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Parables

The Greek word parabolem is used to translate the Hebrew mamshal, which can refer to different kinds of sayings, including a byword or a proverb. The particular form of saying which biblical scholars refer to as a “parable” proper consists of a brief story involving some point of comparison with a situation in life to which the speaker wishes to draw the attention of his hearers. The usual purpose is that a judgment can be passed upon the situation through the exercise of the motions of indignation or ridicule. A classical example in the OT is the story of the ewe lamb told by Nathan to David (2 Sam. 12:1-10).