THE POOR MAN'S LAMB
The Lord sent the prophet Nathan (pbuh) to King David (pbuh). Nathan went to him and said,
There were two men who lived in the same town: one was rich and the other poor. The rich
man had many cattle and sheep, while the poor man had only one lamb, which he had bought.
"He took care of it, and it grew up in his home with his children. He would feed it
with some of his own food, let it drink from his cup, and hold it in his lap. The lamb was
like a daughter to him.
"One day a visitor arrived at the rich mans home. The rich man didnt want
to kill one of his own animals to prepare a meal for him; instead, he took the poor
mans lamb and cooked a meal for his guest."
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KING OF THE TREES
When Jotham heard about this, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and shouted out
to them, "Listen to me ... and God may listen to you!
"Once upon a time the trees got together to choose a king for themselves.
"They said to the olive-tree, 'Be our king.' The olive-tree answered, 'In order to
govern you, I would have to stop producing my oil, which is used to honour gods and men.'
"Then the trees said to the fig-tree, 'You come and be our king.' But the fig-tree
answered, 'In order to govern you, I would have to stop producing my good sweet fruit.'
"So the trees then said to the grapevine, 'You come and be our king.' But the vine
answered, 'In order to govern you, I would have to stop producing my wine, that makes gods
and men happy.'
"So then all the trees said to the thorn-bush, 'You come and be our king.' the
thorn-bush answered, 'If you really want to make me your king, then come and take shelter
in my shade. If you don't, fire will blaze out of my thorny branches and burn up the
cedars of Lebanon.' "
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A GARDENER ASKS FOR MORE TIME
Then Jesus (pbuh) told them this story. "There was once a man who had a fig-tree
growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it, but found none.
"So he said to his gardener, 'Look, for three years I have been coming here
looking for figs on this fig-tree and I haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it go
on using up the soil?'
"But the gardener answered, 'Leave it along, sir, just one more year; I will dig
round it and put in some manure. Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the
better; if not, then you can have it cut down.' "
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SONG OF THE VINEYARD
"Listen while I sing you this song, a song of my friend and his vineyard:
"My friend had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug the soil and cleared it
of stones; he planted the finest vines. He built a tower to guard them, dug a pit for
treading the grapes. He waited for the grapes to ripen, but every grape was sour.
"So now my friend says, 'You people ... judge between my vineyard and me. Is there
anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good
grapes I expected?
" 'This is what I am going to do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge round
it, break down the wall that protects it, and let wild animals eat it and trample it down.
I will let it be overgrown with weeds. I will not prune the vines or hoe the ground;
instead I will let briars and thorns cover it. I will even forbid the clouds to let rain
fall on it.' "
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LOOKING FOR LOST MONEY
Jesus (pbuh) told them this story. "Suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses
one of them, what does she do?
"She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she
"When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together, and says to
them, 'I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!' "
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LOOKING FOR A LOST SHEEP
Jesus (pbuh) told them this story. "Suppose one you has a hundred sheep and loses
one of them, what does he do?
"He leaves the other ninety nine sheep in the pasture and goes looking for the one
that got lost until he finds it.
"When he finds it, he is so happy that he puts it on his shoulders and carries it
"Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says to them, 'I am so
happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!' "
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THE LOST SON AND HIS BROTHER
Jesus (pbuh) went on to say, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger
one said to him, 'Father, give me my share of the property, now.'
"So the man divided his property between his two sons.
"After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with
the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. He
spent everything he had.
"Then a severe famine spread over that country and he was left without a thing. So
he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to
take care of the pigs. He wishes he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate,
but no one gave him anything to eat.
"At last he came to his senses and said, 'All my father's hired workers have more
than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! I will go to my father and say, Father I
have sinned against God and against you. I am no more fit to be called your son; treat me
as one of your hired workers.'
"So he got up and started back to his father.
"He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled
with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him.
"'Father,' the son said, 'I have sinned against God and against you. I am no
longer fit to be called your son.'
"But the father called his servants. 'Hurry!' he said. 'Bring the best robe and
put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Then go and get the prize
calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! For this son of mine was dead, but
now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.'
"And so the feasting began. In the meantime the elder son was out in the field. On
his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing. So he
called one of the servants and asked him, 'What's going on?'
" 'Your brother has come back home,' the servant answered, 'and your father has
killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.'
"The elder brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father
came out and begged him to come in.
"But he answered his father, 'Look, all these years I have worked for you like a
slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for
me to have a feast with my friends! But this son of yours wasted all your property on
prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!'
