Friday, October 12, 2018

"A feast of wines . . . of fat things full of marrow" (Isaiah 25:6)

Isaiah 25:6--"And in this mountain will Jehovah of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (ASV).

1) "And in this mountain"--likely a reference to Mount Zion. The prophecy likely finds its eschatological fulfillment with respect to figurative Zion (Revelation 14:1-3).

2) "a feast of fat things" for all the peoples. John N. Oswalt explains:

"a feast of fatness. To a people who did not have to worry about cholesterol, the fat portions of the meat were the best (Ps. 36:9 [Eng. 8]; 63:6 [Eng. 5]). Thus it is not surprising that these were the portions of the sacrifices reserved for God (Lev. 3:3; 4:8, 9). But here God is giving the rich food to his people, as the host (Ps. 24:6).²⁸ This is always the principle of sacrifice. God asks that we give to him in order that he may give to us. (Cf. the thank offering and the feasting associated with it, Lev. 7:11–18)."

See Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39.

3) "a feast of wine on the lees . . . of wines on the lees well refined"

Oswalt offers these remarks:

"a feast of lees refers to wine which has been allowed to strengthen by leaving the dregs in the wine after the fermentation process. The wine, strained before drinking, was clear and strong, i.e., good wine. šemārîm, 'lees,' was probably used here also because of its assonance with šemānîm, 'fatness.'"

LXX: καὶ ποιήσει κύριος σαβαωθ πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος τοῦτο πίονται εὐφροσύνην πίονται οἶνον χρίσονται μύρον

Brenton: "And the Lord of hosts shall make [a feast] for all the nations: on this mount they shall drink gladness, they shall drink wine:"

Wildberger has a long note on some textual issues and the literary form of Isaiah 25:6-8. See Hans Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27, Trans. Thomas H. Trapp (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), pages 523-531.

To summarize Wildberger's comments, he views Isaiah 25:6-8 as a coronation meal in which YHWH is host and offerer of divine grace. It is significant that Jehovah is called YHWH of hosts: the expression is used only two places in Isaiah 24-27. The prophet likewise distinguishes this meal by saying it is for the peoples, that is, the nations (non-Israelites). So God is extending his graciousness to all peoples.

Wildberger claims that Zion is "the focal point of Yahweh's rule, just as it is clear that the מלכות ׳הוה (kingdom of Yahweh) is not a transcendent type of rule."

He possibly means that the kingdom of YHWH is not heavenly, but he explicitly states that the "people of God" are not necessarily barred from this feast, by whom he probably means Israel. Although, see 1 Peter 2:9-10.

The commentator, Wildberger, concludes this section of his commentary about Isaiah 25:6-8 by contending:

"When סמנים (rich foods) is used (this plural form occurs only here), one ought not think it refers to meat, but rather to foods that have been prepared using a lot of oil. For an extraordinary festival, one also needs to have
an excellent wine, in this case one that has been prepared carefully, with special effort to strain it meticulously so as to make it clear, without sediment. What is described is the opposite of what was presumably the popular notion
in Israel, that Yahweh would prepare for the peoples a drinking feast at which he would 'make them drunk, until they become merry and then sleep a perpetual sleep and never wake' (Jer. 51:39; cf. Jer. 25:15ff. and Ps. 75:9)."

He also encourages readers to view this ancient text through Israelites eyes of antiquity.

Alec Motyer makes an interesting observation as well:

"The rich food and finest of wines contrast with the bread and water of 21:14. Aged wine can mean the sediment that forms in the process of fermentation (Zeph. 1:12), but here it means the wine itself, purified and matured by being allowed to stand. Finest of wines is (lit.) ‘lees thoroughly filtered’; best of meats (lit.) ‘rich food, filled with marrow’, a picture of nourishment."

See Genesis 4:4; Exodus 29:2; 7, 21, 23, 40; Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 28:1, 4.

