Tag Archives: spotted golden thistle

Thistle Riddle

Bible References:  2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles chapter 25.

The spotted golden thistle is part of a riddle that King Jehoash (Northern Kingdom, Israel, 798-782 BC) sent to King  Amaziah (Southern Kingdom, Judah, 796-767 BC). The background to this Bible narrative has two distinct parts. First, when King Amaziah planned a military campaign against Edom, he recruited 100,000 mercenaries from Israel. Warned by a prophet to not allow Northern Kingdom mercenaries to march with him, King Amaziah dismissed them. Despite being paid, soldiers were furious. Northern Kingdom soldiers knew that they lost out on plunder of Edom. In response they plundered and murdered in Judah while King Amaziah battled in Edom. Second, when King Amaziah returned to Jerusalem after a successful campaign against Edom, he brought back Edomite idols. Instead of destroying these false gods as Mosaic law required, King Amaziah bowed down and worshiped them.

King Amaziah knew he had to respond to Northern Kingdom soldiers’ killing and plundering Judah while he battled Edom. King Amaziah sent a challenge to King Jehoash to meet him in battle. King Jehoash sent a riddle and a warning back to King Amaziah. The riddle was:

A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then, a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot (2 Chronicles 25.18 NIV).

Then, Jehoash warn Amaziah that because he defeated Edom, he was haughty and proud. King Amaziah was asking for trouble if he persisted in challenging King Jehoash.

The interpretation of Jehoash’s riddle was that he and the Northern Kingdom was a majestic cedar of Lebanon, while King Amaziah and Judah was an insignificant thistle. The demand, give to me your daughter in marriage, could have meant that  Israelite soldiers return plunder taken from Judah’s lands. Alternatively, this part of King Jehoash’s riddle was a further insult. In Old Testament times, a king  gave his daughter to another kingdom for marriage only if the two countries were equal in power. King Jehoash insulted King Amaziah by saying Israel was much more powerful than Judah, i.e., the Northern Kingdom was a cedar and the Southern Kingdom a thistle. King Jehoash would trample King Amaziah and Judah underfoot.

Despite King Jehoash’s warning, King Amaziah moved his army against Israel. A battle ensued where King Jehoash defeated King Amaziah. With King Amaziah of Judah a prisoner, King Jehoash proceeded to Jerusalem. There, Jehoash seized Temple gold, silver, and other valuables, the palace treasury, and hostages. King Jehoash had 600 feet of the Jerusalem wall destroyed. Despite King Jehoash’s victory, he allowed King Amaziah to live.

King Jehoash wasn’t a king who obeyed God;  he did evil in God’s eyes. Jehoash continued the idol worship started by the first king of Israel, Jeroboam I. King Jehoash wouldn’t have won the battle over King Amaziah, but for Amaziah’s sin of rejecting God and worshiping Edomite idols.

In Jehoash’s riddle, the Hebrew word for thistle is choâch or hoah and is associated with the Scolymus genus of plants.7 When Jehoash named Amaziah a thistle, possibly he was thinking of the spotted golden thistle, Scolymus maculatus. The spotted golden thistle was a common plant throughout Israel, growing everywhere except along the extreme Mediterranean seashore. Although occasionally cultivated, more often the spotted golden thistle is found in uncultivated lands and along paths and trails. In very hot temperatures, these thistles grow rapidly. Leaves (or bract) have tooth shaped margins tipped with spines and a white vein all around their outline

In this incident, the spotted golden thistle can be associated with several

concepts, i.e., pride, insult, and insignificance; however, in this story reject or rejection are the best symbols. Examples of rejection include Amaziah’s rejection of the 100,000 Israelite Kingdom mercenaries; Amaziah rejecting God in favor of Edomite idols; Jehoash’s willingness to excuse (or reject) Amaziah’s challenge; and Jehoash’s rejecting the sanctity of God’s Temple.

This Bible episode typifies the Northern Kingdom’s rejection of God. They rejected God’s decrees, the covenant he made with their fathers, and warnings he gave them through prophets. The Northern Kingdom rejected God by plundering his home, the Jerusalem Temple. Eventually, God rejected Northern Kingdom tribes as they first rejected him. God allowed Assyria to destroy the Northern Kingdom.

