(Deborah.) Whence Rebekah's nurse (Genesis 35:8) and the judge (Judges 4) were named; the bee's industry, fruitfulness, and sweetness suggesting the similitude. In Deuteronomy 1:44 "the Amorites chased you as bees do"; Psalm 118:12; Isaiah 7:18; the bold pertinacity with which bees in swarming hosts assail the object of their wrath is the point of comparison. "The Lord shall hiss for the bee that is in the land of Assyria"; i.e., He will call for the enemy to invade the Holy Land. Bees were drawn out of their hives by hissing or whistling. They were as numerous in Assyria as "the fly" in marshy Egypt. "They shall come and rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the reeks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes"; the foes, like bees, swarming and settling on all places. Hereafter He will "hiss for" His people to "gather them, for He hath redeemed them" (Zechariah 10:8).
Wild honey, such as John Baptist ate (Matthew 3:4), abounded in Israel, often liquid, whence the land is described as "flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8). Often found in the rocks (Psalm 81:16; Deuteronomy 32:13), or in a hollow tree (1 Samuel 14:25). Samson, having slain a young lion, found on his return within the dried carcass a swarm of bees and honeycomb, with which he refreshed himself and iris father and mother, without telling them whence it came. (The heat in 24 hours often so dries up the moisture that, without decomposition, the bodies remain like mummies, free from odor.) Hence, he made a riddle: "out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness" (Judges 14:14).
A type of the antitypical Samson the stronger One, spoiling the strong and roaring lion, "dividing the spoils" among His friends, and bringing forth life and divine nourishment out of death, and sweetness out of misery (Luke 11:21-22; Hebrews 2:14-15). Samson's history, of which this incident is the epitome, sets forth Satan's lion-like violence and harlot-like subtlety, overruled by divine might to his own destruction and fallen man's redemption. The scarcity of honey (dibash) in Egypt is implied in Jacob's thinking "a little honey" worth including in the present sent to conciliate the Egyptian viceroy (Genesis 43:11); but it was the boiled down, thickened juice of grapes, dates, etc., still called dibs, an article of commerce in the E., which Jacob sent Joseph, and which the Tyrians brought from Israel (Ezekiel 27:17).
The decoction of the grape, or must boiled down, is mixed with wine or milk, and looks like coarse honey. In Isaiah 7:15-16, of Immanuel it is written, "butter and honey shall He eat," i.e. curdled milk (the acid of which is grateful in the hot East) and honey mixed together shall He eat, as the ordinary food of infants, marking His real humanity (Luke 2:52). In the type, the prophetess' child, a state of distress is also implied; when, owing to invaders, milk and honey, things produced spontaneously, should be the only abundant articles of food. That distress and the invasion should cease before the child reached the age of consciousness to distinguish good and evil. The commonness of honey in Israel as an article of diet appears in 2 Samuel 17:29; 2 Kings 14:3; Jeremiah 41:8; Ezekiel 16:13; Ezekiel 16:19.