2 Samuel 17:29
And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of cows, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
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(29) Cheese of kine.—A word occurring only here, and of uncertain meaning. The English follows the Chald., Syr., and Rabbinic interpretation; the Vulg. has “fat calves,” and Theod. “sucking calves.”

17:22-29 Ahithophel hanged himself for vexation that his counsel was not followed. That will break a proud man's heart which will not break a humble man's sleep. He thought himself in danger, concluding, that, because his counsel was not followed, Absalom's cause would fail; and to prevent a possible public execution, he does justice upon himself. Thus the breath is stopped, and the head laid low, from which nothing could be expected but mischief. Absalom chased his father. But observe how God sometimes makes up to his people that comfort from strangers, which they are disappointed of in their own families. Our King needs not our help; but he assures us, that what we do for the least of his brethren, who are sick, poor, and destitute, shall be accepted and recompensed as if done to himselfCheese of kine - Or, as others, "milch cows," which is more in accordance with the context, being coupled with "sheep," and is more or less borne out etymologically by the Arabic. God's care for David was evident in the kindness of these people. 29. in the wilderness—spread out beyond the cultivated tablelands into the steppes of Hauran. i.e. Having been

in the wilderness; which is an easy and common ellipsis. Or, because of (so the Hebrew particle beth is oft used) the wilderness, which they have passed through, in which provisions are very scarce. And honey and butter,.... Honey was much in use with the ancients; Homer (b) speaks of it as a part of the provisions at a feast, and as food with which persons were nourished and brought up; and the ancient Scythians lived on milk and honey (c); and this and butter were pretty much the food of the people in Judea; see Isaiah 7:15,

and sheep; with which and goats the land of Gilead abounded; see Sol 4:1,

and cheese of kine: made of the milk of cows, as it commonly is:

for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat; and no doubt they brought wine with them for them to drink; the men that brought these, some brought one sort, and some another, or however different parcels of the same, and did not join in one present; for they came from different parts:

for they said, the people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness; where they had been some time, and out of which they had just come, and so weary with travelling, and therefore brought beds to lie down and rest upon; and being hungry and thirsty, through want of bread and water in the wilderness, they brought them both eatables and drinkables; for though the latter is not expressed, it is to be understood, as the word "thirsty" supposes.

(b) Iliad. 11. ver. 630. Odyss. 10. ver. 245. & Odyss. 20. ver. 72. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 11. Sueton. Vita Nero. c. 27. (c) Justin e Trogo, l. 2. c. 2.

And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
29. butter] Curdled milk is probably meant, called leben by the modern Arabs, and greatly esteemed as a refreshing drink. Cp. Jdg 5:25.

cheese of kine] So the Targum explains a word which occurs here only. The Vulg. gives fat calves, which agrees better with the position of the word after sheep.

The people is hungry] The people hath got hungry, &c., in their passage through the wilderness.Verse 29. - Sheep. This is the only kind of flesh food mentioned. The change in the meaning of the word "meat," which still in America is used simply for "food," as in the Authorized Version, bears witness to the great change in our diet which has taken place in recent times. Cheese of kine. The word occurs only here, but the Syriac and the Targum both support the rendering of the Authorized Version. The Bedaween, after removing the butter, make a kind of cheese from the remaining milk. It is as hard as the cheese made from skimmed milk in Dorsetshire, but wholesome. It must, however, be soaked before eating, or softened with butter. Generally in the East, cow's milk is regarded as coarse, and camel's milk is used for drinking, while that of sheep and goats, and cheese made from it, holds the next place in general estimation. It is curious that "butter" literally means "cheese of kine."

It is still further stated in conclusion, that when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not carried out, he saddled his ass and returned to his home, and there set his house in order and hanged himself, because he could foresee that Absalom would lose his cause through not taking his advice, and it would then be all over with himself. Thus was David's prayer (2 Samuel 15:31) fulfilled.
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