In modern English, meat refers to animal tissue used as food, frequently in contrast to plant products. Modern translations use meat in this sense, where KJV used the term “flesh” (for example,
1 Samuel 2:13,1 Samuel 2:15). KJV used meat in two senses: (1) for food, especially solid food in contrast to drink (for example,
1 Corinthians 3:2;
Hebrews 5:12,Hebrews 5:14); and (2) for a meal, especially the evening meal (for example,
1 Samuel 20:5;
Matthew 26:7). The KJV used meat in the general sense of food about 250 times. The context frequently indicates that flesh is not in view (Genesis 1:29-30;
Habakkuk 3:17). A special case of the use of meat to mean food is the frequent use of the term “meat offering” (about 130 times in the Old Testament). Here “meat offering” means food offering in contrast to a libation (drink offering). Modern translations render the expression as cereal or grain offering. Modern translations, for example NRSV, frequently replace the KJV's meat with a more specific term in light of the context: provisions (Genesis 45:23); scraps [of food] (Judges 1:7); present (2 Samuel 11:8); meager fare (2 Samuel 12:3); solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2;
Hebrews 5:12). KJV also used meat in the sense of a meal. Modern translations generally replace the KJV's “sit at meat” with “sit at table” which means to take a meal (1 Samuel 20:5;
Mark 2:15). “To come to meat” (1 Samuel 20:27) is to come to supper. A “morsel of meat” (Hebrews 12:16) is “a single meal” (NRSV).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MEAT'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".