Leaves on the trees (Lk 21:30-21:30)

“As soon as the trees

Sprout leaves,

You can see

For yourselves.

You know

That the summer

Is already near.”

 

ὅταν προβάλωσιν ἤδη, βλέποντες ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν γινώσκετε ὅτι ἤδη ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that as soon as the trees sprout leaves (ὅταν προβάλωσιν ἤδη), they can see and know for themselves (βλέποντες ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν γινώσκετε) that summer was already near (ὅτι ἤδη ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν).  This was almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:32, and Mark, chapter 13:28.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that as soon as the tree’s branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς ἁπαλὸς γένηται), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ ἐκφύῃ τὰ φύλλα).  Then they would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that as soon as the tree’s branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς), the tree would put forth its leaves (καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).  Then they would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps on coming.  Do you like spring time?

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The parable of the fig tree (Mk 13:28-13:28)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branches

Becomes tender,

It puts forth

Its leaves.

Then you know

That summer is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς ἁπαλὸς γένηται καὶ ἐκφύῃ τὰ φύλλα, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:32, and similar in Luke, chapter 21:29-30.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς ἁπαλὸς γένηται), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ ἐκφύῃ τὰ φύλλα).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος ἐστίν).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

The parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32-24:32)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branch

Becomes tender,

It puts forth its leaves.

Then you know

That summer

Is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:28, but in Luke, chapter 21:29-30, almost word for word.  Earlier in chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

Living waters (Zech 14:8-14:8)

“On that day,

Living waters

Shall flow out

From Jerusalem.

Half of these waters

Would go to the eastern sea.

The other half of these waters

Would go to the western sea.

It shall continue

In summer

As in winter.”

On this glorious day, half the living waters would flow from Jerusalem to the eastern sea or the Dead Sea, while the other half would flow to the western sea or the Mediterranean Sea.  These living waters would flow both during summer and winter.  The idea of flowing living waters were one of the major themes of the early Christians.

Lamentation over Judah (Jer 8:18-8:20)

“My joy is gone.

Grief is upon me.

My heart is sick.

Hark!

The cry of my poor people

From far and wide in the land!

‘Is Yahweh not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?’

‘Why have they provoked me to anger?

They have their images.

They have their foreign idols?’

‘The harvest is past.

The summer is ended.

We are not saved.’

Jeremiah laments the situation in Judah. His joy is gone. His grief has made him heartsick. The cry of the poor people can be heard far and wide all over the land. Why hasn’t Yahweh helped? Why is the king gone? They have provoked Yahweh to anger with their images of foreign idols. The harvest has past as summer has ended. They are not saved. What can he do?

A message for everyone (Isa 18:3-18:6)

“All you inhabitants of the world!

You who live on the earth!

When a signal is raised

On the mountains!

Look!

When a trumpet is blown!

Hear!

Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘I will quietly look

From my dwelling

Like clear heat in sunshine,

Like a cloud of dew

In the heat of harvest.

Before the harvest,

When the blossom is over,

The flower becomes

A ripening grape.

He will then cut off the shoots

With pruning hooks.

He will hew away

The spreading branches.

They shall all be left

To the birds of prey

Of the mountains.

They shall all be left

To the animals

Of the earth.

The birds of prey

Will summer on them.

All the animals of the earth

Will winter on them.”

Now Isaiah delivers a more universal message since this is for everyone living on earth, not just the Israelites. Yahweh had spoken to him. The example that he used was the harvest of vineyards, a fairly common biblical theme. Yahweh looked out from his dwelling, as on a clear sunny day or an overcast day at harvest time. He explained that the vine first had a blossom, a flower. Finally the ripened grape was ready for harvest. Along the way, he used pruning shears to cut back shoots and wandering branches. He left these for the birds and animals to use as food, sometimes storing them up for winter or summer. It is not clear whether this is an allusion to battles between the Assyrians and the Egyptians and Ethiopians. However, it is the story of the growth of a grape, if nothing else.

Four small animals (Prov 30:24-30:28)

“Four things on earth are small.

Yet they are exceedingly wise.

The ants are a people without strength.

Yet they provide their food in the summer.

The badgers are a people without power.

Yet they make their homes in the rocks.

The locusts have no king.

Yet all of them march in rank.

The lizard can be grasped in the hand.

Yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”

The next mention is about 4 wise small animals: 1) ants, 2) badgers, 3) locusts, and 4) lizards. There are 2 that are actually insects, ants and locusts. The ants and the badgers are called people. There seems to have been a preoccupation with ants since they were able to get their food in the summer. The badgers make their homes in rocks even though they are not powerful. The locusts obviously do not have a king, but they march like in army ranks. In fact, the ants are also organized. Finally, the small lizards can be found in the palaces of kings. All of these small animals and insects can teach us humans a lesson about working together without much individual strength.