Matthew 3

Join Beth Tikkun as we continue our study in Matthew’s gospel. In this study we consider the ancient Jewish practice of immersion, analyze John’s words concerning the Pharisees and Saducces, and look at how John the Immerser’s life is revealed in the Hebrew alphabet.

 

Visuals: Matthew 3 

Categories Apostolic Writings, Audio, Matthew | Tags: , , , , , | Posted on November 30, 2014

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8 Comments

  1. by Jeff Davidson

    On December 13, 2014

    Is a locust considered meat? If so, then I would think that John the Baptist ate the carob pods (locust fruit) instead of the insect locusts. Since John the Baptist was under a nazarrite vow and most of the nazarrite vows I have read say they denied themselves meat.

  2. by L. Grant Luton

    On December 13, 2014

    Jeff, I suppose locusts would be considered meat, but I have never heard about nazarites denying themselves meat. The three obligations listed for a nazarite listed in Numbers 6 are abstention from anything that comes from the grape vine, not cutting one’s hair, and not touching a dead body. If in addition to these someone chose to abstain from meat as well, he has gone beyond the restrictions commanded in the Torah. I hope this helps. Shalom!

  3. by Jeff Davidson

    On December 14, 2014

    Thanks Grant! I heard that he ate no meat and that Nazarrites were vegetarians during a lecture from the Chronicles of the Messiah. When I did some research, many sites said the same thing, but none listed a verse to support their comments.

    Just one of those interesting things that always keep me digging.

  4. by Jane Davidson

    On December 16, 2014

    James A. Kelhoffer has a good book on this subject. Have you read it? “John the Baptist’s ‘Wild Honey’ and Honey in Antiquity”.

    I was reading his book online.
    He says in his book:
    “Studies ancient perspectives on apiculture (beekeeping) and various
    kinds of “honey,” in order to ascertain the referent and
    significance attached to the “wild honey” that John the Baptist
    is said to eat in the New Testament gospels of Mark and
    Matthew. Mark 1:6 states that while in the wilderness “John
    was in the habit of eating locusts and wild honey”.
    He continues: Like the Hebrew דבש or mel in Latin, can refer equally to honey
    produced by bees or to any number of other sweet substances,
    including dates, figs, pods, or sap/gum from carob or other
    trees. For this reason, Eva Crane warns concerning possible
    references to bee honey in ancient civilizations: “Unless the
    context makes clear a connection with hives, bees, or honeycomb,
    caution is warranted” (“History” 453). It is therefore
    difficult to ascertain which sweet substance is designated as
    “honey” in certain ancient writings. Yet most scholars do not
    even consider which type of honey the Baptist ate. Many others
    simply assume that he ate bee honey or sweet tree sap (sometimes
    referred to as honey-water), apparently unaware of the
    inherent ambiguity in almost any occurrence of mel without
    an accompanying reference to either bees or vegetation (trees)”.

    It does go on, but James A. Kelhoffer does put some emphasis about possibly that when he was sent out to live in the wilderness/Desert; He may have been a vegetarian.

    Its an interesting study and Grant YOU ALWAYS get me thinking and digging into these subjects.

  5. by L. Grant Luton

    On December 17, 2014

    Jane, Thanks for the info. You really do your research! I was aware that דבש can refer either to bee honey or any sweet edible juice (and may have mentioned such in my teaching), but since we can only speculate about whether John was a vegetarian or not, there is really nothing to say on that issue. But as a priest, however, I assume he would have been obligated to eat the Pesach offering each year. Just a thought.

  6. by Jane Davidson

    On December 17, 2014

    I was further thinking on this (as I have to study one point and understand it firstly. OYE my ADD mind!). Anyhow, Think of how John separated himself from friends, and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, *purely vegetable*, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite, and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. Reading, I found “….and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” (Luke 15:16) (BlueLetterBible, using Thayer’s Lexicon definition: husks = keration.)

    I was talking to some friends in West Africa and they gave me these interesting facts. “Vegetables: LOCUST BEAN – The West African locust looks nothing like what Westerners might consider a vegetable plant to be. It is a tree. A true Jack-and-the-beanstalk kind of crop, it is INDEED related to beans, albeit distantly. It often grows more than 20 meters tall, and people harvest all the pods they can get, sometimes climbing all the way to the top. Outsiders might dismiss this as a tall tale, but they’d be wrong. Locust combines in a single species Africa’s two greatest needs: food and tree cover. More locusts mean more food and more trees, which add up to more hope for a better continent…Locust beans are attractive savanna trees, with dramatically spreading crowns and clusters of globular bright red flowers dangling like holiday decorations on long stalks. And they produce many benefits. For one thing, they produce fruit. Numerous large pods, up to as long as your forearm and wider than your thumb, emerge all over the spreading crown, dangling like the fingers of a green or brown giant. Inside each pod is a yellow or orange dryish pulp. People like it, and no wonder: it can be half sugar and very sweet to the taste, almost like a dessert. This mealy delight can make a useful baby food but for many children it may be the main (if not the only) dish, depending on what is left in the family’s granary. It is also made into COLORFUL and refreshing drinks. And it is dried down into a white or yellowish powder that can be stored for later use, at which time it is commonly sprinkled over rice or meat. But sugary pulp is not this tree’s main gift. Instead, it is the seeds enclosed within it that are the most prized product. These are a regular part of people’s DIET and, throughout much of West Africa, they also turn into lifesavers in times of famine. They contain about 30 percent protein, 20 percent fat, 12 percent sugar, 15 percent starch, and 12 percent fiber, as well”.

  7. by L. Grant Luton

    On December 21, 2014

    Jane, Fascinating information! However, the Locust tree of which you write (Parkia Biglobosa) does not grow in Israel. But if it did, I have no doubt that John would have enjoyed it! As to John’s possible vegetarianism, we will just have to wait and ask him someday. In the meantime, the one difficulty in my mind with this is that vegetarianism (except for health reasons) would preclude one from participating in the annual Passover when it was required that lamb be eaten. As a Torah observant Jew, John would not have violated this commandment.

  8. by Cheri Barrows

    On April 11, 2015

    I’m a little late getting into this conversation but I wanted to add something I’ve heard (and actually believe): that the Jews believe that Hashem will hold each one of His children accountable for every pleasurable thing He has created for them that they refused. hmmmm….something to think about……

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