Harvest of Judgment

Harvest of Judgment May 24, 2011

In Jesus’ parables, the judgment is often pictured as a harvest. That metaphor works because harvest involves separation of tares and wheat, of grain and chaff. Yet, it is a somewhat ambiguous image, since harvest is also a time of rejoicing and feasting.

Isaiah 17:4-6 brings out another dimension of the image. The day of Yahweh is coming against Damascus, its glory will be removed. That removal of glory will be like harvest, and the gleaning that follows. By this analogy, the produce of the fields – the garment of ripe wheat – is the glory of the land, and insofar as harvest removes the garment and leaves the field barren, it is a fitting symbol of judgment. If the field is not only harvested but gleaned, then the entirety of the garment is stripped away. Harvest plus gleaning mean that none will be left.

Then again, if the judgment is a harvest, the wheat and olives have to go somewhere. Yahweh strips the field, but gathers the wheat to make His bread, His body that is one loaf. Yahweh shakes the olive trees until there are only a few left, but then presses the olives to make the oil of gladness.


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