History has fixed the year 718 BC when Israel succumbed to Assyria and ceased to be a nation. But the destruction of Israel by an outside force was 19 years in the making. And the internal social destruction of the nation began well before then. God repeatedly sent prophets to Israel to warn of their impending destruction if they persisted in nation-wide sins during years of prosperity. In the area of civil justice, it was a particular responsibility of the State to enforce just weights and measures through the courts. Unfortunately, fraud in the area of weights and measures was often difficult to detect or prove and thus very lucrative. This is why when Isaiah used a metallurgy example in describing one of the nation’s sins, it was not merely a metaphor but a real practice many were aware of and guilty of participating in.
In Isaiah 1:16-17, the prophet pleads with Israel to, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”
But instead, Isaiah describes them in verses 21-23 this way: “How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; Righteousness lodged in it but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, Your wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them.”
They all understood what ‘your silver has become dross’ meant. It was a practice of debasing the currency. At that time, ingots of gold and silver were used as currency. What a metallurgist would do is take pure silver and cut it with a small amount of another much cheaper metal. They had to be careful not to cut it with too much lest it be detected but when they perfected the right balance of debasement, the fraud would go undetected. But what became widely understood was that the time and energy could not be expended to determine this fraud so it was just expected and accepted. Those who were involved in the beginnings of the process stood to gain while it was the end-user consumers who suffered. The princes and their companions of thieves stood to profit from the dross or junk metals sold as gold and silver while the fatherless and the widows paid the biggest price from the inflation on all goods and services that followed such corruption. When the price of staples like food and drink and medicine and clothing go up, it is the poor that feel the pinch and suffer the most.
When the prophet said they mixed their wine with water, it shows the practice of debasing all products became common and a seeming necessity for the producers of goods if they were to recover the inflationary costs to produce and then pass the cost on to the end-user. This is the same exact practice we see today. If you haven’t noticed, certain products in the grocery store that may have not increased in price, have decreased in the amount in the packaging. This is a trick to avoid raising prices but still maintain profits against the inflation to produce the product. Changes will also be made to remove more expensive ingredients for cheaper substitutes (mixing water with the wine).
Today, we cheapen the value of our dollar by driving debt ceilings higher and higher with no limit in sight. Our politicians are in bed with the thieving currency manipulators of our day and it is the poorest end-users among us who suffer the most as prices must eventually climb. We have a legally sanctioned dross-based economy that everyone has accepted. If history is any teacher, no nation has ever reversed this process. What we then can expect in the coming months is new taxes, tax increases, mass inflation, price controls, rationing and eventual bankruptcy of Government funded social programs.
Many poor working families receive a substantial sum of money at tax time. Some will have check in hand soon. I recommend you rethink using that tax return on a new tv or trip to the Bahamas. Consider bulk purchases of food products like a whole cow or a year supply of wheat berries. Seek current fixed prices through co-ops. Consider converting those dollars into items suitable for bartering. Raise your own chickens and turkeys for egg production and meat. Build a pond on your land and stock it with fish. Make this the year you get your fiscal house in order. Seek wise counsel and position yourself for the inevitable.