Keil-Delitzsch prove to be worth consulting here. At least part of what they write appears to be on the mark:

Shemârim mezukkâkim are wines which have been left to stand upon their lees after the first fermentation is over, which have thus thoroughly fermented, and have been kept a long time (from shâmar, to keep, spec. to allow to ferment), and which are then filtered before drinking (Gr. οἶνος σακκίας, i.e., διΰλισμένος or διηθικὸς, from διηθεῖν, percolare), hence wine both strong and clear. Memuchâyı̄m might mean emedullatae ("with the marrow taken out;" compare, perhaps, Proverbs 31:3), but this could only apply to the bones, not to the fat meat itself; the meaning is therefore "mixed with marrow," made marrowy, medullosae. The thing symbolized in this way is the full enjoyment of blessedness in the perfected kingdom of God.


Duncan said...

Duncan said...

proverbs 9:2

Duncan said...

Daniel 1:8 - what was wrong with the wine?

This is all withing the bounds of the neareastern culture.

Edgar Foster said...

A quick thought from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible:

"[Daniel] 1:8 defile himself with the royal food and wine. There have been extensive discussions and a variety of suggestions regarding the reasons why Daniel and his friends refused the king’s food. Most work on the assumption that the contrast is between meat and vegetables (see notes on vv. 5,12). Others have noted that Daniel’s decision may be based on his reluctance to show allegiance to the king by sharing his food, but that would hold no matter what the young men ate. Others believe that it has to do with Jewish dietary laws (kosher), which would likely have rendered certain meat unclean. But improper storage or preparation could render other food unclean as well. Furthermore, the Jewish dietary laws did not prohibit wine. Another approach suggests the problem is with meat offered to idols. The finest meats were undoubtedly supplied to the palace from the temples, where the meat had been offered before idols (and the wine poured out in libations before the gods), but any food could easily have come through the same route. The decision certainly has nothing to do with vegetarianism or avoidance of rich foods for nutritional purposes (see 10:3). There are numerous examples in intertestamental literature (e.g., Tobit, Judith, Jubilees) of Jews seeing the necessity of refraining from food served by Gentiles. It is not so much something in the food that defiles as much as it is the total program of assimilation. At this point the Babylonian government is exercising control over every aspect of their lives. They have little means to resist the forces of assimilation that are controlling them. They seize on one of the few areas in which they can still exercise choice as an opportunity to preserve their distinct identity."

Just a quick thought.

Duncan said...

This commentary flies in the face of Daniel 1:12 & the results. Each writing here has to be judged on its own merits.

Edgar Foster said...

We've discussed Daniel 1:12 before. One thing seems certain: the verse does not prove that vegetables and water are superior to meat and wine. Ten days would likely not have made such a difference in their countenances, but they fared well due to Jehovah's blessing. Moreover, the law did not forbid all meats or wine. It had to be the circumstances or that the food was unbled, etc. Nothing was inherently wrong with the meat or wine.

Philip Fletcher said...

You can tell it is about Jehovah's blessing, in Daniel 1:12. There is no issue with wine or meat. If it was the other way around, say in a land where they choose not to eat meat, the Israelites would have been blessed for eating meat and drinking wine. Because Jehovah would bless them either way.

Edgar Foster said...

At the end of the day, as we said before, each brother/sister must make personal decisions about diet and health. One last thing I'll say in this thread. Here's a quote from one article that I'll link below:

"The food provided from the king's table could not harm the Judean men, whilst the vegetables and water the friends preferred could not guarantee that their appearance would be better and they would be fatter (Dn 1:15) after only 10 days. The implied reader would have understood that it was not the substance of the food and wine to which Daniel objected, but rather that Daniel expressed his dissent with the source of the food: the king and everything he stands for (Venter 2006:997-998). The food could not endanger Daniel's purity. What the food stood for, threatened the Jews' loyalty towards their God. Taking this food 'would be tantamount to declaring complete political allegiance' (Fewell 1988:40). Within a cognitive linguistic frameset, eating vegetables was a way for Daniel and his friends to set themselves apart as vessels through which YHWH could act inside of Marduk's god-space (De Bruyn 2014:12). Despite their new identities as symbolised by new names, Daniel and his friends refused to act as vessels of the Babylonian gods, but continued to act as YHWH's."

BTW, I'm not saying that I totally buy this explanation, but some of it possibly has merit.

Edgar Foster said...

Sorry, but one verse just popped in my mind: Genesis 14:18 where Melchizedek serves Abram some bread and wine. Note the context and how Abram was blessed.

Duncan said...

