The coming peace (Zech 8:11-8:13)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘But now I will not deal

With the remnant

Of this people

As in the former days.

Now there shall be

A sowing of peace.

The vine

Shall yield its fruit.

The ground

Shall give its produce.

The skies

Shall give their dew.

I will cause

The remnant of this people

To possess all these things.

Just as you have been a curse

Among the nations,

O house of Judah!

O house of Israel!

Thus,

I will save you.

You shall be a blessing.

Do not be afraid!

But let your hands be strong!’”

Yahweh of hosts was going to deal with his people, but not like in the former days.  Now Yahweh was going to sow peace.  Their vines would yield much fruit.  Their ground would produce rich harvests.  Their skies would send down gentle rain and dew.  The remnant of the people would possess all these things.  Just as many countries had cursed them in the past, now Judah and Israel would be a blessing to many countries.  They should not be afraid, but continue with their strong hands.

The future good harvests (Hag 2:18-2:19)

“Consider from this day on,

From the twenty-fourth day

Of the ninth month!

Consider since the day

That the foundation

Of Yahweh’s temple

Was laid!

Is there any seed

Left in the barn?

Does the vine

Still yield nothing?

Does the fig tree

Still yield nothing?

Does the pomegranate tree

Still yield nothing?

Does the olive tree

Still yield nothing?

From this day on,

I will bless you.”

As opposed to the bad harvests of the past, the harvests of the future would be good from this day forward, because this 24th day of the 9th month was the day of the foundation laying for the Second Temple of Yahweh.  Then in a series of questions, Yahweh indicated that there would be no seeds left in the barn.  The vines, the fig trees, the pomegranate trees, and the olive trees would yield great harvests rather than nothing.  From this day on, they were going to be blessed.

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 wood of the vine (Ezek 15:1-15:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

How does the wood

Of the vine

Surpass

All other wood?

Is the vine branch

Among the trees

Of the forest?

Is the wood

Taken from it

To make anything?

Does one take a peg

From it

To hang

Any object?’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, about an allegory or parable of the wood of the vine. Yahweh wanted to know how the wood of the vine surpassed all other kinds of wood. These vines were not grown in the forest like the other trees, but they were usually cultivated. What could you do with the wood from the vine? There were many uses, but apparently one of the most important uses was to make pegs to hang things on.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

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.

The city in chaos (Isa 24:7-24:13)

“The wine dries up.

The vine languishes.

All the merry hearted sigh.

The mirth of the timbrels is stilled.

The noise of the jubilant has ceased.

The mirth of the lyre is stilled.

No longer do they drink wine

With singing.

Strong drink is bitter

To those who drink it.

The city of chaos is broken down.

Every house is shut up

So that none can enter.

There is an outcry in the streets

For lack of wine.

All joy has reached its eventide.

The gladness of the earth is banished.

Desolation is left in the city.

The gates are battered into ruins.

Thus it shall be on the earth.

Thus it shall be among the nations.

It will be

Like a beaten olive tree,

Like the gleaning

When the grape harvest is ended.”

Isaiah points out that without wine, there is no joy, just sighing. The vines and the wine have languished and dried up. The sound of the jubilant musical instruments of the timbrels and lyre was no more. There were no more drinking and singing. Strong drink had become bitter, like raw alcohol. The city of chaos broke down. It is difficult to figure out whether this was a specific city or the symbolic end of the world chaos. All the houses were closed, so that no one could come in or go out. People complained about the lack of wine with no joy in this city, since gladness had been banished. It was now a desolate chaotic city with broken down gates. This felt like the time after the olive trees and vines had been harvested with nothing left to do, even though there was no harvest. The vines and trees were empty and barren.