Why Let the Land go Fallow, anyway?

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: May 28, 2014

News Letter 5850-010
1st day of the 3rd month 5850 years after the creation of Adam
The 3rd Month in the Fifth year of the Third Sabbatical Cycle
The 42nd day of Counting the Omer
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes, Famines and Pestilence

May 31, 2014

Shabbat Shalom brethren,

This Shabbat we are just 8 days away from Shavuot. Have you been counting the Omer? Have you been counting down to Shavuot? Have you been comparing this to the Sabbatical Year Cycles and where we are in Yehovah’s timeline? Are you teaching this to your children, your family, your home group, and your church groups?

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, so that we may bring a heart of wisdom.

Many of you are former Church of God brethren. Please take the book Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016 and go to the leadership of each and all of the many offshoots of the former WWCG and tell them about the Sabbatical years.
Many of you are or were a part of the Seventh Day Adventist group. Please take Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016 and go to the leadership of each, and to all of the many churches, and tell them about the Sabbatical years.
All of you were at one time a part of a church group, before being asked to leave or leaving of your own accord. Please take Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016 and go to the leadership of each of your former groups and tell them about the Sabbatical years.
You may be that one person Yehovah is using to show them about the coming Sabbatical year in 2016. Understand and know that if these people do not keep this next Sabbatical year they will have to face the next curse of Lev 26. Yehovah says He does not hear the prayers of sinners. Those who do not keep the Sabbatical year or the Holy Days of Lev 23 or the weekly Saturday Sabbath are sinning. Yehovah will laugh when their calamities come, and yet He does not want any to perish but all to come to the knowledge and understanding of His Torah. Yes, each of you must know that if you do not tell them these things, their blood will be held responsible upon your head. Read Ezekiel about the watchman. Each of you have this responsibility, so do not put it off nor neglect it.

Pro 28:9  He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is a hateful thing.John 9:31  But we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

Pro 1:24  Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; 25  but you have despised all my advice, and would have none of my warning. 26  I also will laugh at your trouble; I will mock when your fear comes; 27  when your fear comes as a wasting away, and your ruin comes like a tempest when trouble and pain come upon you. 28  Then they shall call upon me, and I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; 29  instead they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of Jehovah. 30  They would have none of my counsel; they despised all my correction, 31  and they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own desires. 32  For the turning away of the simple kills them, and the ease of fools destroys them. 33  But whoever listens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Eze 33:7  And you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel. Therefore you shall hear the Word from My mouth, and warn them from Me. 8  When I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die; if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked one shall die in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at your hand. 9  But, if you warn the wicked of his way, to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul. 10  And you, son of man, speak to the house of Israel. So you have spoken, saying, When our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we are wasting away in them, How then shall we live? 11  Say to them: As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I have no delight in the death of the wicked, except in the turning of the wicked from his way, and so to live. Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? 12  Therefore, son of man, say to the sons of your people: The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression. As for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it in the day he turns from his wickedness. Nor shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins. 13  When I shall say to the righteous that he shall surely live; if he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he has committed, he shall die for it. 14  Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turns from his sin and does justice and right; 15  if the wicked gives back the pledge, gives again what he had robbed, walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, then he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16  None of his sins that he has committed shall be called to his memory. He has done justice and right; he shall surely live.

Read Proverbs 1 again. People say I am preaching “fear” amongst the brethren, that I am “fear mongering.” Are they correct in saying this? Or are they being used by Satan to cause some or many not to hear what I am teaching?  Yehovah mocks them when their “fear” comes as a Tempest. This very thing happened to those who cancelled us from speaking in Ohio. This very thing – they had a tornado bearing down on their home the day after cancelling. Brethren, there are those who hate knowledge and do not have the proper fear of Yehovah. Again read Proverbs 1 above, which I have highlighted.
Yes, I teach you to have a respectful fear of our Suzerain King Yehovah. To obey His commands.
What does the wisest man to ever live say at the end of his writings?

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil.

Yes, Brethren I do teach you all to “FEAR” Yehovah as we are commanded to do.

Deu 6:1  And these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which Jehovah our God commanded to teach you so that you might do them in the land where you go, to possess it, 2  that you might fear Jehovah your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you, and your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life, and so that your days may be prolonged. 3  Then hear, O, Israel, and be careful to do it, so that it may be well with you, and that you may greatly multiply, as Jehovah, the God of our fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. 4  Hear, O, Israel. Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. 5  And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6  And these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart. 7  And you shall carefully teach them to your sons, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Deu 10:12  And now, Israel, what does Jehovah your God ask of you, but to fear Jehovah your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13  to keep the commandments of Jehovah, and His statutes, which I command you today for your good? 14  Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to Jehovah your God, the earth also, with all in it.

Do not let any Messianic leader or any of the brethren tell you I teach fear mongering without you telling them that is exactly what Yehovah tells us to do. You are to fear Yehovah and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS! That includes the keeping of the Sabbatical years. Even when you are outside the land of Israel. What did you just read in this last verse? Is Yehovah only the God of the land of Israel? The heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to Yehovah as well as the WHOLE Earth. So, where do we keep His commandments? EVERYWHERE – not just in the land of Israel. Those teachers – yes, I am going to say this again and again until they all get it – those teachers, those Messianic teachers are all hypocrites telling you that the Sabbatical years are only for when you are in the land of Israel. Fools despise wisdom. It is the same as those who teach you that because you are not Jewish you only have to keep the “Noahide laws.”

Psa 111:10  The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; all practicing them have good understanding; His praise stands forever.

Pro 1:1  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; Pro 1:2  to know wisdom and instruction; to recognize the words of understanding; Pro 1:3  to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and uprightness; Pro 1:4  to give sense to the simple, knowledge and judgment to the young man; Pro 1:5  the wise hears and increases learning; and understanding ones get wisdom; Pro 1:6  to understand a proverb and its meaning; the words of the wise, and their acute sayings. Pro 1:7  The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Yes, Brethren I do teach you to be afraid of Yehovah. To have a respectful fear. To have the moral reverence of Yehovah. Look up the word fear and learn what it means. Because those who do not keep the Torah will be very afraid when the tornadoes come down on their homes. They will fear when the terrorists come towards them.

Please copy and paste this and send it to your messianic leaders. Tell them I am calling each of them hypocrites. Tell them I am teaching you to have a healthy fear of Yehovah. If they want to call that fear mongering, then so be it. But that is what the Torah says, as I have just shown you.
Yeah, I get sick and tired of the personal attacks on me. Prove to me we are not to keep the Sabbatical years, prove to me we are not to keep the commandments or the Holy Days, prove me wrong if you can. But none do – they attack my personality and my character. Prove me wrong by the scriptures, if you can. The leadership that says we do not have to keep the Torah are hypocrites, every last one of them. They all need to repent and to do so now.

Until we are all keeping the Torah, then I will continue to shout and scream and extol and scare you all with the words of Yehovah. If you do not keep the Torah, if you do not keep the Sabbatical years, those curses in Lev 26 will come upon you and your loved ones and your property. The next curse is war, so you can obey or not obey. Should you choose not to obey, then your loved ones will be shot or raped and enslaved. You will suffer famine and disease, and have no place to rest. All of you will be moved out of your places, Ezekiel tells us, but not one of you who are rebellious will enter into the land. You will all die along the way. So you can obey, as I keep warning you and have a respectful fear of Yehovah, or you can chose not to obey, as your leaders are telling you “not to keep the Sabbatical year in 2016” and then you along with them will suffer these curses. YOU not them, YOU get to choose which one you will receive, blessings or curses.

Isa 62:1  For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until its righteousness goes out as brightness, and her salvation as a burning lamp. 2  And the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah will name. 3  You also will be a crown of glory in the hand of Jehovah, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4  You will no more be called Forsaken; nor will your land any more be called Desolate; but you will be called My Delight is in her, and your land, Married; for Jehovah delights in you, and your land is married. 5  For as a young man marries a virgin, so will your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you. 6  I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who will not always be silent all the day nor all the night; you who remember Jehovah, do not be silent. 7  And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

By turning back to Yehovah, each of us has come to learn that we show Him we love Him by keeping the Sabbath and then we learned that we are to keep the Holy Days of Lev 23. Now learn that you must also keep the Sabbatical year at the right time. That is in 2016. This is the mark of Yehovah. His mark on us is by us keeping the Sabbaths, all of them. By not doing this Yehovah will send the curse, as we read in Malachi and in Lev 26.

Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.

Joh 14:15  If you love Me, keep My commandments. J16  And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, 17  the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you. 18  I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. 19  Yet a little while and the world does not see Me any more. But you see Me. Because I live, you shall live also. 20  At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him. 22  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us and not to the world? 23  Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

Those who come to you as leaders and will not keep the commandments, the 4th one being to keep the Sabbaths, all of them including the Sabbatical years, if they will not do this then they are liars and you need to be aware of them.

1Jn 2:3  And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. 4  He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5  But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. 6  He who says  he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.

Again, I want to thank all of those who have written about the cancellation of the meeting that was to take place in Ohio during Shavuot. In case some of you missed this information, the scheduled speaking event we were to do in Ohio during Shavuot weekend has been cancelled and we will not be there next week.
In that regard, we have another letter I must share. I do thank the Espinosas for this, and for coming all the way to Tennessee to watch and learn about the Sabbatical years we have been telling people about.

Shalom, Boutet Family,
I have heard about the revoking of Joe’s invitation to speak with your congregation. I wanted to write you and encourage you to pray further in this matter. I can explain Joe’s use of graphic pictures. I have been reading Joe’s newsletters for years, and for years he has been defending his stance that we are to follow the Torah even if not in the Land. The use of pictures was actually a wise teaching tool in order to “shock and awe” some people who just don’t get it into finally understanding. It was his way of trying to finally get some hard-hearted people to see, hear, and understand. Joe is not a professor at Cambridge (although he’s certainly smarter than one!), but a Canadian ditch-digger. Sometimes his speech/ways reflect that. And actually, it’s a part of him I actually love. I humbly ask that he be given grace in your sight. I would also like to add that I was in the audience at Sukkot 2013 when his videos were being recorded. All the children spent their days outside playing; he was speaking to a group of adults. And besides, his remarks were never crude, but often brought laughter and lightened the mood of his sobering message.

I have learned more from Joe’s newsletters in the past few years than I did for a decade in church! His (Yehovah’s) message is so important, it could mean the difference between getting raised in the first or second resurrection. Yes, his message has such eternal significance. You see, most believers keep the weekly Sabbath, but not the yearly Sabbath. “Guard my Sabbaths…” (Lev. 26:2). The next Sabbatical year is approaching quickly and the message must get out. Please let those who want to come, come. “Warn” them in advance if you have to, but please don’t be a “stumbling block to the blind.” I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

By the way, I would also like to reveal my identity, just so you may trust my opinion of Joe. I was the one who, a few years ago, sent money to Mark ( when he had his tree accident) in small, unmarked, yellow bubble envelopes until I heard he was back to work. I don’t even know Mark, but it was the right thing to do for a brother in Yehovah Yehoshua. I reveal this only so you may judge me by my fruits. I humbly ask you to return the favor and pray further about Joe.
Sincere thanks,
Eileen Espinosa, Broomfield, CO

Yes Brethren I do encourage you all, no matter what part of the world you are in to not be the stumbling block that prevents those who have not yet understood the sabbatical years from hearing this message. Each of you can take the videos and play them at your group or Church fellowship. Each of you can do this. Each of you can get the book Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016 and read it and use it to teach this message yourself to you own groups anywhere in the world. For all of those in or near the Province of Alberta  come out and let us show you what Ohio is missing out on. We have our teachings on the blood moons and our new teaching on “The Case for War” as we prove to you over and over what is just around the corner in a few years time. We will be meeting in Alberta, Canada on June 28-29, 2014.

Shalom Brethren,
Some of our plans have changed for the Alberta gathering on June 28 and 29th. It will no longer be held at the Gladstone Ranch, as we did not reach the minimum number of people required to cover the cost of renting the ranch. In our desire to see the conference go ahead, we have changed the venue to the Hillcrest Fish and Game Hall which is within the municipality of Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta, about 20 km. from the British Columbia border. We are a municipality comprised of five small communities: Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore and Coleman – all within a 15 km. stretch of Highway #3. Our total population is approximately 5,500. The largest towns are Blairmore and Coleman, where the motels and hotels are located. This is important to know because in changing the venue, everyone coming will be responsible for their own accommodations whether in local motels or in campgrounds. There are numerous campgrounds throughout the area and even a free campground in Bellevue, which is very close to the venue, but the campground is first come first served!  All this information is easily accessed by typing Crowsnest Pass, Alberta into your search engine. We would advise booking your accommodations soon as it is the beginning of the long weekend. There is a possibility (depending on his work schedule) that Joseph may not have to return to Ontario until Monday. Should this be the case the conference might be extended to include a Monday morning session, if people request that.


There will be no charge for this conference and all meals will be provided except for breakfasts. We are fully trusting Yah that He will put it upon the hearts of His people to give a fair donation to cover our costs plus bless Joe for his time and travel and teaching extraordinaire with a love offering. The conference is slated to begin on Saturday at 10 am and go all day with breaks for lunch and supper. There will also be an evening session which may consist of midrashing and fellowship instead of a teaching, as some with children may have to leave early due to children’s bedtime schedules. Sunday there will be teachings from 10am to mid afternoon. Joseph at this time has to work Monday, so will need to travel back to Calgary to catch his plane to Toronto in the evening.

We are wondering if families who plan on coming can provide us the ages of their children as we may be able to plan for some care for them during the teachings sessions.

It is important for those of us planning the gathering that we have an accurate idea of those who will be attending, including children, so we may adequately provide for all meals and children’s care and also so that we do not exceed the number of people within the fire code for the Hillcrest Fish and Game Hall. The cut-off date for informing us of your desire to attend is June 6, 2014. Contacts for confirming your attendance and other questions concerning the gathering are:
Barb Hemphill  bchemp2000@yahoo.ca
Geri Michalski  f16gem@shaw.ca  Phone: 1 ( 403 ) 562- 2487

In years gone by, farmers used to let the land go fallow every so often to benefit the land. As a boy, I can still remember the farmer next door fallowing a field. What he was doing was not planting that field, and letting the cattle and horses eat and walk in it. To me, fallowing a field meant that the animals would fertilize the field. From this we get the expression to dung a tree. It was the manure that stimulated the tree and caused it grow faster or healthier. For me, this same thing helped the fields that were being fallowed.

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit,well:and if not,then after that thou shalt cut it down. (KLV)

But where did they get this idea to let the land go fallow? Why did they do it? First, let’s look up what it means.

(Of farmland) plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation or to avoid surplus production:incentives for farmers to let the land lie fallow in order to reduce grain surpluses
Old English fealgian ‘to break up land for sowing’, of Germanic origin; related to Low German falgen.
Old English falu, fealu, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vaal and German fahl, falb.

From the JPS version we read the following:

Exo 23:10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and gather in the increase thereof; 11 but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of thy people may eat; and what they leave the beast of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive yard. 12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest; that thine ox and thine ass may have rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. JPS version

And from the King James we have:

Exo 23:10 And you shall sow your land six years, and shall gather in the fruits of it. 11 But the seventh year you shall let it rest and let it alone, so that the poor of your people may eat. And what they leave, the animals of the field shall eat. In the same way you shall deal with your vineyard and with your olive yard. 12 You shall do your work six days, and on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. NKJV

The word “let it alone” in verse 11 is:

H8058 ???? sha?mat? shaw-mat’
A primitive root; to fling down; incipiently to jostle; figuratively to let alone, desist, remit: – discontinue, overthrow, release, let rest, shake, stumble, throw down.

This word “Shamat” is the word from which we get the word “Shemitah” from: to let the fields alone.
When we fallow our fields, we are letting the land rest, letting the land alone. This idea comes from Lev 25.

Lev 25:3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

I want you to notice something here.

a sabbathH7676 of restH7677

We are to have a “Sabbath”.

