Thursday, February 5, 2009


Godly Play in the sections on Parables has a number of scripted statements that leave me slightly cold. So the Hebrew lesson preceding my parable will include the word מָשָׁל (mashal) in Psalm 49:1.
אַטֶּה לְמָשָׁל אָזְנִי
אֶפְתַּח בְּכִנֹּור חִידָתִי

Transcribed (read the Hebrew words and letters in reverse order to match)
'ateh lemashal 'azani
ephetah bekinor tidati
and a literal translation
I will stretch out to a parable my ear
I will open on the harp my riddle

In GP, parables are in a gold box - nice image. They must be opened and they are dark - good.

But what about the parables of the kingdom? Do they just come out of nowhere? Is there no root for them in the Old Testament? The psalms that use mashal are Psalm 44:14, Psalm 49:3-4, Psalm 69:11, and Psalm 78:2. Psalms 44 and 78 are Maskilim - songs of skill. 49 I have not classified and 69 is one of the many personal psalms.

But who is King? And does the Old Testament kingship - particularly as portrayed in the Psalms - have anything to do with the parables of the kingdom? Part of the English problem is the substitution of heaven for kingdom in Matthew - leading us to uproot the words from the first century tradition as if somehow the place where God reigns is not our concrete reality. I hope whatever I say will not leave this impression.

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