4 To impart shrewdness to the morally naive, a discerning plan to the young person. 5 (Let the wise also hear and gain instruction, and let the discerning acquire guidance!) 6 To discern the meaning of a proverb and a parable, the sayings of the wise and their riddles. 7 Fearing the Lord is the beginning of discernment, but fools have despised wisdom and moral instruction. 8 Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father, and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.
Sirach 39:2Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus
1 He seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients, and is concerned with prophecies; 2 he preserves the sayings of the famous and penetrates the subtleties of parables; 3 he seeks out the hidden meanings of proverbs and is at home with the obscurities of parables. 4 He serves among the great and appears before rulers; he travels in foreign lands and learns what is good and evil in the human lot.
Notes and References
"... Given the ambiguity of parables, recent scholarship has stressed their mysterious and elusive qualities.40 We should note that EzekIEL 17:2 labels the short story in the following verses not only as a comparison (mashal) but also as a riddle (hidah). This is not a unique situation since the Hebrew Bible labels several other proverbs, prophecies, or songs both as comparisons (meshalim) and riddles (hidot [the plural form of hidah]) (e.g., Habakkuk 2:6; Psalm 49:5; 78:2; Proverbs 1:6; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 8:8; Sirach 39:3; 47:17). As with meshalim, hidot come in a variety of forms. Although the words mashal and hidah have two distinct meanings that we should not confuse, they can both describe the multiple functions of a single proverb, song, or parable ..."
Schipper, Jeremy Parables and Conflict in the Hebrew Bible (p. 16) Cambridge University Press, 2009
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