The Rope of Hope
by Paul Wilber
“As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. (Zechariah 9:11-12)
I recently re-discovered this gem in Zechariah, and although some might focus on the obvious blessing contained in the last few words, I found myself infatuated by the phrase, “prisoners of hope.”
The Apostle Paul declared himself to be a “bondslave” of Messiah Yeshua in Romans 1:1. But here, Zechariah says we are tied to this thing called “hope,” by reason of a covenant of blood.
I had always thought, until recently, that hope was kind of like the “red-headed” stepchild of faith. This turns out not to be the case, at least in my mind. We all know the word HOPE is the title of the Israeli national anthem, Ha Tikvah. But it turns out that word “tikvah” (H8615) has two meanings, and the one meaning of “an expectation” or “an attitude of anticipation” was NOT the primary meaning of the word. Rather, the first definition of hope really surprised me. Strong’s Concordance defined it as “A feminine noun referring to a cord, a line. It refers to a piece of rope or a cord made of bright red thread…[e.g.] that Rahab placed in her window.”
Very interesting! Also of note is the color chosen for this signal cord that was hung outside Rahab’s window. The crimson red color with a hint of bright orange was used for several articles found in the Tabernacle of Moses, and it is also the color representing the birthright (as you might remember, the firstborn of every womb, whether man or beast, had to be redeemed with blood, see Exodus 13:12-13).
A cord is not constructed from a single strand. Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us that “Though one may be overpowered…a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
So my question was: What might be the three strands that make up the rope of hope? Here’s what I received in prayer: First, there needs to be a promise. Rahab asked the two spies for a promise to save her life, and the lives of her family in exchange for the kindness she had shown them. Second, there must be patience. She had to wait patiently for the promise to be fulfilled. And, third, there was an appointed time for the promise to come to pass.
While sharing this little insight recently, I began to braid together three lengths of crimson cord. You could clearly see that a single strand was very difficult to grasp and could easily be taken from my hand with very little force. But, by the time I finished the process of braiding the three strands together I had something of substance, which could not easily be taken from me.
And so it is with HOPE. Hold on to the promise, as you persevere with patience until the appointed time when the hope will be fulfilled.