Chapter 2 Isaiah 5:1-8 My Vineyard
Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 16, 2014
Isaiah 5:1-8 NLTse Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. (2) He plowed the land,cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter. (3) Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard. (4) What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes? (5) Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. (6) I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. (7) The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. (8) What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
This may be one of the most confusing prophecies to locate a parallel chapter that matches all the requirements. It seems like an easy task to match up the prophecy about the vineyard in Isaiah 5 with the parable Jesus taught about the vineyard leased to wicked tenants. The thing is, when things seem easy you run the risk of following preconceived ideas and not God’s Spirit.
The parable of the wicked tenants or farmers depending on the translation is found in three of the gospels, so each has to be considered as a viable link. Two of them reflect the same theme to the introduction of Isaiah 5, but the summations didn’t appear to match. This took a lot of prayer which lead to a solution and of course a verse which linked the summation in Isaiah 5 to the story Jesus told about the temple when He said not one stone will be left upon another. It’s evident the summation in Isaiah 5 is about Jerusalem’s fall as well the demolition of the temple. But neither of the chapters containing the parable of the evil tenants contained a summation about the fall of Jerusalem. Once God’s Spirit pointed out the matching texts, I looked it up. I was surprised at what I found. Two of the gospels contained the story Jesus told about the temple stones immediately after the story of the widow casting her life savings into the temple treasury. Mark appears to be the easiest chapter to work with. Because this is a new phase in Bible Study, we’ll have to be careful to examine every step to ensure we understand why God arranged the texts in this particular manner. It wasn’t by accident God placed the answer to the summation of Isaiah 5 in the introduction to the chapter following Mark chapter 12.
Mark 12:1-12 NLTse Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. (2) At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. (3) But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. (4) The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. (5) The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, (6) until there was only one left–his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ (7) “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ (8) So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. (9) “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you–he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. (10) Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (11) This is theLORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.'” (12) The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them–they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
When we compare the prophecy in Isaiah 5 to the fulfillment recorded in Mark 12 the first thing we notice is both of them are introductions. This of course points to their importance as well as the theme in both chapters. Now we have two introductions showing us all the information in Isaiah 5 and Mark 12 deal with sour grapes and wicked farmers leasing the Lord’s vineyard. Comparing the two we clearly see the relationship shared by the sour grapes and wicked farmers. We also see the key words grapes, vineyard, and planted repeated in each.
Now it’s time to examine how each adds its own detail to the lesson. Isaiah calls his prophecy a song. Usually a song points us to an important event. Putting the the words into a song makes it easier to remember and share. Both Isaiah and Jesus described how the vineyard was prepared. Both include a watchtower and winepress which indicate they are spiritual symbols.
Isaiah tells us the vineyard will be torn down and animals will trample over it. The vineyard will become a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. God will also withhold the rain. Isaiah identifies the nation of Israel as the vineyard of the LORDand the people of Judah are his pleasant garden. Isaiah also identifies the spiritual meaning of the grapes. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. The sweet grapes God expected to harvest represent justice and righteousness. Sour grapes represent oppression and violence.
Jesus tells His parable with a few changes. Jesus explains more about the sour grapes that represent oppression and violence by describing how the tenants beat and killed the servants and finally the owner’s son. In Jesus’ parable the vineyard is not destroyed, but the farmers are killed and the vineyard leased to others. Why do we see two different outcomes? Or are they the same?
Time to take a look at circumstances surrounding the event. Mark tells us the religious leaders knew they were the wicked farmers. In Jesus’ parable they are killed and the vineyard is given to others. When Jesus died it marked the end of the Levitical priesthood. On the first Passover Egypt lost their firstborn sons. In the last Passover when Jesus gave His life, God’s chosen sons died. “Of all the people of Israel, the Levites are reserved for me. I have claimed them for myself in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites; I have taken the Levites as their substitutes. For all the firstborn males among the people of Israel are mine, both of people and of animals. I set them apart for myself on the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Yes, I have claimed the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons of Israel. (Numbers 8:16-18 NLTse). This fulfilled Jesus’ words when He said the wicked farmers would be killed and the vineyard leased to others. After His resurrection the disciples took the original message God gave the Levites out to the world. Jesus’ disciples began to complete the job the Levites neglected for generations.
