It is such a shame that the monsters in the bible (whether you translate as: dragon, dinosaur, sea monster, or venomous serpent) sometimes get translated out.
In my translation it has become a jackal. This image of the monsters here is an image of chaos: the chaos is honouring God. The ostrich (literally the daughters of the ostrich) is an unclean animal and might also refer to an extinct bird. The dragons and ostriches share the water in the wilderness with the people of God; they also share declaring the praises of God.
Even though the writer tells us not to remember the ‘former things’ he has just reminded us of Israel’s salvation from Egypt. What are the former things that should be forgotten? Do the Israelites need to forget about living in exile? The way in the wilderness is a way out of exile but not to the ‘land of milk and honey’ but into the wilderness. The new thing that God is doing is not taking his people out of the wilderness but taking them into the wilderness and making the wilderness habitable.
13 March 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.