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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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FOOD.—While this word does not occur in Authorized Version in the Gospels, the Greek words βρῶμα (Matthew 14:15, Mark 7:19, Luke 3:11; Luke 9:13, and John 4:34) and βρῶσις (John 4:32; John 6:27; John 6:55), rendered ‘meat,’ would be in each case better rendered ‘food.’ The first word, βρῶμα, means anything eaten; while the second, βρῶσις, is used elsewhere in NT for ‘the act of eating’; but in the Gospels three times (in John) for that which is eaten; twice as a general term for food (John 4:32; John 6:27), and once as contrasted with drink (John 6:55). In these passages in John’s Gospel, Jesus uses the term figuratively, of spiritual nourishment, which He Himself could give, describing His own body as ‘food indeed.’

The ordinary food in Christ’s day consisted chiefly of flesh, cereals, fruits, and herbs. Of flesh, that of sheep, oxen, kids, birds (Matthew 12:12; Matthew 25:32, Luke 13:15, Matthew 10:29), as well as fish (Matthew 7:10, Luke 24:42, John 6:9; John 21:13) was in common use. Of cereals, wheat and barley were favourite food-stuffs (Matthew 3:12, Mark 2:23-25, Luke 3:17, John 6:9; John 21:13); of herbs there is mention of mint, anise, and cummin (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42); of fruits, we hear of figs (Luke 13:7, Matthew 21:18-19) and grapes (Matthew 7:16, Mark 12:2). The cereals were prepared by grinding in crude mills, and the flour was made into loaves or cakes baked in ovens. Food was seasoned with salt (Mark 9:50); mustard leaves and cummin were used as condiments. See art. Meals.

John the Baptist, like some others of his day, lived nearer to nature, as a rebuke of prevalent luxury, and chose the native food of the wilderness, ‘locusts and wild-honey’ (Matthew 3:4, Mark 1:6). Jesus came ‘eating and drinking’ the ordinary food of His time, rebuking the artificial abstemiousness of the Pharisees (Matthew 11:18 f., Luke 7:33 f.), as well as the too great anxiety of many as to what they should eat or drink (Matthew 6:25 f., Luke 12:22-26).

E. B. Pollard.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Food'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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