The Tabernacle was built with signs and symbols pointing to Jesus and His ministry. God’s prophets provided prophecy after prophecy about Jesus. This was the message the religious leaders were trusted to take to the world. This is the same message Jesus’ disciples preached. This contains an important lesson we either have to learn or perish like the Levites, the chosen sons of God. If God had to give up the sons He chose because they refused to listen, because they chose to create a message of their own, because they made rules, regulations, doctrines, and traditions to replace God’s message, isn’t God prepared to repeat that rejection if you refuse to take out the message He gave to take out into the world?
Jesus also quoted scripture at the end of this parable. One of the basic rules of Bible Study is to always look at scripture when it’s quoted. Not only do we need to look at the scripture, but the texts around it as well as the introduction and summation which will show the theme and how it relates to the chapter it is quoted in.
Psalms 118:19-24 NLTse Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the LORD. (20) These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there. (21) I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! (22) The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. (23) This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. (24) This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:1-2 NLTse Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (2) Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
Psalms 118:27-29 NLTse The LORD is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. (28) You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! (29) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
It’s not hard to see the main theme in Psalms 118 is giving thanks and praising the LORD. As we read through the texts Jesus quoted and a few earlier verses we see some important points. The gates are opening for the righteous. This points to the parable where Jesus told the religious leader the vineyard with be leased to others. We also see a verse placed there for Jesus reminding Him of the victory He is about to gain. It’s a verse placed there to encourage Jesus. The prophecy also shows God is in control of the situation. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. The most important part to consider is the main theme. In this case the prophecy Jesus quoted led us to a sort of contrast. The parable Isaiah 5 led us to showed how the religious leaders mistreated God’s prophets and His Son. Jesus sent the religious leaders and us back to scripture reminding us of our first duty. This also shows how Jesus used scripture to answer questions before they were asked. Later in Mark 12 a religious leader approached Jesus to ask which was the greatest commandment. Jesus answered. “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NLTse). Think of it. If the religious leader would have looked at the scripture Jesus quoted, he would have found his answer. Now it’s time for us to look for more details and information on the summations of the chapters we’re studying.
Isaiah 5:26-30 NLTse He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem. (27) They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken. (28) Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind. (29) They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them. (30) They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.
Mark 12:38-44 NLTse Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. (39) And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. (40) Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.” (41) Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. (42) Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. (43) Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. (44) For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
It would be impossible to see the relationship between a prophecy pointing to the destruction of Jerusalem and a widow placing her last two coins into the temple treasury without comparing the context of two chapters. To do that you have to read the entire chapters. For this study I put together a few verses to get the feel for Isaiah 5.
So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst. But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness. In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins. They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.” What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. (Isaiah 5:13, 16, 17, 21 NLTse).
One of the main points Isaiah brings out is, they don’t know God. Within the prophecy Isaiah used the spiritual terms, stare and die of thirst. He contrasted those with the righteous who will feed among the ruins. We also see a request. People are asking God to hurry up and do something. Isaiah is telling us they’ll be testing God.
Mark 12 contains a series of stories following the parable of the of the evil tenants. The religious leaders asked Jesus, “is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” His answer was, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” This sets the theme for the next story where Jesus was approached by some Sadducees who asked what would happen if a man died and his widow went through his six brothers. Then they asked Jesus, “So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” (Mark 12:23 NLTse). Jesus’ answer was to the point. “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:24-25 NLTse). Jesus also pointed them back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus wanted the religious leaders to consider the good and bad points each of God’s famous followers had. After that the religious leader asked Jesus which was the most important commandment.
What is the connecting thread between these three stories and how do they relate to the parable of the wicked farmers? For one thing, the farmers represented the religious leaders who were asking the questions. We actually find the connecting thread in Isaiah 5. “What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.” This reinforces Isaiah’s main point, they didn’t know God. They couldn’t see how God was standing in front of them. After loosing one battle after another, the religious leaders kept coming back expecting to gain a victory. Jesus did see something in the last man and told him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
The story about the widow draws us back to the introduction of Isaiah 5. At the end of the first prophecy Isaiah added; “What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.” The religious leaders made widows poor by either taking over their homes and lands themselves or allowing others to carry out the task by using laws the priests distorted. Today its not much better. People still misunderstand or intentionally distorted God’s simple law for the same reasons the priests did in Jesus’ day. In the early days it didn’t take much money to support the Tabernacle. “Whenever you take a census of the people of Israel, each man who is counted must pay a ransom for himself to the LORD. Then no plague will strike the people as you count them. Each person who is counted must give a small piece of silver as a sacred offering to the LORD. (This payment is half a shekel, based on the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs.) All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the LORD. When this offering is given to the LORD to purify your lives, making you right with him, the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less. Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle. It will bring the Israelites to the LORD’s attention, and it will purify your lives.” (Exodus 30:12-16 NLTse).
