The shadow of Yahweh (Hos 14:7-14:7)

“They shall again

Live beneath

My shadow.

They shall flourish

Life a garden.

They shall blossom

Like the vine.

Their fragrance shall be

Like the wine of Lebanon.”

The Israelites will once again live in the shadow of Yahweh. They would flourish like a lush garden. They would blossom like a wonderful vineyard. They would have the fragrance of Lebanese wine.

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Israel shall return to life (Hos 14:4-14:6)

“I will heal

Their disloyalty.

I will love them

Freely.

My anger

Has turned

From them.

I will be

Like the dew

To Israel.

He shall blossom

Like the lily.

He shall strike root

Like the forests of Lebanon.

His shoots

Shall spread out.

His beauty shall be

Like the olive tree.

His fragrance shall be

Like Lebanon.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, said that he was going to heal the disloyalty of Israel. He would love them freely, since his anger had turned from them. He was going to be like the morning dew to Israel. He was going to make them blossom again like the lilies. He was going to have them set down strong roots, like the forests of the Lebanon cedar trees. Their shoots would spread out all over the place. Their beauty would be like that of an olive tree. Their fragrance would be like the Lebanon cedar trees.

Jacob will be forgiven (Isa 27:6-27:9)

“In days to come,

Jacob shall take root.

Israel shall blossom.

Israel shall put forth shoots.

They will fill the whole world

With fruit.

Has he struck them down

As he struck those

Who struck them?

Or have they been killed

As their killers

Were killed?

By expulsion,

By exile,

You struggled against them.

He removed them

With his fierce blast

In the day of the east wind.

Therefore by this

The guilt of Jacob will be expiated.

This will be the full fruit

Of the removal of his sin.

When he makes all the stones of the altars

Like chalkstones

Crushed to pieces.

No sacred poles will remain standing.

No incense altars will remain standing.”

In some future date, not specified, Jacob or Israel will take root and blossom with many sprouts so that its fruits will be all over the world. Yahweh has struck down and killed those who had struck and killed the Israelites. Thus this appears to be a post-exilic comment. However, the punishment for Israel had been merely banishment or exile via the powerful wind of the Near Eastern powers. That punishment was enough for them to remove the guilt of their sins. Now, however, he was going to remove all those sacred poles and stone altars of incense to the false idol gods. These worship places were to be crushed to pieces like stones or chalk.

Forgetfulness and no harvest (Isa 17:10-17:11)

“You have forgotten

The God of your salvation.

You have not remembered

The rock of your refuge.

Though you plant pleasant plants,

The harvest will flee away.

Even though you set out slips

Of an alien god,

The harvest will flee away.

Although you make them grow

On the day that you plant them,

The harvest will flee away.

Even though you make them blossom

In the morning that you sow them,

The harvest will flee away.

In a day of grief,

In a day of incurable pain,

The harvest will flee away.”

Yahweh, via Isaiah, reminds the northern Israelites that they have forgotten about their saving God, the rock of their lives. Thus when they plant pleasant plants, they will not come to harvest them because they put in the seeds of foreign gods. They make them grow on the day that they planted them, but they will see them harvested. These flowers seem to blossom in the morning. However, in the day of grief and incurable pain there will be no harvest. In other words, their forgetfulness of God has led to this planting that will not have any good result.

The impending death of old age (Eccl 12:3-12:7)

“In the day

When the guards of the house tremble,

The strong men are bent.

The women who grind cease working

Because they are few.

Those who look through the windows see dimly.

The doors on the street are shut.

The sound of the grinding is low.

One rises up at the sound of a bird.

All the daughters of song are brought low.

When one is afraid of heights,

The terrors are in the road.

The almond tree blossoms.

The grasshopper drags itself along.

Desire fails.

Because all must go to their eternal home.

The mourners will go about the streets.

The silver cord is snapped.

The golden bowl is broken.

The pitcher is broken at the fountain.

The wheel is broken at the cistern.

The dust returns to the earth as it was.

The spirit returns to God who gave it.”

This is an ode to old age. The dying old man, with his many servants and guards, comes to an end. The guards tremble. The strong men bend over. The women grinders stop their dancing. They can only see dimly out the window. Everyone has shut their doors. The grinders have ceased. Morning comes early with the first sound of a bird. There are no more singing young girls. The old man is afraid of heights. He dreads going out on the road because of the fear of attack. The old people tend to walk awkwardly like a grasshopper. Their desires fail maybe due to incompetence. The trees still blossom, but the mourners are out on the streets. The signs of death, the snapped silver cord, the broken gold bowl, and the broken pitcher at the fountain all take place. The wheel was broken at the cistern. They return to dust, but their spirit or breath returns to God. This is a depressing description of old age, just before death, along with the symbolic actions that go with death.