“As soon as the trees
You can see
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?
“From the fig tree,
Learn its lesson!
As soon as its branches
It puts forth
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.
“From the fig tree,
Learn its lesson!
As soon as its branch
It puts forth its leaves.
Then you know
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.
“On that day,
Shall flow out
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
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.
“My joy is gone.
Grief is upon me.
My heart is sick.
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?
“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.
“Like snow in summer,
Like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in it’s flitting,
Like a swallow in its flying,
An undeserved curse goes nowhere.
Thus we have
A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
A rod for the back of fools.”
Honor should not be given to fools because it is out of place, like snow in summer or rain at harvest time. Just like a sparrow or a swallow flitting and flying, an undeserved curse is useless. What works is a whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey, and a whip for the back of fools. Fools are just slightly more valuable and tolerable than horses and donkeys.
“A wise child makes a glad father.
But a foolish child is a mother’s grief.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit anyone.
But righteousness delivers from death.
Yahweh does not let the righteous go hungry,
But he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty.
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
A child who gathers in summer is prudent,
But a child who sleeps in harvest brings shame.”
Right from the start of these sayings there is the contrast between the wise and the foolish child. Wickedness did not bring profit, but righteousness would save you from death. Early death was considered a punishment for sin. Yahweh would not let the righteous go hungry, but the wicked would be hungry. Notice the contrast and the idea of ‘but’. Here we have the classic explanation of poverty. You are poor because you do not work hard. You are rich because you have worked hard. There is never any mention of circumstances. Once again, we are back at the prudent child who gathers in the summer, while the other shameful child sleeps during the harvest time.
“Go to the ant!
Consider its ways!
It prepares its food in summer.
It gathers its sustenance in harvest.
How long will you be there?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep,
A little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,
Poverty will come upon you
Like a robber.
Want will come upon you
Like an armed warrior.”
This admonition is very clear. Do not be lazy, a lazybones person. He took the example of an ant. It has no chiefs, officers, or rulers, yet it provides for itself. The ants prepared the food in summer and gathered in the fall. So then he turned to the lazy one. He asked how long he was going to be resting. He either was sleeping, dosing, or folding his hands resting. If he did not get a move on, he would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon him like a robber or armed warrior. This is an idea that will be repeated.