H7676 ????? shabba?th shab-bawth
Intensive from H7673; intermission, that is, (specifically) the Sabbath: – (+ every) sabbath.

We are to have a Sabbath of rest.

H7677 ??????? shabba?tho?n shab-baw-thone
From H7676; a sabbatism or special holiday: – rest, sabbath.

In my limited research, I have only found those of the descendants of the tribes of Israel actually letting the land go fallow, wherever we are able to trace them. But those nations not from the tribes of Israel never practiced this. At least, as far as I have been able to determine.
Let me now share with you what people today think fallowing your fields means.

What Is Fallow Ground?
By Timothy Baron, eHow Contributor
Agriculture can be draining to the soil, especially when farmers plant the same crop year after year. The reason is simple: Each species of plant leeches something from the soil while giving something else back. For instance, soybeans leave nitrates in the soil while corn absorbs nitrates. To replenish the chemical composition of soil after a crop, some farmers let their land go fallow so that the native plants can naturally restore the soil’s balance.
Crop Rotation

  • The core philosophy behind crop rotation is that letting a field lie fallow enables it to restore minerals depleted by crops. Crop rotation is all the more important in fields where the soil is prone to depletion or where demanding crops have been grown.

Medieval Agriculture

  • Allowing land to stand fallow was commonly done in Medieval times when technologies had yet to develop that permitted persistent planting in a field. Since the advent of commercial fertilizers and the increasing understanding of common planting, it has become more and more unpopular to leave land fallow in Western societies. Leaving the land fallow reduces yields considerably.

Two-Field Rotation

  • The most primitive form of crop rotation was known as two-field rotation. Farmers would divide their fields in half, planting on one half in one year and then the other half the following year. This cycle would then repeat itself indefinitely. Although this process had the intended effect of replenishing the soil, it left half of the arable land unused.

Three-Field Rotation

  • Three-field rotation was a more advanced form of crop rotation. As the name suggests, arable fields were divided into threes. In the first field, a farmer sowed grain such as barley or wheat. In the second field, he planted a legume such as lentils or peas. The legume helped replenish nitrogen depleted by the grain. The farmer left the third field fallow so that other nutrients could return to the soil. Although this technique was considerably more efficient than two-field rotation, one-third of the arable land went unused.

Modern Practice

  • In modern practice, fallowing is generally considered a last resort, with fertilizers and intelligent companion planting coming first. When it is used, it’s often seasonal as opposed to annual. Instead of leaving a field fallow for an entire year, a farmer might engage in “summer fallowing,” harvesting one crop in the late spring and planting the following in early fall.

Brethren, did you catch what was just said above? Fallowing of the fields, giving the land a Sabbatical year, is “generally considered a last resort”! Each of the methods mentioned above were used in an effort to maximize the production of the land (better known as greed), and to do that they had to circumvent the law of letting the land rest for an entire year as they were told at Mount Sinai about the Sabbatical years.
So to get around this they did two or three field rotations of crops or just summer fallow the land. This along with a healthy doze of fertilizers and crop rotation and companion planting they have revolutionized the farming industry and ……

An environmental tragedy is occurring across North America virtually unnoticed. A fallacy, an idea seemingly fostered and encouraged by large chemical companies, is that lands used for the production of agricultural crops never have to be fallowed. North American agribusiness conglomerates insist that by using their products, artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, agricultural lands can be planted and cropped annually, maximizing farm income, without any interruption in cropping each year. Nothing could be further from the truth. And people wonder why all the bees are dying off.
Unfortunately, many farmers originally bought into this dream and applied chemicals heavily to their soils for years and wondered why the soil was deteriorating. Much wonderful and productive agricultural land has already been destroyed. When soils begin to deteriorate, use of chemicals demands that increasingly more artificial fertilizer be used every year to maintain the same production and in extended practice, accelerates the destruction of the soil.

Thinking farmers, the wise stewards of the land, are increasingly and admirably learning of the harm done by perpetual, heavy chemical usage and have started using environmentally smarter farming methods that involve using less chemical and more natural methods which are less destructive. Similar to any drug addict with a dependency, the land must be weaned off of chemicals.

Anecdotal evidence of the harm done by chemical agriculture abounds across North America. Excessive and continual chemical use results in highly compacted, barren mineral soil no better than poor quality, silty mud containing few nutrients and has no friable tilth, or soil structure.
Such soil contains little or no organic material, tends to compact as hard as cement, and has few natural microbes or beneficial soil inhabitants such as earthworms or beetles. With no organic material remaining, the barren, chemically-overloaded soil has little capacity for holding natural moisture from rainfall. The soil is in rapid decline and dies. Thus we have flooding with each rain fall across the land and around the world.

Why? The industrial chemicals and fertilizers overload and systemically poison the soil, killing the natural flora and fauna. The soil subsequently loses all organic matter and packs to a layer of hardpan. The soil does not hold water, so artificial nitrates run off with rainwater into the nearest waterway, polluting tiny streams, great rivers, and lakes.

In areas of high concentrations of fertilizers, algal blooms abound in waterways, and underground aquifers are becoming completely polluted and unfit for human consumption.

Chemical farming is clearly destroying agricultural lands and simultaneously wreaking havoc on the environment. The reality is that most farmers struggling financially under staggering debt loads, must borrow money to buy ever more fertilizer and chemicals. They may be aware of the environmental and developing problem with the soil, but increasingly, must continue to pour more chemicals on their crops to survive financially.
For much of the farmland and for many farmers, it is too late. Much agricultural land has been destroyed and would take many years of very careful management and financial support to recover to it’s original state of health. Some agricultural lands are so badly depleted they are close to being permanently destroyed, if not already beyond repair. ??The simple, healthy practice of allowing farmland to lay fallow has been ignored or stopped entirely in some areas because of economic pressure placed on farmers. Many farmers must use all of their available land for production or fail financially. A vicious cycle has been started and is perpetuated.

More expensive fertilizer is subsequently poured upon land that is already dying from being over-cropped as a matter of financial survival. ?What is the solution? To maintain productive, high quality soils, farmland must be allowed to lay fallow every few years. (Actually Yehovah said to do it once every 7 years)

What is the process of fallowing land? ??The fallowing of soil is a rest or pause in a natural cycle of crop rotation. The sequence may vary, but a cycle is started. A grain crop might be followed with a green manure crop which is plowed under for fertilizer. The soil may or may not be allowed to rest for a year. A grain planting may follow, seeded simultaneously with seed for forage or hay crops, such as clover, timothy, or alfalfa. The grain acts as a shading cover crop for the developing hay crop.

The following year or two, hay or forage may be harvested. In a mixed farming operation, a natural rotation would be to include the pasturing of animals. Animals such as beef or dairy cattle on pasture, naturally fertilize and enrich the soil but mixed farming in many areas is almost a thing of the past. The following year, the land is ploughed and seeded to grain again. ??On the final year of a six or seven-year cycle, the land is ‘green manured’ by planting clover, buckwheat or legumes such as beans and the crop is ploughed under while green, but on this part of the cycle, the soil is then allowed to fallow, or rest, unseeded and unused, for a year or more. The cycle is started again.

Following a program of annual or semi-annual crop rotation, a growth of clover or other green plant material is ploughed under, and the soil is allowed to rest for a year or more. This process rebuilds the tilth of the soil, adds organic material, and revitalizes the natural microbial health of the soil. Clover and legume crops replace the nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the soil naturally, with no chemical fertilizers needed.

Earthworms consume organic matter, substantially enriching the soil with worm castings. Because the tilth of the soil is also improved with more organic matter and the increased activity of earthworms and other natural flora and fauna, the soil is better aerated . The health of the soil is substantially improved and with better moisture-retaining characteristics, less irrigation is required for successful crops.
Less artificial irrigation reduces the development of hardpan and leaching of nutrients from the soil, reducing the demand for more fertilizer. The improved water-holding characteristics of the soil reduce water run-off and pollution of nearby waterways, and also helps lessen the severity of annual floods in flood-prone areas.

