The prophet Isaiah lived around 735-681 BC. He foresaw the sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the Jews taken into captivity into Babylon. The Persians defeated the Babylonians. As predicted by Isaiah, Cyrus, a Persian king, allowed the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian Empire to return to Jerusalem and rebuild God temple there. Judah became Judea, a province of the Persian Empire which was the height of its power 550-330 BC.
The Persia Empire acted as a shield for small Judea, even allowing Judea to have its own governor. Persia protected Judea from other countries, i.e., Egypt. Persians (present day Iran) continued to protect the Jews. For example, Esther became Queen in Persia and shielded the Jews in the Persian Empire from being massacred. Astrologers followed a star from Persia to Jerusalem to find and worship Jesus. They shielded Jesus by withholding information from King Herod about the specific location of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’s home. Thus, Joseph had time to escape King Herod by taking his family to Egypt.
Persian Shield Plant
This plant was developed in Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia south of China and east of India. Myanmar has a tropical climate. The plant is most success in USDA plant zone 10 but can (sometimes) grow in zones 8 -11 outdoors. Most gardeners grow this beautiful plant indoors to regulate its environment and keep it flourishing. When growing the plant indoors, the plant must be in heat of over 60 degrees. Space Persian shield plants about 36 – 48 inches apart. On the back deck (Plant Zone 7), my plant grew as tall as three feet in one season.
One of the appeals of a Persian shield plant is its natural bushiness. However, you can make it even more bushy in appearance by pinching the stems back every now and then. Persian shield plants require constant moisture. Water them thoroughly and evenly twice a week. The top six inches of soil should be constantly moist.
Because the Persian shield plant was only recently developed, it is not a Bible plant. However, the symbolism of Persia acting as a shield for Judea and even Jesus is seen in the Bible. Persia is present-day Iran. The name Persian shield most likely came from the motif on the shield of Persia soldiers during Persia’s years of conquest and rule.
A shield is a protective device. It prevents arrows, javelins, and other projectile devices from killing or wounding a soldier. St. Paul wrote that with the shield of faith, Christians can withstand the fiery darts of Satan (Ephesians 6.16).
Reflection: How’s your shielding? Wouldn’t it be great if Persia (Iran) acted as Israel’s shield in the 21st century?
Copyright September 12, 2018; Carolyn Adams Roth