What did Moses and Jethro actually eat?

In yesterday’s post we discussed Jethro’s visit to Moses. At the end of this visit, the Bible tells us about the festive meal they had:

“And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.” (Exodus 18:12)

If you read more carefully, you might notice that something is a bit odd in what they did. Because it is written explicitly that Jethro ‘brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God’ and then it says that they ate bread.

So if this is the case, what happened to the ‘burnt offering and sacrifices?’ Why did they eat bread?

In the original Hebrew we can find the word “Lechem”{לחם} which means bread in Modern Hebrew. But in Biblical Hebrew the word “Lechem” doesn’t mean necessarily bread but rather the main food found in the meal (similar concept as in the phrase “to put bread on the table” – which means what the bread represents).

In our case the real meaning of the Hebrew word “Lechem” is meat – which can be found in other ancient Near Eastern languages as well.