The poor crops (Hag 2:16-2:17)

“‘How did you fare?

When one came

To a heap

Of twenty measures,

There were but ten.

When one came

To the wine vat

To draw fifty measures,

There were but twenty.

I struck you!

I struck all the products

Of your toil

With blight,

With mildew,

With hail!

Yet you did not return

To me!’

Says Yahweh.”

Haggai has this oracle of Yahweh about their poor crops.  When they were expecting 20 measures of a crop, they only got 10 measures.  When they were expecting 50 measures for the wine vat, they only got 20.  Thus, even when they had some crops in the fields, they were below expectations.  Yahweh had struck them and all their products.  Despite their hard labor, their crops were hit with blight, mildew, and hail.  Why did this happen?  They had not returned to Yahweh, pure and simple.

The failure of the gardens (Am 4:9-4:9)

“‘I struck you

With blight.

I struck you

With mildew.

I laid waste

Your gardens.

I laid waste

Your vineyards.

The locusts devoured

Your fig trees.

The locusts devoured

Your olive trees.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has this oracle of Yahweh repeat the same theme, that despite the failure of their gardens and vineyards, they did not return to Yahweh. He had struck them with blight and mildew. Yahweh had laid waste their gardens and vineyards. Locusts devoured their fig trees and olive trees. Despite all this devastation, the Israelites of the northern kingdom did not return to Yahweh.

King Solomon’s prayer during bad times (2 Chr 6:28-6:31)

“If there is famine in the land,

If there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar,

If their enemies besiege them in any of the settlements of the land,

Whatever suffering,

Whatever sickness there is.

Whatever prayer,

Whatever plea there is,

From any individual or from all your people Israel,

All knowing their own suffering and their own sorrows,

So that they stretch out their hands toward this house.

May you hear from heaven your dwelling place,

Forgive!

Render to all whose hearts your know,

According to all his ways.

Only you know the human heart.

Thus they may fear you

And walk in your ways all the days

That they live in the land that you have given to our ancestors.”  

Once again, this prayer comes almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 8. There is a slight change at the end. If there is famine, plague, blight, or sickness, may the prayers of your people Israel be heard in this house. You know the afflictions of their hearts. Therefore, hear them, forgive them, and act on their pleas. Only you O Yahweh know what is in the human heart. Therefore they will fear you all the days that they live in the land that has been given to their ancestors.