Understanding the parables (Lk 8:10-8:10)

“Jesus said.

‘To you

It has been given

To know the secrets

Of the kingdom

Of God.

But to others,

I speak in parables.

Thus,

Looking,

They may not perceive!

Listening,

They may not understand!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς, ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ συνιῶσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to his disciples that they would be able to understand the secrets (Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια) of the kingdom of God (τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  But to others (τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς), he would be speaking in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς).  Thus, these people might look (ἵνα βλέποντες), but not see (μὴ βλέπωσιν).  They might listen (καὶ ἀκούοντες), but not understand (μὴ συνιῶσιν).  This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Matthew, chapter 13:11-15, and here.  Matthew and Mark also said that Jesus told his disciples that they had been given knowledge concerning the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God.  However, this was not granted to others.  Matthew had Jesus explain that those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them.  However, those who had nothing, even what little they had would be taken away.  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables was that some people might see, but not perceive what they saw, while other people might hear but not understand what they have heard.  For people outside their disciple group, everything was still in parables or riddles.  Only those on the inside would understand these parables, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these riddles.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries and the kingdom of God and heaven.  Matthew also had a long citation from Isaiah, chapter 6:9-10, about the people unable to understand, while Luke, and Mark had only a short summary statement.  Isaiah told the Israelite people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull and their eyes and ears were closed.  They were experiencing and listening, but they could not hear or understand.  Do you understand what you see and hear?

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The secret of the parables (Mk 4:11-4:11)

“Jesus said to them.

‘To you

Has been given

The secret

Of the kingdom of God.

But for those outside,

Everything comes

In parables.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parables can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:11, and Luke, chapter 8:10, almost word for word, as here in MarkMark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that they had been given the secret mysteries about the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of heaven as in Matthew (Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  However, this was not granted to those outside this disciple group (ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω).  For them, everything was still in parables or riddles (ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται).  Only those on the inside would understand the parables or riddles, while those outside the inner circle of Jesus would not understand these parables.  This was almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite insiders had a true secret knowledge about the mysteries of God.

Allegories (Ezek 20:49-20:49)

“Then I said.

‘Ah Lord God!

They are saying

Of me.

‘Is he not

A maker

Of allegories?’”

Ezekiel either finished this chapter or started a new chapter by complaining to the Lord God that people were making fun of him. They thought that he was making up these allegories or riddles.

Introduction (Prov 1:2-1:6)

Let them learn about wisdom.

Let them learn about instruction.

Let them understand words of insight.

Let them gain instruction in wise dealing.

Let them gain instruction in righteousness.

Let them gain instruction in justice.

Let them gain instruction in equity.

Let them teach shrewdness to the simple.

Let them teach knowledge to the young.

Let them teach prudence to the youth.

Let the wise also hear.

Let them gain in learning.

Let the discerning acquire skill.

Let them understand a proverb.

Let them understand obscure figures.

Let them understand the words of the wise.

Le them understand their riddles.”

Just like the psalms, this book of proverbs has a poetic rather than prose format. Originally this section was one long Hebrew sentence. In order to become wise, they have to learn and understand words of insight, wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity. These proverbs will teach shrewdness, knowledge, and prudence to young people. Even the wise people can gain knowledge and acquire skills in understanding proverbs, obscure statements, and symbols. In fact, these proverbs will help you understand the wise men and their riddles. These obscure figures are more like metaphors, parables, or allegories, while the riddles use analogy.

Listen to God (Ps 49:1-49:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of the Korahites

“Hear this!

All you peoples!

Give ear!

All inhabitants of the world!

Both low and high!

Rich and poor together!

My mouth shall speak wisdom.

The meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

I will incline my ear to a proverb.

I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.”

Psalm 49 continues the string of choral psalms of the Sons of Korah of the last few psalms. This psalmist is like a wise sage. He wanted all the people of the whole world to hear him. This was not confided to Israel, but the more universal wisdom literature. He wanted the ears of the high and the low people as well as the rich and the poor. This is another indication that classism and economic woes have a long history. The mouth of the psalmist would speak with wisdom and understanding. He knew about proverbs and riddles with the background music of the harp.