During wars, many people suffer who do not fight in the battles. Especially, poor people and weak people suffer. They suffer hunger because there is not enough food (verses 5-6). Even if they do not starve, they may then have to deal with another danger. Disease may spread across the country and they are already weak because of lack of food.
The third rider carries a balance, that is, a tool to weigh things. It is necessary to weigh the grain carefully, because there may not be enough for everyone. It is expensive. One denarius is a day’s wages for a strong man. One choenix was probably the amount of grain that a man needed to eat in a day. The price of wheat is one choenix for one denarius. In other words, if a man wants to eat wheat, it costs all his money. He has no money for rent, or for clothes, or for his family. He is unable to afford meat or anything else. On any day that he cannot work, he cannot afford to eat. He has become like a slave - perhaps worse than a slave.
If anyone complains, there is an answer. Some cheaper grain is still available. The price is expensive, but people have no choice. They must buy grain now, while someone is still selling it. Tomorrow perhaps there will be no food whatever at the market.
People would usually mix oil with their grain, to make the meal more pleasant. Also, they would drink wine with their meal. Near the Mediterranean, oil and wine are usually plentiful. However, the instruction says not to damage the supplies of oil and wine. In other words, do not sell them. This year, the harvests have failed. It is necessary to keep whatever supplies are available for the war. People needed oil and wine as medicines when they suffered injuries (Luke 10:34). Many soldiers would suffer terrible injuries in the battles.
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 700+ page course book.
© 2016, Keith Simons.