Biblical Reference in George Herbert's

Topics: Bible, Israelites, Canaan Pages: 2 (946 words) Published: February 28, 2008
In the Poem "The Bunch of Grapes", George Herbert uses the story of the Israelites in the wilderness during their Exodus, to illustrate Christianities progress. Additionally, through this poem, Herbert also compares his or the speaker's discontentment in life that has a strong connection with the Old Testament versus the comfort that the New Testament has to offer. In the Book of Numbers, Moses, wandering with the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sin, decided to send spies through the Desert of Paran into the Promised Land of Canaan. The spies are to see how fertile the ground is, how fortified the cities are and how strong the people are. "And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak,, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad" (Numbers, Ch. 13, Lines 17-19) The spies went during the time of the first grape harvest, and brought back a branch with "one cluster of grapes" (Numbers, Ch.13, Line 23), together with some pomegranates and figs. They tell Moses that the land is rich, and the walls of the towns are unfortified. However, while Joshua and Caleb argue that the land is abundant and is "floweth with milk and honey" (Numbers, Ch.13, Line 27), the other spies say that strong and evil men inhabit it, which causes the Israelites to want to return to Egypt. The Lord talks to Moses and says he will kill all of the Israelites. Moses pleads with God, saying that others would think badly of God for leading his people to the wilderness and abandoning them there. Herbert reveals this reference very early in the poem: "I did towards Canaan draw, but now I am/Brought back to the Red Sea, the sea of shame." Herbert suggests that the traditional teaching of Christendom, namely that the march of the Jews through the desert, their endless...
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