Ezekiel 24 – The Parable of the Boiling Pot & Babylon Captivity: Diet and Foodstuffs (6 of 11)

Father, my friend Curt understands that gluttony is a sin, and he’s not a glutton, but he’s a bit concerned of the reason why he’s not one.  I’ll explain that in a minute. 

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49).

I guess they had a lot of vegetarians back then and as I said yesterday, most people were probably in good shape, or at least the poor people were.

Paul talks against money:

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: while which some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim 6:10).

I understand that because if you have a whole lot of money then you can be wasteful with it, as well as eat more food than you would otherwise.  Or you go out and eat all the time and get filled of all kinds of fattening foods.

You can just look at most rich people, they are fat.  Look at Oprah for example, and many, many pastors, priests and evangelists, like Rick Warren.  Don’t get me wrong, not all fat preachers are evil and not all evil preachers are fat.

But Paul also talked against gluttony:

“For many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who mind earthly things” (Phil 3:18-19).

The word gluttony comes from the Latin word “gluttire” meaning to gulp down or swallow.  To over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

Do people, especially those that speak of Jesus, think that getting drunk of fat glorifies You?

King Solomon also spoke against gluttony:

“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags” (Prov 23:20-21).

I look at the fat statistics and it appears that more people are getting fat faster than they can be counted.  For example: in 2010 1.9 billion people in the world were fat, which is a 25% increase since 2002.

There are 7 billion people in the world and if 1.9 billion of them were fat three years ago, which was a 25% increase in eight years, I’m going to guess and say that 1/3 of the world is fat.

Almost 70% of the American population is overweight or obese.

Fat is ugly and Curt doesn’t like looking at fat people nor does he want other people seeing him fat.  In 2010 he had become one of those 1.9 billion fat people. 

He lost those 70 pounds of fat, but this is what disturbs him: he I didn’t lose the weight for You. 

He lost the weight partly because being fat is uncomfortable.  He could care less what people think of him or even if they like him, but the main reason he lost the weight is because he didn’t want people seeing him fat.

So he’s thinking that he is prideful which is worse than gluttony to him because being fat can’t get him in trouble or sway him away from You, but being prideful easily does.  That is what Satan did.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 Jn 2:15-16).

Anyway, back to ancient Babylon.  So…

Ezekiel 24
The Parable of the Boiling Pot

An upper hand stone was used to grind grain on the lower quern stone.

1 Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

“Ninth year…tenth month…tenth day of the month” – January 15, 588 B.C.; Ezekiel’s fourth date.

2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.

3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it:

4 Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.

“Every good piece” – the people of Jerusalem who thought they were spared the exile in 597 B.C. because of their goodness.

5 Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein.

6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.

Wild lettuce, or “chazeret”, was eaten as a bitter herb at the Passover meal.

“Whose scum” – representing Jerusalem’s irredeemable situation.

“Let not fall upon it” – after the siege of Jerusalem in 597 B.C., perhaps the Babylonians had cast lots to see whom they would take away into exile.  Now everyone would go.

7 For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;

“Blood…upon the top of a rock” – Jerusalem had brazenly left on display the blood she unjustly shed.  For uncovered blood see Gen 4:10; Job 16:18; Is 26:21.

8 That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.

9 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great.

10 Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.

11 Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed.

12 She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire.

Olives were one of ancient Israel’s most important natural resources

13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

14 I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

15 Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

16 Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.

17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.

“Bind the tire of thine head” – the mourner normally removed his turban and put dust on his head.

“Shoes upon thy feet” – to remove them showed grief.

“Covereth not thy lips” – a gesture of shame (Mic 3:7) or uncleanness (Lev 13:45).

“Bread of men” – the funeral meal.

18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.

19  And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?

Ancient Israelite wine press at Migdal HaEmek.

20 Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

21 Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.

22 And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.

23 And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.

24 Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

25 Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,

Hyssop, called ezov, was used as a seasoning.

26 That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears?

27 In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

“Be no more dumb” – Ezekiel’s wife died the same day the temple burned (August 14, 586 B.C., see 2 Kgs 25:8-9).

