Matthew 13:47

New Testament

45 “Again, 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. 47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea that caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, they pulled it ashore, sat down, and put the good fish into containers and threw the bad away. 49 It will be this way at the end of the age. Angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous

Avodah Zarah 3b

Babylonian Talmud

The Gemara continues discussing the importance of Torah study. Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And makes people as the fish of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them” (Habakkuk 1:14)? Why are people compared to the fish of the sea? This serves to say to you: Just as with regard to the fish of the sea, once they arise onto dry land they die immediately; so too, with regard to people, once they separate themselves from studying words of Torah and performing the mitzvot, they die immediately. Alternatively, just as with regard to the fish of the sea, once the sun is heated over them they die immediately, so too with regard to people, once the sun is heated over them they die immediately. The Gemara clarifies: If you wish, say that this applies in this world, and if you wish, say instead that it applies to the World-to-Come. If you wish, say that it applies in this world, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Ḥanina. As Rabbi Ḥanina says: All occurrences that befall man are in the hands of Heaven except for colds and obstacles [paḥim], from which one is able to protect himself, as it is stated: “Colds and snares are on the path of the crooked; he who guards his soul shall keep far from them” (Proverbs 22:5). This indicates that cold and, conversely, heat, are forms of harm from which one must protect himself, which teaches that being exposed to excessive heat can cause death.

 Notes and References

"... The parable in the two gospels bears a striking similarity to a certain fable from Aesop's collection. It is impossible to tell whether the children's song quoted within the parable predated Aesop or vice versa. 'A fisherman skilled in music took his flute and his nets to the seashore. Standing on a projecting rock, he played several tunes in the hope that the fish, attracted by his melody, would of their own accord dance into his net, which he had placed below. At last, having long waited in vain, he laid aside his flute, and casting his net into the sea, made an excellent haul of fish. When he saw them leaping about in the net upon the rock he said: 'O you most perverse creatures, when I piped you would not dance, but now that I have ceased, you do so merrily.' (The source of this fable is Herodotus 1.141 (Rawlinson, 78); see Perry, Aesopica no. 11 and Thompson, Motif J1909. The fable is echoed in the Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 3b on Habakkuk 1:14, as cited in the next chapter. On the rabbis' knowledge of Greek proverbs and fables, see Schwarzbaum, 'Talmudic-Midrashic,' 430, and Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine, 144—60) ..."

Culbertson, Philip J. A Word Fitly Spoken: Context, Transmission, and Adoption of the Parables of Jesus (p. 123) State University of New York Press, 1995

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