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Parable-Midrash Study
  A Mashal is a short parable with a moral lesson or religious allegory, called a nimshal. "Mashal" is used also to
designate other forms in rhetoric, such as the fable.  A large number of parables are found in post-Biblical literature, in
the Talmud and Midrash.
The Midrash - wikipedia: "The Hebrew term Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎; plural midrashim,
"story" from "to investigate" or "study") also "Interpretation" or "Exposition" is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis.
The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible; a collection of stories that illustrate
the deeper meaning of a biblical teaching.
The Talmudic writers believed in the importance of the parable, and
regarded it as a valuable means of determining the true sense of the Law and of attaining a correct understanding.  In
the Talmud and Midrash almost every religious idea, moral maxim, or ethical requirement is accompanied by a parable
which illustrates it.   For instance, parables dealing with kings, for instance, were frequently chosen to illustrate God's
relationship to the world in general and to Israel in particular, as in
Numbers 2: 24.  The Lord is also poetically likened
to a King (
Psa. 10:16; Zeph. 3:16-17; Zech. 14:16-17; Malachi 1:14). Israel is the first-born of the Lord (Exo. 4:22;
Deut. 14:1
).  

  Jesus of Nazareth, a Hebrew Israelite, spoke Hebrew  and Aramaic and likewise taught in Hebrew or Aramaic
depending on his audience.  The first 5 books of the NT, however, were written in Greek yet we should never neglect
the critical nature of Jesus' Jewish heritage and how he was influenced by first-century Judaism.  For instance, Jesus
was learned in Torah and the Oral Tradition (Talmud, Mishnah, Midrash).  Given that a parable is a type of mashal or
midrash, we now learn why Jesus came to use parables in his teachings.  Many Christians are led to believe that Jesus
invented parables rather than understand that Jesus taught in the manner that he had been raised - using a mashal to
illustrate a teaching.

  This relation is also frequently illustrated by the parable of a king who had a beloved or a wife (
Hosea 2:19-20, Israel
is the bride of God, His wife, whom He loves, and whom He always takes back, although He may at times disown her
and cast her off.  The attitude of God toward Israel is also illustrated with  frequency by the parable of a king who had a
vineyard in which he planted fine vines on account of the comparison of Israel to the vineyard of God (
Isaiah 5: 1-7),
and to the noble vine which He planted (
Jerm. 2:21). Similarly the flight of the prophet Jonah from God is illustrated by
the parable of the servant who runs away from God's will for him (
Jonah 1:2- the idea that a prophet is a servant of
God was familiar to the people from
Isa. 20:1-3.    

 The Greek term for parable is parabole - used typically to translate the more general Hebrew term mashal (plural:
meshalim) a placing beside; a comparison; equivalent to the Hebrew word, "mashal", a similitude.  In the Old Testament
this is used to denote (1) a proverb as in
1 Samuel 10:12; 24:13; 2 Chronicles 7:20., (2) a prophetic utterance as in  
Numbers 23:7; Ezek. 20:49, (3) an enigmatic saying as in Psalm 78:2; Proverbs 1:6.  Likewise, In the New
Testament, (1) a proverb (b), (2) a typical emblem (
Hebrews 9:9; 11:19), (3) a similitude or allegory (Matthew 15:15;
24:32; Mark 3:23; Luke 5:36; 14:7
).

Additional Old Testament Parables:
Numbers 23:7 He took up his parable, and said, "From Aram has Balak brought me, the king of Moab from the
mountains of the East. Come, curse Jacob for me. Come, defy Israel.

Numbers 23:18  He took up his parable, and said, "Rise up, Balak, and hear! Listen to me, you son of Zippor.

Numbers 24:3  He took up his parable, and said, "Balaam the son of Beor says, the man whose eye was closed says;

Numbers 24:15  He took up his parable, and said, "Balaam the son of Beor says, the man whose eye was closed says;

Numbers 24:20  He looked at Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his
latter end shall come to destruction."

Numbers 24:21  He looked at the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, "Your dwelling place is strong. Your nest
is set in the rock.

Numbers 24:23 He took up his parable, and said, "Alas, who shall live when God does this?

Job 27:1  Job again took up his parable, and said, As God lives, who has taken away justice from me.

Job 29:1 Job again took up his parable, and said, "Oh that I were as in months gone by, as in the days when God
watched over me..."

Psalms 49:4  I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.  
Psalms 78:2  I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.
Proverbs 26:7  Like the legs of the lame that hang loose: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
Proverbs 26:9  Like a thorn bush that goes into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

Isaiah 14:4  ..that you will take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased!
The golden city has ceased!"

Ezekiel 17:2  Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;

Ezekiel 24:3 Utter a parable to the rebellious house, and tell them, Thus says the Lord , Set on the caldron, set it on,
and also pour water into it:  

Micah 2:4  In that day they will take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, saying,'We are
utterly ruined! My people's possession is divided up. Indeed he takes it from me and assigns our fields to traitors!'"  

Habakkuk 2:6  Won't all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say,'Woe to him
who increases that which is not his, and who enriches himself by extortion! How long?'

2 Sam. 12:1-4  Of the poor man who had raised a single lamb which a wealthy neighbor took to set before a guest ()
which is intended to illustrate the sin which David had committed with Bathsheba, Uriah's wife.

