The Vine and the Fig Tree and the Olive

 

 

Noel Rude

 

 

The reign of Solomon, which inaugurated the 4th millennium, foreshadowed the seventh, as it says (1Kings 4:25[5:5]), “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.”  And of the future it says (Micah 4:4), “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.”  And again it says (Zech 3:10), “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.”

 

And not only this—the vine and the fig tree also are symbolic of the two houses of Israel.

 

The Vine

Jacob blessed his son (Gen 49:22), “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall…”  And as the prophet says (Isaiah 5:7), “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant…”

 

And then in Psalms 80, a Psalm of Asaph which addresses Joseph and the children of Rachel, there is mention of a vine (verse 8-9), “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.”

 

Therefore what does Jesus mean when he says (John 15:1), “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman”?  If his imagery is based on Psalms 80, then Jesus sees himself and his followers (verse 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches”) as representing the lost sheep of the house of Israel—this just as he said (Mat 15:24), “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  And this just as he instructed his disciples (Mat 10:6), “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then there is Jesus’ parable (Luke 20:9): “A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.”  He that planted the vineyard is God, as in Psalms 80, and here the husbandmen must be the elite in Jerusalem (Mat 21:37-39): “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.”  As it says (Mar 12:12), “…for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them”.  And as Jesus said (Mat 23:37), “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

 

And thus the conclusion of the Psalm:

 

Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.  (Psalms 80:14-19)

 

When he speaks of “the man of thy right hand” one recalls Ephraim at the right hand of Jacob in Genesis 48, and “the son of man thou made strong for thyself” speaks of the resurrection, as also the plea—“quicken us”.  The Northern Kingdom was excised from the Covenant and considered dead (Hosea 13:1): “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”  Nevertheless he is figuratively reborn in the redemption (Jer 31:9[8]): “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” As God said to the prophet (Ezekiel 37:11), “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.”

 

The Fig Tree

Even as the house of Israel is pictured as the vineyard of the LORD, so also are “…the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Isaiah 5:7).  Here the phrase (וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה נְטַע שַׁעֲשׁוּעָיו) can be read,

 

שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי šaᶜăšuᶜāy ‘my delight’

Verses in Psalms 119

24

גַּם־עֵדֹתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי ‘also thy testimonies are my delight’

77

כִּי־תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי ‘for thy Torah is my delight’

92

לוּלֵי תוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי ‘except thy Torah were my delight’

143

מִצְוֹתֶיךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי ‘thy commandments are my delight’

174

וְתוֹרָתְךָ שַׁעֲשֻׁעָי ‘and thy Torah is my delight’

“…and a man of Judah is his pleasant plant.”  Five times in Psalms 119 (verses 24, 77, 92, 143, 174) David reciprocates by refering to God’s law with the same intensive plural—‘my delight’.  And then in the proverb wisdom is the delight of both God and of man:

 

Then I was by Him, as a nursling; and I was daily all delight [שַׁעֲשׁוּעִים], playing always before Him, Playing in His habitable earth, and my delights [שַׁעֲשֻׁעַי] are with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:30-31 – JPS 1917)

 

And Ephraim also along with Judah is God’s delight (Jer 31:20[19]): “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant [שַׁעֲשֻׁעִים] child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.” 

 

But what plant is God’s pleasant plant?

 

It is the fig tree—for if the vineyard typifies the house of Israel in Isaiah 5, so Jerusalem is typified by figs in Jeremiah 24.

 

The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. (Jeremiah 24:1-2)

 

The bad figs were the elites of Jerusalem who had defied God, and the good figs were those who in exile would not do so.

 

Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:5-7)

 

God preserved the good figs which would return and build the Second Temple, just as after the destruction of the Second Temple he would preserve the Jews of the Diaspora such that now they have returned and are in the land for the third time.  This is of whom it speaks in Rev 12:6—“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”  The Muslim forces under the Rashidun Caliphate conquered Jerusalem in 637[1] and in 1897[2]—precisely 1260 years later—Theodore Herzl founded the World Zionist Organization.  And then in another 70 years, in the jubilee of the Balfour declaration and Allenby’s conquest on Hanukkah that year and after 19 years of statehood, Israel won back Jerusalem in the Six Day War.  If anything might be considered “the sign of his coming” (Mat 24:3, 30), let me suggest that that was it.

