Sunday, 10 April 2016
The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation,
Brad H Young, Hendricksen, 1998
Chapter 11, "The Find" (pp. 199-221), page 219
Young solves the problem by pointing out that the question of the justice of buing the field is not the point of the parable. The point is, will someone who finds a treaure act quickly to acquire it, no matter the cost.
To ask more from a stock character in a parable is too much. He astutely gambles everything and wins by using his quick thinking and bold action. Deep psychological analysis of such stock characters is unnecessary and counterproductive. The main point, very much like the second illustration about the pearl, focuses attention on the risk and self-sacrifice involved in making the decision to sell all.
So there you have it!
In fact, the parallel story concerning the Pearl of Great Price reinforces the first illustration. The action of the merchant is not considered illegal. When he finds the pearl, he makes the decision to sell everything and to buy it. Nothing he owns is worth missing the unique opportunity to buy the pearl. When viewed together, these parables complement and reinforce one another's message. The ordinary man and the extraordinary merchant have been confronted with a unique opportunity that calls for decisive action. A firm and resolute decision is needed or the opportunity will be lost forever.