2 Sam 14:6  the wise woman of Tekoah, who induced David to make peace with his son Absalom .

I Kings 20:39-40 Of the prophet's disciple, showing Ahab the wrong course which he had adopted toward Ben-hadad.

Isaiah 10:1-6 Of the vineyard which does not thrive despite the care bestowed upon it (), illustrating Israel's
degeneracy.

Isaiah 28:24-28 Of the farmer who does not plow continually, but prepares the field and sows his seed, arranging all
his work in due order.

What we call the Proverbs of Solomon, which are moral lessons, the Greeks call the Parables of Solomon. In like
manner, when Job answers his friends, it is said he took up his "parable/discourse,"
Job 27:1.

 Parables occur with even greater frequency in the Midrash than in the Talmud, one or more parables being found in
nearly every section in Midrash Rabbah.  The parables of both the Talmud and the Midrash, reflecting the
characteristics of the life of their time, are a valuable aid in studying the cultural history of that period and makes it
understandable why Jesus relied on parables.  It is important, however, to not be mislead that Jesus is the only
one with parables but to recognize that he learned parables via his own study of the Torah and Oral Law.

  In the New Testament the word parable denotes sometimes a true history, or an illustrative sketch from nature;
sometimes a proverb or adage,
Luke 4:23; a truth  figuratively told. In Matthew 15:15; a type, Hebrews 9:9; or a
similitude,
Matthew 24:32. The story-like, figurative way of speaking, was the language of the Eastern sages and
learned men,
Psalm 49:478:2; and nothing was more insupportable than to hear a fool utter parables, Proverbs 26:7.

The prophets employed parables more strongly to impress upon people with threats or  promises. Nathan reproved
David under the parable of a rich man who had taken away and killed the lamb of a poor man,
2 Samuel 12:1-31. We
see also
Judges 9:7-15 and 2 Kings 14:9-10. Jesus, learned in the Torah and Oral Tradition, likewise frequently
addressed the people in parables.  

Parables found in the New Testament:
Wise and foolish builders, Matthew 7:24-27.
Children of the bride-chamber,
Matthew 9:15.
New cloth and old garment,
Matthew 9:16.
New wine and old bottles, Matthew 9:17.
Unclean spirit,
Matthew 12:43.
Sower,
Matthew 13:3,18 Luke 8:5,11.
Tares,
Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.
Mustard-seed,
Matthew 13:31-32 Luke 13:19.
Leaven,
Matthew 13:33.
Treasure hid in a field,
Matthew 13:44.
Pearl of great price,
Matthew 13:45-46.
Net cast into the sea,
Matthew 13:47-50.
Meats defiling not,
Matthew 15:10-15.
Unmerciful servant,
Matthew 18:23-35.
Laborers hired,
Matthew 20:1-16.
Two sons,
Matthew 21:28-32.
Wicked husbandmen,
Matthew 21:33-45.
Marriage-feast,
Matthew 22:2-14.
Fig tree leafing,
Matthew 24:32-34.
Man of the house watching,
Matthew 24:43.
Faithful and evil servants,
Matthew 24:45-51.
Ten virgins,
Matthew 25:1-13.
Talents,
Matthew 25:14-30.
Kingdom divided against itself,
Mark 3:24.
House divided against itself,
Mark 3:25.
Strongman armed,
Mark 3:27 Luke 11:21.
Seed growing secretly,
Mark 4:26-29.
Lighted candle,
Mark 4:21 Luke 11:33-36.
Man taking a far journey,
Mark 13:34-37.
Blind leading the blind,
Luke 6:39.
Beam and mote,
Luke 6:41-42.
Tree and its fruit,
Luke 6:43-45.
Creditor and debtors,
Luke 7:41-47.
Good Samaritan,
Luke 10:30-37.
Importunate friend,
Luke 11:5-9.
Rich fool,
Luke 12:16-21.
Cloud and wind,
Luke 12:54-57.
Barren fig tree,
Luke 13:6-9.
Men bidden to a feast,
Luke 14:7-11.
Builder of a tower,
Luke 14:28-30,33.
King going to war,
Luke 14:31-33.
Savor of salt,
Luke 14:34-35.
Lost sheep,
Luke 15:3-7.
Lost piece of silver,
Luke 15:8-10.
Prodigal son,
Luke 15:11-32.
Unjust steward,
Luke 16:1-8.
Rich man and Lazarus,
Luke 16:19-31.
Importunate widow,
Luke 18:1-8.
Pharisee and publican,
Luke 18:9-14.
Pounds,
Luke 19:12-27.
Good shepherd, John 10:1-6.
Vine and branches,
John 15:1-5.
Strong's Concordance Hebrew: 4912. מָשָׁל (mashal) — 38 Occurrences: a
proverb, parable

Original Word: מָשָׁל

Transliteration: mashal

Phonetic Spelling: ('maw-shawl')

Short Definition: proverb, parable, sentences constructed in parallelism,
usually of Hebrew wisdom, a proverbial saying, brief terse sentence of
popular sagacity.  A Poem, of various kinds: the ode, sentences of ethical
wisdom.  Can also render a by-word as in Psalm 44:15.