Friday, 15 March 2013

Ezekiel's surprising bread recipe

Chapter 4 of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel contains a surprising recipe for bread.  It is not exactly the finest bread, but more something designed to help the people survive periods of famine when the normal ingredients of bread could not be found.  Barley has never been favoured for bread for good reasons.

Verses 9 to 12 say this:

4:9Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.
4:10And thy meat which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.
4:11Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
4:12And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. 

Did you read that carefully enough and see the final ingredient described in verse 12?
Most of the ingredients for the Ezekiel recipe for bread!
Most of the ingredients for the Ezekiel recipe for bread!

Oddly, you can buy the ingredients for Ezekiel 4:9 on Amazon if you want to have a go at the disgusting recipe.  Presumably they were not able to include the final ingredient because you have to see personally that it cometh out of man'

God certainly does inspire the writers of his holy book in mysterious ways.


John Chapman said...

I wonder if on this occasion you might be being unfair to Ezekiel? Presumably in a famine situation you would have killed and eaten those animals which normally supplied the dung used to fuel cooking fires in arid climates.

Could it be that the dung referred to was dried and used as a fuel rather than an ingredient?

Plasma Engineer said...

An interesting point John. Thanks for commenting.

I wonder whether human dung burns well. I'm not planning to do an experiment.

However, on today's post I have another go at Ezekiel on a different topic.

John Chapman said...

Maybe I was wrong? Looking at the recipe I begin to wonder if it is so bad a bread that it takes too 'passes' through the digestive system to get it's full food value. Something like a rabbit eating it's dung.

Like you - I'm not going to experiment. Not to worry though there are plenty of other bloopers in the bible to comment about. Leviticus is loaded with them. Rabbits don't chew cud, bats are not birds and there are no four legged insects. Perhaps he just failed his biology course at school? There's also the slight matter of where Jesus came from because Nazareth didn't exist as a settlement in his time.

Plasma Engineer said...

I can't disagree with any of that. :)

Unknown said...

Chapter 4 of Ezekiel is speaking about a time of siege on the city of Jerusalem. Not only would they be unable to resupply fuel for cooking they would also be unable to dispose of waste outside the city as they would normally. Cooking over the human dung took care of both issues. It must also be noted that they would place their food on stones over a heat source such as burning dung.
The Bible, as any historical document, must be read in context, with historical and cultural understanding.