Locusts and Wild Honey

Matthew 3:4 And John himself was clothed in camel s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Q.  What is the significance of John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey?

A. I can think of two things. John’s food is described in two verses:

  • Mt 3:4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
  • Mk 1:6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.

Winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to Israelites, except those with jointed legs with which to jump on the earth:

  • Lev 11:22  These of them you may eat: the locust in its kinds, and the devastating locust in its kinds, and the cricket in its kinds, and the grasshopper in its kinds.

Wild honey is honey that is not farmed, found in tree trunks or rock crevices:

  • 1 Sam 14:12 All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground.

Both foods are found in nature and cost nothing, and were eaten by the poorest people. So point one may be John’s simple lifestyle, depending on what God provides for his sustenance.

The second thing relates to his dress, a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt. This was what Elijah wore:

  • 2 Kings 1:8 (NIV) They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

When the angel announced to Zechariah that God will give him a son called John, he said:

  • Lk 1:17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

So point two is that John is the fulfillment of Elijah who was to come even in minute details:

  • Mt 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

Hope this helps.