The cantata text by an unknown poet stays close to the Gospel. The obstacles to growth of the seeds, such as rock and thorns, are related to other Biblical quotations where they are mentioned. For example, rock appears also when Moses gets water from a rock (Exodus 17:6) and a rock is removed from the grave of Jesus (Matthew 28:2). The cantata is not closed by a chorale but the only choral movement, a prayer that God's word may fall on fertile ground in us. The original anonymous libretto is extant.
Bach first performed the cantata on 13 February 1724. He performed it at least one more time between 1743 and 1746, only then he added parts for two woodwinds.
The cantata consists of five movements, twice a sequence of an aria and a recitative, concluded by a choral movement. This resembles the typical format for secular cantatas. Likely at least the final movement if not others also are parodies of unknown secular music. The parts for flute and oboe were added for a later performance. A characteristic motif with staccato leaps dominates the movement, introduced by the instruments, then picked up by the voice. "Flattergeister" literally means "fluttering spirits". Richard Stokes translates the cantata title as "frivolous flibbertigibbets"; they compare to the fowl feeding on the seeds in "nervous, jerky movement". According to the musicologist Julian Mincham, it depicts the "flippant and superficial" in an irregular pattern, which fits an observation in Bach's obituary about his melodies, considered "strange and like no other's". Mincham continues: "One can never quite predict the turns which this spiky, disjointed melody is likely to take". A second part speaks of Belial, whose evil intervention is mentioned frequently in literature, including Milton's Paradise Lost. Both parts of the aria are repeated; after only four measures of what seems like a da capo, a modified version of the middle section begins which depicts Belial, the "demon of lies and guilt". The following secco recitative stresses the text "Es werden Felsenherzen … ihr eigen Heil verscherzen" (One day those hearts, so stony, … will their salvation forfeit) in an arioso. The images of the crumbling rocks are illustrated by a rugged line in the continuo. The tenor aria is probably lacking the part of an obbligato violin. Robert Levin supplied three "convincing reconstructions" for the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. The final movement, with trumpet sound, is happy and uncomplicated. According to Christoph Wolff, the movement is based on a lost secular piece composed in Cöthen. Its middle section is a duet of soprano and alto. John Eliot Gardiner notes the movement's "madrigalian lightness and delicacy perfectly appropriate to the joyous message of the parable".