Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teeth Like Swords and Knives

It's a relief to know that verses like these aren't talking about cannibalism!

There is a generation, whose
teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
Proverbs 30:14

"In the East table knives and forks were unknown until recent years. The people used their front teeth as knives to cut off pieces of meat. The reference here is to the oppressors who devour the poor and the needy. These men are known as having sharp teeth like swords. In American slang they are called "sharks."

When the Israelites forsook the way of the Lord and transgressed his commandments, their rulers and judges became wicked. They devoured the poor and corrupted justice. These wicked men had no knowledge of God, neither did they fear the Most High [Ps. 10:4].

In the East when princes or government officials defraud or exploit their people it is said, "They have devoured [eaten] the poor and the weak." Job says, "And I broke the jaws of the wicked, and snatched the prey out of his teeth" [Job 29:17, Eastern text]. Jesus used the same Aramaic metaphor: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you embezzle [Aramaic ‘eat’] the property of widows..." [Matt. 23:13, Eastern text].

Lamsa, George M. 1964. Old Testament Light. San Francisco: Harper Collins., pg 584

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