what does the bible say?

Can we eat milk and meat together?

Exodus 23:19 states, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”  This command is repeated in Exodus 34:26 and Deuteronomy 14:21. Are these verses referring to a Biblical dietary law?  The answer is no they are not!  

For proof refer to the account in Genesis 18:1-8.  Here we read about Abraham entertaining two angels and the One who later became Jesus Christ. “So Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, ‘Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.’  And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it.  So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate” (verses 6-8).  Since Abraham, two angels, and the Lord ate calf meat, drank milk, and ate cheese together at the same meal indicates there was no prohibition against such a combination.  In fact, no such a dietary law is mentioned anywhere in Scripture.

In analyzing the context of Exodus 23:19 we notice that it does not refer to just any kind of meat or milk – but specifically to the meat of a kid seethed in its own mother’s milk.  The association of these two products of the mother’s body suggests that this scripture is referring to something connected with pagan fertility rites.  Peake’s Commentary shows that this is so: “The significance of this prohibition has now been made clear by the Ras Shamra texts.  According to the Birth of the Gods, i, 14, a kid was cooked in its mother’s milk to procure the fertility of the fields, which were sprinkled with the substance which resulted” (p. 232).

A careful study of Exodus 23:10-19 shows the context is concerned with Sabbath and annual Holy Day worship.  Verse 18 reads, “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until the morning.”  Unleavened bread was eaten with the Passover on the day preceding the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:8).  It was a standing rule that no fat should be eaten (Leviticus 7:23-25; Leviticus 3:16-17).  The Passover lamb was roasted whole, but its fat was not to be eaten.  It was to be burned in the morning (Exodus 12:9-10).  The same sequence of thoughts is repeated in Exodus 34:21-26 in reference to “the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover (verse 25).  

Why does this verse refer to “kids” when the Passover sacrifice was traditionally a lamb?  Originally “kids” (young goats) from the flock (Exodus 12:5; 2 Chronicles 35:7), and even “calves” from the herd (Deuteronomy 16:2;) were permitted as well as lambs (Exodus 12:3-4; John 1:29, 36; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 12). What does boiling a kid in its mother’s milk have to do with the Passover?  God did not want the Passover to become a spring fertility festival (Exodus 23:32-33).  It is obvious that the command against “boiling a young goat (a kid) in its mother’s milk” had to do with safeguarding the Passover.  It was never meant as a dietary law.

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