Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tie your donkey to a grape vine? Wash your clothes in wine?

What would you think if someone suggested that you tie your donkey to the branch of a grape vine? That is, if you had a donkey and a grape vine nearby to tie him to.

I don’t know much about donkeys and grape vines, but my thought is that the branches of grape vines aren’t very strong, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to tie your donkey to one, as if he wanted to escape, he could probably pull and the branch would break off, or he would uproot the plant.

In his blessing for Judah, Jacob says: “He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.” Gen 49:11 (NLT)

What does this mean? Why would you want to wash your clothes in red wine? Do we want our white shirts to have a red tinge to them?

I’ve been checking the Teop draft of Genesis 49 recently and I did some research on this verse. I learnt that tying a young donkey to a grape vine is not normally a good idea, but the reason isn’t because it might break the branch and run away – the reason is because it will eat the leaves and fruit.

What Jacob is saying here is that Judah’s land is going to be so fertile that grape vines will grow really well, and he won’t even worry about the fact that a young donkey might eat some, because he will have such an abundance of them.

The bit about washing clothes in wine is also referring to how wine will be plentiful. It will be so plentiful that you could use it like you could use water. Even if we were talking about white wine, you wouldn’t wash your clothes in it because it is expensive and you wouldn’t want to waste it like that. However Jacob is saying that wine is going be as abundant as water. He doesn’t mean that people will actually wash their clothes in it; rather he is using the image to illustrate how fertile the land will be.

I’ve tried to edit Genesis 49:11 in Teop so that the meaning of the verse is clear. If I didn’t, people wouldn’t understand the verse, it would just sound like nonsense. What’s the point of translating if the translation doesn’t communicate the intended meaning?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Huge sea cucumbers

We have a lot of sea cucumbers in the sea near us. My estimate is that most of the ones I see are about 5cm wide by 22cm long, but there are some really big ones too. One day the kids got a couple of these really big ones out of the sea and we looked at and held them. Afterwards they were returned to the sea and weren’t injured.

Here are some photos:
Two sea cucumbers on a log, me touching one of them.

Holding one:

Mirriam with a sea cucumber – and that’s Emily in the background, also touching it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Broken Japanese bridge

There was a lot of rain and the rivers flooded and were flowing strong, so strong that they caused one of the new bridges that the Japanese built, to fall.

It didn’t completely collapse into the water. As you drive past, now going through the river, it doesn’t look like it is broken at all:

We had to walk along the bridge to see it properly. Here is the bit that broke:

Today, cars have to drive through the shallow water to go to the other side, but if you are going by foot and don’t want to get wet, this is the precarious way that you have to cross – on the edge of the concrete that is on a sloping angle down to the water.