What can replace the process of natural fallowing of lands and rotation of crops? There is no viable replacement for the fallowing of soil. Increasingly, farmers are investigating natural and organic farming methods simply because they know the environment needs to be protected, and that agricultural lands are a limited and precious resource.

Fallowing of soils is clearly an essential agricultural practice that enriches the land naturally. Specific deep-rooted crops may help improve the land by leaving huge root systems underground when cropped, but will not solve the problem entirely. From a state of exhaustion, the soil needs time to build itself up. The fallowing of agricultural crop land is required.

To benefit the environment and return all agricultural lands to productive, long-term sustainability, agricultural policy that improve the financial viability for the farmers themselves is essential. Encouragement of all farming operations in North America to reintroduce fallowing cycles to their lands should be made a priority to preserve agriculture and life itself.

The above is from a series of articles. Let me just examine this a bit so you understand. When Yehovah says to let the land rest for one year in seven, ask yourselves why, so you can learn a valuable lesson. Yehovah, why do we have to let the land rest for one year out of seven?
When the farmer plows under a green crop what is he doing? He is giving food to the worms. The worms in turn produce castings (a fancy word for worm poop). These castings then produce microbes and fungi, which is what gives life to the soil. When the cattle pasture a field what are they doing? They are also adding manure to the fields, which in turn is digested by worms and beetles and insects, which in turn produce these microbes and fungi – the flora and fauna of the soil.
But each time the farmer plows the fields he is also killing the microbes and fungi, turning everything upside down.
Are you aware of what happened in the Garden of Eden?

Gen 2:15 And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, to serve it, and to keep it. YLT
Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. JPS

Adam and Eve were to maintain the garden; to serve it and to dress it. I have done gardening and it is just a ton of work, but Yehovah says His yoke is light. So, have we been not listening all these years?

Mat 11:28 Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

Because of Adam and Eve’s sin the ground became cursed. The land, the earth became cursed because of Adam’s sin.

Gen 3:17 And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

I also want to point out to you something I learned only a while ago. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve dressed the Garden and rested in the garden. It was not until they were put out of the Garden that they actually began to “till’ the land.

Gen 3:23 therefore Jehovah God sent him out from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken.

I learned this, and many more things about the land, in the Back to Eden video. Three years ago I stopped tilling the ground, cutting the worms in half and turning the bacteria growth upside down and killing it. Bacteria grows near the surface of the ground. Turning it over each year kills it off over time and by giving the land a rest every seventh year, the life of the soil is allowed to regenerate.

After three years now, I cannot dig anywhere in my garden without digging up hundreds and hundreds of worms. They are working on breaking down the food I give them. I now feed them rotting leaves and compost. I have a ten by ten by ten foot area of leaves I am composting along with the kitchen scraps I feed them. The worms make the castings that the plants thrive on.

To show you just how valuable these worm castings are and the bacteria plants need to grow in, take a few minutes to watch this video (I am working towards breaking some of his records). It is the bacteria created from the manure that causes the plants to thrive. We can grow large healthy plants by giving them large doses of this bacteria, also known as “compost tea.”

In the wild, Yehovah does not rotate the crops. He lets them grow in the same place year after year after year. He does not plow them under each year. What Yehovah does is feed the worms and the microbes a fresh new crop of leaves each year for them to chew on and digest and create castings which the plants thrive on. The soil never goes out of ph balance. Think about this. The soil holds more water and the plants are constantly moistened because the soil is covered in mulch which the worms eat. When the soil holds the moisture it prevents floods and then it sends up a mist. We see this today in the rain forests – moisture rising from the forest as the sun rises on it. This is the very same thing that Yehovah created in the Garden of Eden.

Gen 2:6 But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground.

Consider the curses of Lev 26 for not keeping the Sabbatical year.

Lev 26:18 And if you will not yet listen to Me for all this, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heaven like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain. For your land shall not yield its increase, neither shall the trees of the field yield their fruits.

If we are doing as we should be doing and building up the soil each year and letting it rest on the Sabbatical years, then the floods would stop and the severe and extreme weather we now have would also stop. The soil would hold more water and send up a mist during the morning to water the plants and trees just as it did in the Garden of Eden. But now, because we do not and will not keep the Sabbatical year nor work on building up the soil, we have created the curse of Lev 26:18 ourselves.
I also want you all to consider the phenomenal growth of the plants in the Amazon jungles of South America. The plant life was thriving and naturally men thought they would just remove the brush and have all this fertile soil to grow their crops in.

It turns out that the soil only lasted a few years before the crops began to fail. So what do they do? They move to another part of the Rain Forest and burn it down, then they use the soil for a few years until it no longer can support them.
What is going on here? The worm life and microorganisms that feed the rain forest and make the earth alive were not being fed their steady diet of leaves and bark, to digest and produce the castings the plants needed. The soil in the rain forest was not very thick. All of this activity takes place at the surface. But once you kill the worms and the bacteria, by not feeding them, the soil dies. Yehovah is so brilliant to be able to create awesome forests on so thin a layer of soil, but what is in that soil and how it works is the secret to fallowing the land everywhere around the world. Not just for in the land of Israel.

Back to the question: Why do we have to let the land rest every seventh year? Why should we fallow our land as Lev 25 tells us to? The answer is obvious from the information provided above. If we are not going to grow our food without turning over the soil each year, then we have to let the worms and microorganisms have a chance to rebuild themselves up. But if we do grow our plants in the same area year after year and do not turn the soil over, then we should be growing healthier and larger produce.

In my yard I take all the grass clippings and leaves and if I do not feed the worm compost, I spread them in the fruit tree orchard I have. My fruit has had spots and insects, making the fruit very unattractive. By composting directly over the root system of the trees, I will be creating a good soil life for the trees to thrive on.
Sick plants are a result of sick soil. Healthy plants are not eaten by insects. Insects only eat the sick plants. Watch the two videos above and think about the things I have shared here as you go about planting your gardens this year.
Brethren, the purpose of this article was to explain about the microorganisms in your soil and how they make the soil alive. In doing this research I had trouble finding a connection between the word Natash and the word Fallow. I then went to my good friend Lora Skeahan to look up the word Natash for me in  the Paleo Hebrew, in order to bring to you some more depth and knowledge.
The next four pages are Lora’s notes. Her conclusions are very insightful. I want to include them now with this study, and not break it up here and there. May they be a blessing to you as well.

The parent root of our word natash is: NSh
NSh – nun shin
This means: continuous pressing
As a verb it means: to loan
As a noun it means: a debt or a deception

An imposition such as a debt, or deception, which both cause or bring about oppression.

In Edenics: Gnash
Child Root: / ??? / NShH   Verb: Forget   Noun: ?
Root Meaning: The removal of a debt through payment, forgetting or forgiving.
AHLB#: 1320 H
Deceive: To cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Can also mean usury in the sense of a deception. In the participle form can mean creditor in the sense of imposition. [AHLB: 1320-E (V)] [Strong’s: 5377, 5378, 5383]
Overlook: To unintentionaly look past, forget. [AHLB: 1320-H (V)] [Strong’s: 5382]

Natash is a child root of the parent root meaning above, with the addition of the “tet” between the “nun” and “shin”
The tet is a picture of: surround, contain, mud (it is a basket)
Let alone (V)              ????                                   na-tash               2401 (V)               5203
???. 213 / ???/ N.Th.Sh Translation:+Let alone
Definition:+To be left behind by those who leave. AHLB:+2401
(V) Strong’s:+5203

From The Student’s Concise Hebrew–English Lexicon of the Bible:

  1. Left
  2. Forsook
  3. Left
  4. Cease to think of (1 Sam 10:2)
  5. Spread, scattered
  6. Drew a sword (Isaiah 21:15)

In the Niphal form:

  1. was forsaken
  2. spread itself
  3. became loose

In the Puel form:
Was forsaken   (Isaiah 32:14)

In Exodus 23:11, the word is:
Waw – connect, add, secure, hook
Nun – continue, heir, son
Tet – surround, contain, mud
Shin – press, sharp, eat, two
Taw – mark, sign, signal, monument
Hey – behold, look, reveal, breath

