Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jericho: the Heart (part 5 of 8)

The City of Palm Trees

An interesting definitional term or phrase for Jericho was “the city of palm trees,” (first called that in Deuteronomy 34:3) because not only was the city surrounded by the tallest and highest walls (which were manmade and thus a false/artificial protection against invasion; indeed, “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” [Psalm 127:1, NKJV]), but it also abounded with palm trees (note: the date palm is the palm tree of the Bible and it grows dates—not coconuts—like the tropical palm tree).

Also, some Rabbinical sources claim that the date palm tree is the tree of life mentioned in context with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis.  Though this is uncertain, a noteworthy attribute of the date palm is its complete edibility or usefulness.  From the highest leaves and branches down to the roots, every bit of the date palm tree is either edible or useful to mankind.

The Hebrew word for a date palm means “erect” and came to represent a righteous woman.  They were said to resemble a woman standing; “Your stature is like that of a palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.  I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’”—SOS 7:7-8.  An erect or righteous woman, who can find?  She nurtures and provides for her household; she is fruitful.

Thus the date palm closely symbolizes the heart; she is not easily won and is fragile all the while—but it is absolutely necessary that she be won from the heart so as to motivate and inflame any worthy cause.  She is, indeed, at the center of all causes; she is the motherload, the milk and originator of the manchild.

Additionally, date palms grow in hot and arid climates and are an indicator (an oasis locator) of essential water; she is a diviner of life and represents the very spring of fertility and blessing that her roots draw from.  Hardly inferior to honey for sweetness, the processed date fruit this palm tree produces is a very desirable commodity.

Thus, the date palm appears to best represent femininity and mother love and care.  She is like the woman at the well; she is not the well herself, but a pointer to the well of life.  In Elim, a resting place for the children of Israel as they were leaving Egypt, they found twelve wells and seventy palm trees.  It was the seventy palm trees (elders or evangelists) that drew people to the twelve wells (tribal leaders or apostles).

Likewise, the lady at the well, and all womanly influence and grace (the bride of Christ) ought to point us to the well of life (Christ, the Apostle of our Faith).  Once the insatiable thirst is quenched (salvation), all the mothering palms are used to nurture and feed the newborn’s growing hunger.