Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 13 – 16
Deuteronomy 14:21b (NIV)
“You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
Having come up three times (Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26 and today Deuteronomy 14:21) in the last four books must mean it is a pretty important rule.
Why this restriction?
Matthew Henry in his commentary from the early 1600’s lists two possible reasons:
either to gratify their own luxury, supposing it a dainty bit,
or in conformity to some superstitious custom of the heathen.
More recent commentaries site that the practice of cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk was a pagan rite done to bring about a fruitful harvest. So the restriction is interpreted as preventing the practicing of false religions or worshiping false gods.
If you didn’t know, most Jews would refuse to eat a Cheese Burger. Why? Because it contains the flesh of a cow and the cheese is made from cow’s milk.
In the original Hebrew the words are “you must not boil a young kid in its mother’s milk.
When one lives by the law, there is a lot of interpretation that needs to be managed. For example, did the rule that you must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk mean exactly that or did it mean more than that?
- Could you cook a young goat in another goat’s milk (not its mother)?
- Could you “slow roast, never boiling the goat, at let’s say 95C instead of 100C.?
- Does this restriction include beef? Chicken? Antelope?
For thousands of years the Jews have used rabbinical teaching to answer such questions. And through those thousands of years of teachings we get to the point that most modern Jews would not eat a chasse burger. Check out these links to see a good discussion on the whole topic…
I am very thankful to say that I am allowed to eat Cheeseburgers. As a matter of fact I could be accused of over extending the liberty into eating too many cheeseburgers. Whether they are White Castle sliders, McDonald’s Big Macs, Burger King’s new A1® Steak Burger or these large burgers, you and I can partake as is appropriate.
Why are we not under that restriction from the Old Testament?
I Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV)
2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer
Jesus spoke on this very topic. He was asked about food that were “clean” and “unclean”. Here is his response…
Mark 7:14 – 23 (NIV)
14Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ "[f]
17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")
20He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ "
So for you and i it is more impotent to focus on what comes out of us in terms of attitudes, thoughts, words and deeds. It is those things that will make us unclean. It is those things that cause us to sin and wrong ourselves and others.
So, the next time you are in a foreign land and you see young goat boiled in mother’s milk on the menu, you are more than welcome to order it, if you so desire. For me and my house, we will have the cheeseburger special.