“You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.”
“You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, lest the whole yield be forfeited, the crop that you have sown and the yield of the vineyard. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.”
From time to time God gave Israel “everyday tokens” to remind them of His calling, their place among the nations, and the Law which He has given to make them holy. There are, of course, practical reasons for the instructions given in these two statutes. Interbreeding of cattle leads to sterility (think: mules). Sowing fields with two different kinds of seeds complicates care and harvesting. Clothes made of different garments may wear out unevenly. And so forth.
But the primary reason for these instructions seems to be to reinforce the idea of Israel’s separateness from the world around them. By keeping these items distinct and separate, the people of Israel would have practical, everyday reminders of how they must regard themselves, and of the Law which could enable them to fulfill this calling.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.