How do we, living in the twenty-first century, reject God? We do it by not setting aside time to spend with God every day, i.e., failing to have daily Bible study and prayer time. We make the decision to skip Sunday church services, identifying that we are just too tired after a busy work-week. We reject God when we reject other persons for whatever reason, i.e., they are just not our type, we have nothing in common with them, they are poor, they look disheveled.

Reflection: A couple of months ago I determined to start my day with God, reading the Bible and praying. I even identified which book of the Bible to read and contemplate one chapter a day. My good intention lasted about twenty-five days. Then, I defaulted to first making a cup of coffee and second checking what was new on my computer. I rejected God by not putting him first. How about you? Do you ever reject God? How do you start your day?

Copyright May, 6, 2019; Carolyn A. Roth

A Dangerous Riddle

SGT (2)

Bible Reference: 2 Kings Chapter 14 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 25.

The Story:

King Jehoash ruled the Northern Kingdom for 16 years (798-782 B.C.). He won a significant battle over King Amaziah (796-767 B.C) of Judah. The background to this Bible narrative has two distinct parts. First, when King Amaziah planned a military campaign against Edom, he recruited 100,000 mercenaries from the Israel. Warned by a prophet to not allow the mercenaries to march with him, Amaziah dismissed them. Despite being paid for their service, the soldiers were furious. They plundered and murdered in Judah while Amaziah battled the Edomites. Second, when Amaziah returned to Jerusalem after a successful campaign against the Edomites, he brought back Edomite idols. Instead of destroying the false gods as Mosaic law required (Deuteronomy 7:5, 25), Amaziah bowed down and worshipped them.

The incident between Kings Jehoash and Amaziah began when Amaziah sent a challenge to Jehoash to meet him in battle. King Jehoash sent a parable and a warning back. The parable was:

A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then, a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot (2 Chronicles 25:18). Then, Jehoash warn Amaziah that because he defeated Edom, he was haughty and proud; Amaziah was asking for trouble if he persisted in challenging Jehoash.

The interpretation of Jehoash’s parable was that he and the Israelites were the majestic cedar of Lebanon while Amaziah was an insignificant thistle. The prized possession Jehoash mentioned could have been associated with a demand from King Amaziah for the Israelite soldier’s to return plunder taken from Judah lands. Instead of giving King Amaziah a prized possession, King Jehoash said that Israel would trample Judah underfoot.

Despite King Jehoash’s warning, Amaziah moved his army against Israel. A battle ensued where Jehoash defeated Amaziah. With Amaziah prisoner, Jehoash proceeded to Jerusalem. There Jehoash seized the Temple gold, silver, and other valuables, the palace treasury, and hostages. King Jehoash had 600 feet of the Jerusalem wall destroyed. Despite Jehoash’s victory, he allowed Amaziah to remain alive and king of Judah.

King Jehoash was not a king who obeyed God; rather, he did evil in God’s eyes (2 Kings 13:10-13). Jehoash continued the idol worship started by Jeroboam I, the first king of Israel. King Jehoash would not have won the battle over Amaziah, but for Amaziah’s sin of rejecting God and worshipping Edomite idols.

The Spotted Golden Thistle

In the Bible, about 20 different words are related to some type of prickly or thorny plant. In Jehoash’s parable, the Hebrew word for thistle is choâch or hoah and is associated with the Scolymus genus of plants. When Jehoash named Amaziah a thistle, possibly he was thinking of the spotted golden thistle, Scolymus maculatus.

The spotted golden thistle was and is a common plant throughout Israel, growing everywhere except along the extreme Mediterranean seashore. Although occasionally cultivated, more often the spotted golden thistle is found in uncultivated lands, e.g., abandoned fields and ditches, and along paths and trails.

Classified as a hearty herbaceous plant, the spotted golden thistle grows well in clay soils. It can be found in semi-shade, light woodlands, and full sunlight. The thistle grows best in temperate climates; however, it will grow in both cold and hot climates. In very hot temperatures, the plant grows rapidly.

Symbolism: Reject, Rejection

In the story of Jehoash, the spotted golden thistle can be associated with several concepts, e.g., pride, insult, and insignificance; however, in this story reject or rejection are the best symbols for the plant. Examples of rejection include Amaziah’s rejection of the 100,000 Israelite Kingdom mercenaries, Amaziah rejecting God in favor of Edomite idols, Jehoash’s willingness to excuse or reject Amaziah’s challenge, and Jehoash’s rejecting the sanctity of the Temple.

Primarily, this Bible episode typifies the Northern Kingdom’s reject of God. They ejected God’s decrees, the covenant he made with their fathers, and warnings he gave them through his prophets. The Northern Kingdom rejected God by plundering his home, the Jerusalem Temple. Eventually, God rejected the Northern Kingdom tribes as they first rejected him.

How do we living in the 21st century reject God? We do it by not setting aside time to spend with God every day, e.g., failing to have daily biblical study and prayer time. We make the decision to skip Sunday church services identifying that we are just too tired after a busy work week. We reject God when we reject other persons for whatever the reason, e.g., they are just not our type of person, we have nothing in common with them, they look poor and maybe even disheveled, they are hard to understand linguistically.

Reflection

In the last paragraph, you read how I reject God. What about you? How do you reject God?

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Copyright: May 28, 2015: Carolyn A. Roth

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Jehoash’s Parable of the Thistle

SGT (2)The story of King Jehoash of the Northern Kingdom sending a thistle parable to Amaziah, King of Judah, is told in two places: 2 Kings Chapter 14 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 25.

King Jehoash ruled the Northern Kingdom for 16 years between 798-782 B.C. (Rulers of the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah, 2002).  He won a significant battle over King Amaziah (796-767 B.C) of Judah primarily because Amaziah rejected God.  The background to this Bible narrative has two distinct parts.  First, when King Amaziah planned a military campaign against Edom, he recruited 100,000 mercenaries from the Northern Kingdom and paid them 100 talents of silver.  Warned by a prophet to not allow the mercenaries to march with him, Amaziah dismissed the Northern Kingdom soldiers.  The soldiers were furious and proceeded to plunder and murder in Judah while Amaziah was battling the Edomites.  Second, when Amaziah returned to Jerusalem after a successful campaign against the Edomites, he brought back Edomite gods.  Instead of destroying the false gods as Mosaic law required (Deuteronomy 7:5, 25), Amaziah accepted the Edomite gods as his own gods, bowed down to them, and offered sacrifices to them.  Angry with Amaziah, God sent a prophet to warn him about worshipping Edomite gods.  Amaziah would not allow the prophet to speak and threatened to kill him.  The prophet told Amaziah that because of his response, God would destroy him.

The incident between King Jehoash of the Northern Kingdom and Amaziah began with Amaziah sending a message to Jehoash to come and meet him in battle.  Probably Amaziah’s challenge was the result of the Northern Kingdom plundering and killing in Judean towns.  King Jehoash sent a parable and a warning back to Amaziah.  The parable was, “A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’  Then, a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot” (2 Chronicles 25:18).  Following the parable, Jehoash warn Amaziah that because he defeated Edom, he was haughty and proud; but with his challenge to Jehoash, Amaziah was asking for trouble that would cause his own downfall and that of Judah.

The interpretation of Jehoash’s parable was that he and the Northern Kingdom were the majestic cedar of Lebanon while Amaziah was an insignificant thistle.  The lowly thistle (Amaziah) had the audacity to demand from the cedar (Jehoash) a prize possession.   Instead of giving the King of Judah a prize, Jehoash and the Northern tribes would trample Judah underfoot.

Amaziah did not listen to Jehoash’s warding; he moved the Judean army against the Northern Kingdom. The result was a battle where Jehoash defeated Amaziah and took him prisoner.  Amaziah’s soldiers fled to their homes.  With his prisoner, Jehoash proceeded to Jerusalem.  There Jehoash seized the Temple gold, silver, and other valuables, the palace treasury, and hostages.  King Jehoash had 600 feet of the wall surrounding Jerusalem broken down.  Despite his overwhelming victory, Jehoash allowed Amaziah to remain king of Judah.

