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milk ( חלב , ḥālābh ; γάλα , gála ; 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 ( Isaiah 28:9 ) as well as of that of the lower animals (Exodus 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" (Exodus 3:8 , Exodus 3:17 ; Numbers 13:27 ; Deuteronomy 6:3 ; Joshua 5:6 ; Jeremiah 11:5 ; Ezekiel 20:6 ,Ezekiel 20:15 ). Milk was among the first things set before the weary traveler (Genesis 18:8 ). In fact, it was considered a luxury (Judges 5:25; Song of Solomon 5:1 ). The people used the milk of kine and also that of sheep (Deuteronomy 32:14 ), and especially that of goats (Proverbs 27:27 ). It was received in pails (‛ăṭı̄nı̄m , Job 21:24 ), and kept in leather bottles (nō'dh , Judges 4:19 ), where it turned sour quickly in the warm climate of Palestine before being poured out thickly like a melting substance (nāthakh ; compare Job 10:10 ). Cheese of various kinds was made from it (gebhı̄nāh and ḥărı̄cē he -ḥālābh , literally, "cuts of milk"); or the curds (ḥem'āh ) were eaten with bread, and possibly also made into butter by churning (Proverbs 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 (Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26 ; Deuteronomy 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 (Genesis 49:12 ); (2) of a loved one's charms (Song of Solomon 4:11 ); (3) of blessings (Isaiah 55:1 ; Joel 3:18 ); (4) of the (spiritual) food of immature people (1 Corinthians 3:2 ; Hebrews 5:12 , Hebrews 5:13 ); (5) of purity (1 Peter 2:2 ).


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Milk'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=5998. 1915.