Tekoa: piercing the figs to ripen the fruit

There are some lovely lessons that we can take to ourselves in our first reading today. This is a mini shadow of the Gogean invasion, and the setting up of the kingdom and the reign of Christ. In 2 Chronicles 20 we are taken back to the time of Jehoshaphat king over Judah. The armies of the Moabites, of the Ammonites, and of the Edomites of Mount Seir – the whole of Transjordan – invaded the land of Israel. Jehoshaphat and his people feared because they were greatly outnumbered, they would be wiped out if Yahweh does not help them.

Jehoshephat–Yah he is Judge–seeks Yahweh and prays to him, drawing on both: the words of Yahweh, as Joshua (Yashua or “Jesus”) is possessing of the land (Deut 4:29-31); and the prayer of Solomon when inaugurating the temple (2 Chr 7:14)–typical of setting up the religious order of the millennial reign of Christ.

Deut 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek Yahweh thy Elohim, thou shalt find him,if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to Yahweh thy Elohim, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For Yahweh thy Elohim is a merciful El), he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Friend Jehoshaphat is showing his understanding of what Yahweh wants. The land was given to the seed of Abraham; a “friend” or in the Hebrew, a lover of Yahweh! Which is reference to the first commandment, Love Yahweh thy Elohim…

In verses 15 to 17, Yahweh responds as all parents do the the pleas of their children, he cannot stand by while they are in danger. He shows them the “salvation of Yahweh”–Yashua–foreshadowing the latter day Immanuel, who will go forth in the midst of purged Israel, and drink from the waters of salvation (Yeshua).

Wilderness of Tekoa

Israel as a ripe fig (Hosea 9:10)

Verse 20, they are sent to the “wilderness of Tekoa”: wilderness is literally a place of thought, where they would be free from distraction to consider their lives; Tekoa means piercing, thinking of Amos who’s job it was to prick the unripe figs to cause them to ripen. Israel as a fig needed to be pricked before there fruits were ripened (Hosea 9:10). How often do we sleep, being comfortable with our lot in life, ignoring the scriptures becoming apathetic in our ways. Often it takes a sharp knock to startle us out of our slumber, and this is what Yahweh provided his people in the invasion of there enemies.

The people recognise this in there words “…for his Mercy is towards the Ohlam (Millennial reign of Christ)”. The word is rachem רחם, to womb (see the post on mercy), as a father he was doing what was good for there eternal benefit. We must recognise this in our lives too; Yahweh knows what is best for us and is shaping us by the trials of life… we should count it all joy whatever happens, knowing that all things work together for good to those that love Yahweh.

2 thoughts on “Tekoa: piercing the figs to ripen the fruit

  1. Sam Thomas

    Thanks for the thoughts. Really interesting comparisons with Joshua and Solomon there. Verse 21 perhaps holds a link to David’s entry to Jerusalem with the Ark as well; ‘praising the beauty of holiness’ fitting closely with David’s call to ‘worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness’ (1 Chronicles 16v29). I was intrigued by your reference to Amos and wondered what was your reasoning behind the description of his job? I see how the ‘noqdhim’ of Tekoa could be markers or piercers but was unsure of the connection with figs.

    1. djmccorrie Post author

      Thanks Sam, interesting link to the returning of the Ark! I’m sure there are many others that fill in the details of the type… the setting up of the reign of Christ on the throne of David.

      It has been suggested that the noqdhim were the piercers of figs. Normally wasps pierce the figs, and that causes the tree to respond with a chemical that ripens the fruit. It was common practice for land owners to “gash” there figs to cause the tree to ripen the fruit-only takes 4 days from gashing! (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/hort_306/reading/Reading%2010-2.pdf)

      So Israel–the fig tree–was “gashed” by Yahweh, to cause them to ripen… the fear of the invasion made them take stock and turn to Yahweh; the figs were ripened and Israel bore fruit. In the same way, the nation of Israel will again be pierced by the gogian invasion; they will ripen and bear fruit; and they will see the saviour of Yahweh and look on him whom THEY pierce– and morn!

      The meek shall inherit the earth…


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