Matthew 13:45

New Testament

43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears had better listen! 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 46 When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it. 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea that caught all kinds of fish.

Shabbat 119a

Babylonian Talmud

The Gemara relates with regard to Yosef who cherishes Shabbat: There was a gentile in his neighborhood whose property was extremely plentiful. The astrologers said to the gentile with regard to all his property: Yosef who cherishes Shabbat will consume it. The gentile went and sold all of his property, and with the money he received he bought a pearl, and he placed it in his hat. When he was crossing a river in a ferry, the wind blew his hat and cast it into the water, and a fish swallowed it. The fish was caught and removed from the water and it was brought to shore adjacent to nightfall on Shabbat eve. The fishermen said: Who buys fish at a time like this? The townspeople said to the fishermen: Go bring it to Yosef who cherishes Shabbat, as he regularly purchases delicacies in deference to Shabbat. They brought it to him and he purchased it. He ripped the fish open and found a pearl inside it. He sold it for thirteen vessels filled with golden dinars (Tosafot). This elderly man who encountered him and said: One who lends to Shabbat, Shabbat repays him.

 Notes and References

"... Our merchant has obtained his desire: a beautiful object, but one that cannot nourish, shelter, or clothe. R. T. France is one of the few commentators who gets this point: “Unlike the man in the previous parable, who could presumably live off his treasure once he had secured it, this dealer, though initially a man of some substance, is apparently impoverishing himself to acquire something supremely valuable which he could admire and display but could not live off unless he sold it again.” ... Claims that the merchant acts to obtain the pearl “in a serious and reasonable way” and that because he is “uniquely sensitive to the value of the pearl,” he “wisely invested all he has to purchase it” are correct only if taken to mean that the merchant does whatever he needs to do to obtain what he wants. Whether it is reasonable or wise to liquidate everything he owns is another issue. New Testament scholar M. Eugene Boring understates in suggesting that what the merchant did “may not have measured up to everyone’s understanding of common sense.” ... A later rabbinic tale, known popularly as “Joseph Who Honors the Sabbaths,” suggests that what the merchant has done is foolhardy rather than reasonable or prudent. The Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 119a, recounts how a certain wealthy gentile heard from Chaldean fortune-tellers that “Joseph-who-honors-the-Sabbaths” would come to obtain all his property ..."

Levine, Amy-Jill Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (pp. 160-161) HarperOne, 2014

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