...in the Old Testament, the first recorded parable in the form of fable is that of the trees choosing for themselves a king, an exposition ...bare precepts were clothed with parables and similitudes. Hillel and Shammai were the most illustrious teachers by parables before the time of Christ. After him was Meir, with whom tradition says the power of inventing parables notably, declined? Knowing how Jewish teachers illustrated their doctrines with the help of parables and comparisons, Christ adopted these old forms and gave them a newness of spirit.
All the Parables of the Bible (1963, pg. 10)