Babylon Captivity: Diet and Foodstuffs

Babylonians of the days of Hebrew captivity enjoyed a rich and varied diet.  Grain and dates formed the staple food of the period. Among the grains, barley was the main cereal because it tolerated a slightly saline soil, but they also grew wheat, emmer (a variety of wheat), and millet.

Durum wheat was the wheat most commonly grown in ancient Israel.

Fruits and vegetables included dates, pomegranates, grapes, figs, lentils, chickpeas, beans, turnips, leeks, cucumbers, watercress, lettuce, onions, and garlic.  Farmers grew these in shade of the date palms that stood along the canals and rivers, since such crops had to be watered frequently.

Dates and date syrup provided a sweetener. Cattle, sheep, and goats provided meat, milk, cheese, hides, and fabrics.  The rivers, canals, and the sea furnished in abundance. The poor rarely ate meat or fish but lived on a diet of bread and vegetables.

Barley was the grain most commonly used to make into flour for bread in Iron Age Israel.

Because rainfall was so sparse in Babylonia, at planting time crops were first watered with moderation. Farmers plowed and seeded at the same time with the seeder, in furrows approximately two feet apart.

Then while barley and other grains grew, the fields were inundated three or four times. They carried on harvesting, threshing, and winnowing about the same as in Assyria.

Beer

The people of ancient Mesopotamia enjoyed beer so much that it was a daily dietary staple. Paintings, poems and myths depict both human beings and their gods enjoying beer which was consumed through a straw to filter out pieces of bread or herbs in the drink.

The brew was thick, of the consistency of modern-day porridge, and the straw was invented by the Sumerians or the Babylonians, it is thought, specifically for the purpose of drinking beer.

An ancient engraving, which is also a recipe for making beer, bears a hymn to Ninkasi, the goddess of brewing. It describes barley and a pictograph of bread being baked, crumpled into water to form a mash and then transformed into a drink.

The famous poem Inanna and the God of Wisdom describes the two deities drinking beer together and the god of wisdom, Enki, becoming so drunk he gives away the sacred `me’ (laws) to Inanna (thought to symbolize the transfer of power from Eridu, the city of Enki, to Uruk, the city of Inanna).

The Hymn to Ninkasi is both a song of praise to the goddess of beer, Ninkasi, and a recipe for beer, first written down around 1800 BCE. In the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero Enkidu becomes civilized through the ministrations of the temple harlot Shamhat who, among other things, teaches him to drink beer.

The Babylonians became the rulers of Mesopotamia after the Sumerian empire collapsed during the 2nd millennium bc.  Their culture was derived from that of the Sumerians, and as a consequence of this, they also mastered the art of brewing beer. Today we know that the Babylonians new how to brew 20 different types of beer.

In ancient times beer was cloudy and unfiltered. The “drinking straws” were used to avoid getting the brewing residue, which was very bitter, in the mouth.  Beer from Babylon was exported and distributed as far away as Egypt.  

A Phistine beer jug with geometric designs in red and black, known as Bichrome ware. This type of Mycenean pottery was well known in Greece, Crete (Caphor in the Bible), and Cyprus, further evidence that the Philistines migrated from those areass

Hammurabi, an important Babylonian King, decreed the oldest known collection of laws. One of these laws established a daily beer ration. This ration was dependent on the social standing of the individual, a normal worker received 2 liters, civil servants 3 liters, administrators and high priests 5 liters per day. In these ancient times beer was often not sold, but used as barter.

The Egyptians carried on the tradition of beer brewing. They also used unbaked bread dough for making beer and added dates to the brew to improve the taste. The importance of beer brewing in ancient Egypt can be seen from the fact that the scribes created an extra hieroglyph for “brewer”.

Although beer as we know it had its origins in Mesopotamia, fermented beverages of some sort or another were produced in various forms around the world. For example, Chang is a Tibetan beer and Chicha is a corn beer and kumis is a drink produced from fermented cam

el milk. The word beer comes from the Latin word bibere, meaning “to drink”, and the Spanish word cerveza originates from the Greek goddess of agriculture, Ceres.

…what kind of clothes did they wear?