What Did Biblical Israelites Eat?

July 14 2016

Drawing on both the Hebrew Bible and archaeological evidence, Cynthia Shafer-Elliott describes what we know about everyday meals in the ancient Near East:

In 1 Kings 5:2-3, [the Bible] lists the daily provisions for King Solomon’s table: 30 kors of choice flour, sixty kors of meal, ten fat oxen, twenty pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep, deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl. [But these] are daily provisions for the [court] and do not reflect what the average ancient Israelite man, woman, or child ate.

Textual resources are an important source of information on any ancient society, but their original purpose was to provide accounts of monumental people and events such as military conquests and the reigns of kings. . . . We must therefore turn to other sources to understand the daily preparation and consumption of food in Iron Age Israel, especially archaeology. . . .

[Although it] is rarely included in discussions of ancient Israelite food and cooking, . . . the average Israelite meal consisted of a stew. Meat was not consumed on a regular basis by the average Israelite, so most stews were made from legumes and vegetables. This can be seen in the use of the Hebrew word nazid, which is used to describe stews (or pottage) of vegetables and/or legumes (as seen in Genesis. 25:29- 34, 2 Kings 4:38–40, and Haggai 2:12).

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More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Food, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Jewish food

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror