Eating Honey Out of a Long-Dead Animal
■ Some persons have wondered about the Bible passage at Judges 14:8, 9, wherein Samson is described as scraping honey out of the corpse of a dead lion. How could a dead lion turn into a beehive? This was a question asked by a reader of the Melbourne (Australia) Age, and an answer appeared in that newspaper under the heading “Naturalist’s Diary.” The writer, H. A. Lindsay, said:
“The only explanation which I can give is that it has every appearance of being plain fact. In Palestine there was—and still is—a dearth of hollow trees in which wild bees can establish colonies. As a result, they use rock crannies, recesses in caves, and even holes in the ground.
“In the dry climate of this region, especially in the summer, the carcase of any animal with a tough skin, if left unburied, soon becomes a skeleton with a dry hide stretched over it. Lacking a better site, wild bees would use the chest cavity as a site for a hive.
“This is not a theory, because I can quote a parallel case. Booborowie, South Australia, is a wide, treeless plain covered with paddocks of lucerne. This fodder plant provides good flows of honey during summer months.
“In 1927 I was walking over a hill on the south side of the lucerne fields and I came to the carcase of a horse which had died months previously. It was now a sun-dried hide stretched over a skeleton. What I had taken for a cloud of blowflies proved to be a flight of bees. . . . I was able to do what Samson had done over 3000 years ago; I ate some honey from a hive which had been established in the carcase of a long-dead animal.”—November 21, 1960, page 17.