What was the point of banning pork?

This is the one aspect of the Mosaic law that has always bugged me. Basically every other aspect of the laws God gave the Jews made sense to some degree. All either focused on emphasizing life as holy, or remembering God’s greatness, or slowly driving the Jews away from immoral practices like slavery, and obviously some were just straightforward statements of morality (honor your father and mother).

But then God tells this people they can’t eat pigs, on the seemingly arbitrary reason that they dont chew their cud, then ~1500 years later Jesus says “ok, you can eat pork if you want now”.

I understand the kosher laws about slaughter, and against eating animals that die naturally, etc, but…I just don’t see what Jews gained, or what God was trying to teach them in forbidding them to eat a couple specific animals. Especially if it wasn’t for any intrinsically moral reasons, since Christ pretty explicitly abolished the rule.

So I get this question often has no good answer when talking about God, but what was the point?

I was taught that these dietary rules were practical ones - pigs often being infested with parasites and shellfish not being safe in the heat - and that Divine Directives for this rule were kind of read into what was already folk wisdom.


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But like…poultry is unsafe to eat unless its properly cooked right? They were allowed to eat chickens. Pork isn’t any more dangerous than other meats if you cook it through or salt it right?

Now maybe, but certainly not in the first century.


In my college Old Testament class, the professor (who was also a Jewish rabbi) said that a lot of the Old Testament law was concerned with placing things in proper categories. I don’t remember her applying this observation specifically to pork or kosher food laws, but I would think that the pig is weird because it is an animal with split hooves that doesn’t also chew its cud.

Pigs were considered God’s trash can back in the day. They will eat anything. On top of that their digestive system isn’t that great. As in alot of the toxins that gets eaten gets put into their fat. Thus if a pigs diet is uncontrolled and eaten the end user can end up sick with disease or parasites.
Thanks to modern technology and farming methods, farmers are able to control a pigs diet more than the nomadic peoples in the Bible.

It was also a matter of practicality. Pigs use up considerably more water than goats and cows. Far too impractical for a nomadic people to raise in big numbers.

You have to remember, everything God says and does He does for a reason. He wouldn’t arbitrarily tell Israel (and by extension, us) anything if it had no purpose or meaning to it.

Besides, cows tatse better. Prove me wrong.

You can’t


Leviticus 11
“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them: 2 Speak to the people of Israel, saying:
… 7 The pig, for even though it has divided hoofs and is cleft-footed, it does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean for you. …
… 26 Every animal that has divided hoofs but is not cleft-footed or does not chew the cud is unclean for you; everyone who touches one of them shall be unclean. …”

Heron also is träfe (Lev 11:19) under Kashrut. One of the Catholic Answers apologists suggests that the forbidden animals were the ones usually sacrificed to the Egyptian gods.
Considering that in those days and for hundreds of years after, most people only got to eat meat when there was a sacrifice (us or those pagans in town), the kashrut restrictions were a say to emphasize “you aren’tbging back to Egypt.” This project: Chosen People- Promised Land- Salvation History- Pachal Mystery- is going forward, never backward.


I heard from a friend it was to set them away from pagans but I’m not sure how true it is.

The reality is we cannot say why God made any ceremonial laws including the particular laws of kashrus. I don’t know of any Church commentary on the matter, but the rabbis have given various reasons they think might have been why. There are laws for which no one can discern a reason (can’t remember them offhand) that are essentially there to test men’s obedience to God. They also remind us that though we may guess at a reason for a law, we should never presume to know that it is. Eating pig is a perfect example (for Jews, anyway) insomuch as one may posit that it is because of trichinosis, but since God doesn’t say why, who are we to say why. It presumes that God couldn’t tell them to cook the meat thoroughly which is just silly. It may just as well be that God told them no pigs to make them stand apart from their neighbors much like not eating meat on Fridays often makes Catholics stand apart from theirs. The final analysis is we don’t know but we do know God commanded the Hebrews not to eat pork and lifted the prohibition for Christians.

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they would have only had the 10 Commandments had they not worshiped a golden calf.

(side note: mmmmmm bacon)

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In the book of Deuteronomy, it says we can't mix fabrics. Why is that?


Keep my statutes: do not breed any of your domestic animals with others of a different species; do not sow a field of yours with two different kinds of seed; and do not put on a garment woven with two different kinds of thread (Lev. 19:19).

You shall not wear cloth made from wool and linen woven together (Deut. 22:11).

This law applies only to the mixing of wool and linen. It does not apply to the mixing of any of materials. Jewish tradition tells us that the wool must be from a sheep or lamb. Camel wool, mohair, angora, cashmere, alpaca, or vicuna do not fall under this precept. The linen mentioned applies only to fibers from the flax plant and nothing else.

Jewish tradition has generally been perplexed by this prohibition. The great rabbis have called this law a chok. A chok is described as a law that a king has passed for his subjects, but they do not know why. For example, rabbis say they do not know why pork is forbidden or how a red heifer takes away sins, but they know that God has issued these commandments, and so they follow them, trusting in God’s wisdom.

Some theologians believe they have found the answer in the Bible where we are told that the high priest wore a garment of mixed wool and linen (Ex. 28:6-8, 39:4-5). It is believed that precisely because this was the garment of the high priest it was forbidden for the average person to wear. Clothing of mixed wool and linen was exclusively for the high priest; it was considered a consecrated kind of clothing. For the average person on the street to wear it would be akin to a modern person walking around in a clerical collar or Mass vestments.

We see something similar when it comes to the anointing oil used by the Israelites. The formula that was used was forbidden to be used for anything other than anointing oil (Ex. 30:31-38). The Jewish people were careful about making sure that things set aside for sacred use were not used for regular use.

In the modern day, the use of linen and wool in one garment would be extremely rare, so there’s little chance of violating this precept. However, since this is considered a ceremonial law and not a moral one, it would not apply to Christians.


I could see it plausibly serving as making Israel have a spotlight on her compared to the world.
People talk.

“These people don’t eat pig or any animal blood. They don’t commit fornication and worship their God.”

The whole not eating pork thing… Didn’t that play a role in maccabees? Either one or two. Possibly both.

Wasn’t there an elderly man who wouldn’t eat pork and was encouraged to do so?

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All I know is I am glad Jesus made all foods clean. I couldn’t live without bacon

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I believe it was meant to be arbitrary. Ceremonial law sets Jews apart as a people, and ensures that they will remain distinct from other cultures. This distinction was essential for creating a “cultural nest” for Christ.

In making Jews a people apart, God was preparing for His Coming.

Peace and God bless!

One word: bacon.

Checkmate my good man. Check-mate.


A lot of the dietary rules were health based imo. Pork can carry parasites that can be resistant to low levels of cooking. It wasn’t until 2011 that the pork cooking temp was reduced from 160°F to 145°F, partially because parasites in commercial pork is supposedly rare.

To some extent, a portion of the dietary rules boil down to herbivores and hunters are ok but not scavengers. Only sea animals with scales but not scavengers. (At least as was interpreted when I used to be SDA).

Two words:
Filet mignon

How will you ever recover?


Aaaaaarrrggghhh! I hath been slain!!!

Another sad casualty of the Great Food Wars of 2019…

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