 

But in 70 ce the fig tree was found without fruit.

 

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.  (Luke 13:6-9)

 

Before Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time it is interesting that he should have stayed at Bethphage (Mat 21:1; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29).  This is בֵּית פַּגֵּי meaning ‘House of Unripe Figs’, as in Song of Songs 2:13, “The fig tree putteth forth her green figs [פַּגֶּיהָ], and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

 

Then, after the people welcomed Jesus into the city as their promised messianic king, Jesus stayed the night in Bethany.  

 

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. (Matthew 21:18-19)

 

Why was there no fruit but leaves only?  The fruit of the vine and of the fig tree are enjoyed during the Fall Festivals, but this was at the time of the Passover, “…for the time of figs was not yet.”  (Mark 11:13)  So we ask: Did Jesus curse the fig tree because he was hungry and subject to tantrums when not immediately satisfied?  Or was he symbolizing something?

 

When asked about it Jesus replied (Mat 21:21), “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”  Yes, if you have faith you can move mountains.  But the symbolism went deeper.  The sea symbolizes the nations (Isaiah 60:5; Ezek 26:3; Rev 17:15), and “this mountain” might be Jerusalem, as in Isaiah 25,

 

And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. … For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. (Isaiah 25:6-7, 10)

 

Should one wonder where the truth will finally prevail and the clouds of deception that pervade the planet be dispelled—it is not from here or any one work of men but rather from Jerusalem, as it says (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2), “…for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  But Jesus entered Jerusalem “before the time” (Malachi 3:11) and her elites were not up to the task and thus Jesus’ devastating curse in Matthew 23.

 

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (Matthew 23:29-31)

 

The multitudes were ready, as he said (John 4:35), “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  And so when Jesus entered the city it says (Mat 21:9), “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”  And so Jesus said to the elite establishment (Mat 23:39), “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

 

And thus he prophesied (Mat 24:32-34): “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

 

The fig tree was cursed but in our time it has put forth leaves.  Is not this the sign of his coming?

 

The Olive

The olive would seem to symbolize all Israel (Jer 11:16-17): “The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.”  And this of course takes us to Paul’s famous analogy in Romans 11.

 

Paul is not averse to the term “Jew” (Rom 1:16; 2:9, 10, 17; 3:29; 9:24), so why does he begin using the term “Israel” in Romans 9?

 

Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (Romans 9:4-7)

 

It is here that Paul begins to speak of the lost sheep of the house of Israel as Gentiles. 

 

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (Romans 9:23-26)

 

Paul is referencing Hosea 2:23[25] (“And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”) and also the following which clearly refers to the house of Israel that has been cut off from the Covenant.

 

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (Hosea 1:10-11[2:1-2])

 

Now, who is Paul talking about beginning in Romans 10?

 

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3)

 

One should think he is referring to the house of Israel and not to Judah, for it is Israel of which God says (Hosea 4:6), “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”  But of the other house Paul says,

 

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. (Romans 2:17-20)

 

Whereas the house of Israel is the LORD’s vineyard, so there are in it (Isaiah 28:1, 3) “the [spiritual] drunkards of Ephraim” (verse 7): “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”

 

And thus Paul asks the question,

 

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. (Romans 11:1-4)

 

It might be noted here that Elijah was the prophet to the northern kingdom.  So not only does this mean that God has not cast away the Jewish people—neither has he permanently cast away the house of Israel.

 

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:17-24)

 

So how long does the blindness (ans spiritual drunkenness) of Israel last?  In answer Paul continues (Rom 11:25): “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”  Here Paul invokes the birthright promise to Ephraim (Gen 48:19), literally in the Hebrew (וְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא־הַגּוֹיִם) ‘and his seed shall be the fullness of the Gentiles’.  It is also the time of Jerusalem’s exile (Luke 21:24): “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

 

To be cast out, as was Jeconiah, is to die (Jer 22:26): “And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.”  And thus God says to the other house (Ezek 18:31), “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”  Nevertheless, as we have seen (Hosea 13:1), “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”

 

And so Israel’s salvation is pictured as a resurrection from the dead (Ezek 37:12): “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”  In Jeremiah the redemption of the cast out house is pictured as a renewal of the vineyard (Jer 31:5-6[4-5]): “Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.”  Here the word for watchman is notzerim (נֹצְרִים), the same word as used by the Jews for Christians.  And what will these people do?  Finally and at last they will undo the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin (1Kings 16:26; 21:22; 22:52; 2Kings 3:3; 10:29; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:21; 23:15; etc.).