I am not proficient with the nuances of aramaic so I will just quote english:-


"Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age?"

"Please test your servants for ten days"

"Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see."

"At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead."

Anyone who argues that 10 days is not enough to see marked health changes has not kept up with double blind placebo controlled studies of today. The fact that Daniel later is found eating meat and wine is another issue.

If you have points of language regarding the Aramaic, I am pleased to read them.

Duncan said...

Also if Daniel was a teenager it is worth researching the effect of the acidity of meat consumption in particular. The speed of the physical, visible improvement.

Duncan said...

From the LXX:-

Dan 1:4  "young men to whom there is no [upon them blemish], and good to the appearance, and perceiving in all wisdom, and knowing knowledge, and considering in intelligence,"

So, did Daniel appear before the king before or after the 10 days of vegetables?

Dan 1:5  "And [set in order to them the king] day by day from the table of the king, and from the wine of his banquet; and to maintain them [years for three], and after these things to stand them before the king."

I read this as a kind of quarantine as it was the servant of the king who was dealing with the young men.

Dan 1:15 "good and strong in flesh above all the boys eating at the table of the king."

This was in the longer term not just the 10 days.

Dan 1:18 "And after the end of the days which [told the king] to bring them in, that [brought them in the chief eunuch] before Nebuchadnezzar.

10 days or 3 years?

Duncan said...

Also I would have to question the littoral translation "fatter" as the LXX translates as "strong in flesh".

Duncan said...

See Psalm 73:4 KJV among others.

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

Thinking more fundamentally - what tells us that Daniel chapter 1 is written about anti-assimilation?

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, as a point of clarification, Daniel 1 was not written in Aramaic, correct? Neither was chapter 10, right?

Interestingly, no Targum appears to be available for the book of Daniel.

Edgar Foster said...

Here's information from a Daniel Commentary by Zdravko Stefanovic:

"Vegetables... water."A more precise meaning
of the Hebrew term for hazzerd'im, "the vegetables,"
is "seeds," or better, "grains" or "cereals."
It possibly includes seed-bearing plants or the
plant food that grows from seeds. Its mention
here with plain water takes the reader back to
the Genesis Creation story, in which God prescribed
the ideal human diet before the Fall:
fruit, seeds, and water (Gen. 1:29). This reveals an
old type of wisdom that considers a "close connection
between plain living and high thinking."46
In the Bible, meat and wine were foods of
festivity (Isa. 22:13) and a symbol of the power of
the wealthy. Although some scholars have in the
past attributed the young men's choice of food
to asceticism, this is improbable because Daniel
10:3 implies that at least in Daniel's case, "the
diet of vegetables was a temporary regimen."47

1:15 "Better nourished." Literally, the original
text says "fatter in flesh." This expression was
an idiom in Bible times that pictured a healthy
and good-looking person as stout and plump. At
this point of the story, there may be a note of
irony based on a possible wordplay. Even though,
during the period of testing, the young men
were on a plain diet, at the end of this period,
their basar, "flesh," turned out to be "fatter" than
that of the rest of the youth, who ate the rich
royal food based on basar, "animal flesh" (cf. Dan.

Stefanovic adds:

1:15, 16 Instead of deteriorating, the
young men's physical and intellectual
condition improved. They turned out to
be "fatter in flesh"—that is, healthier
and better looking—than the rest of the
young men at the palace. In this section,
a foretaste of the young men's complete
triumph in Babylon is given: They are
described as healthier and better nourished
than all of the young men who
ate the royal food (Dan. 1:15).

Edgar Foster said...

Note the comment here on Dan. 1:15:

Duncan said...

We have a Hebrew chapter one but whether that is the original language is another issue. As per chapter 7.

Much we cannot be sure of so I am trying to cater for all.

As I already stated the lxx of 1:15 referes to "their shape - good and strong" not fat. Psalms 73:4 bolsters the possibility.

Edgar Foster said...

To my knowledge, the Aramaic in Daniel runs from 2:4-7:28. We don't fully understand why that part of the book is Aramaic, but why believe chapter 1 was originally Aramaic and not Hebrew?

