carcasses and goat milk

selective focus photography of goat

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on


carcasses and goat milk

Deuteronomy 14:21

Deuteronomy 14:21 “You are not to eat any carcass; you may give it to a guest within your city gates, and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a sacred people to Yahveh your God. Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

carcasses and goat milk

Following a list of animals that are forbidden for the Israelites to eat, there is this verse containing two (bizarre sounding) prohibitions.

First, even animals that are considered pure cannot be eaten if they are found dead, not properly slaughtered. It would be unclear what caused the death of the creature, so it could not be eaten in faith. Moses concedes that if non-Israelite guests wanted to eat it, it could be given away or sold to them.

Secondly, there is the prohibition against boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk. The website Defending Inerrancy suggests eight possible purposes for this rule, then states:

The truth is that we do not know for sure why God commanded this. But it does not really matter, since the Israelites knew exactly what they were not to do, even if they did not fully understand why. So while there is a problem in understanding the purpose of this passage, there is no problem in understanding its meaning. It means exactly what it says.”

There is no doubt that God had a specific purpose for this prohibition, and that the original audience (the Israelites in Moses’ time) understood that purpose. My guess is that it had mostly to do with being a unique people, set apart from the idolatrous pagans all around them.

Lord, make us a people set apart, so that we draw attention to you.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at -- !
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