An emulsion principally of fat produced by agitating or churning milk or cream. In Bible times this milk product was unlike that of the modern Western world, for instead of being solid it was in a semifluid state. (Job 20:17) Hence, Koehler and Baumgartner define the Hebrew word chem·ʼahʹ as sweet, fresh butter, still soft. (Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, p. 308) Franciscus Zorell says that this word refers to “thick, curdled milk.” (Lexicon Hebraicum et Aramaicum Veteris Testamenti, Rome, 1968, p. 248) The same word is rendered “curdled milk” at Judges 5:25.
“The churning [literally, squeezing] of milk is what brings forth butter.” (Pr 30:33) This was done by putting the milk in a skin bottle and kneading it, rocking it upon the knees, or suspending it between poles and swinging it back and forth abruptly until the desired consistency was reached.
Butter, though considered a delicacy, has been eaten and enjoyed since patriarchal times. Abraham included it in the feast he spread for the angelic visitors (Ge 18:8); David’s friends came to him with butter and other gifts of sustenance.—2Sa 17:29.
“Butter” at Psalm 55:21 is used figuratively to refer to the pleasant, smooth, oily words of a traitor.