The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and of the Pearl Merchant -- By: Mark L. Bailey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:622 (Apr 1999)
Article: The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and of the Pearl Merchant
Author: Mark L. Bailey


The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and of the Pearl Merchant*

Mark L. Bailey

The parables of the hidden treasure and of the pearl merchant are the first two Jesus spoke after He left the crowd and went into a house with His disciples (Matt. 13:36). In both of these parables, as with others in Matthew 13, the introductory formulas are the same: “The kingdom of heaven is like” (vv. 44, 45; cf. vv. 24, 31, 33, 47). Hagner notes that as in the previous two parables (the mustard seed and the leavening process) the imagery of hiddenness and smallness is evident.1

The Setting of the Hidden Treasure Parable

After telling the crowd and His disciples four parables (Matt. 13:1–33), Jesus left the crowd and entered a house with His disciples, where He explained the parable of the weeds (vv. 36–43). Then He told them four more parables. Using the word “hidden” (κεκρυμμένῳ) in verse 44, the first of these four parables in the house is linked with verse 35, which quotes Psalm 78:2: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden [κεκρυμμένα] since the foundation of the world.” Fenton has suggested that the entire “in-house” section of verses 34–52 has been recorded as a chiasm:2

* This is article six in an eight-part series, “The Kingdom in the Parables of Matthew 13.”

Mark L. Bailey is Vice President for Academic Affairs, Academic Dean, and Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.

A Jesus’ speaking in parables as a fulfillment of prophecy (v. 35)

B The explanation of the weeds (vv. 36–43)

C The parable of the treasure (v. 44)

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