Child's play, it's the least thing that comes to mind to any given Bible enthusiast; however, if you were to search the Scriptures, you'll soon notice that Yeshua made mention of a game that first century children once played. This game was so significant to Yeshua, that he used is it to illustrate the generation of his day:
“16To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn’ (Matthew 11:16-7, NLT).
Whenever we tell a story, we tend to do so for various reasons. Sometimes, we bring to our remembrance the things we did as young children and retell those experiences in jest filled manner. At other times, we'll recant the various different kinds of obstacles that were once faced in order to obtain the very little that we have. Still, these stories that we tell tend to have a significant value.
In the illustration that Yeshua himself gave, anyone can make two possible claims. Firstly, it's quite possible that Yeshua himself played the game he described as a young child in Egypt! Then again, anyone could claim that Yeshua witnessed for himself how children of his day played the game he described in his parable.
Though we cannot say for certain whether Yeshua either played the game or witnessed the game, it seems quite apparent what the rules were. Firstly, the children of ancient past would either play a familiar wedding song or a somber song. Then, the ones listening would either pretend like they were either getting married or feasting at the wedding. Then again, the children could have easily pretended to be crying out loudly for the one that was considered to be dead. The child's play for intended for an appropriate course of action!
In essence, the rules were rather simple: act in accordance to the song that is played.
If a child ever asks, "What games did children of Yeshua's day play?" you have an answer! Perhaps you may want to play the game? What experience can you draw from children playing this very simple game? What reactions do you observe when children play this game? More importantly, can you draw from this firsthand personal experience and understand the rest of Yeshua's parable? Go ahead, and give it a try!
© 2016 by Nehr HaOlam Publications.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures were taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible.
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