King Jehoash was not a king who obeyed God; rather, he did evil in God’s eyes (2 Kings 13:10-13).   Jehoash continued in the idol worship of Jeroboam I (the first King of the Northern tribes).   King Jehoash would not have won the battle over Amaziah, but for Amaziah’s sin of rejecting God and worshipping the Edomite gods.

Spotted Golden ThistleThe Spotted Golden Thistle

In the Bible, about 20 different words are related to some type of prickly or thorny plant. In Jehoash’s parable, the Hebrew word for thistle is choâch or hoah and is associated with the Scolymus genus of plants. When Jehoash named Amaziah a thistle, possibly he was thinking of the spotted golden thistle, Scolymus maculatus, an annual thistle which grows almost everywhere in Israel.  Although occasionally cultivated, more often spotted golden thistle it is found in uncultivated lands, e.g., abandoned fields and ditches, and along paths and trails. Each flower is composed of narrow, 1–2 inch yellow petal growing in   3-4 concentric circles around a center.  Fruits are flat seeds. The thistle drops seed to the ground where they readily germinate.

Symbolism: Rejection, Reject

The spotted golden thistle in the Jehoash story can be associated with several concepts, e.g., pride, insult, and insignificance; however, in this story reject or rejection are the best symbols for the plant.   Examples of rejection include Amaziah’s rejection of the 100,000 Northern Kingdom mercenaries, Amaziah rejecting God and his prophet in favor of the Edomite gods, Jehoash’s willingness to excuse or reject Amaziah’s challenge, Jehoash’s rejecting the sanctity of the Temple and plundering its treasury, and even most people rejecting thistle leaves as a food source.

Rejection is exactly what the Northern Kingdom did to God. They rejected God’s degrees, the covenant he made with their fathers, and the warnings he gave them over the centuries through his prophets (2 Kings 17:14).  God was so angry with the Northern Kingdom that he used the Assyrian’s as his vehicle of retribution.  Between 738-732 B.C., Assyrian, Tiglath-Pilesar III invaded the Northern Kingdom (Assyrian Campaign against Israel and Judah, 2002).  The mode of warfare included beheading, individuals skinned alive, and corpses impaled on stakes.  The Assyrians conquered much of the Northern Kingdom and deported the inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).  After that war, the Israelite king who reigned in Samaria had a small kingdom that primarily included the tribal lands of Ephraim.  In 732 B.C., Hoshea became king in Samaria and again rebelled against Assyria.  During the campaigns of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V (725-722 B.C.), the remainder of the Northern Kingdom was conquered; 27,290 inhabitants were taken as booty to Assyria.  By the end of 721 B.C., God rejected the people of the Northern Kingdom as they first rejected him.

Christians need to be alert so they do not reject God.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (4:8) that individuals who reject God’s instruction reject God.  Paul provided instruction to the Christians of Thessalonica on how to please God (I Thessalonians 4:1-7).  Some of the instruction included the need to keep their bodies holy and honorable and to reject sexual immorality.  One piece of Paul’s instruction included that no one wrong his brother or take advantage of him.  We wrong our brother and sister when we commit adultery.   In adultery, the spouse of the adulterer is always wronged.  Premarital sex or fornication robs a future spouse of the virginity of the fornicator.  Viewing pornography, imagining pornographic episodes, and reading pornographic novels remove the beauty of intimacy from the marital relationship and can lead to sexual dissatisfaction and impotency.  Incest robs children of innocence and destroys families.

The sexual perversions mentioned above are not new in present day society.  They occurred in pre-Noah time, in Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham’s time, in Canaan before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, and in the Northern Kingdom.  In the next chapter we will read that sexual perversions were present in Judah.  Sexual misconduct is against God’s law.  God punishes men and women for sexual sins   As usual, Paul summed up our sexual responsibilities when he wrote “for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (I Thessalonians 4:7).

Reflection.  Are you controlling your mind and body in a way that is holy and honorable?   Are you wronging your brothers and sisters?  Are you wronging your present or future spouse?

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Copyright May 29, 2012; carolyn a. roth

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