Strong’s H5203
Loose, cast off, permit, forsake, leave, spread, spread abroad, let alone, entrust

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Forsake, cast off, cast away, reject, leave, permit, spread out, spread abroad
A Derivative
Netisha TWOT 1357a
Tendrils of a vine (as spread out)
There are forty occurrences of natash in the OT. About half of these uses carry the idea of forsake or reject; elsewhere, natash frequently means leave, let alone or spread, extend. Only in Genesis 31:28 does it mean permit (allow).
Often natash is used of God forsaking or casting off his people (Jud 6:13, I Sam 12:22, I Kings 8:57, II Kings 21:14, Ps 94:14, Isa 2:6, Jer 7:29, 12:7, 23:33, 39.)
On the other hand, God (Deut 32:15, Jer 15:6), David (Ps 27:9), or Egypt (Ezk 29:5) may be the object of natash. The term is also used of forsaking the tabernacle at Shiloh (Ps 78:60) and of rejecting the teaching of one’s mother (Prov 1:8, 6:20).
A person may leave (natash) land by letting it lie fallow (Ex 23:11) or forgo the harvesting of crops (Neh 10:31[32]). Animals (asses or sheep) may be left alone in the sense of ceasing to care for them (ISam 10:2, 17:20, 28). Food may be left, i.e., “dropped off” (I Sam 17:22), or a tree cut down and left behind (Ezk 32:4, Amos 5:2), of quals (Num 11:31) and in the sense of dropping a dispute (Prov 17:14).
The meaning of extend, spread out is used in the context of warrior in battle (Jud 15:9, I Sam 4:2, 30:16, II Sam 5:18, 22); also of an extended, i.e. drawn sword (Isa 21:15) and of the spreading of the shoots of a vine (Isa 16:8).

Usage of natashtah in scripture:
Genesis 31:28
“And you did not allow (natashtani) me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have been foolish to do this.”
Exodus 23:11
“but the seventh year you are to let it rest, and shall leave it (natashtah), and the poor of your people shall eat. And what they leave, the beasts of the field eat. Do the same with your vineyard and your oliveyard.”

Now the remaining two references in the Torah of Strong’s H5203, truly in my opinion, are not the same word. I know that Strong thinks so and probably Jewish rabbis and all that BUT the nun is changed to a yod and it is not the same word. In removing the nun, the idea of something that is continuous and ongoing is removed… therefore the “continuous pressure” idea is also removed and therefore the idea of “debt, loan, creditor, usury” is also removed. Do you see my point?

Numbers 11:31
“And a wind went forth from YHWH, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall (yatash) beside the camp, about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground.”

Deuteronomy 32:15
“But Yeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are covered with fat; So he forsook (yatash) Eloah who made him, and scorned the Rock of his deliverance.”
Some of my scribbling thoughts on this matter:
Father Yahuah own the land
We lease it from Him (as stewards)
Additionally there is the issue that the land is cursed from the issue of the fall in the garden of Eden such that we NOW have to toil and sweat to bring forth the bread from the earth. It was not like that in His Perfect Creation and design
The land is on loan from Him, and He desires that HIS land rest in the Sabbath year
He is the creditor and we are the borrower – the borrower is slave to the lender.

During the seventh year, He desires to “stop pressing us”, as a creditor presses the borrower for payment
AS A SIGN, AS A SIGN, AS A SIGN… we in turn “stop pressing others”

Hint: this is not limited to geography, people!

Now, hunger and need cause chaos in a society. When people are hungry and in need – they are CAUSED to sin, trespass, and bring guilt because of their basic need to survive. This chaos CAUSES imprisonment and bondage.
When we, as GOD”S PEOPLE, fail to demonstrate HIS IMAGE in the world… we are the ones oppressing, KEEPING people in bondage, KEEPING people in slavery to sin. People talk about how they have no slaves and so how do I keep the seventh year Sabbath when I don’t have any slaves to release?
YES YOU MOST CERTAINLY DO! YOU – as God’s chosen, as the Sons of Elohim, As the chief stewards of the world and this land are absolutely responsible for the poor and needy among you. If they are in bondage – it is your doing. Believe this or not, I don’t care – it is true!

Now, in context of Exodus 23:11… the preceding verses help. At this time, Yahuah through Moses is going down a litany list of how to properly treat one another and MOST importantly the poor, the slave, and the sojourner.
Exodus 22
“Do not revile Elohim, nor curse a ruler of your people
Do not delay giving your harvest and your vintage.
Give Me the first-born of your sons.
Do not oppress the sojourner.

Exodus 23:11
We shall release and we shall loosen (permit) AS A SIGN.

Now the word fallow, in its English etymology and meaning has more to do with actually plowing the land and turning it over — but NOT planting anything, not sowing. Fallow comes from the way the field “looks” when it is plowed. The color of the soil underneath is a fallow color and it is lighter brown in color next to areas that are not plowed. Therefore, it is called
“letting the field lie fallow”
And of course, it was done only for every second year, or every third year only and for purposes of hopefully having the soil replenish itself in all the needed minerals and nutrients that the crops drew out of it.
This is not exactly what God is saying. I don’t believe He even wants the land plowed or tilled. We literally LEAVE IT ALONE. Period. What grows up, grows up and of course the oliveyard and the vineyard will produce all that they always did. This is another support for the idea that it is NOT about the land replenishing itself. It is about our Stewardship of His Land, and the fact He desires we behave as HE does as His ambassadors and FEED the needy of earth, release them from bondage of hunger, thirst, want, and need. RELEASE THEM!
And the animals, too.


Triennial Torah Reading Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading

Gen 40   2 Sam 8-10      Ps 80-81          Luke 2

Joseph in Prison (Genesis 40)

It is not clear how long Joseph was in prison, but we can deduce that the total time of his service to Potiphar and his imprisonment to this point was around 11 years. It had been that long since he was sold by his brothers at age 17, making him about 28 when the same Potiphar, captain of the guard who was over the prison warden, makes Joseph serve Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker during their confinement. Home may have seemed a distant memory for Joseph by now, given the time he had been away and the trouble in which he now found himself. Being in prison, he was a long way from having his family bow down to him—but he continued to make the best of the situation at hand, and God blessed him for his efforts.

Knowing that God had some big plans in mind, we can assume that these events are His doing. It surely was no accident that two high servants of Pharaoh’s court were both placed in the same prison as Joseph. If they had been servants of any lesser government official, one may not have been in a place to later tell Pharaoh about Joseph’s gift of interpretation. After hearing the prisoners’ dreams, Joseph explains their meaning—and the events come to pass just as he foretells. Perhaps after this divine fulfillment, Joseph remembered his own dream, pondering his past and his future.

It actually seems a little hard to believe that the butler, after seeing Joseph’s interpretation of the dream come true before his eyes, would actually forget about Joseph’s request for a mention to Pharaoh. Perhaps he was so elated to be restored to his high position that he forgot what Joseph had asked of him. Or maybe after getting his job back as chief butler, he didn’t want to give someone else the limelight, or perhaps he feared to remind the pharaoh that he had previously sent him to prison. Whatever the reason, God was still orchestrating events to His timetable—leaving Joseph imprisoned for another two full years before delivering him, illustrating once again that we should be patient as we wait on God. It may take some time, maybe even a lifetime, but He will come through on His promises.

The Israelite Empire; Mephibosheth Exalted (1 Chronicles 18; 2 Samuel 8-9)

Here we see David extending the dominion of Israel. God’s covenant with him included the promise that he would be victor over his enemies. Furthermore, in conjunction with his movement north, his purpose is directly stated: “to establish his power by the River Euphrates” (1 Chronicles 18:3). All of this expansion was, no doubt, carried out with God’s promise to Abraham firmly in mind—that the land God was giving him would extend “from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). Perhaps he also had direct instructions from God that Scripture does not reveal.
Of defeated nations, the accounts explain that they became David’s “servants,” bringing tribute—that is, vassal states indirectly ruled by David. The conquest of one of these, Moab, may have been undertaken with mixed feelings—David’s great-grandmother Ruth having come from there (Ruth 4:13-17) and him having sent his own parents there to Moab’s king for protection while he hid from Saul (1 Samuel 22:3-4). Perhaps Moab had a new ruler at this time. Nevertheless, Moab was a pagan nation that had posed a serious danger to Israel in the past (see Numbers 25:1-3; Judges 3:12-30) and would do so repeatedly throughout Israel’s history.

