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Butter was, and is, made from churned milk, however in ancient times (i.e. before refrigeration) its acceptable form and use was quite different than for most people today - then, it was a liquid or semi-liquid with a (due to lack of refrigeration) rancid taste (by today's standards). Hence the original word of the Scriptures has been translated as either butter or curdled milk - although the curds (i.e. coagulated milk that is used to make cheese) were actually removed from the oil, or butter. In ancient times, it was used primarily for frying.


Food Butter has been obtained by churning milk since ancient times:

"Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter" (Proverbs 30:33 KJV)

A liquid form of butter (i.e. buttermilk) has also been known since ancient times:

"He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish." (Judges 5:25 KJV)

Butter was used in cooking:

"And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat." (Genesis 18:7-8 KJV)

Butter was used as one of the rich blessings of God's people when they were obedient; it was also used in describing them when they became corrupt i.e. they forsook God when they became too big in their own eyes:

"So The Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape."

"But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." (Deuteronomy 32:12-15 KJV)

Butter was used as an analogy for smooth-talking hypocrites who talk peace while making war:

"The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (Psalm 55:21 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ eat "butter" (sometimes also translated as curds)?
Isaiah 7:14-15

This Week's Bible Quiz

Which book of the Bible comes before:

1. Exodus?

2. Joshua?

3. Ruth?

4. 1 Chronicles?

5. Esther?

6. Proverbs?

7. Lamentations?

8. Daniel?

9. Malachi?

10. Revelation?

For the answers to this May 13 2003 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page

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