Every third year the Levites were supposed to share the offerings with people in need. And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you. “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all your work. (Deuteronomy 14:27-29 NLTse). This reminded of the priests of their duty to the poor and depressed as well as to God.
God also gave a portion of the sacrifices to the priests as their ration of food. “Remember that the Levitical priests–that is, the whole of the tribe of Levi–will receive no allotment of land among the other tribes in Israel. Instead, the priests and Levites will eat from the special gifts given to the LORD, for that is their share. They will have no land of their own among the Israelites. The LORD himself is their special possession, just as he promised them. “These are the parts the priests may claim as their share from the cattle, sheep, and goats that the people bring as offerings: the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach. You must also give to the priests the first share of the grain, the new wine, the olive oil, and the wool at shearing time. For the LORD your God chose the tribe of Levi out of all your tribes to minister in the LORD’s name forever. (Deuteronomy 18:1-5 NLTse).
God wrote a job description for the priests they should have paid attention to. One of their main roles was to take care of widows, orphans, poor, needy people, and strangers. This was repeated by Moses throughout his ministry. The priests showed their main concern in the first test they used to trap Jesus. What was the question about? Money. The priests thought their best chance to trap Jesus was in the subject they knew best. God’s job description for the priests was very specific. They were not to own land. But somehow they found a way to cheat widows out of their land.
Look at the contrasts in the story. On one side of the temple court you see Jesus standing in the animal pens where the sacrifices were held the day before. On the other side of the courtyard stood the priests in their stately attire standing high above the people gathered to listen to Jesus. Another contrast is the old widow and the priests – also the way they were supposed to treat her and how she was actually treated. If the priests fulfilled their roles, the widow had no business dropping in her last two coins. The priests should have been on the ground floor helping the widow, feeding her, looking out for her rights. Instead they used their self proclaimed authority to put the widow out in the streets to live the life of a beggar.
The widow listened to Jesus talk. She understood everything He said. She wanted the world to hear. Doctrine and tradition told the widow the best thing she could do was support the priests to the best of her ability so they could take Jesus’ message out to the world. The summations are perfect parallels when you realize the widow showed how far the priests were from God and how close the priests were to crossing a line where God would say, “enough is enough.”
You may still be asking yourself where Jerusalem’s destruction is mentioned. After all, if Isaiah recorded the prophecy, there must be a fulfillment. I had to pray about this one before the answer became clear. With many studies we’ve learned to look back at previous texts to find the answer. In this case we look forward. The answer is found in the introduction to the very next chapter.
Mark 13:1-4 NLTse As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” (2) Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (3) Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, (4) “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”
Jesus explains more details about Jerusalem’s destruction found in the prophecy in Isaiah 5. When we look at the construction of the stone temple it’s not hard to see why it burned and fell. “In the first year of King Cyrus’s reign, a decree was sent out concerning the Temple of God at Jerusalem. “Let the Temple be rebuilt on the site where Jews used to offer their sacrifices, using the original foundations. Its height will be ninety feet, and its width will be ninety feet. Every three layers of specially prepared stones will be topped by a layer of timber. All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury. (Ezra 6:3-4 NLTse). The temple was build with a layer of wood between every three layers of stone. No wonder it burned and fell. Why was it built this way?
Solomon was more than anxious to get started on the temple. So he sent a letter to Tyre’s king asking for material and help. King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: “It is because the LORD loves his people that he has made you their king! Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the LORD and a royal palace for himself. “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father. (2 Chronicles 2:11-14 NLTse).
Things weren’t much different in Solomon’s day than we see today. People specially gifted in the arts seldom gave credit to God. They had an attitude of self confidence which turned to greed. Their attitude often effected people around them. Soon every worker demanded more money. Solomon had no choice but to raise taxes to finish the temple. Solomon also numbered the people to use slave labor to finish the project. In an effort to increase profit Huram-abi also cut corners by using wood in place of more expensive stones. Everyone knows wood is a high maintenance exterior material on a building.
Regardless of its defects and the fact the stone temple was missing a number of items pointing to the Messiah, the priests worshiped the building more than God. They also made the mistake of preaching separation. They used a few choice pieces of scripture to claim God wanted them separate and wanted His message locked away from the world. God gave them a vineyard but instead of working for the harvest to share with the owner, the priests twisted everything to gain worldly advantages for themselves. Greed flooded their hearts, blocked their ears, and blinded their eyes. But even after they killed His Son, God continued to reach out to the priests. So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. (Acts 6:7 NLTse).
