Skip to main content

Parables - Mashalim

The rabbis of ancient Israel used mashalim as a matter of discourse. Parables have always been a teaching method of G-d as He has sought His children’s understanding of the story of His Kingdom. We are often drawn to stories in ways we can never be drawn to cold hard facts, this is the power of the parable. Perhaps post moderns and their offspring are better able to receive parables than our modern predecessors? I believe we are a generation who are desperate for an authentic story. Some argue that Yeshua’s parables were new and of greater relevance than those of His pairs, however this is not necessary, after all, He “was in the beginning with G-d,” why then does He need to be original? He is the Origin and the Completion. Many of His parables were adaptions of the parables of His pairs, often subtly changed to great effect. This is consistent with one of the meanings of the word mashal, “a taunt”. Yeshua’s parables encompassed the wider meaning of the Hebrew term mashal; they were poetry, story, simile, allegory, metaphor, discourse, proverb, ethical wisdom and so on. I find more truth in these stories—mashalim—than I have ever found in the endless arguments of the apologist. Theology—a word that did not have any equivalent in Hebrew until after Israel’s Hellenization—is perhaps the greatest enemy of the parable. In seeking to dissect the parable, theology finds meaning that was not intended and misplaces the message altogether. The Hebrew mind does not dissect, it envelopes. Dissection is a separation, an infidelity. Envelopment is holistic, an unfailing fidelity. Put concisely, it is the extravagant simplicity of Yeshua’s mashalim that eludes the wise and welcomes the simple. This is why He quotes the prophet, “Though hearing they do not hear, though seeing they do not comprehend.” Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:9 A parable is like the column of fire and the pillar of smoke that G-d placed between the Israelites and the Egyptians. To Israel it was a manifest revelation of G-d, a protection and a light to her path, to Egypt it was a blinding light, a roadblock that cast a shadow over all her plans. My prayer is that we might be teachable, humble, willing hearts, found amongst those who are escaping Egypt. That our ears might be willing ears that are able to hear, to perceive, to understand and to walk in the light of Messiah—halakhah im Yeshua. © Alastair Brown 2013


Popular posts from this blog

ISAIAH 25: Death Swallowed up in Victory

Introduction: Chapters 24-27 are referred to by some as the Apocalypse of Isaiah, and for good reason. Those familiar with the wider canon of Scripture see many correlations between Isaiah 24-27 and other apocalyptic writings in both the Tanakh (OT) and the Brit Ha-Chadashah (NT). Chapter 24 deals with the final judgement of all humanity and creation. It is the beginning of the culmination of the prophetic destiny of each of the nations who surround Israel, to whom Isaiah has prophesied in chapters 13-23. Ultimately, Israel’s enemies fall that Israel might rise. The present chapter is therefore, a hymn/song of praise to HaShem for His deliverance, not only from physical oppression but also from the fear of death, which has bound, even suffocated Israel and all of humanity. This chapter, like those before it, addresses both temporal maters and eternal realities. The following are both the prophetic words of Isaiah and the yet future words of redeemed Israel. Text: Isa 25:1 HaS…

Genesis 41: Pharaoh’s Dreams

Introduction: This sidra (section) of Genesis begins the Torah portion Mikeitz (end), which takes its title from the phrase “And it came to pass at the end of two years”. While practically speaking mikeitz is used to denote the end of a period of time, by way of a remez (hint) it also infers the end, or last phase of the prophecy made to Avraham (Gen. 15:13-16) concerning the bondage and persecution of his progeny and ultimately, their freedom from slavery. It is worth noting that verses 1-32 deal with the last of the three pairs of dreams in Joseph’s story. Each set of dreams acting as a stepping stone toward the fulfilment of God’s plan for Israel. The events of this chapter begin two years after the release of the baker and cupbearer and bring the total years of Joseph’s imprisonment to 12 and his years in captivity to 13 (Genesis 37:2). Verse 46 tells us that Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, making Jacob 120 years and Isaac 180 (Isaac died around this t…

Introduction to Isaiah (Isaiah chapter 1)

General Introduction: It is impossible to properly understand the book of Isaiah the prophet outside of the historical context of Isaiah’s life. The events occurring in the land of Israel and throughout the known world at the time of his ministry were tumultuous. Empires battled one another for possession of the Fertile Crescent and Isaiah spoke to God’s chosen people in the midst of the chaos. Therefore, we must ascertain to the best of our ability the approximate period of history in which the prophet lived and ministered. We also need to understand the art of Hebrew prophecy itself and the words used to convey the rich complexity of meaning combined within the Hebrew “Navi” (Prophet). In addition there is a need for the Spirit filled believer to resist the delusional approach of modern critical scholarship, which often sees no room for the miraculous or the impartation of divine knowledge concerning future events. To study Isaiah as we would any other historical work via historica…