 

Paul continues (Rom 11:26-27), “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written [Isaiah 59:20-21], There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”  Is not this the same promise as in Jeremiah 31?

 

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33[30-32])

 

Overall the house of Judah needs to repent—but unlike the house of Israel the house of Judah has not taught that the covenant was rescinded.  So note above where it omits mention of the house of Judah: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…

 

And thus again Paul in Rom 11:15—“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”

 

And inasmuch as Paul sees the grafting in of Gentiles as linked to Ephraim’s birthright (Rom 11:25), the rabbinical Siftei Hakhamim sees the downside: [3]  “The difficulty for Rashi is that ‘and his seed shall be the fullness of the nations’ means that his seed will be disseminated in all the world and as a matter of fact this is a curse.” And thus also the medieval commentator Radak on Hosea 7:8 (which employs the same verb as in Genesis 11:9):[4]

 

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself [יִתְבּוֹלָל] among the people”. Just as (Genesis 11:9) “because Hashem did there confound [בָּלַל] the language of all the earth,” the matter here is confusion and mixing. That is to say he [Ephraim] is mixing with worshippers of the stars and planets [idolators] which God—let him be blessed—had separated from them [from Israel] but they became involved with them and they did after their works.

 

Thus the casting out of the northern kingdom was the realization of Ephraim’s birthright.  Then like Joseph in Egypt his seed could rise to prominence among the Gentiles with whom also he would intermarry—or as Paul puts it (Rom 11:12), “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?”

 

There was a parable put in ancient Ephraim which, though not meant as a prophecy for the far future, I think nevertheless pertains.

 

The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. (Judges 9:8-14)

 

Even so we should not despair (Hab 3:17-18): “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  The day is coming when, as God says (Hosea 14:5-6), “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.”

 

If the olive tree is Israel then the branches are her tribes and citizens, and thus Zechariah asks the LORD (Zech 4:12), “What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?”  My guess is that they represent the Davidic throne and the Levitical priesthood in the latter days, evidently as exemplified by the two witnesses in Revelation 11 of which God says (verse 4), “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”

 

The vine especially pictures maternity (Psalms 128:3), “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.”  And such also was Israel to God (Ezek 19:10), “Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.”  And if the nation is the olive and the children are olive plants round about the table then what about the fig tree?

 

It is Jerusalem wherein a man of Judah is God’s pleasant plant and whence goes forth the law which the king calls “my delight” (Psalms 119:24, 77, 92, 143, 174).  It is the sweet fruit—not the fig leaves as in Gen 3:7 or the “leaves only” as in Matthew 21:19 & Mark 11:13.  It is the sweet fruit of the tree of life.

 

 


 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/637

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Zionist_Organization

[3] Siftei Hakhamim (שִׂפְתֵי חֲכָמִים), a commentary on Rashi’s commentary on the Torah by Shabbethai ben Joseph Bass (1641-1718) (שַׁבְּתַי בֶּן יוֹסֵף בָּס), born at Kalisz in central Poland.  His words are: דְּקָשֶׁה לְרַשִּׁ"י דִּוְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא־הַגּוֹיִם מַשְׁמַע שֶׁזַּרְעוֹ יִהְיוּ נְפוֹצִים בְּכָל הָעוֹלָם וְאַדְּרַבָּה זֶה קְלָלָה הוּא.

[4] Radak, acronym (רד"ק) for Rabbi David Kimchi (רַבִּי דָּוִד קִמְחִי) (1160–1235), born in Narbonne, Provence.  The Hebrew reads: אֶפְרַיִם בָּעַמִּים הוּא יִתְבּוֹלָל. כְּמוֹ כִּי שָׁם בָּלַל ה' שְׂפַת כָּל הָאָרֶץ עִנְיָן בִּלְבּוּל וְעִרְבּוּב כְּלוֹמַר הוּא מְעוּרְבָּב בְּעוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת שֶׁהָאֵל יִתְבָּרֵךְ הִבְדִּילָם מֵהֶם וְהֵם הִתְעָרְבוּ בָּהֶם וְעָשׂוּ כְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם.