Wisdom of Solomon 16:21


19 and at another time even in the midst of water it burned more intensely than fire, to destroy the crops of the unrighteous land. 20 Instead of these things you gave your people food of angels, and without their toil you supplied them from heaven with bread ready to eat, providing every pleasure and suited to every taste. 21 For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit everyone's liking. 22 Snow and ice withstood fire without melting, so that they might know that the crops of their enemies were being destroyed by the fire that blazed in the hail and flashed in the showers of rain; 23 whereas the fire, in order that the righteous might be fed, even forgot its native power.

Yoma 75a

Babylonian Talmud

It was also said with regard to the manna: “And its taste was as the taste of a cake [shad] baked with oil [hashamen]” (Numbers 11:8). Rabbi Abbahu said: Shad means breast. Just as a baby tastes different flavors from the breast, since the taste of the milk changes somewhat depending on what foods his mother eats, so too with the manna, every time that the Jewish people ate the manna, they found in it many different flavors, based on their preferences. There are those who say that the word is written as shed and means literally a demon. How so? Just as a demon changes into different forms and colors, so too, the manna changed into different flavors.

 Notes and References

"... According to Greek philosophy, the four constitutive elements of the world are fire, water, air, and earth. We have to ask a question: Is it the Hellenization of Hebrew tradition? For some it is; for others it is only a modernization. It must be noted that in Wisdom ultimately it is God who gave Solomon knowledge of the activity of the elements. J. Reider suggests that the Book of Wisdom also drew its source from the rabbinic interpretation of the Old Testament. The last ten chapters especially resemble the Midrash. He points out a few passages to suggest Midrashic influence: Wisdom 16:7 and Talmud R. H. 29a; Wisdom 16 and Yoma 75a etc. Especially the twenty-one attributes of wisdom in Wisdom 7:22-23, Reider insists, have their parallel in Sifre for Haazinu #306: 'For I will proclaim the name of the Lord' (Deuteronomy 32:3), i.e. Moses mentioned the name of the Lord only after twenty one words ..."

Kim, Benedict Sung-Hae A Comparative Study of the Concept of Wisdom in the Book of Wisdom and the Tao Teh Ching (p. 68) Marquette University, 1969

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