Since this is the first prophecy in this series of books dealing with a future prophecy, it has slightly different rules to find the answer and reveal the spiritual lesson. At this point it’s best to review the steps this study followed.
Obviously the first step was to highlight the key words. These are words that are the same, similar, and related. The key words lead us to New Testament scripture recording it’s fulfillment.
The next step was to compare the prophecy to its fulfillment. In this case Jesus quoted scripture at the end of the parable He told. It is important to look up and compare quoted scripture to the chapter its found in as well as the chapter containing the prophecy that lead us to the New Testament chapter.
Next the chapter’s introductions are compared. In this study the prophecy and its fulfillment are both introductions. So we continue on to compare the summations. In this case the summations seem to have no relationship, which sends us back to prayer. Every step should begin and end with prayer. It’s important to understand God’s prophecies are revealed to those who have a relationship with Him. Prayer is communicating with God. Bible Study is like a classroom session. Not everything is learned in one day. The student can never tell what the next step is until the teacher provides the necessary instruction and examples to teach. Since this is the first lesson involving any type of future prophecy, we have to allow God’s Spirit to reveal the process and steps in the order He prescribes. This study required a look ahead at the introduction of the next chapter in Mark. There we found more details about the future prophecy at the end of Isaiah 5.
Some may question how this is a future prophecy. Every study must consider the five W’s of Bible Study, who, what, when, where, and why. When we consider who refers to Jesus and when is after He predicted the destruction of the temple, the prophecy of Jerusalem’s fall is studied as a future prophecy in relationship to the chapters in the study.
The rebellion sputtered on for another three years and was finally extinguished in 73 AD with the fall of the various pockets of resistance including the stronghold at Masada.
“…the rebels shortly after attacked the Romans again, and a clash followed between the guards of the sanctuary and the troops who were putting out the fire inside the inner court; the latter routed the Jews and followed in hot pursuit right up to the Temple itself. Then one of the soldiers, without awaiting any orders and with no dread of so momentous a deed, but urged on by some supernatural force, snatched a blazing piece of wood and, climbing on another soldier’s back, hurled the flaming brand through a low golden window that gave access, on the north side, to the rooms that surrounded the sanctuary. As the flames shot up, the Jews let out a shout of dismay that matched the tragedy; they flocked to the rescue, with no thought of sparing their lives or husbanding their strength; for the sacred structure that they had constantly guarded with such devotion was vanishing before their very eyes.
References: Josephus’ account appears in: Cornfield, Gaalya ed., Josephus, The Jewish War (1982); Duruy, Victor, History of Rome vol. V (1883).
“The Romans Destroy the Temple at Jerusalem, 70 AD,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2005).
Another point in this study is found when we compare the events in Mark chapter 12. It begins by Jesus telling a parable about some wicked farmers. This pointed to the obscene ways the priests were misrepresenting God as well as Jesus as their Messiah. After the parable the religious leaders tried to trick Jesus with the question about taxes. Then Sadducees who didn’t believe in a resurrection asked Jesus a question about a woman who married seven brothers and which one would she be married to in the resurrection. Finally the man asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. In each of those, they were testing Jesus, putting Him on trial. What the religious leaders didn’t consider was the fact they were also on trial. Many people forget the context of the judgment when they try to interpret prophecy. When we look at these events in context, the Bible is providing evidence to show why those religious leaders lost their role as priests and it was given to another. God does not do anything without proper evidence and warning.
The prophecy in Isaiah 5 was a warning. When we look back in Isaiah we see what God expected from the priests. Keep in mind the first chapter of Isaiah explained the context for the entire book. Read the entire chapter for yourself. Following are a few key verses in Isaiah chapter one.
Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me.
(Isaiah 1:2 NLTse)
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
(Isaiah 1:11-12 NLTse)
Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
(Isaiah 1:16-20 NLTse)
Isaiah was the one warning. Jesus gave them another warning. Finally the priests ran out of warnings. God had no choice but to take action. The prophecy and parable used symbols as evidence while the religious leaders actions revealed the meaning of those symbols. The widow was one of the connecting factors mentioned in both the chapter with the prophecy and its fulfillment. The fact the religious leaders could not see or understand such a simple symbol showed how far they drifted from God.