The product of female mammals for nourishment of their young. It is also used as food by mankind in general. (Ge 18:8; Jg 4:19; 5:25) The Hebrew word rendered “milk” usually refers to fresh milk and is generally distinguished from curds, cheese, and butter. (De 32:14; 2Sa 17:29; Job 10:10; Pr 27:27) No distinction is made, however, between milk of cows, sheep, and goats. (Eze 25:4; 1Co 9:7) Sour or curdled milk was often mixed with honey and was regarded as a refreshing drink. David took “ten portions of milk” (“cheese,” Vg) to “the chief of the thousand” when taking food to his brothers in the army camp. These portions may have been in the form of fresh-milk cheese. Rotherham says “ten slices of soft cheese.”—1Sa 17:17, 18.
Why did the Law forbid boiling a kid in its mother’s milk?
It has been theorized that this practice had pagan, idolatrous, or magical connections. However, the evidence to support this view is not sound at present.
Another suggestion is that this statute emphasizes that there is a proper and fitting order in matters that should be adhered to. God provided the milk of the mother for the purpose of nourishing her young. To use it to boil her offspring to prepare it to be eaten would be to the kid’s harm and the opposite of what God had in mind when making provision for such milk.
A third possibility is that this command was given in order to encourage compassion. This would be in harmony with other commands that prohibited sacrificing an animal if it had not first been with its mother for at least seven days (Le 22:27), slaughtering both an animal and its offspring on the same day (Le 22:28), or taking from a nest both a mother and its eggs or offspring (De 22:6, 7).
In Prophecy. Regarding Immanuel it was foretold: “Due to the abundance of the producing of milk, he will eat butter; because butter and honey are what everyone left remaining in the midst of the land will eat.” This circumstance was to result from the devastation of Judah by the Assyrians. On account of this devastation, formerly cultivated land would become choked with weeds. Therefore, those left remaining in the land would have to subsist to a considerable degree on dairy products and wild honey. There being ample pasturage, the animals that had been preserved alive would produce an abundance of milk for the greatly reduced population.—Isa 7:20-25; compare 37:30-33.
Illustrative Use. Often milk is referred to in a figurative or an illustrative way. (Ge 49:12; Ca 5:12; La 4:7) Resources of nations and people are called milk. (Isa 60:16) The Promised Land is repeatedly described as “flowing with milk and honey,” denoting abundance, fruitfulness, and prosperity due to Jehovah’s blessing. (Ex 3:8; De 6:3; Jos 5:6; Jer 11:5; Eze 20:6; Joe 3:18) The shepherd of The Song of Solomon spoke of his beloved Shulammite as having honey and milk under her tongue, evidently meaning that her tongue gave expression to pleasant words.—Ca 4:11.
Since milk promotes physical growth to maturity, elementary Christian doctrine is likened to “milk” for spiritual babes, which will strengthen them to grow to the point of being able to assimilate “solid food,” the deeper spiritual truths. (1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12-14) The apostle Peter, speaking to Christians, says: “As newborn infants, form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.” For what purpose? That they might keep on growing not merely to maturity but “to salvation,” that is, make their calling and choosing sure for themselves. (1Pe 2:2; 2Pe 1:10) At Isaiah 55:1, God calls on spiritually thirsty ones to buy this growth-promoting spiritual “milk,” which, through his undeserved kindness, they can obtain “without money and without price.”