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Tuesday, November 29 2011

Pomegranates

The pomegranate is a deciduous ("shedding foliage at the end of the growing season") tree that grows 15 to 25 feet tall and produces a large, many-seeded red fruit. While native to Persia (known today as Iran), the trees were eventually cultivated across Asia, Europe, Africa and eventually all around the world, wherever temperatures permitted.

The English word "pomegranate" originated from a compound Latin word which meant apple with grains i.e. pomum meant apple, and granatum meant grain. In the Holy Scriptures, the Hebrew word for pomegranate is pronounced rim-mone.

Pomegranates were among the natural abundance specified by the LORD in the promised land (see the Fact Finder question below) i.e. a "land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates."

Grapes and Pomegranates

"8:6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. 8:7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;

8:8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;

8:9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass." (Deuteronomy 8:6-9 KJV)

Pomegranates, grapes and figs were brought back by the scouts when the Israelites were given their first opportunity to enter the promised land.

"13:21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. 13:22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

13:23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 13:24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. 13:25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days." (Numbers 13:21-25 KJV)

"A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey"

By the time of the Exodus, the Israelites were already familiar with pomegranates, from where the LORD (see The First Christian Church) had provided them to live in Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?). Unfortunately, they never stopped their whining and complaining along the way (as they were doing in the verses quoted below, while on the journey through the Sinai; see also Paul's Geography Lesson) long enough to realize that where the LORD was leading them was far better than the place that they had left (see Don't Look Back and The Mount Sinai Riot).

Pomegranate

"20:2 And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 20:3 And the people chided with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! 20:4 And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 20:5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink." (Numbers 20:2-5 KJV)

The natural beauty of the flowers and fruit of the pomegranate were used in the ornamentation of the Tabernacle. The High Priest's robe was also hemmed with "pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof."

"28:31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 28:32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. 28:33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 28:34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. 28:35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not." (Exodus 28:31-35 KJV)

When King Solomon completed the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, the famous "Jachin" and "Boaz" pillars were topped with cast pomegranates.

"7:15 For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about. 7:16 And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits: 7:17 And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter. 7:18 And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter. 7:19 And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits. 7:20 And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter. 7:21 And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. 7:22 And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished." (1 Kings 7:15-22 KJV)

When Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, those ornate pomegranate-topped pillars were broken up and carried off to Babylon, along with the Temple vessels (see also The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today).

"25:13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon [see Don't Look Back]. 25:14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. 25:15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away. 25:16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight. 25:17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work." (2 Kings 25:13-17 KJV)

During the civil war (see The Civil War Kings), King Saul made his headquarters "under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron" (see Why Didn't David And Saul Fight For Jerusalem?).

"14:2 And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; 14:3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone." (1 Samuel 14:2-3 KJV)

King Solomon had great gardens around his palace (the place where his parents first "met"; see David And Bathsheba). Solomon was both a horticulturist and a poet ("4:32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 4:33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall" 1 Kings 4:32 KJV). Solomon also "had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines" (1 Kings 11:3 KJV). It's hardly surprising then that Solomon sometimes combined his interests, such as he did here with his love of "pomegranates."

Girl with Pomegranates

"4:1 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 4:2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 4:3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. 4:4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. 4:5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. 4:6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. 4:7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

4:8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. 4:9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 4:10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 4:11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 4:12 A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. 4:13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 4:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 4:15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." (Song of Solomon 4:1-15 KJV)

Gifts are free, but they are given for a reason. The blessings that the LORD gives are given to those who truly obey Him (see the series of 10 studies beginning with The Way To Salvation: Step 1). If obedience to the LORD is withdrawn, so too are the blessings from the LORD taken away (see also Locusts In History And Prophecy).

"1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

1:2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? 1:3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten. 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.

1:6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. 1:7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. 1:9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD ministers, mourn. 1:10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

1:13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD." (Joel 1:1-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: What and where is "the land of milk and honey"? Why did the Israelites lose it?
See Milk and Honey and Rehoboam's Answer


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This Day In History, November 29

1760: British forces took possession of Detroit. It was prior to that time a French military and trading colony, founded in 1701 by the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac (one of his descendants named the Cadillac automobile after him). "Detroit" is a French word that means the straits i.e. in that case referring to the river that flows from Lake Erie to Lake St. Clair (another French name).

1787: King Louis XVI of France granted political recognition of Protestants.

1798: In Canada, the legislature of the Island of St. John voted to change its name to Prince Edward Island.

1812: Napoleon's "Grand Army" crossed the Berezina River in retreat from a disastrous defeat in Russia.

1864: Over 400 Cheyenne and Arapahoe people (women, children and old men - most of the young men were already dead in battles to defend their homelands from the European invaders) who had surrendered, and were told that they could camp there in peace, were massacred by a force of 700 Colorado Militiamen led by Colonel John Chivington at Sand Creek, Colorado. That particular incident of the genocide of native Americans (among many, many others) is variously known to historians as "the Sand Creek Massacre" or the "Chivington Massacre."

1922: King Tutankhamen's tomb was opened by archaeologists.

1947: The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition "Palestine" (a word that is merely another pronunciation of "Philistine") into Jewish and Arab territories.

1961: NASA launched a chimpanzee named Enos into Earth orbit. The Russians had already launched the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin, earlier that year, on April 12 1961.

1963: U.S. President Lyndon Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to head a commission to investigate the assassination of JFK. The "Warren Commission" declared that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin.

1964: The Roman Catholic Church replaced Latin with English in masses in some countries.

1974: A bill to outlaw the Irish Republican Army became law in Britain.

1989: Czechoslovakian dissidents ousted Communist party leader Milos Jakes.





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