Butter of cows, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and you did drink the pure blood of the grape.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Kidneys of wheat.—The metaphor is literally translated from the Hebrew. The kidneys are enclosed in the very best of the fat of the animal, fat that was strictly reserved for God’s altar by the Levitical Law.Deuteronomy 32:14. Milk of sheep — Le Clerc renders it, Milk of sheep and goats; the Hebrew word signifying both. With fat of lambs — Or, lambs well fatted. The fat, indeed, wherewith the inwards were covered was not to be eaten by them, but offered to God; yet that fat which was mixed with the flesh they might eat. Bashan — A place famous for excellent cattle. Fat of kidneys of wheat — With the finest of the grains of wheat, compared to kidneys in their shape and colour; or with large and plump corn, affording a plenty of flour. The pure blood of the grape — This metaphor, as well as the preceding, is very elegant and natural, on account of the great resemblance between red wine and blood; and it is also a very animated expression.Psalm 22:12; Ezekiel 39:18.
Fat of kidneys of wheat - i. e., the finest and most nutritious wheat. The fat of the kidneys was regarded as being the finest and tenderest, and was therefore specified as a part of the sacrificial animals which was to be offered to the Lord: compare Exodus 29:13, etc.
The pure blood of the qrape - Render, the blood of the grape, even wine. The Hebrew word seems (compare Isaiah 27:2) a poetical term for wine.With fat of lambs; for though the fat wherewith the inward parts were covered was not to be eaten by them, but offered to God, Leviticus 3:9,10, yet that fat which was fast joined to and mixed with the flesh they might eat, as the Jewish doctors note.
Bashan; a place famous for excellent cattle, Numbers 32:4,33.
With the fat of kidneys of wheat, i.e. with the finest of the grains or kernels of wheat, compared to kidneys for their shape, and plumpness, and largeness. Compare Psalm 81:16 147:14.
The pure blood of the grape; wine not mixed with water, but pure as it comes from the grape, which was of a red or bloody colour. See Psalm 75:8 Isaiah 27:2.
and milk of sheep: which they give, though not in such plenty as the kine, yet what is very wholesome and nourishing: the philosopher (b) observes, that sheep give more milk in proportion to the size of their bodies than cows: and Pliny (c) says their milk is sweeter and more nourishing, and the butter made of it is the fattest:
with fat of lambs; or fat lambs, rich and delicious food:
and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats; a fruitful country abounding with pasturage, where rams and goats of the best sort were and the breed of them was coveted and had in the land of Canaan; the kine of Bashan are mentioned elsewhere, Psalm 22:12,
with the fat of kidneys of wheat: that is, the best wheat, the grains are plump and full; and Aben Ezra observes, that a grain of wheat has some likeness to a kidney, see Psalm 81:16,
and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape; wine which comes from the grape, red wine, pure and unmixed, see Genesis 40:11; the land of Canaan was a land of vines, and abounded with good wine, Deuteronomy 8:8; which the Israelites, when they came into it, drank of in common, who had only drank water in the wilderness, and had but little flesh, and lived on manna, and now abounded with plenty of all good things; all which are observed as instances of divine goodness, and to aggravate their ingratitude in rejecting the Messiah, they then enjoying all these good things, the land being alike fertile and affluent then, as appears from Isaiah 7:14; Jarchi applies this fruitfulness to the times of Solomon, as the butter of kine, and the kidneys of wheat, 1 Kings 4:22; and fat of lambs, and the blood of the grape, to the times of the ten tribes, Amos 6:4; but this was the constant fertility of the land, and lasted to the times of the Messiah: now all these may be expressive of the blessings of grace, and the spiritual food of the Gospel: Ainsworth very prettily remarks, that here is both food for babes and for grown persons, butter and milk for the one, and meat for the other, and drink for them both: the plain truths of the Gospel are like butter, soft and easy to be taken in, and like milk, easy of digestion, cooling, nourishing, sweet, and pleasant; the more sublime truths of the Gospel are meat for strong men, signified by the flesh of fat lambs, rams, and goats; which all being used in sacrifices were typical of Christ; as also the finest of wheat is an emblem of him the bread of life, on whom the weakest believer lives by faith; and the drink for both, the wine the blood of the grape, may signify the love of Christ, the Gospel and the truths of it, and the blessings of grace, which come through the everlasting covenant.Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Curd of kine] Fermented milk, Ar. leben.
fat of lambs and of rams] So LXX, bringing forward rams from next line.
