The stone with an inscription (Zech 3:9-3:10)

“‘I will engrave

Its inscription.

On the stone

That I have set

Before Joshua,

On a single stone

With seven facets.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will remove

The guilt of this land

In a single day.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘On that day,

You shall invite each other

To come

Under your vine,

Under your fig tree.’”

Yahweh was going to set up a stone with a single inscription on it but with 7 facets or 7 eyes.  Was this the priesthood of the new Temple?  Yahweh was going to take away the guilt of their land in a single day.  On that day, everyone would sit around talking to their friends and neighbors under their cultivated vines and fig trees.

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The bad harvest (Hab 3:17-3:17)

“The fig trees

Do not blossom.

There is no fruit

On the vines.

The produce

Of the olive tree fails.

The fields yield

No food.

The flock is cut off

From the fold.

There is no herd

In the stalls.”

These farmers have hit bad times.  The fig trees were not blossoming, while there were no fruits of grapes on the vines in the vineyard.  The fields were not yielding any kind of food.  The flocks were running aimlessly, while the herd was not in its stalls.  Things were in bad shape.

A time of peace (Mic 4:4-4:4)

“But they shall all sit

Under their own vine.

They shall all sit

Under their own fig trees.

No one shall make them afraid.

The mouth

Of Yahweh of hosts

Has spoken.”

Micah went one step further than Isaiah.  He said that during this time of peace, all the people would sit under their vines and fig trees.  They would not be afraid.  Why were they afraid?  They had nothing to fear, because all of this came from the mouth of Yahweh, the Lord of the heavenly armies that would protect them.

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.

Farming will continue (Joel 2:22-2:22)

“Do not fear!

You animals of the field!

The pastures

Of the wilderness

Are green.

The tree bears

Its fruit.

The fig tree

Gives it full yield.

The vine

Give its full yield.”

Joel and Yahweh reminded the people that farming would continue. They should not be afraid. The field animals would find green pastures. The trees would bear their fruit. There would be a full crop from the fig trees and the vineyards.

The farmers should mourn (Joel 1:11-1:12)

“Be dismayed!

You farmers!

Wail!

You vinedressers!

The wheat,

The barley,

The crops

Of the field

Are ruined.

The vine withers.

The fig tree droops.

Pomegranate trees,

Palm trees,

Apple trees,

All the trees

Of the field

Are dried up.

Surely,

Joy withers away

Among the people.”

The famers and the vinedressers should wail and be upset. All the crops of the field, the wheat and the barley, are ruined. The vines wither away, while the fig trees droop. All the trees of the field, the pomegranate, the palm, and the apple trees, have dried up. There is no longer any joy among the people because of this plague of locusts.

The coming invading destruction (Jer 5:14-5:17)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

‘Because they have spoken this word,

I am making my words

In your mouth a fire.

This people shall be wood.

The fire shall devour them.

I am going to bring upon you

A nation from far away.

O house of Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘It is an enduring nation,

It is an ancient nation,

It is a nation whose language

You do not know.

You cannot understand what they say.

Their quiver is

Like an open tomb.

All of them are mighty warriors.

They shall eat up your harvest.

They shall eat your food.

They shall eat up your sons.

They shall eat up your daughters.

They shall eat up your flocks.

They shall eat up your herds.

They shall eat up your vines.

They shall eat up your fig trees.

They shall destroy with the sword

Your fortified cities

In which you trust.’”

Yahweh tells Jeremiah about the impending destructive invasion. They would be set on fire from their mouths. A nation from far away would come upon the house of Israel. They would not understand the language of this ancient enduring nation. This nation’s mighty warriors had many arrows to hit them. They would come and eat up the food of their harvest. They would devour their sons and daughters. They would eat up their flocks, herds, vines, and fig trees. They would destroy their trusted fortified cities with the sword. Destruction was coming.