Nowadays, if I had something similar – I’d go to IKEA and get something made of Beech. However, a similar bed makes an appearance in the bible. The little bits of almost incidental information in biblical narratives are worth exploring to find out why they are there. Mark adds in his account of the feeding of the 5000 that the people sat down on the “green grass”. Why does he bother to add that it was green? (answers on a postcard please).
A character that turns up a number of times in the bible is Og (22 times to be precise). Og was the king of Bashan. Og was defeated by Moses and the Israelites on their approach to Canaan. This story is recounted in Deuteronomy chapter 3. The writer of Deuteronomy also includes the fact that King Og’s “bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.” (Deuteronomy 3:11).
Now, that’s a big bed. 78 square feet. 8 square metres.It’s about the size of my lounge. But why is it in the bible – how does this help us?
The answer lies in one word. “Iron”.
This story took place somewhere around 1500BC. For most of that region at the time this was the Bronze Age. Bronze was the main metal in use. Iron is a lot stronger than bronze (try hitting a saxophone with a hammer to check this out). In military terms, iron weapons to bronze weapons were like the British Army’s rifles and machine guns to the Dervishes swords at the Battle of Omdurman. Iron was strong, rare and therefore incredibly valuable. Owning an iron knife was a big deal – owning a 78 square foot iron bed was a big statement – “Look at my enormous iron bed – I am rich and powerful”. It’s like Louis 16th building the palace of Versailles. The Prince Regent building Brighton Pavillion.
So, this group of slaves who had escaped from Egypt defeated one of the richest and most powerful rulers in the world. How? Because God was working through them, to bring about his plan for creating a people that would be the light to world – and ultimately bring forth THE Light of the World.
Even a king with an enormous iron bed couldn’t stand in the way.