The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973



Locusts and honey or just locustes?

Sir – I was very surprised to read in Rabbi Blue’s article entitled “Saucy Locusts” (Universe, August 5), that he seems to believe that St John the Baptist actually ate the creepy-crawlies.

I went to Palestine in 1964 with a party, and was shown some fine locuste trees, known locally as “St John’s Bread.” These could grow in very arid areas, and had fruits like small, thin, black bananas, very “chewy” with a strong flavour of honey and very sweet.

I am wondering if the “locusts and wild honey” should read “locuste (fruits) and wild honey,” or even “honey-flavoured fruits of wild locuste trees.”

I am no Hebrew scholar but I know that Jews of that date used many expressive metaphors.

As an analogy in modern times, how would someone translate, in 2,000 years’ hence, our expression “it’s raining cats and dogs.” The original meaning could be lost, leaving only the words.

I should be interested if a biblical scholar could comment on this.

Diana F. Kraemer (Mrs)
The Universe (19/8/83)

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