Bulls of Bashán] Lit. the sons, or breed, of Bashán (Deuteronomy 3:1), celebrated for its steers, Psalm 22:12 (13), etc.
fat of the kidneys] The richest fat, Leviticus 3:4, Isaiah 34:6; here figuratively of the richest wheat.
blood of the grape thou drankest in foam] There is no need to read with the LXX he drank (so Steuern. to harmonise with the next line), nor to take the line as a gloss (Marti), though it be an odd line and not one of a couplet. This is the climax of the passage of Israel from the nomadic to the agricultural stage of life, and is still regarded as the last distinction of the fellaḥ from the Bedawee; cp. Deuteronomy 33:28, Genesis 49:11 f. Foam (EVV. wine), Heb. ḥemer from root ḥmr, to ferment or foam; cp. Psalm 46:3 (4), Psalm 75:8 (9).Verse 14. - Butter of kine. The Hebrew word (חֶמְאָה) here used designates milk in a solid or semi-solid state, as thick cream, curd, or butter. As distinguished from this is the milk of sheep; where the word used (חָלָב) properly denotes fresh milk, milk in a fluid state, and with all its richness (חֶלֶב, fatness) in it (cf. Genesis 18:8; Isaiah 7:22). Fat of lambs; lambs of the best, "fat" being a figurative expression for the best (Numbers 18:12). Rams of the breed of Bashan; literally, rams, sons of Bashan; i.e. reared in Bashan, a district famous for its cattle. With the fat of kidneys of wheat; with the kidney-fat of wheat; i.e. the richest fat, the best and most nutritious wheat. And thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. The blood of the grape is the expressed juice of the grape, which, being red, is compared to blood. The rendering "pure" here is not inapt. The original word (חֶמֶר, from חָמַר, to boil up, to foam, to rise in bubbles) describes this juice as it appears when pressed into a vessel, when the surface of the liquid is covered with froth or foam. There is no ground for the explanation "fery wine" (Keil); wine in such a state was never among the Hebrews counted a blessing. That they had and used fermented wine is certain; but what they specially esteemed as a luxury was the pure unadulterated juice of the grape freshly pressed out and drunk with the foam on it. Deuteronomy 32:8 is given in general correctly by Calvin: "In the whole arrangement of the world God had kept this before Him as the end: to consult the interests of His chosen people." The words, "when the Most High portioned out inheritance to the nations," etc., are not to be restricted to the one fact of the confusion of tongues and division of the nations as described in Genesis 11, but embrace the whole period of the development of the one human family in separate tribes and nations, together with their settlement in different lands; for it is no doctrine of the Israelitish legend, as Kamphausen supposes, that the division of the nations was completed once for all. The book of Genesis simply teaches, that after the confusion of tongues at the building of the tower of Babel, God scattered men over the entire surface of the earth (Deuteronomy 11:9), and that the nations were divided, i.e., separate nations were formed from the families of the sons of Noah (Genesis 10:32); that is to say, the nations were formed in the divinely-appointed way of generation and multiplication, and so spread over the earth. And the Scriptures say nothing about a division of the countries among the different nations at one particular time; they simply show, that, like the formation of the nations from families and tribes, the possession of the lands by the nations so formed was to be traced to God, - was the work of divine providence and government, - whereby God so determined the boundaries of the nations ("the nations" are neither the tribes of Israel, nor simply the nations round about Canaan, but the nations generally), that Israel might receive as its inheritance a land proportioned to its numbers.
(Note: The Septuagint rendering, "according to the number of the angels of God," is of no critical value, - in fact, is nothing more than an arbitrary interpretation founded upon the later Jewish notion of guardian angels of the different nations (Sir. 17:14), which probably originated in a misunderstanding of Deuteronomy 4:19, as compared with Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:20-21, and Daniel 12:1.)
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