Clarifying a confusing Old Testament passage

I asked a pastor about this Scripture, “Do not cook a young goat in it’s mothers milk” and the answer he gave me was not a satisfying one. He said that it was a cultural practice back in those days and how we are free from animal sacrificing today. actually thought it was one of those defensive answers that people use when they really don’t know what happened. Thankfully I happened to read a book that helped me out with this:

Deut 14:21 “Do not cook young goats in its mother’s milk”
Similar passage:

“Do not mate different kinds of animals”,
“Do not plant your fields with two kinds of seeds,”
“Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of materials” (Lev 19:19)

“These were designed to forbid the Israelites from engaging in the fertility cult practices of the Canaanites. The Canaanites believed in what is called sympathetic magic, the idea that symbolic actions can influence the gods and nature. They thought that boiling a goat kid in its mother’s milk would magically ensure the continuing fertility of the flock.

Mixing animal breeds, seeds or materials was thought to “marry” them so as magically to produce “offspring,” that is, agricultural bounty in the future. God could not bless His people if they practiced such nonsense!”

So there was a spiritual motive behind practicing such things. It really had nothing to do with cross-breeding, but basically worshiping nature and believing that it could provide for you. That’s exactly what God wanted to avoid with the Isrealites! The next time you read about cooking a young goat in it’s mother’s milk and the other things in Lev 19:19, remember why.

NB: The book that I got the info from is called, How to read the Bible for all its worthby Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart.

Related posts:
The value of observing the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth


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