Monday, August 27, 2007

Response to "Gideon's Tongue"

In response to my post titled "Gideon's Tongue", Simon Morgan from South Africa writes:


I recently stumbled across the story of Gideon's 300 and couldn’t stop pondering on the image of lapping water like a dog. So I started doing some research and also found your blog entry.

Very interesting are the writings of Epictetus in his Manual on Stoic philosophy. Here the Greek thinker (ca. 55–ca. 135) writes:

“When you are adapted frugally according to the body,
do not embellish on this at all,
do not, if you drink water,
on every occasion say that you drink water.
and if you ever intend to train for endurance,
do it for yourself and not for the ones outside;
do not embrace statues;
but when very thirsty draw in cold water
and spit it out and say nothing.”

It is interesting that he associates the character of a person with a matter such as drinking water. Hence another possible interpretation of the Gideon story is that the 300 were indeed the most courageous men of the army as they were not primarily driven by their biological needs. After all it is extremely difficult lapping water from your hands.

God Bless


Very interesting, Simon, I would certainly not have thought of that on my own - though I don't understand Epictetus' line about "embracing statues".

I wonder if similar thinking about training and discipline has occured in other countries or historical periods? Of course, part of the reason why soldiers train as hard as they do, is so that they can learn to more or less ignore the impulses being provided by the body, and operate relatively independent of their body's demands. But that is a general matter. I'm wondering about training in relation to water and thirst.

I recollect that, on the cross, Jesus tasted the vinegar that was offered to him but would not drink it.... I have always wondered why he did not do so. The usual explanation that I have obtained is that Jesus did not want to take the help of a "drug". Well, that could be true. But your post above makes me see Jesus' action too in a new light. Sphere: Related Content

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