Various areas will dry up (Nah 1:4-1:4)

Daleth

“Bashan withers.

Carmel withers.

The bloom

Of Lebanon

Fades.”

In this Hebrew letter of Daleth, the lush fertile grazing area of Bashan would wither and dry up.  The same goes for the lush mountainous area of Carmel and the rich forests of Lebanon, since they would all fade and dry up also.

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Lack of rain (Am 4:7-4:8)

“‘I also withheld

The rain

From you,

When there were

Still three months

To the harvest.

I would send rain

On one city.

But I would send no rain

On another city.

One field would be rained on,

While the field

On which it did not rain

Withered.

Two

Or three towns

Wandered to one town

To drink water.

However,

They were not satisfied.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that indicated the lack of rain. Yahweh did not give any rain for 3 months prior to the harvest. He would send rain to one city, but not to another city. One field would have rain, but the field next to it would not have any rain. Thus, the arid field would wither and die. A couple of towns would go to another town to get water to drink, but they were not satisfied. Despite all this lack of rain, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel did not return to Yahweh.

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 land in mourning (Jer 12:4-12:4)

“How long will

The land mourn?

How long will

The grass of every field wither?

Due to the wickedness of those

Who live in it,

The animals

Are swept away.

The birds

Are swept away.

Because people said.

‘He is blind to our ways.’”

Jeremiah wanted to know how long the land would mourn. How long would the grass wither in the fields? Due to the wickedness of these people, the animals and the birds of this land were to be swept away. These people thought that Yahweh was blind to their evil ways.

Let me never forget Jerusalem (Ps 137:4-137:6)

“How could we sing Yahweh’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you,

O Jerusalem!

Let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,

If I do not remember you,

If I do not set Jerusalem

Above my highest joy.”

The psalmist asked how he could sing a song about Yahweh when he was in a foreign land. If he had forgotten Jerusalem, his right hand should wither. His tongue should stick to the roof of his mouth. He was always going to remember Jerusalem as his greatest joy. He would never forget that wonderful place.

The happy people (Ps 1:1-1:3)

“Happy are those

Who do not follow the advice of the wicked.

They do not take the path that sinners tread.

They do not sit in the seat of scoffers.

Their delight is in the law of Yahweh.

On his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees

That are planted by streams of water.

They yield their fruit in its season.

Their leaves do not wither.

In all that they do,

They prosper.”

Psalm 1 is considered a preface to the collection of psalms or praises. There is no attribution to this psalm. It may have been the biblical editor’s choice. This psalm emphasizes the two ways, much like the later 1st century CE Christian Didache. This is, in fact, a wisdom psalm. The happy or blessed ones are the people who do not follow wicked advice. They receive blessings. They are the prosperous or the righteous people. They do not walk down the way of sinners or scoffers. Their delight and happiness is in the law of Yahweh. They are like the strong trees planted by streams of water as they always yield their fruit in the correct season. Their leaves never wither. Everything that they do is prosperous because they are sustained by the water. They meditate day and night on the Torah that was given by Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Moses. They are much like Christian contemplatives or Buddhist monks. The happy blessed one is the one who follows the law. This psalm sets the tone for all the psalms to follow.