The Bible is chock-full of food: foods that we consume nearly every day, foods that exist but we've only heard about, and foods that exist purely within the Biblical canon. Some are mentioned symbolically, some are simple meals. We've rounded up some of the most important, well-known foods mentioned in the Bible.
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Food makes its first presence known at the (literal) beginning , in Genesis 1:29, where the Bible reads:
"Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'"
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Food was first created for Adam and Eve to be healthy and strong, according to the Examiner. Throughout the Bible, food is seen as a means to save lives. For example, in 1 Kings 17:4, the Lord says to Elijah,
"You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there."
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Some may even argue that food symbolizes a ritual and spiritual observance, because it takes time to plant, grow, and harvest crops. It is a labor of love, and it teaches the grower to be patient and respect the beauty of nature.
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Some take food in the Bible quite literally: there is even a Biblical diet in which only foods mentioned in the Bible can be eaten. The diet doesn't exactly comply with the USDA food pyramid, but the USDA was not created until much later.
Be it it symbolic or utilitarian, a lot of food is mentioned throughout the Bible. There are many interpretations of what the food actually means, but it's really what you make of it.
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In the Bible, olive oil is used to keep lamps burning and to make bread. For example, In Exodus 27:20, the Lord said to Aaron, "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning."
Unleavened Bread (Matzo)
In Exodus 12:17, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, "Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come."
The festival mentioned is, of course, Passover. As the story goes, when the Jews were released from bondage in Egypt, they had no time to let their bread rise, so were forced to eat unleavened bread instead. According to The Good News, unleavened bread represents sincerity and truth, and is eaten by Jews every Passover.
Lentils and Beans
2 Samuel 23:11-12 discusses how Shammah defeated the Philistines in the middle of a field of lentils in Israel and brought about a victory for the Lord. According to Gospel Bread of Life, the lentils represented a part of the Promised Land and how it should be fought for. Even if it was a hill of beans, it was a fight to defend God's fruit of labor.
There is also a recipe mentioned in Ezekiel 4:9: "Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side." Many bread recipes, including the popular Ezekiel bread, are based on this passage.
Vinegar was treated similar to wine and other alcohol because it is made from the same ingredients as wine, according to Daily Bible Study. Nazirites were not allowed to drink vinegar. The Lord said to Moses in Numbers 6:3, "…they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink."
Jesus was also offered vinegar twice. The first time was when he was first crucified as an way to numb the pain of suffering on the cross. He refused because he wanted to suffer with a clear conscience, according to House to House. He accepted the second time because he needed to moisten his mouth before he said his final words.
Like today, wine is viewed in the Bible as both a sacramental and celebratory drink. For example, Melchizedek the King of Salem and Priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine in Genesis 14:17-19 when Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer. Wine is also a divine blessing; according to bibletools.org, it represents "joy, celebration, and festivity," and also is "praised as gracious divine blessing." Aside from intoxicating effects, it also represents the blood of Christ, who famously converted water into wine.
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-Samantha Neudorf, The Daily Meal