Israel’s Biblical Farm

By Kris W. Sky | Posted April 11, 2022

“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey” (Deuteronomy 8:7, 8).

This God-given list is what the Jews call the Seven Species, part of the blessings of the Promised Land. By “vines” the Bible means grapes; and “honey” was actually commonly made out of date syrup. 

For centuries, these seven items—wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates—were not only the seven staple foods of ancient Israel but also the main commodities in the general economy. Olive oil, for example, was used for fuel “to light lamps,” as well as for “soap and skin conditioner.” Barley was used as livestock feed. Pomegranate juice was used as dye.

Nowadays, the modern state of Israel has moved on with the rest of the world. But recently, an article appeared in the nonprofit news group Israel21c on Eshkolot Farm, a family-owned orchard advocating for a return to Israel’s agricultural roots.

Tourism and Education

Located at Ruhot Junction in the Negev, a region in southern Israel, Eshkolot Farm “was established in 2009” as the brainchild of Roni Marom and his wife Simcha, though is now run by just Simcha alone. Britannica’s website records, “After the creation of the State of Israel (1948), the importance of development of this large portion of the country was realized,” putting to use the Negev’s “almost 400,000 acres (more than 160,000 hectares) of fertile loess soils.” In other words, Eshkolot is in a prime location. 

Sitting amid “archaeological ruins from the Israelite Period” are its rows of 2,200 olive trees; “twelve fig trees symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel … planted in a circle”; and “two tall date palms … named Boaz and Jachin,” just like the two pillars in the temple of God built during the golden reign of King Solomon (2 Chronicles 3:17).

Additionally, Eshkolot, in following with biblical principles, is now, in April 2022, in “a shmita (sabbatical) year.” As God commanded, “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove” (Exodus 23:10, 11); “the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard” (Leviticus 25:4). Thus, in line with these passages, Eshkolot’s “fields are currently full of weeds.”

While the farm boasts “apple, pears and apricots with modern irrigation methods[,] including an underground irrigation system using recycled water,” the spotlight is on the production of the Seven Species. Eshkolot also sells wine as well as award-winning olive oil.

It is also valued for both its sustainable tourism as well as its Zionism. Indeed, there is “a strong educational component,” a personal touch by Simcha, “using more environmentally sustainable growing methods with no chemicals or artificial pesticides, and letting the wildflowers grow freely.” These and more are addressed during “‘Learning Field’ Tours,” in which visitors get a glimpse of the farm’s infrastructure and inspiration, from “hands-on olive harvesting” to “models of ancient agricultural systems.” Additionally, questions from a biblical perspective are answered, like: “What does the tribe of Judah and the Ruhot plateau have in common?”

Said Simcha, “I feel like I am a link in the chain of our history.” She pointed out, “Not everything from nature is from you. Some things are a miracle of nature.”

That’s an intriguing statement. Rather, it would seem that nothing from nature is from us. What we produce would actually be considered manmade. Furthermore, the One who actually has given Eshkolot its abundance of fruit and grain is not mentioned at all.

The Increase

The Bible says, “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

The Seven Species is not just Jewish history. These were the foods that God gave to benefit His people. Each of these seven items is known in modern medicine to have health benefits, like reducing heart disease, cholesterol, and even preventing some cancers. Take note that God does not condone imbibing alcohol (Proverbs 20:1; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:18); God gave the pure fruit of the vine, not the wine man makes from it.

Fascinatingly, one scholar also observed “that the flowering and fruiting of the seven species take place during the period between Passover and Shavuot [Pentecost].” These ceremonies were performed to point people to God’s plan of salvation for the human race. For an in-depth look at the Passover, Pentecost, and other feasts, watch Pastor Doug Batchelor’s free presentation “Jesus in the Feast Days.

So, in reality, the purpose of the Seven Species is to remind people of the One who gave them the increase in the first place, our Provider, our Creator, our Redeemer—Jesus Christ: “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you” (Deuteronomy 6:10).

And in this time of skyrocketing inflation and rumblings of a “global food shortage,” we desperately need to keep our eyes on our Savior. Perhaps now is even the time to start your own garden and experience for yourself God’s abundance. For inspiration, check out “Country Living with Doug Batchelor,” a tour of what is possible on God’s good land. 

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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