Meat and Dairy In The Bible – Boiling A Kid in Mothers Milk
People and scholars have for centuries wondered about 3 verses in the Torah that instruct God’s people to not “boil a kid in its mother’s milk”. Speculation for this odd command is all over the board. Personally, I have my own opinion that I lay out in the video above. However, there is a theory that has been popular for many years now that has been completely disproven.
Some have insisted that the meaning of this verse is talking about an ancient Canaanite ritual of boiling a baby goat (kid) in its mother’s milk for the purposes of a fertility ritual to a god or goddess. And for years, my response has been to show me some proof of this claim. Not that it couldn’t be true but I wanted to see more than just hearsay. The fact is, IT CANNOT BE PROVEN AT ALL!
BOTTOM LINE: There is NO proof of this ever being a practice by any ancient civilization in Canaan or elsewhere. The original idea came from a mistaken translation in the 1930s from a clay tablet. The broken text was originally translated roughly as “Boil” – “Kid” – “Milk” and people went nuts thinking they had discovered something that the Bible specifically mentioned. But after closer examination and knowledge gained about this previously unknown language and alphabet, scholars NOW AGREE that the line of broken text (line 14) reads something about “milk” and “coriander” or some other herb, possible saffron. THERE IS NO MENTION OF GOAT, KID, BOIL OR MOTHER. Which kinda makes it hard to link this text to anything in Biblical scripture let alone the 3 verses specifically in question inside the Torah.
HERE IS YOUR PROOF
For those of you wanting the proof to satisfy your curiosity and as an effort to set the record straight, below are a number of scholarly documents that you can read for yourself. These include the ACTUAL now more RECENTLY translated text in question. Special thanks to Matt Napier (current PhD student) for providing the information below.
“There is a Ugaritic tablet that was part of a large cache of tablets of the Ras Shamras site in 1928. After its discovery, Charles Virolleaud published translations of the tablets in 1933. When it came to a certain inscription, he translated it to say that they boiled a kid in the milk of its mother. Not only was he excited to find it and see a possible connection to the Biblical text, so was the rest of the Biblical world. They had found the meaning of an obscure text, and Maimonides was found to be right.
The problem is that later in 1983 when photography was MUCH better, black and white and color photos were taken of the tablets, and scholars quickly noticed an issue with the inscription about the kid in the mother’s milk. Not only was it a damaged text, but it was a text that said nothing about a kid, mother, or boil. This issue was pointed out in 1983, but here we are in 2021 still believing false information about the text.
I have included several sources for you that I hope are beneficial and allow you to relay the accurate information to your audience. I have made appropriate highlights to the attachments to assist with the pertinent information in each document.
Picture Of The Actual Tablet In Question
“A kid in milk – new photographs” – This is a scholarly article on the progression of the text from original translation to the translation adjustments after photographs were taken in 1983 – PDF LINK HERE
“Milk and Meat” Milgrom – This is an article on the text with highlights on the portions about the translation. – PDF LINK HERE
“Milk and Meat” Sasson – This is an interesting article to say the least. Sasson presents a different theory for the meaning of the Biblical texts, but I highlighted the information on the inscription. – PDF LINK HERE
“Context_of_Scritpure…” – This work, the Context of Scripture, is the most authoritative work on the translations of texts from the ANE to date. Prior to this work it was ANET by Pritchard, a much smaller work. The Context of Scripture is a very large 4 volume work that costs $400-$500, but it is the best we have on translations of ancient works. This attachment is just a note on Western Semitic inscriptions from Volume 3 of that series that talks back the inscription in question. It highlights the issues of the translation history and gives the most accurate translation we have today of this inscription. You will notice it says nothing about boiling a kid or a kids mother. – PDF LINK HERE
“Dawn and Dusk” – This last one is the full translation of the entire text where the inscription is found. This is from Volume 1 of the Context of Scripture. There are extremely good notes throughout, and I have highlighted the portion of the text in question. Anyone seeking to study this text should never stop until they have read the full text of the tablet and I would say reads it from Context of Scripture as it is the best we have. *THIS IS YOUR TRANSLATION YOU WERE ASKING FOR DIRECTLY.* – PDF LINK HERE
Written by new2torah