The Parable of the Contemptible Friend; Monday Morning Parable

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me.  The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed.  I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  (Luke 11:5-10).

Abraham Joshua Heschel has stated that the supreme barrier once faces during prayer is not the words or the liturgy but rather the way one understands the nature of God.

As Brad Young states in Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, “God is the opposite of a bad friend or a corrupt judge.  Jesus is teaching about prayer by illustrating the divine character…..by giving a comical characterization of what God is not like, Jesus teaches his listeners what God is like.  God is one’s good and trusted friend.”

A great rabbinic parallel to this is in the Jerusalem Talmud.  The Parable of The Tenacious Daughter is as follows:

R. Leazar observed a fast but no rain fell.  R. Akiva observed a fast, and rain fell.  He (R. Akiva) went in and said to them, “I will tell you a parable.  To what may the matter be compared?  To a king who had two daughters.  One was tenacious and the other was gracious.  When the tenacious one wanted something and came before him, he said: Give her what she wants so she will get out of here.  But when the gracious one wanted something and came in before him, he lengthened his dealings with her because he enjoyed listening to her conversation.

Some similar parables in rabbinic literature:

The Parable of the Clever Borrower; Lev. Rab. 5:8

The Parable of the Arrogant Traveler; Midr. Pss 10:2

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