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Milk [EBD]

(1.) Hebrew halabh, "new milk", milk in its fresh state (Judg. 4:19). It is frequently mentioned in connection with honey (Ex. 3:8; 13:5; Josh. 5:6; Isa. 7:15, 22; Jer. 11:5). Sheep (Deut. 32:14) and goats (Prov. 27:27) and camels (Gen. 32:15), as well as cows, are made to give their milk for the use of man. Milk is used figuratively as a sign of abundance (Gen. 49:12; Ezek. 25:4; Joel 3:18). It is also a symbol of the rudiments of doctrine (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13), and of the unadulterated word of God (1 Pet. 2:2).

(2.) Heb. hem'ah, always rendered "butter" in the Authorized Version. It means "butter," but also more frequently "cream," or perhaps, as some think, "curdled milk," such as that which Abraham set before the angels (Gen. 18:8), and which Jael gave to Sisera (Judg. 5:25). In this state milk was used by travellers (2 Sam. 17:29). If kept long enough, it acquired a slightly intoxicating or soporific power.

This Hebrew word is also sometimes used for milk in general (Deut. 32:14; Job 20:17).

Milk [NAVE]

Used for food, Gen. 18:8; Judg. 4:19; Song 5:1; Ezek. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:7.
Of goats, Prov. 27:27; sheep, Deut. 32:14; Isa. 7:21, 22; camels, Gen. 32:15; cows, Deut. 32:14; 1 Sam. 6:7, 10.
Churned, Prov. 30:33.
Kid not to be boiled in its mother's, Ex. 23:19; Deut. 14:21.
Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3; Num. 13:27; Deut. 26:9, 15; Isa. 55:1; 60:16; Jer. 11:5; 32:22; Ezek. 20:6; Joel 3:18; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13; 1 Pet. 2:2.


As an article of diet, milk holds a more important position in eastern countries than with us. It is not a mere adjunct in cookery, or restricted to the use of the young, although it is naturally the characteristic food of childhood, both from its simple and nutritive qualities. (1 Peter 2:2) and particularly as contrasted with meat, (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12) but beyond this it is regarded as substantial food adapted alike to all ages and classes. Not only the milk of cows, but of sheep, (32:14) of camels, (Genesis 32:15) and of goats, (Proverbs 27:27) was used; that latter appears to have been most highly prized.


MILK - milk (chalabh; gala; Latin lac (2 Esdras 2:19; 8:10)): The fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young. The word is used in the Bible of that of human beings (Isa 28:9) as well as of that of the lower animals (Ex 23:19). As a food it ranked next in importance to bread (Ecclesiasticus 39:26). Palestine is frequently described as a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex 3:8,17; Nu 13:27; Dt 6:3; Josh 5:6; Jer 11:5; Ezek 20:6,15). Milk was among the first things set before the weary traveler (Gen 18:8). In fact, it was considered a luxury (Jdg 5:25; Song 5:1). The people used the milk of kine and also that of sheep (Dt 32:14), and especially that of goats (Prov 27:27). It was received in pails ('atinim, Job 21:24), and kept in leather bottles (no'dh, Jdg 4:19), where it turned sour quickly in the warm climate of Palestine before being poured out thickly like a melting substance (nathakh; compare Job 10:10). Cheese of various kinds was made from it (gebhinah and charitse he-chalabh, literally, "cuts of milk"); or the curds (chem'ah) were eaten with bread, and possibly also made into butter by churning (Prov 30:33). See FOOD, II. It is possible that milk was used for seething other substances; at least the Israelites were strictly forbidden to seethe a kid in its mother's milk (Ex 23:19; 34:26; Dt 14:21), and by a very general interpretation of these passages Jews have come to abstain from the use of mixtures of meat and milk of all kinds.

Figuratively the word is used (1) of abundance (Gen 49:12); (2) of a loved one's charms (Song 4:11); (3) of blessings (Isa 55:1; Joel 3:18); (4) of the (spiritual) food of immature people (1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12,13); (5) of purity (1 Pet 2:2).

Nathan Isaacs

Also see definition of "Milk" in Word Study

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