Joshua and Zionism – from trouble to hope

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1882 is considered the year in that started the Zionist movement. In this year, the first Zionist settlement was established.

The village was founded in a swamp area in the Sharon and was called Petah-Tikva.

Joshua leads the sons of Israel into Canaan

The Taking of Jericho

When the people of Israel entered Canaan from the east, they were not considered Zionists. Zion at that time was a place that they did not hear about yet.

They were commanded to conquer the country from the seven Canaanite nations that inhabited the land.

The first city they conquer and destroy was Jericho. Two spies were sent to the house of Rahab who hidden them. Then the people of Israel marched around the city during seven days and in the seventh day they blew the trumpets and the walls fell down. No doubt that God was with the people of Israel!

Joshua warns the people not to take anything from the city as it is under a ban.

Then, they went on to conquer the second city – Ai, But they fail badly… Something went wrong. Joshua cried to the Lord and asked – Why is that Lord? and the answer came clearly:

Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction (Joshua 7:11-12)

The Lord instructed Joshua how to find the person that did wrong. It came out that it was Achan from the tribe of Judah.

Interestingly, in Chronicles, the name changes from Achan to Achar:

The son of Carmi was Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the accursed thing (1 Chronicles 2:7)

This is interesting, because the Hebrew word for “trouler” in the Bible is “Ocher” which is from the same root of the name “Achar” and literally means “bring trouble or darkness“.

Achan with all his family were sentenced to be stoned. Where did that happen? let’s read:

Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day (Joshua 7:26)

The Hebrew root A.Ch.R. appears three times in our story:

  • Achar (or Achan) – the name of the sinner
  • Ocher – adjective that means troubler or literally “darkens”
  • Achor – the valley where he was stoned.  Near Jericho.

achan

A prophecy of hope

Let’s move to another book in the Bible. Hosea.

Hosea, speaks about the restoration of Israel.

In the second chapter of the book he compares Israel to a treacherous wife. He describes all her harlotry and unfaithful ways.

But then the Lord takes her to the desert, and there, after all her lovers have left her, the Lord restores Israel. Then Hosea prophesies:

Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope (Hosea 2:15)

This verse takes us back to the story of Achan in the valley of Achor.

The Zionist movement begins

In the year of 1872, a few families from Jerusalem tried to buy a land in Jericho and to build a new agricultural village. The name they wanted to give to the village is Petah-Tikva – which means “Door of hope” to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea.

They were not successful in buying the land in Jericho, but ended up buying a swamp area in the Sharon from an Arab family in Jaffa.

The life was too hard in the swamp, and after three years the village was abandoned.

Seven years later, in 1882, the village was restored by new settlers. This year marks the beginning of the first wave of Zionists moving to Israel and building new settlements.

The location of Petah Tikva in the Sharon instead of Jericho is a fulfillment of another prophecy:

Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks,
And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds (Isaiah 65:10)

The Zionist movement, just like Joshua, brought the people of Israel back to their land.

And the city of Petah Tikva is a symbol of the restoration of Israel.

The Red mountains of Edom

Edom2

 

When you drive in The Arava road down the road toward Eilat, you can see the towering mountains of Edom. Those mountains are made of granite and are notable red.

When you read the Bible in Hebrew, it is no surprise that the mountains of Edom are red: the word Edom in Hebrew (אֱדוֹם) is derived from the word red (Adomאדוֹם).

The Edomites, the ancient people who lived in Edom were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob.

And this is the genealogy of Esau the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir. (Genesis 36:9)

Here we see that there is another name for Edom and this is Seir. The name Edom and Seir are interchangeable in the Bible.

For example:

You shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom. (Ezekiel 35:15)

The Hairy and Red Esau

The name Seir in Hebrew means “hairy” (שֵׂעִיר). So the mountains of Edom have two names, each has an attribute: Edom – “red” and Seir – “hairy

When Esau was born, as the firstborn twin brother of Jacob, we read that he was “red” and “hairy“. We also hear that he was called Esau because he was hairy

And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. (Genesis 25:25)

Those two characters of Esau: Red and Hairy play critical roles in his life and his struggles with his twin brother Jacob.

As we remember, Jacob deceived Esau twice:

First time, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a red stew:

And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. (Genesis 25:30)

Second time, Jacob steals the blessing of Esau. In order to do so, his mother put fur on his body, so Isaac, whose eyes were dim, would think that this is the “hairy” son – Esau:

And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck (Genesis 27:16)

Reconciliation

The story goes on, and after the double deceiving, Jacob has to run away from Esau to Aram. When they meet after many years, Jacob is still afraid that Esau will kill him.

But Esau is happy to meet him!

But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept (Genesis 33:4)

The reconciliation, between Israel (Jacob) that deceived his brother and the deceived brother has special meaning in the future and restoration of Israel.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—

“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?

“I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.

(Isaiah 63:1-4)

This beautiful prophecy of Isaiah speaks about the year of redemption.

The redeemer will come from Edom (perhaps a symbol of a betrayed brother?) and will be red like one who treads in the winepress. But the red color is in fact blood!

 

 

A Mustard Seed

“…The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.

(Mathew 13, 31-32)

 

Seeds of mustard and a mustard flower:   mustard-seeds

Many people that read the verse above from Mathew, tend to think that the mustard is a big tree.

Well, this is not the case. In Israel the mustard is a very common wild weed that grows almost everywhere except for the desert. It has yellow flowers and a strong odor of mustard. During the spring it paints the fields with a strong color.

Wild Mustard field in Golan heights:18127405

The mustard is very known in Israel as a herb and a medicine. People used in the time of Yeshua, and until today it is used by the local people as a vegetable and as a medicine.

Mustard condiment is made from the seeds. 20091007-mustard-yellows

So why does Yeshua uses the mustard in his parable?

The reason is that the mustard weed grows very fast: It sprouts in the beginning of the winter, and by the end of the spring it gets to be higher than the height of a person. In the summer it dies and becomes a thorn.

Small birds use the mustard weed to build their nests.

A bird (bunting) on a dry mustard in Golan Heights in the autumn: גבתון עפרוני

A mustard stem is used for a crown:mustard_crown