Biblical Diet



What did people eat in biblical times?  There have been a lot of claims, but the following article seems to have a lot correct:

Biblical Diet?

There are many today who advocate specific diets — more organic food, no pork, no shrimp, etc — on the basis of the Bible. One can go back to the Bible for such things…

Nathan MacDonald, a professor in Scotland, has just published a book that challenges many claims being made today and this book can be read with profit by anyone who:

1. Makes claims about a “biblical diet.”
2. Wants to know what the Bible does and does not say about food and diets.
3. Simply is curious about what folks ate in biblical times.

His book is called What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat?: Diet in Biblical Times … a “just the facts” approach that is more than willing to admit it when we can’t be sure. He sketches both historical changes and fluctuation between different villages and different social strata.

He overturns some of the older views that meat consumption was rare (this does not refer to the way it was cooked); Jews evidently did consume meat more than an older generation thought. This book combines use of the Bible, use of archaeology, and a wide-ranging interaction with evidence throughout the Middle East in the ancient world.

The staples were grains, wine (1 liter per day), and olive oil. Ancient Israelites drank milk but often converted it into cheese since it was easier to preserve in that form. Veggies, legumes, fruits (grapes and figs) were eaten; so too were birds and fish.

This might be a wonderful addition to any Old Testament course…

While I have not read Professor MacDonald’s book, common-sense tells us that since there were no synthetic fertilizers nor pesticides that all food in biblical times was “organic”.

Because of the general lack of refrigeration in those days, most things were eaten fresh (though some were sometimes dried or otherwised preserved).

People ate natural foods.

Because of the lack of relatively recent technologies, no refined sugars or grains would have been in their diets, nor any of the artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives that are now found in processed 21st century “foods”.

I, however, would like to add that I do not believe that the biblical diet is simply a subject for an Old Testament course as the same diet was basically also consumed by every believer in the New Testament as well.

For more information on that, please read The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats (this article also has a list of biblically clean and unclean meats as well).

Get news like the above sent to you on a daily basis

Your email will not be shared. You may unsubscribe at anytime.