Know them by their fruits (Mt 7:16-7:16)

“You know them

By their fruits.

Are grapes gathered

From thorn bushes?

Are figs gathered

From thistles?”

 

ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς. μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν σταφυλὰς ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα;

 

This saying of Jesus is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 6:44-45, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus told his disciples, via Matthew, that they would know or discern people by their fruits (ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς).  Then he asked the question whether grapes could be gathered from thorn bushes (μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν σταφυλὰς) or figs gathered from thistles (ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα).  Certain kinds of fruits only come from certain kinds of trees.  Thus, you can tell what kind of tree it is by its fruit.

Advertisements

The joyful new Exodus (Isa 55:12-55:13)

“You shall go out in joy!

You shall be led back in peace!

The mountains before you

Shall burst into song.

The hills before you

Shall break out into singing.

All the trees of the field

Shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn bushes,

The cypress tree shall come up.

Instead of the briar patch,

The myrtle tree shall come up.

It shall be a memorial to Yahweh.

It shall be an everlasting sign

That you shall not be cut off.”

Second Isaiah concludes this section by talking about a happy return to Jerusalem. The Israelites will return in joy and peace because the singing mountains and hills are alive with the sound of music. The trees of the field will clap with their branches, as if they were hands. Instead of thorn bushes and briar patches, cypress and myrtle trees will grow. This will be a memorial to Yahweh as an everlasting sign that they will never be cut off from Yahweh again.

The menacing wild animals in Edom (Isa 34:13-34:15)

“Thorns shall grow over Edom’s strongholds.

Nettles shall be in its fortresses.

Thistles shall be in its fortresses.

It shall be the haunt of jackals.

It shall be an abode for ostriches.

Wildcats shall meet with hyenas.

Goat-demons shall cry to each other.

There too Lilith shall repose.

It shall find a place to rest.

There shall the owl nest.

The owl lays there.

The owl hatches its brood in its shadow.

There too the buzzards shall gather.

Each one shall have her mate.”

This terrible place of Edom will have thorn bushes growing in its strongholds, with nettles and thistles in these fortresses. A number of menacing odd animals will live there, the jackal wolf dogs, the ostriches, the wildcats, and the hyenas. On top of that there will be demon like goats and the ancient monster female demon Lilith. Strangely enough, the menacing owls are also there to rest and nest their young ones. Of course, there would be the ever threatening buzzards with their mates.

Yahweh is upset (Isa 33:10-33:12)

“‘Now I will arise.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Now I will lift myself up.

Now I will be exalted.

You conceive chaff!

You bring forth stubble!

Your breath is a fire

That will consume you.

The people will be

As if burned to lime,

Like thorns cut down,

That are burned in the fire.’”

Isaiah has Yahweh speak directly to everyone. Yahweh was going to rise up. He was going to lift himself up. He wanted to be exalted and acknowledged. He did not like what they were bringing to him, since he considered it only chaff and stubble, like useless left over things. Their breath was like a fire that would consume them. It would burn them as if they were lime. They would be like cut down like thorn bushes burning in a fire.

The pending crisis in the days to come (Isa 7:17-7:19)

“Yahweh will bring on you,

On your people,

On your ancestral house

Such days

As have not come

Since the day

That Ephraim

Departed from Judah.

Watch for the king of Assyria!

On that day,

Yahweh will whistle for the fly

That is at the sources

Of the streams of Egypt.

He will whistle for the bee

That is in the land of Assyria.

They will all come.

They will settle

In the steep ravines,

In the clefts of the rocks,

On all the thorn bushes,

On all the pastures.”

Isaiah predicts that things will not be good in the near future. Yahweh was going to bring bad things to the Israelites, their people, and their ancestral homes that they had not been seen since Ephraim split with Judah after the death of King Solomon. Yahweh would call out the king of Assyria with his bees to get together with Egypt and its flies to attack Judah. Yahweh, via Isaiah, had just reassured King Ahaz that Ephraim and Syria would fail in their attacks. However, this seems like another more serious attack from a combination of Assyria and Egypt. These attacking bees and flies would settle in the ravines, rocks, thorn bushes, and pastures.

False tongue (Sir 28:22-28:26)

“A false tongue

Has no power

Over the godly.

They will not be burned

In its flame.

Whoever forsakes the Lord

Will fall into its power.

It will burn among them.

It will not be put out.

It will be sent out against them

Like a lion.

Like a leopard,

It will mangle them.

As you fence in your property

With thorns,

So make a door.

Make a bolt

For your mouth.

As you lock up your silver,

So make balances

For your words.

As you lock up your gold,

So make scales

For your words.

Take care!

Do not err

With your tongue.

Otherwise you will fall victim

To one lying in wait.”

Sirach says that this false tongue does not have any power over the godly. They will not be burned by its flames. However, those who forsake the Lord will fall under the power of these false tongues. The fire will burn in them so that they will not be able to put out this fire. They will feel like they are being attacked by a lion or mauled by a leopard. You need to put a door and a bolt on your mouth just as you fence in your property with thorn bushes to keep you from false speech. You should weigh what you say and balance your words, just as you protect your silver and gold. Do not make mistakes with your tongue by falling victim to those who are waiting to catch you.