Truth, Understanding, Insight

Jesus (Yeshua):The Carpenter

11th January 2009, hej


3) Other Prophets and the nail

Ezekiel, Solomon and the nail

Yahweh, through Ezekiel, approximately a hundred years after Isaiah, returns to the idea of hanging vessels on a nail.

Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Shall wood be taken of to do any work? or will men take a pin (nail) of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it suitable for any work? (Ezekiel 15:2-4)

The 'pin' is the same Hebrew word as for the 'nail' in Isaiah. The point is that the vine has no structural strength. The people of Israel are likened to a vine. In their spiritual state of idolatry they were not producing 'fruit', and even the wood was useless. Israel of themselves were not a suitable substance for Yahweh to use to nail for a sure fixing. The reference to the nail seems not to be relevant until we realise that this message was given in the context of Isaiah's prophecy of the nail. The useless 'vine' of Israel was not fit to hang the vessels of glory on. This passage is useful for revealing the thinking of Yahweh regarding his metaphor of the nail.

Solomon makes an analogy where the words of the wise are likened to well placed nails.

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. (Ecc 12:11)

This seems merely an analogy. After all, it is through wisdom a house is built (Proverbs 24:3). However, the mention of the 'one shepherd' produces a very odd mix of metaphors. Do we know a self proclaimed shepherd who handled wise words like well placed nails? Yeshua calls himself a shepherd (John 10) and both the writer to the Hebrews and Peter call Yahshua a shepherd (Hebrews 13;20, 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4). This could be co-incidence. That this is a reference to Yeshua seems unlikely in the context in Ecclesiastes, except, that Solomon is speaking here in the third person of the Preacher; the preacher who is king in Jerusalem.

Zechariah and the shepherd as a carpenter

Zechariah mixes metaphors as Solomon does and also places shepherds in juxtaposition with a carpenter.

My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for Yahweh of hosts has visited his flock the house of Judah, and has made them as his goodly horse in the battle. Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because Yahweh is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them...(Zechariah 10:2-6)

This passage indicates a time when Yahweh will deliver his people. At this time the good as 'sheep' are separated from the 'goats', and these good become mighty in battle. Out of Yahweh of hosts comes the 'corner'. The word for 'corner' means 'bulwark' and 'chief', and is the same as that used by the Psalmist.

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. (Psalm 118:22)

Isaiah also mentions a cornerstone laid in Zion (Isaiah 28:16). Yeshua identifies himself with this cornerstone (Mat 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17).This identification is reinforced by the disciples (Acts 4:11, Ephesians2:20, 1 Peter 2:6-7). Another translation reads:

From him will come forth the cornerstone, from him the nail, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together. (Zechariah 10:4 WEB)

The metaphor of the cornerstone is linked with that of the nail. This prophecy in Zechariah links the reference in Isaiah 22 to the priest/king, who is like a nail, with the teacher of righteousness, who is the cornerstone of Isaiah 28. The order is significant. Out of Yahweh first comes the teaching of the 'cornerstone', then out of Yahweh the deliverance of the 'nail' who is 'cut off' and then fastened as a priest/king, who then goes forth with an arrow-less battle bow to become all leaders of armies, united as one. The cornerstone and the nail are both building terms. How appropriate these terms should be used of a carpenter.

Ezra and Isaiah's prophetic 'nail'

It seems likely Ezra is referring to Isaiah's prophecy with the metaphor of a priest over the house being the 'nail' when he speaks of the grace given to them in the re-establishment of the temple in his prayer.

And now for a little space grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. (Ezra 9:8)

This use of the metaphor of the nail is appropriate, as Ezra was a priest and a leader, who was as a 'father' in Jerusalem. Ezra is directly referencing Isaiah's prophecy of the nail. He sees himself as a typical 'nail'. This passage reinforces the idea that Yeshua was to come as a priest, for the fact that Ezra quotes Isaiah indicates that Ezra understands Isaiah's prophecy of a nail refers to a priest, who is also the ruler.

Before leaving the subject of Yeshua's work as the nail which is cut-off, and is then to be fastened in a sure place, there is one account of nailing that is worthy of investigation. That of Jael's use of a nail to eliminate Sisera.