It's not a major issue for me either, but I'm just trying to correlate what others have written about Daniel. Also, it seems that Stefanovic is agreeing with you that "fatter" in Daniel 1:15 refers to being healthier although NET connects fatness with being healthier in the ancient near East.

ESV for Psalm 73:4: "For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek."

But you're probably right that "fat" here is figurative, not literal.

Duncan said...

My reference to chapter 7 is that some think that chapter 1 should be Aramaic and that chapter 7 should be Hebrew. A book in two halves.

Duncan said...

Psalms 73:4 Aramaic Bible:- Because there is no expectation of their death and their madness is great.

Duncan said...

Here you can see some of the contents.

It seems entirely plausible that the first section was composed in Babylon and the second in Israel but there are other theories. All Aramaic - all Hebrew etc.

Edgar Foster said...

Context will determine how "fat" or "fatness" is used. Ps. 73:4 isn't talking about literal fatness. See also

Regarding the text of Daniel, what we have is a Hebrew chapter 1 and chapter 10, etc. Reconstructions always are possible, with some being more plausible than others. But I don't see how a reconstruction sheds light on chapter 1 of Daniel. Hey, the Gospels could mhave nee written in Hebrew-Aramaic, then later copied into Greek. Where's the evidence for such things? :)

This article addresses the Aramaic Daniel hypothesis, among other things:

Duncan said...

I'm not sure if it is relevant or not. That's the reason I posted the Aramaic of Psalms 73:4 for an example of comparison. I know that certain words diverge in meaning between these sister languages.

For your illustration to have meaning a gospel would have to be written in two languages. Not Hebraism or transliteration but in two actual languages. So I see the circumstance of the book of Daniel as being unique.

Edgar Foster said...

M y comment about the Gospels was meant to address the theory that Daniel was either written all in Hebrew or all in Aramaic. Some do think that the Gospels were composed all in Hebrew or in Aramaic, then someone translated them into Greek. However, just as with Daniel, we have no solid evidence that the Gospels were anything other than what they currently are. Nor is there a good reason for questioning what Daniel currently is--a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic.

Okay, you say that Daniel is unique, but look at Ezra, which is also a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic. Besides, Aramaic is a dialect (sister language) of Hebrew.

"The Aramaic Portions of Ezra"

Duncan said...

Ezra, as your link points out, is letters (or documents) and a narrative. That author sees a clear divide, doesn't he?

Any such divides in Daniel?

We do have some external evidence regarding Matthew, don't we?

Duncan said...

We have covered some of this ground before - like the underlying meaning of pelach פּלח. With only a limited attestation in Daniel & one in Ezra. I do not think that serve or minister get to the heart of its meaning.

Duncan said...

Note that the supposed Hebrew equivalent of serve (עבד) is not used in Daniel in the Hebrew Sections but is used 163 times where I think at one time that did have a similar meaning - see Gen 4:2.

Duncan said...

You may find this interesting although not directly related.

Duncan said...

The destruction of Babylon & what led up-to it & what I think "serve" meant agricultural or horticultural work.

Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

Yes, Ezra differs from Daniel in some ways and the book is divided at points between Hebrew-Aramaic, but I was pointing to the similar features of both books, which the other books of Tanakh do not exemplify.

Jerome writes that the Gospel of Matthew was written originally in Hebrew or something to that effect. However, we don't have any textual evidence to back that claim or a strong line of evidence to support it.

Commenting on Daniel 7, K-D also write:

פּלח is used in biblical Chaldee only of the service and homage due to God; cf. Daniel 7:27; Daniel 3:12-13, Daniel 3:17., Ezra 7:19, Ezra 7:24. Thus it indicates here also the religious service, the reverence which belong to God, though in the Targg. it corresponds with the Heb. עבד in all its meanings, colere Deum, terram, laborare.

Daniel 7:27 (Latin Vulgate): Regnum autem, et potestas, et magnitudo regni, quae est subter omne caelum, detur populo sanctorum Altissimi: cujus regnum, regnum sempiternum est, et omnes reges servient ei, et obedient.

Duncan said...

Daniel 3:28 "serve nor worship" - I will look into this in more detail tomorrow.

Duncan said...

I am going to have to look at each instance individually.

