Old Testament Parables
Most Relevant Verses
The trees set out to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, "Reign over us." But the olive tree said to them, "Should I stop giving my oil that honors both God and man, and rule over the trees?" Then the trees said to the fig tree, "Come and reign over us."read more.
But the fig tree said to them, "Should I stop giving my sweetness and my good fruit, and rule over trees?" Later, the trees said to the grapevine, "Come and reign over us." But the grapevine said to them, "Should I stop giving my wine that cheers both God and man, and rule over trees?" Finally, all the trees said to the bramble, "Come and reign over us." The bramble said to the trees, "If you really are anointing me as king over you, come and find refuge in my shade. But if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon."
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him: There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. It lived and grew up with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.read more.
Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for his guest.
King Jehoash of Israel sent [word] to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, "The thistle that was in Lebanon once sent [a message] to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, 'Give your daughter to my son as a wife.' Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by and trampled the thistle.
I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one's vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even hewed out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes. So now, residents of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between Me and My vineyard.read more.
What more could I have done for My vineyard than I did? Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes? Now I will tell you what I am about to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it will be consumed; I will tear down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland. It will not be pruned or weeded; thorns and briers will grow up. I will also give orders to the clouds that rain should not fall on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant He delighted in. He looked for justice but saw injustice, for righteousness, but heard cries of wretchedness.
"Son of man, pose a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel. You are to say: This is what the Lord God says: A great eagle with great wings, long pinions, and full plumage of many colors came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar. He plucked off its topmost shoot, brought it to the land of merchants, and set it in a city of traders.read more.
Then he took some of the land's seed and put it in a fertile field; he set it [like] a willow, a plant by abundant waters. It sprouted and became a spreading vine, low in height with its branches turned toward him, yet its roots stayed under it. So it became a vine, produced branches, and sent forth shoots. But there was another great eagle with great wings and thick plumage. And this vine bent its roots toward him! It stretched out its branches to him from its planting bed, so that he might water it. It had been planted in a good field by abundant waters in order to produce branches, bear fruit, and become a splendid vine. You are to say: This is what the Lord God says: Will it flourish? Will he not tear out its roots and strip off its fruit so that it shrivels? All its fresh leaves will wither! Great strength and many people will not be needed to pull it from its roots. Even though it is planted, will it flourish? Won't it completely wither when the east wind strikes it? It will wither on the bed where it sprouted."
"Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother, who acted like prostitutes in Egypt, behaving promiscuously in their youth. Their breasts were fondled there, and their virgin nipples caressed. The older one was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They became Mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah represents Samaria and Oholibah represents Jerusalem.read more.
"Oholah acted like a prostitute even though she was Mine. She lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians: warriors dressed in blue, governors and prefects, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on steeds. She offered her sexual favors to them; all of them were the elite of Assyria. She defiled herself with all those she lusted after and with all their idols. She didn't give up her promiscuity that began in Egypt, when men slept with her in her youth, caressed her virgin nipples, and poured out their lust on her. Therefore, I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians she lusted for. They exposed her nakedness, seized her sons and daughters, and killed her with the sword. Since they executed judgment against her, she became notorious among women. "Now her sister Oholibah saw [this], but she was [even] more depraved in her lust than Oholah, and made her promiscuous acts worse than those of her sister. She lusted after the Assyrians: governors and prefects, warriors splendidly dressed, horsemen riding on steeds, all of them desirable young men. And I saw that she had defiled herself; both of them [had taken] the same path. But she increased her promiscuity when she saw male figures carved on the wall, images of the Chaldeans, engraved in vermilion wearing belts on their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like officers, a depiction of the Babylonians in Chaldea, the land of their birth. At the sight of them she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and defiled her with their lust. But after she was defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. When she flaunted her promiscuity and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust just as I