“Do Not Cook a Young Goat in its Mother’s Milk.”

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Sorry I have not a picture of a goat to hand so you will have to make do with this lesser common redpoll that visited my garden last week.

I do not know about you but this part of the Jewish Law has always mystified me. It first appears in the second part of Exodus chapter 23 verse 19. Curiously the first part of the verse is a command to “bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.” It is also repeated in Exodus 34 verse 26. But during the past year I came across an interesting fact about goats. I discovered that their mothers only produce milk for about six months after they give birth. Now I understand that observant Jews today go to great lengths to avoid breaking this law by not having any dairy products with any red meat whatsoever, not even drinking coffee with milk in it even if its not goats’ milk.But it occurred to me that the instruction is more to do with the maturity of the goat than the milk. In the following book of the Bible, Leviticus, in chapter 16 the instructions were given for the Day of Atonement. These included the necessity for two goats to atone for the atonement of the people’s sin, one to be sacrificed and the other to become the scapegoat. Therefore, I suggest that the command in Exodus was to prevent the goats needed for the Day of Atonement being killed and eaten too early.

There was no logical explanation given to this command about cooking the goat in its mother’s milk at the time it was given. But God knew the circumstances that would lead to the Day of Atonement (the deaths of Nadab and Abihu) and sometimes God might give us an instruction that does not seem logical at the time it is given. Our immediate reaction is to question it and object to it rather than obey. Waiting for God to provide reasonable grounds why it should be necessary.

Even though the crucifixion was at Passover it was also the day of our atonement there are many parallels with what happened at Calvary, with Jesus being both the innocent goat that was killed and the scapegoat that carried our sin. There is a hint in this instruction that there was a danger that attempts would be made on Jesus’ life before His time was ready. In particular before He was weaned at the time of the massacre of the innocents. Not to mention other attempts on Jesus’ life.

David Rose, 2019.

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About davidgrose

I am a Bible believing Christian, brought up in the Brethren Movement, and now find myself associating with charismatics even though I do not always agree with them. I am in full-time employment. I have interests in history and photography amongst others.
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