Ancient Teeth

“Ancient Teeth.” I’m definitely aware that that’s an odd title for a blog post.

But I’m also laughing about it this morning.

These days, I’m doing something I haven’t done in many years: I’m reading the Bible from cover to cover. As I’ve done so, I’ve encountered passages that have moved me deeply, and I’ve found some that puzzle me too. But I also need to share this: The Bible is also funny. I have found some snarky, one-liners from characters that have made me guffaw aloud. Or at times, the narrator of one of the books will make an aside about a situation, and that also makes me chuckle. I love the humor.

There’s a section that wasn’t intended to be funny, but it’s made me giggle too. When I got to the Song of Solomon, I encountered King Solomon and his great love passing on an array of compliments that sound so strange to us millennia later.

“Your hair is like a flock of goats!”

“Your brow is like a slice of pomegranate!”

And there’s this one. It actually shows up several times throughout the poetic book:

“Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn sheep coming up from washing, each one having a twin and not one missing.”

Gurrrl, you look so good! You have all your teeth!

This complement shows up multiple times. Not one of your teeth is missing!

But then, I started thinking about it, and this was a thought I have never had in my life: Without dentists or even toothbrushes, ancient people were likely missing teeth. Throughout most of human history, people were frequently missing teeth. I’ve never thought of this before.

So I guess it is high praise after all:

Not one of your teeth is missing! Not a single one of your newly shorn sheep teeth! You look gooooood!

Renee Roederer

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