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fable Summary and Overview

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fable in Easton's Bible Dictionary

applied in the New Testament to the traditions and speculations, "cunningly devised fables", of the Jews on religious questions (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16). In such passages the word means anything false and unreal. But the word is used as almost equivalent to parable. Thus we have (1) the fable of Jotham, in which the trees are spoken of as choosing a king (Judg. 9:8-15); and (2) that of the cedars of Lebanon and the thistle as Jehoash's answer to Amaziah (2 Kings 14:9).

fable in Smith's Bible Dictionary

A fable is a narrative in which being irrational, and sometimes inanimate, are, for the purpose of moral instruction, feigned to act and speak with human interests and passions. --Encyc. Brit. The fable differs from the parable in that -- 1. The parable always relates what actually takes place, and is true to fact, which the fable is not; and 2. The parable teaches the higher heavenly and spiritual truths, but the fable only earthly moralities. Of the fable, as distinguished from the parable [PARABLE], we have but two examples in the Bible: 1. That of the trees choosing their king, addressed by Jotham to the men of Shechem, #Jud 9:8-15| 2. That of the cedar of Lebanon and the thistle, as the answer of Jehoash to the challenge of Amaziah. #2Ki 14:9| The fables of false teachers claiming to belong to the Christian Church, alluded to by writers of the New Testament, #1Ti 1:4; 4:7; Tit 1:14; 2Pe 1:16| do not appear to have had the character of fables, properly so called.

fable in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

A short, fictitious story that uses animals or inanimate objects as characters to teach ethical or practical lessons. Typically, the characters are portrayed as having human personality traits that are good or evil. The practical or moral lesson is obvious in the story when these character traits lead to either failure or success. Fables are rarely found in the Bible. There are two clear examples in the Old Testament. The fable of the trees of the forest selecting a king (Judges 9:8-15) is designed to warn Israel of the dangers in selecting a weak and ruthless king. In 2 Kings 14:8-10 (2 Chronicles 25:17-19), there is a fable addressed to Amaziah, king of Judah, about the folly of arrogance. In this story a thistle thinks that it is equal to the giant cedars of Lebanon and gets trampled by a wild beast of the forest. Daniel B. McGeer