Ok, here are simple examples of what I am referring to. The Bible uses words, such as “bread” and “meat.” For a 21st century reader, these phrases refer to bread as food made of grains and meat as in animal tissues. In the Hebrew Bible though, these words may mean bread and meat but they may also simply mean “food.” So, when we read God promising Israelites that in the Promise Land they will eat “bread without scarcity, it would be simply inconsistent with the intent of the author to interpret this promise as eating grain based bread. Moses is simply contrasting Israelites’ wilderness experience, during which they did experience hunger, by saying that in the Promise Land, there will be plenty of food.
Here is another example. In the Book of Daniel, we literally read that Daniel and his friends were “fatter,” compared to those who did not refuse to eat from the king’s table. We can understand it literally, as Daniel and his friends were fatter, unless you know what being fatter in the Hebrew language mean.
There are many similar examples in the Bible. You may be familiar with “days,” meaning “years,” “name,” meaning a “character, a kiss, meaning an outpouring of love, etc. etc. Clearly, understanding “days” as “days” in certain passages will not be consistent with the meaning of a given passage. In the same way, it is necessary to understand other biblical words, phrases, and idioms, in other to understand the intend of the text. So, we can superficially read the text and understand that John the Baptist was a drunkard, while Jesus was not (or the other way around), or we can dig into the meaning of the text, word, idiom and understand what it meant to a Hebrew in the ancient time. It makes a world of difference.