Pearls and the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:45-13:46)


The kingdom of heaven is

Like a merchant

In search of fine pearls.

On finding one pearl

Of great value,

He went

And sold

All that he had.

Then he bought it.”


Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας·

εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.


Again, only Matthew has this parable about the pearl merchant and the kingdom of heaven (Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  This kingdom was like a precious pearl, like a merchant in search of fine pearls (ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας).  If this pearl expert found one precious pearl of great value (εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην), he would go away and sell all that he had (ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν).  Then, he would buy this precious pearl (καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν).  There was also a play on words, since in Jewish society, pearls often meant piety and study of the Torah.  Once again, you would sell everything you had, and give up everything, just so that you can have the great precious pearl of the kingdom of heaven.