Why were the Israels not to mix two different kinds of seed?


What is meant by the command not to mix two different kinds of seed in Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 22? Would this mean that humans should not selectively breed new hybrids?


"You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you" (Leviticus 19:19).

"You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together" (Deuteronomy 22:9-11).

Sometimes laws are given to serve as reminders. The very next verse in Deuteronomy is "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself" (Deuteronomy 22:12). This is not saying that clothing without tassels was morally wrong. They commanded to use tassels as reminders. "Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God" (Numbers 15:38-40).

While not directly stated, I suspect the other laws were also to serve as reminders that the Israelites were to live pure lives and not attempt to mix other religious practices with those involved in serving God. Thus, clothing was to be made using one type of fiber. Fields would be planted with one type of plant. Even plowing would be done with one kind of animal.

These were not forbidding coming up with hybrids. "Kind" in the Bible refers to animals and plants that can theoretically interbreed. Thus, a horse and a mule were of the same kind, but a mule and an ox were two different kinds. Israelites were not allowed to mix, say wheat and tomatoes in the same field.

Every aspect of an Israelite's life was a constant reminder that they needed to maintain spiritual purity and stay away from idolatry. Even with these reminders, they still compromised far too often.


Mr. Hamilton,

Thank you very much for your answers. Something I don't understand is if 'kind' is species that can interbreed, why is the command not to let livestock breed with another kind when that would surely not be possible?

Once again, thanks for the information on your website,


If a sexually active animal is isolated from others of its own kind, it will instinctively seek out relief by attempting to breed with what is available. Such corruption of an animal's instinct is not righteous. This would be a generalization of a specific law found in Leviticus 18:23. Men should not try to change the natural order that God has established, regardless of their motivation.


Thank you very much for taking the time to answer again, and thanks for your site.

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