Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Idiom: They are bread for us.

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. Numbers 14:9

"They are bread for us" is an Aramaic idiom which means, "We can conquer them very easily." In the East, when a difficult task is described as easy, it is said, "It is like eating bread." This idiom is still used today. This is because eating food and drinking water are two of the simplest and easiest things in a man’s life. [Donna: We might say "It's a piece of cake"-to indicate how easy something is to do.]

The inhabitants of Palestine had weakened themselves by sensual Baal worship and other evil practices. And they were rejected by God because of their evil works. The Israelites were admonished not to be afraid of them, because the natives of the land were so weak that they could be consumed as easily as one consumes a loaf of bread.

When this Aramaic idiom is translated literally it loses its meaning. "For they are bread for us" in English would mean, "They are our very livelihood" or "They will feed us." This is also true of English idioms and mannerisms of speech. When translated literally they lose their true meaning.

(Lamsa, George M. 1964. Old Testament Light. San Francisco: Harper Collins., pg199)

1 comment:

  1. I like it--I'm going to use this one. It'll become the new catch-phrase.

    "...This is bread for me, man."