Easton's Bible Dictionary: M. G. Easton, M.A., D.D.


Originally the Creator granted the use of the vegetable world for food to man (Gen. 1:29), with the exception mentioned (2:17). The use of animal food was probably not unknown to the antediluvians. There is, however, a distinct law on the subject given to Noah after the Deluge (Gen. 9:2-5). Various articles of food used in the patriarchal age are mentioned in Gen. 18:6-8, 25:34, 27:3,4, 43:11. Regarding the food of the Israelites in Egypt, see Ex. 16:3; Num. 11:5. In the wilderness their ordinary food was miraculously supplied in the manna. They had also quails (Ex. 16:11-13; Num. 11:31).

In the law of Moses there are special regulations as to the animals to be used for food (Lev. 11; Dt. 14:3-21). The Jews were also forbidden to use as food anything that had been consecrated to idols (Ex. 34:15), or animals that had died of disease or had been torn by wild beasts (Ex. 22:31; Lev. 22:8). (See also for other restrictions Ex. 23:19, 29:13-22; Lev. 3:4-9, 9:18,19, 22:8; Dt. 14:21.) But beyond these restrictions they had a large grant from God (Dt. 14:26, 32:13,14).

Food was prepared for use in various ways. The cereals were sometimes eaten without any preparation (Lev. 23:14; Dt. 23:25; 2 Ki. 4:42). Vegetables were cooked by boiling (Gen. 25:30, 34; 2 Ki. 4:38,39), and thus also other articles of food were prepared for use (Gen. 27:4; Pr. 23:3; Ezek. 24:10; Lk. 24:42; Jn. 21:9). Food was also prepared by roasting (Ex. 12:8; Lev. 2:14).

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