Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6 describe the food of John the Baptist as locusts and wild honey. The word locust takes different definitions as follows:

a. large and mainly tropical grasshopper with strong powers of flight. It is usually solitary, but from time to time there is a population explosion, and it migrates in vast swarms that cause extensive damage to crops.

b. the large edible pod of some plants of the pea family, in particular the carob bean, which is said to resemble a locust.

c.any of a number of pod-bearing trees of the pea family, in particular the carob tree and the black locust.

I remember to have read in some old versions of NT which had directly been translated from Syrian language, that the Baptist ate the grasshopper . But modern translations in my language go in favor of the vegetarian dish as at definition (b) above.

I feel that in the original texts, the word 'locust' had been used in singular which would refer to the vegetable by its generic name. My question is : what did the Baptist eat-- the vegetable locust or the flying locusts ?


5 Answers 5


We can only take the literal meaning of the word of the word we find in the text. Wherever a word can have two meanings it should generally be read as normally used in the Greek language. The word used in both Matthew and Mark is ἀκρίς which translates as grasshopper.


In Greek this word is pointed, or as lighting on the top of vegetation. Which if you look at the locust tree it has large spikes. I suggest looking at the Strongs meaning not a Western bible dictionary. In all honesty it's a bit speculative from this point in time. So I don't think we can be sure which it is

  • Hello Crispin, welcome to BHSE! Make sure to take the tour, to get yourself familiar with this site and to see how we are different than other sites. Thanks! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 8:46

John the Baptist ate grasshoppers , locust and crickets as mentioned in :

The Law listed locusts as a clean food, it is claimed to average from 50% to 65% protein.

Leviticus 11:21-22 (NRSV)

21 "But among the winged insects that walk on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to leap on the ground. 22 Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind."


Since locusts are listed among clean insects to be eaten, it is of and does not matter if the Word means the insects or the carob pods. Both are clean and meant for food approved by God Almighty Himself. Leviticus 11: 21-22 KJV


The Bible is not just history but also neorolinguistic pathological programming. Some call that mysticism although that word covers much evil so I typically avoid it. Anyway, brother Johan may have actually ate locusts but that is the natural story which only purpose is to illustrate a parable. Those on the outside hear but dont TRULY understand. Every character in the Bible can be interpreted as an aspect of human personality..we all share in the traits of those found in the Bible. Whether the person actually ate bugs or beans is of no affect. Understanding that swarms of evil can be swallowed up, digesting, used to sustain energy, and increase in righteousness....preparing the way for the Lord...this is treasure.

  • Welcome to BHSX, Ellea, so glad to have you with us. Please take the tour to get yourself familiar with the site. Enjoy ! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 13:42
  • Citation needed.
    – grammaplow
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 18:44

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