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This explanation of Holy Scripture will share a commandment that appears three times in the Bible.
The commandment reads ‘a young goat shall not be boiled in its mother’s milk’.
The major interpretation of this commandment is that ‘meat and dairy should not be cooked or eaten together’, and when it says ‘boil’ this means to cook – throughout the Bible.
With the interpretation of the scribes and Pharisees, reasoning on both Scripture and a potential rebuttal – we will see that the commandment should be taken seriously as per its interpretation, and that with perspective it is of little effort to uphold once grasped.
Hoping it is fruitful with you.
Table Of Contents
■ Introduction To The Commandment
■ The Interpretation According To The Scribes And Pharisees
■ Are We Sure The Commandment Is About Food, And Not About A Pagan Occult Sacrificial Ritual Instead?
■ Boiling Is Cooking, And Not Necessarily Pagan Occult Sacrifice
■ Meat And Milk Are Also Used As A Metaphor, Which Speaks Of Easy And Hard Bible Studies, And How They Should Be Kept Separate, For Certain People.
■ What Does This All Mean?
Introduction To The Commandment
There is a commandment that appears three times in the Bible and initially it essentially instructs us to ‘not boil meat in milk’ – it reads as follows;
“The best the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Exodus 23:19 ESV
The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
Exodus 34:26 ESV
“You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Deuteronomy 14:21 ESV
The Interpretation According To The Scribes And Pharisees
There is a great weight here that tells us that the written commandment is indeed dealing with prohibited mixed foods, cooking methods, and in turn the forbidden consumption of meat and dairy.
In this instance, this commandment has been interpreted both cautiously and responsibly by the scribes and Pharisees – people who have Scriptural authority to speak on such matters;
‘Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do…’
(Matthew 23:1-3 NIV)
The interpretation briefly reads that ‘any mixture of meat and dairy is forbidden to eat, as is the cooking of it together forbidden’.
Briefly, this forms part of what is known as ‘Kashrut’, a set of dietary laws pertaining to the kosher foods that Jews are permitted to eat, and how those foods are to be prepared according to Jewish law.
Are We Sure The Commandment Is About Food, And Not About A Pagan Occult Sacrificial Ritual Instead?
If we review each of the three places that this commandment is featured, one can see that Exodus 23:19 and 34:26 both speak of ‘firstfruits’ which deal with food items, before it speaks of the meat (a ‘young goat’) that should not be boiled in its mother’s milk.
Deuteronomy 14:21 also speaks of food before giving the commandment to not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
It are these sightings that might perhaps assist a person in seeing that this commandment is speaking with regard to food related matters initially as the common denominator – just by reading the verses as they are.
Boiling Is Cooking, And Not Necessarily Pagan Occult Sacrifice
With this, if we ‘boil’ this typically means we are cooking – and thus ‘boil’ does not necessarily relate say a pagan occult offering.
This is seen in places such as;
‘…bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil…’
(Exodus 16:23 NIV)
‘…meat raw or boiled…’
(Exodus 12:9 NIV)
‘…the meat was being boiled’
(1 Samuel 2:13 NIV)
Meat And Milk Are Also Used As A Metaphor, Which Speaks Of Easy And Hard Bible Studies, And How They Should Be Kept Separate, For Certain People.
In the New Testament (Brit Chadasha), the prohibition against meat and milk is used as a metaphor when it speaks of how different teachings – being milk (the basic gospel message) and meat (more advanced spiritual topics such as the ‘overwhelming scourge’ (ref. Isaiah 28:18-19 ESV, Romans 7:20-24 more can be read on this here [www.orthodoxmessianicjudaism.com/2021/03/21/you-are-not-sinning-they-are-the-enemy-isaiah-28-romans-7-ephesians-6/ ]) should be kept separate from new believers / those still seeking refreshing from G-d (ref. Acts 3:19 NASB) – as they are not yet ready for advanced lectures on spiritual matters;
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 ESV
Here we see milk and solid food mentioned together.
The Greek word used in this verse when it speaks of ‘solid food’ is ‘bróma’, and this ancient word has legal English translations being; ‘meat, food’ (ref. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance for word number G1033;
The very fact that it says ‘food’ (ESV) / ‘meat’ (KJV) here in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 within this metaphor, perhaps assists us in seeing that the actual commandment in Exodus and Deuteronomy is speaking of forbidden food mixture(s) – being meat with milk being cooked together.
Hebrews 5:13-14 also shares a milk and ‘food’ metaphor in the same way – the ancient Greek used for ‘food’ there also refers to ‘nourishment’ (Strong’s G5160);
‘for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature…’
(Hebrews 5:13-14 ESV)
The use of milk and solid ‘food‘ here as a metaphor, and how different kinds of specific teachings are not shared together with ‘new people still of the flesh who are still trying to turn to G-d and gain repentance that leads to everlasting life without end (ref. 2 Corinthians 7:10, Acts 11:18)’ – shows us good premise to the prohibition against the cooking and eating of meat and milk.
Hebrews 6:1-2 is the passage here which confirms what meat and milk represent in the metaphor – milk representing the basic gospel (good news) message;
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Hebrews 6:1-2 ESV
What Does This All Mean?
