2 Samuel 17:29
“And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.”
As a child, I often pondered this deep question that has the most profound historical and cultural ramifications. Who first looked at the solid substance on the surface of a vessel of milk that had gone off and said, “That would be tasty, eaten with a cream cracker”? But the answer to the question would not have stopped me doing likewise. I have always loved cheese. I love hard English cheeses, soft French cheeses, and I love blue cheeses, especially that king among cheeses – Blue Stilton.
It was a surprise to find that cheese is mentioned in the Bible. The reference in Job 10:10 is not particularly flattering to the product, as Job complains that his treatment by God is like the process of milk going off. But in 2 Samuel 17:29, we find cheese on a list of good foods provided to David and his followers.
Cheese essentially preserves many of the important nutrients from milk, but in a much more concentrated form and with a longer shelf life. Its importance can therefore be seen, particularly in a world before the development of refrigeration. Preservation is achieved by the conversion of milk sugars into lactic acid. This is achieved by the addition of rennet – a material from the stomachs of ruminants which is rich in enzymes.
The existence of cheese is testament to the way that God has endowed humanity with ingenuity and inventiveness so that we can have dominion over the world that He has made.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful provision for us and for the creative abilities that You have blessed us with. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, < https://www.britannica.com/topic/cheese >, accessed 4/28/2020. Image: CC0 – Public Domain designation.
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