" 'My son,' the father answered, 'you are always here with me, and everything I
have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but
now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.' "
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A TRICK IN THE FIELD
Jesus (pbuh) told them another parable: "the Kingdom of Heaven is like this.
"A man sowed good seed in his field. One night, when everyone was asleep. An enemy
came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
"When the plants grew and the ears of wheat began to form, then the weeds showed
"The man's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your
field; where did the weeds come from?'
" 'It was some enemy who did this,' he answered.
" 'Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?' they asked him.
" 'No,' he answered, 'because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of
the wheat along with them. Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest.
Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and
burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.' "
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Jesus (pbuh) said, "Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this.
"Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish.When
the net is full, they pull it to share and sit down and divide the fish: the good ones go
into their buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away.
"It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up
the evil people from among the good and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they
will cry and grind their teeth."
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INVITED TO A WEDDING
Jesus (pbuh) again used stories in talking to the people. "The Kingdom of Heaven
is like this. Once there was a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.
"He sent his servants to tell the invited guests to come to the feast, but they
did not want to come.
"So he sent other servants with this message for the guests; 'My feast is ready
now; my bullocks and prize calves have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to
the wedding feast!'
"But the invited guests paid no attention and went about their business: one went
to his farm, another to his shop, while others grabbed the servants, beat them, and killed
"The king was very angry; so he sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and
burnt down their city.
"Then he called his servants and said to them, 'My wedding feast is ready, but the
people I invited did not deserve it. Now go to the main streets and invite to the feast as
many people was you find.'
"So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could
find, good and bad alike; and the wedding hall was filled with people.
"The king went in to look at the guests and saw a man who was not wearing wedding
clothes. "Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' the king asked
him. But the man said nothing. Then the king told the servants, 'Tie him up hand and foot,
and throw him outside in the dark. There he will cry and grind his teeth.' "
And Jesus (pbuh) concluded, "Many are invited, but few are chosen."
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People kept coming to Jesus (pbuh) from one town after another; and when a great crowd
gathered, Jesus (pbuh) told this story:
"Once there was a man who went out to sow seed.
"As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, where it
was stepped on, and the birds ate it up.
"Some of it fell on rocky ground, and when the plants sprouted, they dried up
because the soil had no moisture.
"Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up with the plants and
"And some seeds fell in good soil; the plants grew and produced a crop, a hundred
And Jesus (pbuh) concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!"
His disciples asked Jesus (pbuh) what this story meant ... He answered, "This is
what the story means: the seed is the Word of God.
"The seeds that fell along the path stand for those hear; but the Devil comes and
takes the message away from their hearts in order to keep them from believing and being
"The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who hear the message and
receive it gladly. But it does not sink deep into them; they believe only for a while but
when the time of testing comes, they fall away.
"The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear; but the worries
and riches and pleasures of this life crowd in and choke them, and their fruit never
"The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain
it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit."
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CAN A CAMEL GO THROUGH A NEEDLE?
Jesus (pbuh) said to his disciples, "I assure you: it will be very hard for rich
people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
" I repeat: it is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God then
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."
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Jesus (pbuh) said, "Now what do you think? There was once a man who had two sons.
"He went to the elder one and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'
" 'I don't want to,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
"Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing.
" 'Yes, Sir,' he answered, but he did not go.
"Which one of the two did what his father wanted?"
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THE NARROW DOOR
Jesus (pbuh) went through towns and villages, teaching the people ... Someone asked
him, "Sir, will just a few people be saved?"
Jesus (pbuh) answered them, "Do your best to go in through the narrow door;
because many people will surely try to go in but will not be able.
"The master of the house will get up and close the door; then when you stand
outside and begin to knock on the door and say, 'Open the door for us, Sir!' he will
answer you, 'I don't know where you come from !'
"Then you will answer, 'We ate and drank with you; you taught in our town!'
"But he will say again, 'I don't know where you come from. Get away from me, all
you wicked people!'
"How you will cry and grind your teeth when you see Abraham (pbuh), Isaac (pbuh)
and Jacob (pbuh), and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, while you are thrown out!
"People will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and
sit down at the feat in the Kingdom of God. Then those who are now last will be first, and
those who are now first will be last."
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SHE KEPT ASKING
Jesus (pbuh) left that place and went off to the territory near the cities of Tyre and
Sidon. A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him, "Son of David!"
she cried out. "Have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible
But Jesus (pbuh) did not say a work to her.
His disciples came to him and begged him, "Send her away! She is following us and
making all this noise!"
