RIDDLE (חִידָה, H2648; αἰνίγμα; meaning a hidden saying, a conundrum).
Throughout the Biblical world the use of riddles was common. One may somewhat arbitrarily distinguish a riddle from a fable or enigma, the primary point in a riddle being its intention to puzzle the hearer. Enigmas may be conceived of as mystical utterances which, though difficult to understand, are not difficult by design. It may be a lack of information on the part of the interpreter which makes it a puzzle. A fable is simply a fictitious story (often involving members of the plant and animal kingdoms), told to convey a certain spiritual idea. A fable is not necessarily difficult of understanding though it may be so.
A true riddle is found in
W. Smith, A Dictionary of the Bible, III (1863), 1042, 1043; M. S. Terry, Principles of Biblical Hermeneutics, 265-275; J. Orr (ed.) ISBE, II (1936), article “Games” by W. T. Smith, 1168-1173; A. B. Mickelsen, Interpreting the Bible (1963), 199-211.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)