Milk and Honey?
By William J Jackson – www.netivnorthwestarkansas.wordpress.com
Why is Israel referred to as a land flowing with milk and honey?
HaShem in Exodus 3:17 refers to Canaan as the land flowing with milk and honey. This creates a beautiful word picture but what does He actually mean? It must be significant since it is mentioned 23 more times in Tanakh (see note).
Lets break down the understanding of the words and investigate Israel to gain a possible meaning.
Milk “chalab” (Strong’s 2461) = This comes from livestock and is produced in abundance in very fertile pastures (1).
Fact: Israel produces much more milk than other countries’ cows, up to 10.5 tons a year, 10% more than in the U.S. and almost 50% more than in Germany (2)
Honey “Debash” (Strong’s 1706)= This is not talking about Bee Honey. This is from an unused root meaning to be gummy; honey (from its stickiness). This would be fruit nectar, specifically date honey. So this is simply a land flowing with fruit trees (3).
Fact: Israel today produces 50% of the worlds Medjool Dates (4). The medjools dates are prized for their large size, their sweet taste, and their juicy flesh even when dried (5).
A land flowing with milk and honey means a very fertile land capable of producing in abundance for its hosts (6)
Note: “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus X 4, Leviticus X 1, Numbers X 4, Deuteronomy X 6, Joshua X 1, 2 Samuel X 1, Song of Songs X 2, Isaiah X 1, Jeremiah X 2, Ezekiel X 2)