For Daniel 3 but initially the term translated "worship" should be "prostrate with face to the ground", just as the Hebrew. Modern ideas of "worship" should no be included. The initial circumstance says that they would not do this but do not mention that they would not "serve". I need to find out more about the plain of Dura. Would this have been an agricultural area at the time?

One option:-

A plain next to a river would have been irrigated from the river via channels.

3:12 from the LXX - εισιν ανδρες Ιουδαιοι ους κατεστησας επι τα >>εργα<< της χωρας Βαβυλωνος

What if 3:14 is saying that they were not following the normal agricultural practices?

Dan 3:30 τοτε ο βασιλευς κατευθυνε τον Σεδραχ Μισαχ Αβδεναγω εν τη >>χωρα Βαβυλωνος<<

Duncan said...

As for Ezra 7:24 could these not be gardeners? Is gardening and landscaping a modern phenomena?

Duncan said...

Not sure about Ezr 7:19? Same word?

Edgar Foster said...

On Ezra 7:19, the word does come from pelach. I hope you can also see this page:

Compare how the LXX renders 7:19.

Concerning Ezra 7:24, the men are described as servants of God's house. What reason do we have to think they were gardeners of his house? I think Parkhurst in the link above shows how the word came to mean "worship" or service to God, even if the word originally pertained to gardening. We have to understand each term in context.

Of course, people did gardening and landscaping in Bible times. But that does not mean the word in question has that denotation in Ezra or in Daniel.

Quite frankly, I just cannot see how you're getting that they possibly refrained from certain agricultural practices from Daniel 3:14. A form of pelach there is used in conjunction with segid. Compare Daniel 2:46; 3:5-11.

Daniel 3:11 (LXX): καὶ μὴ πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃ τῇ εἰκόνι τῇ χρυσῇ ἐμβληθήσεται εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρὸς τὴν καιομένην

Edgar Foster said...

Since I've been reading Zdravko Stefanovic's Daniel commentary, I'll quote more from it:

"Fall down and worship." The context makes it clear that both verbs tippelun v^tisg'dun, "you will fall down and worship," should be viewed as describing a religious act. To fall prostrate was a standard posture for prayer and worship in Bible times (cf. Deut. 4:19; 8:19). Forms of the verbal root sgd, "to worship," combined with npl, "to fall," are frequently found in this chapter. Moreover, sgd is used in parallel with the verb plh, "to serve, worship," in verses 12 and 14 below. Worshiping this statue was not a problem for the non-Jewish administrators because they were polytheists and could worship any god. Moreover, the king's religious act served a clear political goal. "Obeisance to the idol at the king's command would, no doubt, imply an affirmation of loyalty to the king."24
Yet for the Hebrews, even if the statue was made in Nebuchadnezzar's likeness, to fall prostrate before it meant the worship of the king or his god Marduk (cf. Dan. 2*6). The union between worship and state politics was a widespread practice among ancient peoples. (pages 124-5)

Duncan said...

Do you think that items in Ezra 7:19 & 7:18 are one and the same?

Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

It's difficult to say whether they're the same or not from a surface reading of the text. They very well could be, but research has to be done or a deeper reading. Here is what the NICOT (Ezra and Nehemiah) by Fensham states:

"The vessels. These could not have been the vessels removed by Nebuchadnezzar, because they had been restored long ago. It might have been vessels provided by the king and the Jews in exile (cf. 8:25–27). If anything more was required, Ezra had the right to draw on the royal treasury. This could not mean that he had a free hand, but that his needs should be met. It is also notable that this money had to come from the province Trans-Euphrates, because local public works were financed by local taxes (cf. 6:8).²¹"

Edgar Foster said...

Compare the foregoing with the observations of Whedon's Commentary for Ezra 7:19:

"The vessels — Gold and copper basins, and the like, which had been contributed by Persians or Israelites. Compare Ezra 8:25-27. The vessels mentioned in Ezra 1:7 were those which had been taken from Jerusalem, and that act of Cyrus was a restoration of what belonged to the temple. But the vessels here mentioned were an additional contribution to the treasures of the temple, and were the gifts, chiefly, of the king and his counsellors."

Edgar Foster said...


Anonymous said...

Verses 7,8 seem to relate to John 11:44.

Edgar Foster said...

Interesting/plausible connection. Makes sense to me.