This all means that this commandment should be looked at closely, and that those who may currently dismiss it as to not be speaking about forbidden food mixture(s), cooking and eating – should reconsider.
Potential Rebuttal And Response:
A potential rebuttal that a person might give in response to the interpretation of this commandment, is that Abraham served three men/angels dairy (curds and milk) and meat (a calf);
Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
Genesis 18:8 ESV
This verse can look seemingly devastating with regard to the commandment’s interpretation.
Peaceably, and with view to doing what is good, a potential response to such a rebuttal might be;
What Noah did not perhaps have, is the commandment of circumcision – that came later at the time of Abraham when he was 99 years old (Genesis 17:24), and it was from then on that male uncircumcision after eight days of age was deemed an unclean and sinful state for G-d’s people to be in (Genesis 17:12).
What we also do not see in the Holy Scripture during the times of faithful Noah and Abraham on the earth is the commandment to abstain from cooking meat and milk together though – this also came later with Moses, like circumcision.
With these sighted differences, one could perhaps then ask the question;
‘did Noah and Abraham ever receive instruction at that time about the forbidden cooking and in turn mixture of these clean (kosher) foods (meat and milk) – just like how Noah likely did not know about circumcision, though later Abraham was instructed?’
The written commandment regarding meat and milk was recieved in the Law of Moses after Noah and Abraham had both died, and we have its application by interpretation today.
The cooking and therefore consumption of kosher meat and milk (dairy) together, is thus prohibited by way of careful and reasonable interpretation of the Law of Moses (post Abraham), by the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-3).
Contention with this explanation is to be expected – hoping however, you can appreciate the balanced manner that it was written in.
It certainly does involve a little sober weighing and I hope it is a blessing right next to tefillin, tzitzit, mezuzot, and other commandments which are simple to apply, G-d willing.
G-d is good and the Lamb is worthy (ref. Luke 18:19, Revelation 5:12).
Hoping you are well.
Further Responses To Various Objections:
With regard to the specific points of your message;
□ You Wrote:
This would be a suckling less than a year old. The requirements for the goat is to be a year old for offering.
This is a nice submission to make with regard to thinking on the interpretation of Exodus 23:19 and Exodus 34:26.
Your thought is that this commandment perhaps could relate to animal offerings with the priests, as these verses initially begin speaking of firstfruits (offerings) before the meat and milk statute comes in and is mentioned.
We do also see the commandment though in Deuteronomy 14:21, and this instance does not begin with any mention of firstfruits (offerings) – rather, it purely speaks of forbidden food (an animal that dies of itself).
This means that, if a person relies on this ‘offering vs food’ interpretation based on what appeared before the meat and dairy statute, atleast one verse will be broken – the two in Exodus or the one in Deuteronomy. Scripture says such is not allowed (John 10:35).
Commentary isn’t always correct, however it can serve as a reference sometimes.
If we consider this, and the fact that perhaps no published commentary states that the ‘young goat in its mother’s milk’ relates to matters concerning offerings;
If we soberly review the interpretation of the scribes and Pharisees, which could perhaps be considered cautious and safe in this instance;
if we also note that there are three verses which feature this statute, and that it is food ‘related’ matters which appear to be the common denominator mentioned just before the meat and milk statute, in every single instance;
Perhaps reconsideration of the current position you have submitted could be considered a reasonable and dilligent thing.
□ You Wrote:
Secondly this would not pertain to poultry and and fish for they do not produce milk.
Peaceably, the scribes and Pharisees interpreted this commandment, and zealously applied it to all meat and dairy.
Scripture wholeheartedly encourages us to study as much possible (2 Timothy 2:15), and I pray we find acceptable observance.
Without bias here, I personally don’t feel like a chicken (meat) sandwich with a glass of milk at this time .
□ You Wrote:
This is one command that has been stretched beyond its limits. This is even disputed among Rabbis and different sects of Judaism. Some Rabbis say wait 2,3,4,5,6 hours between meat and dairy as in they are guessing.
Peaceably, the accepted stringent ‘wait time’ if you will, is said to be six (6) hours from the time of eating – with regards to these two food categories, from each other.
A link which features this information can be found here:
□ You Wrote:
If we listened to all those some of us would be sitting in a dark room on Sabbath afraid to use the bathroom.
Peaceably, a new believer might want to observe the commandment so much – they might refrain from flushing.
Today, if they sought the instruction/opinion of the scribes and Pharisees (typically orthodox rabbis), they would largely be told that a flush is acceptable for their reference (ref. r.Reuven).
Another new believer might simply read past, and thus not know how to interpret Deuteronomy 6:8 – a verse which by the zealous interpretation of the scribes and Pharisees is instructing the use of the phylacteries (tefilin) which are mentioned in Matthew 23:5;
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Deuteronomy 6:8 ESV
(Matthew 23:5 ESV)
Hoping it is fruitful with you, and may G-d bless beyond maximum in Christ (Messiah). Amen.
Hoping it is a blessing to you.
Shalom and kind regards,