turned away from her sister. Yet she multiplied her acts of promiscuity, remembering the days of her youth when she acted like a prostitute in the land of Egyp and lusted after their lovers, whose sexual members were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of stallions. So you revisited the indecency of your youth, when the Egyptians caressed your nipples to enjoy your youthful breasts. "Therefore Oholibah, this is what the Lord God says: I am going to incite your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust. I will bring them against you from every side: the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans; Pekod, Shoa, and Koa; and all the Assyrians with them-desirable young men, all of them governors and prefects, officers and administrators, all of them riding on horses. They will come against you with an alliance of nations and with weapons, chariots, and wagons. They will set themselves against you on every side with shields, bucklers, and helmets. I will delegate judgment to them, and they will judge you by their own standards. When I vent My jealous rage on you, they will deal with you in wrath. They will cut off your nose and ears, and your descendants will fall by the sword. They will seize your sons and daughters, and your descendants will be consumed by fire. They will strip off your clothes and take your beautiful jewelry. So I will put an end to your indecency and sexual immorality, which began in the land of Egypt, and you will not look longingly at them or remember Egypt any more. "For this is what the Lord God says: I am going to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. They will treat you with hatred, take all you have worked for, and leave you stark naked, so that the shame of your debauchery will be exposed, both your indecency and promiscuity. These things will be done to you because you acted like a prostitute with the nations, defiling yourself with their idols. You have followed the path of your sister, so I will put her cup in your hand." This is what the Lord God says: You will drink your sister's cup, which is deep and wide. You will be an object of ridicule and scorn, for it holds [so] much. You will be filled with drunkenness and grief, with a cup of devastation and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria. You will drink it and drain [it]; then you will gnaw its broken pieces, and tear your breasts. For I have spoken. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the declaration of the Lord God . Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: "Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your indecency and promiscuity." Then the Lord said to me: "Son of man, will you pass judgment against Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare their abominations to them For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands; they have committed adultery with their idols. They have even made the children they bore to Me pass through [the fire] as food for the idols. They also did this to Me: they defiled My sanctuary on that same day and profaned My Sabbaths On the same day they slaughtered their children for their idols, they entered My sanctuary to profane it. Yes, that is what they did inside My house. "In addition, they sent for men who came from far away when a messenger was dispatched to them. And look how they came! You bathed, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with jewelry for them. You sat on a luxurious couch with a table spread before it, on which you had set My incense and oil. The sound of a carefree crowd was there. Drunkards from the desert were brought in, along with common men. They put bracelets on the women's hands and beautiful crowns on their heads. Then I said concerning this woman worn out by adultery: Will they now have illicit sex with her, even her? Yet they had sex with her as one does with a prostitute. This is how they had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, those obscene women. But righteous men will judge them the way adulteresses and those who shed blood are judged, for they are adulteresses and blood is on their hands.
Now speak a parable to the rebellious house. Tell them: This is what the Lord God says: Put the pot on [the fire]- put [it] on, and then pour water into it! Place the pieces of meat in it, every good piece- thigh and shoulder. Fill it with choice bones. Take the choicest of the flock and also pile up the fuel under it. Bring it to a boil and cook the bones in it."read more.
Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Woe to the city of bloodshed, the pot that has rust inside it, and whose rust will not come off! Empty it piece by piece; lots should not be cast for its contents. For the blood she shed is in her midst. She put it out on the bare rock; she didn't pour it on the ground to cover it with dust. In order to stir up wrath and take vengeance, I have put her blood on the bare rock, so that it would not be covered. Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Woe to the city of bloodshed! I Myself will make the pile of kindling large. Pile on the logs and kindle the fire! Cook the meat well and mix in the spices! Let the bones be burned! Set the empty pot on its coals so that it becomes hot and its copper glows. Then its impurity will melt inside it; its rust will be consumed. It has frustrated every effort; its thick rust will not come off. Into the fire with its rust! Because of the indecency of your uncleanness- since I tried to purify you, but you would not be purified from your uncleanness- you will not be pure again until I have satisfied My wrath on you. I, the Lord, have spoken. It is coming, and I will do it! I will not refrain, I will not show pity, and I will not relent. I will judge you according to your ways and deeds. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the declaration of the Lord God .