- Why did God choose “the milk and honey” as an analogy to describe the Promised Land?
- Who are the priests mentioned in the bible as compared to the priests ordained and existent today?
- What was the truth about the heart of Moses in relevance with God’s order for him not being able to enter the Land of Canaan?
Hi, everyone, I am actually doing a deeper study about the bible and came across with three questions. I appreciate your response
I think I know the answer to a couple of these:
I think it’s called that because milk and honey require rich, fertile landscapes in order to be produced. Numerous plants for the bees to draw pollen from, and feeding grounds for goats and other animals to graze in. So it was most certainly a beautiful, plentiful land that one would want to live in.
The Bible calls Moses the meekest man, more so than anyone else on Earth. And the reason he was not allowed to enter the land was because of an episode of rage towards the Israelites.
The Israelites were a fickle group of people: loving God one second and creating golden calves another, and God wanted to show that despite that how he provided for them anyway.
I don’t think the Bible clarifies whether Moses was angry at the people rebelling, angry at God for continually showing them grace when they didn’t deserve it, or both.
God told Moses to speak to the rock and it would gush water out. In an act of anger, Moses instead beat the rock and that’s how the water came out, seemingly attributing the power to a miracle from Moses, not God.
It further seems like an act of his power in Num 20:10 where he says “Must we bring you water out of this rock?”
So although this moment is often portrayed as Moses just losing control over his temper, it is really much more than that. It could be that Moses heart at this moment had turned into Jonah’s heart: someone angry at the fact that God would show mercy and grace to a people who didn’t deserve it.
But this is my perspective on it; I don’t believe the Bible makes it clear which of the two was Moses angry at, and in turn, which one of them caused him to err
Hi. Kristy. So nice to have you join us. I’m new, myself, and have learned so much already. I do have one problem with Connect, though…it’s hard to pull myself away _
I have read your questions and will attempt a reply.
Generally speaking, milk and honey in ancient times were analogous with all that is good. However, honey, was symbolic of joy and good health, while milk was considered the primary source of life. To those used to living in a pagan world, milk was considered a liquid of eternal life and abundance. It was associated with motherhood and the first source of life.
An interesting aside about honey that I learned is that it was not necessarily the same as the honey produced by bees. Date palms also were a source of honey and explains why honey was given to newborns and infants, at times mentioned in the Bible. Bee honey is toxic to human infants. Date palms were plentiful in the Promised Land.
There were two types of priests mentioned in the Bible: pagan and Hebraic. Of course, the pagan priests served the pagan gods so prevalent in those days. The Hebraic priests came from the tribe of Levi. They were set apart to serve at the altar and in the temple. However, the priesthood came specifically from Aaron and his descendants.(Exodus 29: 9) These priests performed the sacrifices and similar responsibilities. The High Priest was determined by lot and only served for a limited time. He was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once a year. It was considered the highest honor, as seen if you read the account of Zechariah in Luke 1. The rest of the Levites served in the temple performing given responsibilities (Num. 3:6-7). The Levites were not given their own portion of land when they entered Canaan. They were given towns among the other allotted tribes (Joshua 21). Many of the priests were also referred to as “rabbi’s”, who taught the people
The Jews keep careful genealogical records, so the priests today would still be from the tribe of Levi, specifically descendants of Aaron. We, usually hear them referred to as “rabbi” still today.
Today, we also have Gentile clergy, some of whom are now called priests, especially in the Catholic Church where we hear them being referred to as “Father”. While some protestant churches refer to their clergy as priests, Gentile clergy usually feel called by God to enter ministry, or some do so out of their own choice. They do not have the restrictions imposed upon them that the priests in the OT did. Whatever restrictions exist now, are of human origin, although they are expected by God to live exemplary righteous lives, even as lay Christians are.
Another aside worth mentioning is the Priest Melchizedek, or King of Salem, to whom Abraham offered a 10th of the spoils after rescuing Lot. Melchizedek is often referred to as a “Theophany”, or a form of Christ who appeared to Abraham. Later, in Hebrews 7, we see Melchizedek explained and Christ being referred to as our priest–in the “order of Melchizedek”.
In regard to Moses not being allowed to enter the Promised Land: Moses had been called, set apart, or chosen by God to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. He was to do all that God spoke to him to do, relaying it to the people. After they left Egypt, one of the first complaints they had was the lack of water. Moses appealed to God and was instructed to STRIKE the rock, from which water flowed. (Ex. 17:1-7). However, later on, the people made the same complaint and Moses became angry with them. This time, God instructed Moses to SPEAK to the rock, but Moses, in his anger, struck the rock. (Numbers 20:1-12.) Moses and Aaron did not demonstrate trust in God to honor Him as Holy before the Israelites. It was considered rebellion toward God (vs 24). Deuteronomy 34: 10-12 states the uniqueness of Moses, being the only prophet God knew “face to face”. So, although he was allowed to see the Promised Land from afar (Deut.32:48-52), his sin was considered so egregious to God, he never entered it.
I hope these answer your questions…perhaps, more than you wanted to know.
Something else regarding milk and honey: As already noted, “honey” in biblical times came either from nectar or fruit, so it is a symbol of agricultural productivity (lots of honey -> lots of nectar -> lots of pollination -> lots of fruit). Milk, on the other hand, not only indicates rich, plentiful pastures for grazing, it requires the birth of animals to be produced (indicating fertility) and is a regular source of calories and protein; it can also be made into cheese and yogurt, which can be stored for later use. So together, “milk and honey” means productivity, fertility, and a dependable supply of choice food.
Hi Daniel! Thank you so much for sharing your insights, I appreciate the response. I’m glad that I joined this forum so I can also seek help from other people in understanding the bible more. Thanks for your time!
Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for shedding light on my questions. I really thought no one will be able to help me but you’re truly a blessing! Thank you for making time to reply. I’ve learned a lot, more than what I wanted to know!
I appreciate all of your help Daniel, Sharon and Micah! I am so excited to learn more from this forum in increasing my knowledge of God. Take care! God bless!
You’re welcome! I do have a tendency to get detailed.
The milk and honey represented the best and most luxurious attributes to be offered to God’s children.
The Aaronic priesthood was named so because they were descendents of Aaron, still called of God. Before Moses, there were priests in the land. Melkisedek, who was met by Abraham, Moses’ father Jethro was a ‘priest of the Most High God’ are examples. Even after Moses there were other priests in the land, Balaam, son of Beor, said to them " . . . lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak into me . . ." . Balaam was a priest of ‘the Most High God’. The writer of Hebrews alludes to them when he says Jesus is a priest if the Melkisedek order, rather than the Aaronic order, seeing as Jesus was of the tribe of Judah not Levi. The Aaronic priests were all from the tribe of Levi.
Moses was not denied entry to the promised land for being faint of heart, but for disobeying a direct order from God.
If the Commander-in-Chief cannot be depend on you to follow his orders, you will be replaced.