In 2 Samuel 9, we read of David wanting to show the “kindness of God” (verse 3) to a son of Saul’s son Jonathan in fulfillment of David and Jonathan’s covenant of friendship (compare 1 Samuel 20:14-15). In learning of Jonathan’s crippled son (2 Samuel 4:4), David sends for him immediately. Mephibosheth has good reason to be afraid at this point, as the founders of new dynasties in ancient times often killed the children of former rulers to eliminate contenders for the throne. But David reassures him, promising to restore his family estate and that he will be like an adopted son, eating at the king’s table for the rest of his life.

Perhaps we can see in the story of Mephibosheth an illustration of our lives under God’s grace—going from nothing, undeserving of blessing, living under threat of danger, to complete security with royal treatment at the table of the King of the universe.

Chariots of Mesopotamia

2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 60; Psalm 108; Psalm 83

This section of Scripture is quite interesting. Focus here is often placed on the fight against Aram, i.e., Syria, which stretched northeast to the Euphrates River. Yet across the Euphrates from Syria was the empire of Assyria—not yet risen to the major superpower it would ultimately become, but still a great force to be reckoned with. And, though Assyria is not directly mentioned here, we do see that there were forces arrayed against David from Mesopotamia (1 Chronicles 19:6), the land between the Tigris and Euphrates, which included Assyria. Indeed, it also included Babylon to the south. Some try to argue that the words translated “Mesopotamia,” Aram Naharaim, denoted just a minor district on the upper Euphrates. But this is negated by the mention of 32,000 chariots (verse 7)—a huge number in any ancient context and unimaginably so if the traditional view of Israel fighting against just a few small neighboring powers is correct. At the height of his power, King Solomon had only 1,400 chariots (1 Kings 10:24-26). In addition to this, we know of 33,000 soldiers from the Aramaean, i.e., Syrian, states (2 Samuel 10:6), but there were probably untold thousands more in conjunction with the chariots sent from Mesopotamia.
While some might argue that the figure of 32,000 chariots is a copyist error, such an error seems highly unlikely since such a number of chariots would have screamed out at ancient readers and scribes as a mistake—unless it were known to be true. (While the Philistines were said to have had 30,000 chariots in 1 Samuel 13:5, it should be noted that these foremost of the Sea Peoples, who almost defeated Egypt shortly before the time of Saul, were a much greater force in the Mediterranean world than they are often reckoned to have been. The fact that Israel overcame them was itself miraculous.)

Surprisingly, then, it appears that what we may be looking at in our current reading is a massive Middle Eastern coalition that included the entire national armies of Assyria and Babylon—all engaged against David. The figure of 32,000 chariots is probably a combined total from all the armies fighting Israel.
What, then, of the instigation of this conflict by the disgracing of David’s messengers by the Ammonites? Author Stephen Collins gives some intriguing insights in this lengthy quote from his book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!: “The Ammonites were a small tributary nation subject to David and were no doubt aware that David had executed two-thirds of the Moabites who had rebelled against him. Why then would they dare to take the apparently suicidal action of humiliating David’s ambassadors and provoking David into a warlike response (I Chronicles 19:1-5)? The only logical explanation is that the Ammonites were acting as agents for someone else who wanted to challenge David, and that the Ammonites knew they would be backed by powerful friends who supported their hostile action. The rest of the account supports that conclusion.

“I Chronicles 19:6-9 states the Ammonites ‘hired’ a force of 32,000 chariots and an uncounted number of Syrian and Mesopotamian warriors to fight King David’s army on their behalf…. Since Ammon was paying gold and silver as tribute to Israel already (I Chronicles 18:11), it hardly had the resources to hire virtually the entire national armies of the nations in Mesopotamia. Indeed, verse 6 indicates the Ammonites had no gold left with which to ‘hire’ mercenaries and could pay only in silver. Apparently, the other nations wanted to challenge Israel in considerable force, and Ammon’s revolt was the pretext to arrange such a conflict…. That this huge Mesopotamian army would allow itself to be ‘hired’ without receiving any gold at all indicates that their presence was a national policy of Assyria’s king! A force of 32,000 chariots could only have been mustered with the approval of the Assyrian Empire, the dominant power of Mesopotamia.

“The Bible’s use of the term ‘Mesopotamia’ to describe the homeland of this vast force of foreign troops [rather than a specific country] indicates that it was a joint expeditionary force of many Mesopotamian nations (Assyria, Babylon, etc.). Verses 6-7 state that many Syrian troops were also ‘hired’ by the Ammonites to join the Mesopotamian armies in fighting King David. Since David had already conquered portions of Syria, the Syrians were eager to join a large alliance to fight against David. This battle then was an effort by the king of Assyria to defeat the growing power of King David. He arranged for virtually his entire army, along with other Mesopotamian allies and various Syrian kings to be ‘hired’ (for a pittance) by one of David’s subject nations (Ammon) to get rid of the threat posed by King David’s power.

“Interestingly, these Mesopotamian nations and Syria had enough respect for King David and Israel that they did not declare war openly, but allowed their national armies to fight as ‘mercenaries’ of a small nation. In this manner, if things went badly, they could go home and say that they were not technically at war with Israel on a national level. However, as evidence that these nations were actually arranging a war with King David, the Bible states that ‘the kings’ of the mercenary armies (the Mesopotamian nations and Syrians) came with their armies to personally watch the battle (I Chronicles 19:9)….

“This battle for supremacy of the ancient world was fought in two stages. The initial stage of the battle is described in I Chronicles 19:8-15. Israel’s army met the combined forces of Ammon, Syria, and the Mesopotamian nations, and defeated them in a two-front battle. The fact that Israel had to split its forces and fight in two separate directions indicates that Israel’s army was not expecting to fight so large a force and found itself surrounded by a numerically superior army. Israel’s army likely expected to fight only the upstart Ammonites, and was surprised by the presence of so many enemies. Nevertheless, Israel’s army won the battle, and the Mesopotamian army (i.e. the Assyrian army) apparently retreated to its own territory as they are not mentioned in the second stage of the battle.

“David quickly realized that this conflict involved far more than a revolt by the little nation of Ammon. It was actually an attempt to destroy Israel’s army and national power, and to prevent it from supplanting Assyria as the preeminent nation in the ancient world” (1995, pp. 8-10).

The superscription of Psalm 60 shows that it refers to these events. David speaks here of having drunk the wine of astonishment or confusion. He speaks of trembling. David must have been overwhelmed at what was happening. But incredibly, the ultimate victory in this apparently titanic struggle was given by the Almighty Lord of Hosts to him and the men of Israel. As David notes in verse 12, it is “through God” that “we will do valiantly.” David later uses much of this psalm to write the second part of Psalm 108 (verses 6-13—the first part of Psalm 108, verses 1-5, being taken from Psalm 57, written while David and his men hid from Saul in the cave at En Gedi, compare verses 7-11). Interestingly, Psalm 83, which seems to be a prophecy of end-time events, may also refer to this monumental battle we’ve been reading about. A psalm composed by the Levitical chief musician Asaph, it concerns a huge Middle Eastern confederacy whose goal is to wipe out Israel—to which Assyria is joined. Perhaps a coming end-time fulfillment of the apparent prophecy here had a prototype in David’s time. If so, the episode we’ve just read about would seem to be the only one that would fit. If Psalm 83 does refer on some level to this episode, we may regard the “inhabitants of Tyre” mentioned in the coalition as rogue elements in that city rather than King Hiram and those loyal to him, as he was a close ally to David and later to Solomon.

“In the second stage of the battle recorded in I Chronicles 19:16-19, the Israelites and the Syrians mobilized their entire national military resources and clashed anew. This time there was no more pretense that the Syrians were Ammonite mercenaries. Also, the Assyrians were apparently no longer engaged, but had retreated after being soundly defeated by the Israelite army. The account states that David ‘gathered all Israel’ and Syria ‘drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the River’ (meaning reinforcements from east of the Euphrates River). The second battle of this war involved King David and his fully-mobilized army marching eastward from the Jordan River to fight everyone the Syrians could muster. After suffering 47,000 dead, including their commander, the Syrians yielded to King David and ‘became his servants,’ meaning they became vassal nations of Israel who paid tribute to King David….”
“What began as an effort on the part of Assyria and its Mesopotamian allies to crush Israel’s military power resulted in Israel becoming sovereign over all the engaged Syrians, and the Mesopotamian powers being put to flight. The Assyrians and their allies learned firsthand that they could not successfully stand against Israel’s power” (pp. 11-12). Indeed, Collins goes on to quote secular history as explaining that after this point, Aramaean invaders invade Mesopotamia and exhaust Babylonia and Assyria—and he points out that this is while the Aramaeans are vassals to David, indeed that the Israelites might be referred to by the Assyrians as one and the same with these Aramaeans. “After David made the Aramaeans his vassals and (probably in concert with those vassals) subjugated Assyria and Mesopotamia, David was not just king of Israel and Judah, he was emperor over nations. He was the dominant ruler of the known world, and Israel had become an ancient ‘superpower'” (p. 19).

David’s faith in God to grant victory is expressed in Psalm 20: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright” (verses 7-8).

With the forces to the north defeated, there remains only a mopping-up operation to finish this whole episode. The terrified Ammonites, their help gone, flee to their capital city of Rabbah to hide behind its city walls. We will see the fight against them in our next reading.

Where the superscription of Psalm 80 has “Set to ‘The Lilies’ [Hebrew Shoshannim]. A Testimony [Eduth] of Asaph,” this could be rendered “Set to ‘The Lilies of Testimony.’ Of Asaph.” The NIV has “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Compare the superscription of Psalm 60, which has, “Set to ‘Lily of the Testimony'” (Shushan Eduth). As in other cases throughout the Psalter, the first part of the superscription of each of these psalms may be a postscript of the preceding psalm.

As in the previous psalm (79), the nation is in distress—plundered by enemies (compare 80:12-13). And as before, it may be that Asaph was prophesying of national invasion beyond his lifetime—perhaps even of the end time still to come. Yet, just as Psalm 79 ends with reliance on God as the Shepherd of His people (see verse 13), so Psalm 80 opens with an appeal to the Shepherd of Israel who leads Joseph (the leading birthright people and therefore representative of the nation as a whole) like a flock (verse 1; compare Psalm 23; John 10).

God, who dwells between the cherubim—as represented on the earthly copy of God’s throne, the mercy seat atop the Ark of the Covenant (see Exodus 25:17-22)—is asked to “shine forth” (Psalm 80:1), showing His glory through His intervening power (verse 2). Note the beginning of verse 2: “Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.” The psalm is here essentially pleading, “March against the [enemy] nations as you marched in the midst of your army from Sinai into the promised land (in that march the ark of the covenant advanced in front of the troops of these three tribes; see Nu 10:21-24…)” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 80:2).

The central theme of the psalm is clear from the repeated refrain asking, “Restore us…” (verses 3, 7, 19), with building intensity in calling on God: “…O God” (verse 3), “…O God of hosts” (verse 7) and “…O Lord God of hosts” (verse 19). The rest of the repeated refrain, “Cause Your face to shine [i.e., smile favorably on us], and we shall be saved” (same verses), is essentially drawn from the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:25: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” We have previously noted the use of this language in other psalms as well (see Psalms 4:6; 44:3; 67:1; 119:135). Here in Psalm 80 the people had been experiencing the opposite—the rebuke of God’s countenance (His angry expression) causing them to perish (80:16).

“How long,” Asaph asks (as is common in laments), will God be angry and refuse to answer His people’s prayers? (verse 4; compare 13:1-2; 79:5). In the desert wilderness, God, as His people’s caring Shepherd, fed them with manna and gave them water to drink from the rock. But now, figuratively, He has given His people their tearful misery to eat and drink (80:5). They have become a source of contention and mockery to neighboring countries (verse 6)—rather than the blessing and positive example they were intended to be. So again the plea of restoration is raised (verse 7).

In verses 8-16 Asaph likens Israel to a vine and vineyard, imagery found in other passages (see Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Jeremiah 2:21; 12:10; Ezekiel 15:1-8; 17:6-8; 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1; 14:7). God bringing the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land is pictured as transplanting the vine (Psalm 80:8). His driving out of the nations before them (same verse) is compared to a caring vinedresser clearing the ground for the vine (verse 9; compare Isaiah 5:2). The vine filled the land (Psalm 80:9), growing to immense stature so that hills and tall trees, symbolic of other national powers (compare Ezekiel 17), were overshadowed as the vine grew (Psalm 80:10). It spread from the Sea (the Mediterranean) to the River (the Euphrates) (verse 11), representing Israel’s dominion reaching this extent, as it did during the reigns of David and Solomon.

Yet things have dramatically changed. God has broken down His vine’s hedges—its protective fence (referring to His own divine protection)—and allowed others to plunder it (verse 12). The boar and wild beasts (unclean animals here representing foreign invaders) uproot and devour it. Because of God’s anger it is burned with fire and cut down (verse 16). Compare God’s later words, probably adapted from Psalm 80, in Isaiah 5:5: “And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.”

The psalm calls on God to look at the sorry state of the vine now and to “visit” it (Psalm 80:14)—to show it care and restore it as it was. There is a play on words in the last several verses here. The Hebrew word for vineyard in verse 15 “is used only here in the Bible; it literally means ‘root-stock'” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 4-17). Then we see the word “branch” in the same verse—giving us the common pairing of root and branch. Yet the Hebrew word for branch here is ben, meaning “son”—the same word translated “son” in verse 17 in the expression “son of man.”

The nation of Israel was not just as a mere plant to God as a vinedresser but was God’s own son (see Exodus 4:22)—intended to serve as His “right-hand man” (see Psalm 80:17), a model nation to properly represent Him to the world (as a vine bearing godly fruit). Yet the imagery here likely pointed to Israel’s Davidic ruler as well, the particular “son of man” (meaning human being) who was to lead the nation in setting the proper example. Moreover, the words here no doubt look to the ultimate “Branch” who would come from the vine of Israel and the line of David—the Messiah. He too would be, in a unique way, God’s own Son.

Yeshua would later tell His followers that He is the true vine, that God the Father is the vinedresser and that they, abiding in Him as the vine, are the branches (John 15:1-8). Yeshua Himself was brought out of Egypt and replanted in the Promised Land, preaching throughout the breadth of the land. He suffered terribly for sin at the hands of enemies (not His own sin but that of others). He was brutalized and died. But He rose again—and through His death and resurrection all may be saved. Indeed, it is through this Son and His followers that the vine of Israel would be reconstituted in a spiritual sense and revived—so that it would never turn from God again (see Psalm 80:18). The physical Israelites will be restored to God’s favor or grace through being grafted into spiritual Israel (compare Romans 11; Galatians 6:16).

Thus, as the final refrain calls for again (Psalm 80:19), Israel will be restored, God will smile favorably on His people and they shall be saved.

Appeals for Repentance, Justice and Deliverance From Foes (Psalms 81-83)

The middle of the superscription of Psalm 81, which may be part of a postscript to Psalm 80, contains the Hebrew phrase al gittith. We saw this earlier in the superscription of Psalm 8, and it reappears in Psalm 84. The NIV leaves it mostly untranslated as “According to gittith,” whereas the New King James Version renders it as, “On an instrument of Gath.” The Zondervan NIV Study Bible comments, “The Hebrew word perhaps refers to either a winepress (‘song of the winepress’) or the Philistine city of Gath (‘Gittite lyre or music’; see 2Sa 15:18)” (note on Psalm 8 title).

Asaph composed Psalm 81 as a festival song (verses 1-3)-albeit one in which national enemies remain a serious concern (see verses 14-15), as in other psalms of Asaph in Book III.

The people were to “sing aloud,” to “make a joyful shout,” to “raise a song,” to “strike the timbrel,” to play “the pleasant harp with the lute” (verses 1-2), to “blow the trumpet” (the shofar or ram’s horn) because it was a statute and law of God to do so (verses 3-4)-revealed by God at the time of the Exodus (verse 5). It is important to recognize the congregational nature of worship here. As commentator George Knight remarks on these verses: “You cannot hold a festival all by yourself. It is God’s will, however, that we should hold festivals. These verbs sing aloud, shout for joy and so on are all expressed in the plural” (Psalms, comments on Psalm 81). The word for “statute” (verse 4) or “decree” (NIV) “refers in its original usage to something that is meant to be imperishable for it has been chiseled in stone. God then ‘demands’ our regular worship. In his wisdom he knows that it is our regular participation in congregational worship that keeps us right with himself. Public worship is God’s good idea, not ours” (same comments).

Verse 3 causes some confusion as to the timing of this particular celebration and trumpet blowing. Some take it to mean every New Moon (new month), every full moon and every sacred festival day. However, there was no law or statute to blow the ram’s horn or celebrate at all of these times. Indeed, in the law God gave through Moses the blast of the ram’s horn was commanded for only one festival, the Feast of Trumpets (see Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). This Holy Day actually falls on a New Moon-and is the only annual festival that does. Yet what of the mention of the full moon in Psalm 81:3? Some see other annual festivals indicated here. Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread come at the time of the full moon in the first month of the Hebrew sacred calendar. The beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles does as well-and many see verse 3 as indicating the entire fall festival period in the seventh month, from the Feast of Trumpets through Tabernacles. However, the word translated “full moon” can simply mean “full” or “fullness,” and could here imply the completion of a month-thus the beginning of a new one. The Ferrar Fenton Translation makes no mention of the full moon-only the New Moon. So it may well be that the Feast of Trumpets is exclusively meant here, though the call to celebration and reflection on God’s deliverance fits with all of God’s festivals.

Note again the timing of God’s revelation of the statute in verse 5: “This He established in Joseph [representative of all Israel] as a testimony, when He went throughout the land of Egypt.” This translation would indicate the time that God sent the plagues against Egypt. However, nothing is recorded in Moses’ writings about God revealing the command to blow the shofar at the Feast of Trumpets until Israel was later gathered at Mount Sinai. It is possible that He gave Moses an earlier revelation while in Egypt. Yet it seems more likely that a very general time frame is meant-that is to say, God gave the Israelites this statute long ago around the time that He destroyed Egypt to free them. Alternatively, some versions translate verse 5 as saying that God established the statute when Joseph (i.e., Israel) went out of Egypt (compare Tanakh, New and Revised English Bible, New American Bible, Fenton).

The end of verse 5 says, “I heard a language [literally, lip] I did not understand.” There is some dispute as to who is speaking here. In the remainder of the psalm, from verses 6-16, it is clearly God who is speaking, referring to Himself as “I.” That would seem to argue for the “I” at the end of verse 5 also being God. Yet how could the omniscient God not understand the Egyptian language? For this reason, many take the “I” in verse 5 to refer to each Israelite singing the song-following the Jewish understanding that each and every Jew even today was personally and individually delivered from ancient Egyptian bondage.
Yet the word rendered “understand” in verse 5, yada, has the general meaning of “know.” As Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary notes, this word can mean “acknowledge…regard, have respect [for]” (Abingdon Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Strong’s No. 3045). Indeed, just as God says He does not “know” those who do not obey Him, He could just as well say that He does not “know” (acknowledge or regard) the speech of those who defy Him. Consider that Egypt’s language and speech was thoroughly polluted with idolatrous references. “As in [Psalm] 114:1, there is a disdain for the history, culture, and language of Egypt” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 3-5).

In Psalm 81:7, God answering in “the secret place of thunder” is evidently a reference to the giving of His law and covenant at Mount Sinai, when “there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled…. Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire… And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice” (Exodus 19:16-19; compare 20:18). Thus, it would seem that in the “memorial of blowing of trumpets” at the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24), the Israelites were to recall this earlier trumpet blast when God came down in power and glory, descending with thunder and fire, as a prelude to giving His law. Interestingly, the Feast of Trumpets primarily represents the time of Christ’s return, when He will come in great power and glory, in a devouring fire, as a prelude to revealing His law anew to Israel and all nations. Moses gave the point: “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:20)-as they had at Meribah, when they questioned whether God was among them after having experienced the Exodus (17:1-7; Psalm 81:7).

In verses 8-10, God reminds the people of what He told them at Sinai-and implicitly holds out His offer of covenant relationship anew. In verse 9, He reiterates the first of the Ten Commandments-that there be no foreign gods among His people (see Exodus 20:3). And in verse 10 of Psalm 81, He repeats the preamble to the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” (see Exodus 20:2). This great episode should have been enough to convince them to trust and obey Him. God promised to be His people’s provider (Psalm 81:10b).

Historically, Israel failed to listen (verse 11), so God allowed them to go their own way (verse 12)-although that’s not what He wanted (verse 13). If His people would obey, He would subdue their enemies (verse 14). It seems likely that God inspired Asaph to write this psalm while Israel was experiencing problems from enemies-perhaps while David was still battling foreign nations. And the words would certainly take on greater urgency in later times of foreign oppression.

In verse 15, the Israelites’ enemies are referred to as God’s enemies-“the haters of the Lord” (compare 83:1-4). The NKJV says that when God subdues them, they “would pretend submission to Him” (81:15). The NIV alternatively says they “would cringe before him.” Then note the latter phrase in verse 15: “But their fate would endure forever.” The Hebrew word translated “fate” here actually means “time.” Most see this as meaning judgment on the enemies. But “their” might refer back to the Israelites, just as “them” in the next verse does-in which case the verse would mean that obedient Israelites would endure for all time.

God’s desire is to give His people the very best of everything (verse 16)-and He eventually will if they will only heed Him and walk in His ways. The Feast of Trumpets and the other fall festivals picture the ushering in of a time when Israel will repent and all God’s promises will come to fruition. Even other nations will be grafted into Israel to learn God’s way and share in the promises as well. This is certainly a wonderful reason to joyfully celebrate.

Luke 2

There is a call to be registered by the Roman Governor and so Joseph and Mary leave Galil in Natsareth to go to Judea to be registered. Why? That is where their family line was from, their ancient home city, for they were of the tribe of Judah. Miryam was pregnant at that time and gave birth during those days and during that time of the Roman census. It was not yet winter season for the shepherds were still out in pasture with their flocks. A Messenger appeared to these shepherds telling them of the Good News of the birth of the Master and Messiah. The sign – a baby wrapped in blankets laying in an animal feeding trough.

The shepherds witnessed Hosts of Heavens singing and praising Elohim and they immediately believed. They left that place and went directly to Beyth Lechem to see the babe and they indeed found Him just as was witnessed by the Messengers. They told everyone they could of what happened, what they had witnessed, and they praised Elohim.

When eight days had been completed, they took the child to receive the circumcision and named Him Yeshua according to the instruction from the Messenger prior to His birth. Upon the time of Miryam’s cleansing, they brought the child to Jerusalem to present Him to YHWH. For it is written – “Every male who opens the wormb shall be called set-apart to YHWH.” They also gave two young pigeons as an offering according to the Torah.
A man named Shim’on was at the temple and he was told by the Spirit of Elohim that he would not die until he saw the Deliverance of Israel, the Messiah. He took the child in his arms and proclaimed this over Him. Yoseph and Miryam were astounded. Another woman, Hannah, also prophesied over the child.
After this, the small family returned to Natsereth in Galil where Yeshua grew in wisdom. Their family went up to Jerusalem every year to the Passover as per the Torah. When Yeshua was 12 years of age, he stayed behind without his parents knowing and they travelled a days journey back to Galil before they realized Yeshua was not with them. They returned along their path anxiously looking for Him. They found Him back in the temple in Jerusalem and were asking Him why He had done this to them. He was surprised that they did not understand that He was to be about His Father’s business. He was teaching and asking questions of the learned men and all were amazed at His Wisdom.