“No grain offering that you bring to Adonai is to be made with leaven, because you are not to cause any leaven or honey to go up in smoke as an offering made by fire to Adonai.”-Leviticus 2:11
The Hebrew word for honey is DEVASH (דְּבָשׁ).
However, here’s the truth.
The use of beehives to collect honey never really occurred during Biblical times.
Rather than honey, DEVASH was simply a word used to refer to sweetening agents in general such as date sugar or the nectar from fruits.
Of course, DEVASH can also mean honey as we normally understand it.
When Sampson found a honeycomb in the bones of a dead lion, that was also called DEVASH.
However, it was pure serendipity to chance upon real honey like Sampson did, so when folks did come across real honey, it was greatly prized.
My main point here is that whenever you come across the word “honey” in the Bible, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that it means honey from bees.
DEVASH can mean any type of ingredient used to sweeten up food.
Now of course the question on everybody’s mind is why in the world couldn’t honey be used on the sacrifices?
Well, this question harkens back to the point I made in my last post.
There is NO explanation offered up, so we just have to accept it.
Just because no reason is given doesn’t justify us being skeptical of what God has commanded us to do.
Maybe the reason why honey was prohibited was simply because it was common knowledge for the people at the time.
In other words, there was no need for an explanation.
Think about it.
Maybe a thousand years from now, somebody will ask why did human beings eat hamburgers for lunch?
Or maybe they’ll ask why did people put the combination of ketchup and mustard on their hamburgers?
Seriously, do you think you’d be able to find a piece of literature, a manual or some fast-food advertisement that bothers to explain why eating hamburgers is appropriate?
I just saw a burger king ad displaying a roast beef sandwich with the caption saying “It’ll blow your mind away!“
What the heck can you deduce from that?
A thousand years from now, some social scientist will look at that ad and come to the conclusion that people ate hamburgers to get high or for its stimulatory effects.
Actually, come to think about it, maybe that is why I eat cheeseburgers sometimes.
The Bible has not given us a clear cut answer as to why.
So we are left to speculate.
One somewhat feasible answer was provided by that great Middle Ages Rabbi named Maimonides.
What Maimonides pointed out was that in practically every other ancient Middle Eastern culture, HONEY WAS USED IN RELIGIOUS RITES!
And the reason it was used is because it was so rare.
Maimonides’ reasoning was that the Lord prohibited the use of honey to separate Israel’s rituals and behavior from the surrounding nations.
This actually makes good sense.
Whenever I read the Bible, sometimes it seems like the only reason the Lord prohibited some customs is only because the surrounding nations were engaged in them.
As we consider on a daily basis how to live a life pleasing to the Lord, this is definitely something we should factor into our decision-making process.
The Lord does NOT want us looking like the world.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Do not love the world
or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
love for the Father is not in them.”
-1 John 2:15