Butter and Honey

Isaiah 7:15-16. “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.  For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.”

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Something I forgot to mention yesterday that you may find helpful:  When Isaiah begins a statement with the word Behold, it always relates to future circumstances. That’s a clue that helps clarify things, because sometimes the switch from the immediate future to the far future can be confusing.

There is some question about the meaning of today’s verses. One of my sources states that they refer to the child Isaiah had brought with him, stating that he would not be old enough to know to choose good over evil. It was common to nourish children, especially in desert areas, on butter (or milk curd) and then honey, as both were available more readily than richer food.  Isaiah then says that the child would not be weaned before both Syria and Ephraim would be destroyed by Assyria.

Another source teaches that these two verses are a continuation of verse 14.  Butter and honey were indicative of poverty, which would be consistent with Jesus’ years growing up in a very modest home. Thickened milk and honey were common food for desert nomads, and there was not an abundance of other foods.  Such were the conditions at the birth of Christ. This source points out that just before the birth of Christ the land was in great poverty, with their olive groves, cornfields and vineyards in disrepair.  This desolation began in the time of Ahaz and extended for so many years because of the spiritual poverty of the people.  It was a time of great darkness in the land of Israel. Jesus, Immanuel, was the only One Who truly knew to choose the good over the evil.

I wish I were a scholar of the original languages.  I’ve searched in several other resources, but can find no complete agreement on this passage. I believe it is possible that both applications could apply, but I will leave that to you for your own consideration.

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8 thoughts on “Butter and Honey

  1. Sheila

    That’s really interesting about Isaiah using the word “behold” to indicate something in the future. Since behold means to observe, see, or look at! I think Isaiah, therefore, was not only actually seeing the future (through God), but he was always saying, “Look, you can see it too!” Because Isaiah is still speaking to people today, he’s saying…”Look and see, a Son was born and he was perfect for you. Behold him!!” Thanks, that really blessed me today. God’s word is so alive!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I asked a friend to translate your comment, and I’m so glad I did! I am honored and so pleased. Thank you. Here’s the translation:
      “The way you have explained/uncovered/exposed the Biblical theme or topic, you made me go back to study and read the Bible. It’s been many moons since I’ve done that. It was comforting reading (what you wrote)

      Like

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