Quick Hit on Isaiah

April 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm 9 comments

I just across the most lovely little bit from Isaiah 7:14-15.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of cherry-picking individual verses.  Scriptural study is all about location, location, location.  Context matters.  But:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Butter and honey, baby.

Of course, the newer translations aren’t as food-positive:
“He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”

All the same, I’m making Ruth and I some butter and honey on toast when we get home tonight. Because it was good enough for Jesus*. The bible tells me so. (Maybe with some curds on the side. Mmm… curds)

*The passage came up in the context of the Feast of the Annunciation- set up as a prophecy of the birth of Jesus.  I mean no offense to anyone who reads Isaiah and doesn’t approach it with Christian-centric assumptions that it has anything to do with Jesus at all. 

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St. Thomas, Easter, and Bodies. And have it Abundantly

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mrs.millur  |  April 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    How I know I married the right man:
    His response to this was “WTFWJE”.

  • 2. Sarah  |  April 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    what ARE curds?

  • 3. OTM  |  April 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    How about some cheese curds? Delicious.

  • 4. mrsmillur  |  April 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Curds are on their way to being cheese, but not quite there yet.

    I grew up near a cheese house, and the curds I know are wonderful and salty and when they are fresh, kind of squeaky. Not-fresh curds are pretty much just bite-sized bits of mild cheddar, but the fresh ones… Mmmm.

    They are also an essential element of poutine. Some places will give you grated cheese on fries with gravy and call it poutine, but they’re lying.

    In the process of looking this up I came accross “deep fried cheese curds”.

    They sound suspicious to me, but if Isaiah says they’ll enhance my ethical and moral judgement…

  • 5. Sarah  |  April 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter!

    I looked it up in the original Hebrew. It definitely says “chem-ah,” which means butter in modern Hebrew. Whether it meant butter in ancient Hebrew I don’t know but I think you are safe to go with that.

    It also definitely says “young girl” (almah), not “virgin” (betulah). Sorry to tell you.

    As for the rest, I understand the individual words, but not enough to know whether it means “so that he will” or “by the time he will.” From what I can see, I think “so that he will” is more likely.

    Anyhow, butter and honey on toast DOES sound delicious. MMMmmmmmm . . . . I’m gonna go make me some toast!

  • 6. mrsmillur  |  April 2, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks Sarah- I’m WAY to lazy to have done that. And also hampered by my total lack of knowledge of Hebrew. I know the first quote is from a translation that is far more poetic than it is accurate. But hey, if I’m going to cherry-pick verses, why not translations, too. 😀

  • 7. Sara  |  April 2, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Perhaps they added the “by the time he knows how” to recognize that babies can’t eat honey. Kids don’t have the right bacteria or something in their tummies to handle honey until they’re a bit older. If Jesus was ded of honey the world would be quite different indeed!

  • 8. AnnieMcPhee  |  April 3, 2008 at 12:46 am

    How about some butter and honey on Ezekiel bread? (I never made it but know a lot of people who swear by it.) 🙂 Sounds wonderful.

    I think whether it’s curds or butter is not that important, since they’re both used figuratively in this particular instance, and in the same way. In other words there is the pure milk of the Word, easy to digest for infants, and then there is milk that is “worked” – turned to butter or cheese. But to learn requires more than just working the milk; it requires honey, or enlightenment. This is what it seems to be about in 1 Samuel 14, and Isaiah 28 with regard to butter and honey.

    Anyway, the bible is plenty food-positive, and milk, butter, curds and honey are all wonderful things. So is the fatted calf. Enjoy 🙂

  • 9. mrsmillur  |  April 3, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Figurative? way to take all the fun out. 😉
    I would have assumed 1 Sam 14 was about not trying to do important things (like…war, I guess?) on an empty stomach.

    On a completely literal note: butter and honey on toast are especially yummy after long walks through the spring mud at dusk.

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