As they were able to hear it (kaqw hdunanto akouein). Only in Mark. Imperfect indicative. See John 16:12 for ou dunasqe bastazein, not able to bear. Jesus used parables now largely, but there was a limit even to the use of them to these men. He gave them the mystery of the kingdom in this veiled parabolic form which was the only feasible form at this stage. But even so they did not understand what they heard.