Ver. 20,21. Both Mark and Luke have this with no difference, save only in words, Mar_4:16,17 Lu 8:13. What Matthew calleth stony ground, Luke calls the rock. By the sun being up, and scorching the seed, in the parable, our Saviour meant tribulation or persecution, which Luke calleth a time of temptation, Luk_8:13.
Stony places are places where may be a little earth, but not much; he is here likened to such ground, who heareth the word, and anon (the Greek is euyuv, which signifieth presently) with joy receiveth it, as Herod is said to have heard John the Baptist gladly. The word of God (as some other objects) doth often on the sudden affect some persons in whom it doth not take any deep root. A sudden passion surprises them, which is but like the overflowing of a brook, which is quickly down.
Yet hath he not root in himself, &c. Our Saviour here assigns two causes of such hearers falling away, the one internal, the other external; the former is the great cause of the latter. By root in himself some understand constancy, or a serious resolution and purpose of heart; but this is doubtless but the product of this root, which is the same thing which the apostle calls the seed of God, Job calls the root of the matter; a principle of grace in a heart truly touched with the love of God and of his truth.
But dureth for a while; no longer than he thinks that he can by his profession attain the end he aimed at and propounded to himself, be it riches, or honour and reputation.
But when tribulation or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, or because of the word, when he seeth that he cannot own his profession without the danger of his estate, life, liberty, places, and preferments, &c.
by and by he is offended, made to stumble and fall, he falls off from all his former profession of the gospel.