The Parables of the Dragnet and of the Householder -- By: Mark L. Bailey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:623 (Jul 1999)
Article: The Parables of the Dragnet and of the Householder
Author: Mark L. Bailey


The Parables of the Dragnet and of the Householder *

Mark L. Bailey

The parable of the dragnet is the seventh parable in Matthew 13 (vv. 47–50), and the parable of the householder is the eighth and last (v. 52). Between them stands Jesus’ question to the disciples, “Have you understood all these things?” (v. 51). This question looked back at what He had said and prepared for the concluding comparison. The Gospels of Mark and Luke do not include either of these parables.

The Parable of the Dragnet

The Setting of the Dragnet Parable

Like the parables of the sower and of the tares, this one includes an interpretation. And like the parable of the tares, the dragnet parable discusses the end of the age and both parables have similar closing words: “cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 50; cf. v. 42). In contrast to the two parables before it, the parable of the dragnet is concerned with securing many items (fish) rather than just one item of value. The parable begins with the phrase “the kingdom of heaven is like,” the same wording as in verses 31, 33, 44, and 45 (cf. v. 24). The word “again,” with which the sentence begins, either relates this parable to these preceding ones or it indicates that this parable will again deal with the subject of final judgment.

The Need or Problem Prompting the Dragnet Parable

Pentecost suggests Jesus spoke this parable to answer the question, How will the present form of theocracy introduced in the

*This is article seven 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.

parables end?1 This, he suggests, was a legitimate concern, since all previous forms of theocracy in the Old Testament ended in judgment. Blomberg says, “However valid an analysis of Old Testament history this may be, there is not the slightest hint in Matthew’s contex...

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