Carob: The food of repentance

Isaiah 1:20 provides a warning in the context of the more familiar phrase in verse 18 — “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.”  If the nation would refuse to repent, God says, “you will be devoured by the sword.”  But one passage in the Midrash, a collection of rabbinic writings, translates it quite differently — “if you refuse and resist, carob pods you shall eat.”  James Moffatt apparently was quite impressed with this view of the text and rendered the verse accordingly in his translation, although every other Bible translation I could find reads essentially as the New American Standard Bible does.

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