Then Jesus (pbuh) replied, "I have been sent only to those lost sheep, the people
At this the woman came and fell at his feet. "Help me, sir," she said.
Jesus (pbuh) answered, "It isn't right to take the children's food and throw it to
"That's true, sir," she answered; "but even the dogs eat the leftovers
that fall from their masters' table."
So Jesus (pbuh) answered her, "You are a woman of great faith! What you want will
be done for you."
At that very moment her daughter was healed.
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TWO MEN WENT TO PRAY
Jesus (pbuh) told this story to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised
"Once there were two men who went up to the temple to pray: one was a pharisee,
the other a tax collector.
The pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, 'I thank you, God, that I am not
greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like
that tax collector over there. I fast two days a week, and I give you a tenth of all my
"But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to
heaven, but beat on his breast and said, "God have pity on me, a sinner!'
"I tell you," said Jesus, "the tax collector, and not the pharisee, was
in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be
humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great."
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TENANTS AND THE LANDLORD'S SON
Then Jesus (pbuh) spoke to them in stories. "Once there was a man who planted a
vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a hole for the winepress, and built a watch-tower.
"Then he let out the vineyard to tenants and left home on a journey.
"When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to
receive his share of the harvest; the tenants seized the slave, beat him, and sent him
back without a thing.
"Then the owner sent another slave; the tenants beat him over the head and treated
"The owner sent another slave, and they killed him; and they treated many others
the same way, beating some and killing others.
"The only one left to send was the man's own dear son. Last of all, then, he sent
his son to the tenants. 'I am sure they will respect my son,' he said.
"But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the owner's son. Come on, let's
kill him, and his property will be ours!'
"So they seized the son and killed him and threw his body out of the vineyard.
"What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do?" asked Jesus (pbuh). "He
will come and kill those men and hand the vineyard over to other tenants."
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BUILDING A TOWER; TWO KINGS FIGHT
"If one of you is planning to build a tower, he sits down first and works out what
it will cost, to see if he has enough money to finish the job.
"If he doesn't, he will not be able to finish the tower after laying the
foundation; and all who see what happened will laugh at him. 'This man began to build but
he can't finish the job!' they will say.
"If a king goes out with 10,000 men to fight another king who comes against him
with 20,000 men, he will sit down first and decide if he is strong enough to face that
"If he isn't, he will send messengers to meet the other king, to ask for terms of
peace while he is still a long way off.
"In the same way," concluded Jesus (pbuh) "None of you can be my
disciple unless he gives up everything he has."
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FINDING HIDDEN TREASURE
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like this.
"A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is
so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.
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FINDING A VALUABLE PEARL
"Also, the Kingdom of Heaven is like this.
"A man is looking for fine pearls, and when he finds one that is unusually fine,
he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl."
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THE TEN SERVANTS
While the people were listening ... Jesus (pbuh) continued and told them a story. He
was almost at Jerusalem, and they supposed that the Kingdom of God was just about to
appear. So he said,
"There was once a man of high rank who was going to a country far away to be made
king, after which he planned to come back home.
"Before he left, he called his ten servants and gave them each a gold coin and
told them, 'See what you can earn with this while I am gone.'
"Now his countrymen hated him, and so they sent messengers after him to say, 'We
don't want this man to be our king.'
"The man was made king and came back. At once he ordered his servants to appear
before him, in order to find out how much they had earned.
"The first one came and said, 'Sir, I have earned ten gold coins with the one you
"'Well done,' he said; 'you are a good servant! Since you were faithful in small
matters, I will put you in charge of ten cities.'
"The second servant came and said, 'Sir, I have earned five gold coins with the
one you gave me.'
"To this one he said, 'You will be in charge of five cities.'
|"Another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it hidden in
a handkerchief. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take what is not
yours and reap what you did not sow.'
"He said to him, 'You bad servant! I will use your own words to condemn you! You
know that I am a hard man, taking what is not mine and reaping what I have not sown. Well,
then, why didn't you put my money in the bank? Then I would have received it back with
interest when I returned.'
"Then he said to those who were standing there, 'Take the gold coin away from him
and give it to the servant who has ten coins.'
"But they said to him, 'Sir, he already has ten coins!'
" 'I tell you,' he replied, 'that to every person who has something, even more
will be given; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken
away from him.
" 'Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring
them here and kill them in my presence!' "
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A SEED GROWS
"What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?" asked Jesus (pbuh).
"What story shall we use to explain it?
"It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and
plants it in the ground. After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants.
It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its
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