Bible Proofs Part 2– Food Laws

In my previous post, we covered the ancient world’s view of medical science, and compared that to the Bible. What we discovered is that the Bible avoids the gross errors that are contained in every other culture at the time. Not only that, but the Bible also contains correct information regarding things like quarantine, soap, washing, waste disposal, etc.

I would like to pick up this study in part two by taking a closer look at the food laws of the Bible.

Biblical Food Laws

The Bible divides food into clean and unclean. While there are no such restrictions on fruits and vegetables, animals are another matter.

  • Land animals – only those that have a “split hoof” and “chew the cud” were permitted. (Leviticus 11:3)
  • Water animals – only those with “fins and scales” were approved. (Leviticus 11:9)
  • Birds of prey were prohibited, as were most insects.
  • Pork, catfish, rabbit…also prohibited.

  • Even clean animals were regulated.
  • Not to be eaten until the blood had been removed (Lev. 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-14; Deut. 12:23-35).
  • •Diseased, or animals that had died, or had been killed by carnivorous animals were prohibited (Deut. 14:21).
  • •Eating the fat of animals was prohibited
    (Lev. 7:22-26)
  • The effect:
    “Would go far toward preventing the incidence of food-borne polio encephalitis, the enteric fevers, food poisoning, and the parasitic worms.”
    “civilized man, after centuries of experience, has come to approximately the same conclusion.”
  • Banned foods show a lot of logic. “dogs, cats, fishes without scales (all poisonous fish have no scales), and oysters, which on many occasions in modern times have caused epidemics of typhoid fever and other infectious diseases.”
  • This type of logical classification was unique to the Bible. “We find no classification as logical as this in any of the cuneiform lists of fauna or ritual taboos.”
  • Mosaic dietary laws “are unique in the ancient Near East.”
  • “This distinction seems to rest in health considerations rather than in the sympathetic magic about the taboos in the cuneiform texts.”
  • The ban on fat reduces the incidence of heart attacks.
  • Experiments have determined the levels of toxicity in the meats of the animals, birds, and fish described in the listing of Deut. 14. Those studies found that the prohibited meats contained more toxic substances and a higher percentage of toxicity per meat than those that were allowed.

Other food laws that show a higher level of knowledge:

  • Animals that died of natural causes or were killed by wild animals.
  • “We know that carcasses may harbor fleas, ticks, lice, all of which are carriers of deadly diseases such as bubonic plague, spotted fever, or typhus fever.”
  • In many religions contemporary with the OT, drinking blood was believed to aid in prophecy.
  • Many diseases can be passed on by this practice.

The Bible once again shows how unique and special it is, especially when considered alongside other contemporary beliefs and taboos. The Bible is the Word of God, and a careful study will reveal that to anyone who approaches it with an open heart and mind.

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  1. […] series we examined the ancient world’s view of medical science and in part two we looked at food laws. Part three we will examine the sex laws in the Bible, how they differed from surrounding cultures, […]