (i.e. “seed yielding men”). (2) For the transferred physiological application of the word to human beings (Leviticus 15:16, etc.) see CLEAN; UNCLEAN. The conception of Christians as “born” or “begotten” of God (see REGENERATION) gave rise to the figure in 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9. If the imagery is to be stressed, the Holy Spirit is meant. In 1 John 3:9 a doctrine of certain Gnostics is opposed. They taught that by learning certain formulas and by submitting to certain rites, union with God and salvation could be attained without holiness of life. John’s reply is that union with a righteous God is meaningless without righteousness as an ideal, even though shortcomings exist in practice (1 John 1:8). (3) From the physiological use of “seed” the transition to the sense of “offspring” was easy, and the word may mean “children” (Leviticus 18:21, etc.) or even a single child (Genesis 4:25; 1 Samuel 1:11 the Revised Version margin). Usually, however, it means the whole posterity (Genesis 3:15, etc.); compare “seed royal” (2 Kings 11:1, etc.), and “Abraham’s seed” (2 Chronicles 20:7, etc.) or “the holy seed” (Ezra 9:2; Isaiah 6:13; 1 Esdras 8:70; compare Jeremiah 2:21) as designations of Israel. So “to show one’s seed” (Ezra 2:59;, Nehemiah 7:61) is to display one’s genealogy, and “one’s seed” may be simply one’s nation, conceived of as a single family (Esther 10:3). From this general sense there developed a still looser use of “seed” as meaning simply “men” (Malachi 2:15; Isaiah 1:4; 57:4; The Wisdom of Solomon 10:15; 12:11, etc.).
Seed, (זֶרִע, zera; σπέρμα). The seed time of Palestine (Leviticus 26:5) for grain came regularly in November and December (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. p. 340, 1003; Korte, Reis. p. 432). Since the harvest began in the middle of Nisan, the time of growth and culture was about four months (John 4:35; see Lücke, ad loc.). But this was certainly a very general reckoning, and perhaps had become proverbial. (In this passage the word ἔτι, yet, does not seem to accord with this explanation; see also Anger, De Temp. Act. Ap. p. 24 sq.; Wieseler, Chronol. Synops. p. 216 sq.; Jacobi, in Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 858 sq.). SEE AGRICULTURE.
And Some Yielded
A Sower Went Out to Sow
The Farmer and the Seed
Other Seeds Produced Grain
The Thorns Grew Up