Synopsis of Parable:
There was a judge who did not deliver justice to a widow. The widow begged him to. He refused, but then avenged her when she kept pestering him.
Parable Given in Response to:
This parable is seemingly unconnected with the others in this sequence. It starts out with a verse saying,
|↓Widow||A Person||Luke 18:3|
|↓Widow's Constant Petition||Constant Prayer||Luke 18:5|
The Parable of the Persistent Widow/Unjust Judge
As presented in the King James Version of Luke 18:1-8
Luke 18:1And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not
6And the Lord said,
Explanation of the Interpretation of Symbols
The Judge is God Back to Top ↑
On first glance, this may seem to be an unlikely interpretation. How can a symbol that does not fear God, be God? However, if you turn it around, it makes sense. God does not fear himself. Furthermore, the parable needed to remove religion for the point to hit home for Jesus's Jewish audience. It does not matter what God is doing or thinking, if you pray enough he will listen to your request!
Another way of thinking about this is this: If even a selfish, corrupt judge could be persuaded to do her good, how much more could God, who loves us, be persuaded to do us good?
The Widow is a Person Back to Top ↑
Here we find that the widow is a person who was wronged and praying for things to be put right.(Luke 18:3.) This is a righteous prayer and is symbolic of a beatitude.(Matthew 5:6.) However, the judge ignores her request until she wears him out.
This person does not have to be within the kingdom of God. In fact, in this parable there is no mention of the kingdom. And in day-to-day life, we see many people constantly praying to God for a variety of things and getting their prayers answered, even if they seem like people who would not be chosen for the kingdom. However, just like the widow, these people pestered God, and God relented.
Of course, the prayer itself should be decently good.
The idea that the widow need not to be in God's favor, a Christian, or a believer is not common. However, as explained in the Parable of the Net of Fish, bad people can be in the kingdom of God. As such, it should not be surprising to see their prayers fulfilled.
This concept can also be explored morally. These people will likely only live once, this life on earth. A
mere 80 years or so. Those that are chosen will live a second life, for eternity, with Jesus. Should God not
allow these short-lived humans all the joy they think they want they have the chance? Likewise, should we
also not do the same? This is perhaps why Jesus instructs us to
Jesus ends this parable by saying
The Constant Petition is Constant Prayer Back to Top ↑
This may not seem to be the interpretation, but we have to remember why Jesus gave this parable. It was to teach people to be praying always.(Luke 18:1.)
There are no other interpretations. Every major denomination holds that the widow's constant petition represents constant prayer.
It is interesting to note that the petition to the judge is very short, only a sentence. It's not the length or the persuasiveness of the petition that made the Judge listen to her. No, it was her persistence. This is just as Jesus says,
In Conclusion Back to Top ↑
This parable starts out with the point of it. As per Luke,
This idea is repeated when Jesus says