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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 11

 

 

Introduction
1What beasts may;
4and what may not be eaten.
9What fishes.
13What fowls.
29The creeping things which are unclean.

Verse 2
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
Deuteronomy 14:3-8; Ezekiel 4:14; Daniel 1:8; Matthew 15:11; Mark 7:15-19; Acts 10:12,14; Romans 14:2,3,14,15; 1 Timothy 4:4-6; Hebrews 9:10; 13:9; Of the laws relative to clean and unclean beasts, which are recorded in this chapter and Deut. ch. 14; the following may be found a useful abstract. 1. In regard to quadrupeds, all beasts that have their feet completely cloven, above as well as below, and at the same time chew the cud, are clean. Those which have neither, or indeed want one of these distinguishing marks, are unclean. This is a systematic division of quadrupeds so excellent, as never yet, after all the improvements in natural history, to have become obsolete, but, on the contrary, to be still considered as useful by the greatest masters of the science. 2. With regard to fishes, Moses has in like manner, made a very simple systematic distinction. All that have scales and fins are clean; all others unclean. 3. Of birds, he merely specifies certain sorts as forbidden, thereby permitting all others to be eaten. 4. Insects, serpents, worms, etc., are prohibited; but with regard, however to those winged insects, which besides four walking legs, also have two longer springing legs, (Pedes saltatorii,) Moses makes an exception, and under the denomination of locusts, declares them clean in all four stages of their existence. In Palestine, Arabia, and the adjoining countries, locusts are one of the most common articles of food, and people would be very ill of if they durst not eat them: For, when a swarm of them desolates the fields, they prove in some measure themselves an antidote to the famine which they occasion. They are not only eaten fresh, immediately on their appearance, but the people collect them, and know a method of preserving them for a long time for food, after they have dried them in an oven. --Niebuhr's Description of Arabia, pp. 170-175.

Verse 3
Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
parteth
Psalms 1:1; Proverbs 9:6; 2 Corinthians 6:17
cheweth
Deuteronomy 6:6,7; 16:3-8; Psalms 1:2; Proverbs 2:1,2,10; Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 4:15

Verse 4

unclean unto you: Genesis 7:1, Genesis 7:2; Isaiah 52:11; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1John href="/desk/?q=1jo+3:4&sr=1">1 John 3:4


Verse 5
And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
the coney
Shaphan, most probably an animal resembling the rabbit, called by Dr. Shaw, daman (probably for ganam) Israel, "Israel's lamb," and by Bruce, ashkoko, which name he imagines is "derived from the singularity of these long herenacious hairs, which, like small thorns, grow about his back, and which an Amhara are called ashok." This curious animal abounds in Judea, Palestine, Arabia, and Ethiopia; and is described as being about seventeen inches when sitting. It has no tail; and at first sight gives the idea of a rat. Its colour is grey, mixed with reddish brown; the belly white, the body covered with strong polished hairs, for the most part about two inches in length; the ears round, and not pointed; the feet round, of a soft, pulpy, tender substance; the toes projecting beyond the nails, which are rather broad than sharp; the upper jaw is longer than the other; it lives upon grain, fruit, and roots, and certainly chews the cud; and it does not burrow like the hare and rabbit, but lives in clefts of the rocks.
Psalms 104:18; Proverbs 30:26
but divideth
Job 36:14; Matthew 7:26; Romans 2:18-24; Philippians 3:18,19; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:16

Verse 6
And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
the hare
Deuteronomy 14:7

Verse 7
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
swine
Deuteronomy 14:8; Isaiah 65:4; 66:3,17; Matthew 7:6; Luke 8:33; 15:15; 2 Peter 2:18-22

Verse 8
Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
they are unclean
5:2; Isaiah 52:11; Hosea 9:3; Matthew 15:11,20; Mark 7:2,15,18; Acts 10:10-15; Acts 10:28; 15:29; Romans 14:14-17,21; 1 Corinthians 8:8; 2 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:7,11; Colossians 2:16,21-23; Hebrews 9:10

Verse 9
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
Deuteronomy 14:9,10; Acts 20:21; Galatians 5:6; James 2:18; 1 John 5:2-5

Verse 10
And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
they shall be
7:18; Deuteronomy 14:3; Psalms 139:21,22; Proverbs 13:20; 29:27; Revelation 21:8

Verse 13
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
the eagle
In Hebrew, nesher, Chaldee, neshar, Syriac, neshro, and Arabic, nishr, the eagle, one of the largest, strongest, swiftest, fiercest, and most rapacious of the feathered race. His eye is large, dark, and piercing; his beak powerful and hooked; his legs strong and feathered; his feet yellow and armed with four very long and terrific claws; his wings very large and powerful; his body compact and robust; his bones hard; his flesh firm; his feathers coarse; his attitude fierce and erect; his motions lively; his flight extremely rapid and towering; and his cry the terror of every wing.
Deuteronomy 14:12-20; Job 28:7; 38:41; 39:27-30; Jeremiah 4:13,22; 48:40; Lamentations 4:19; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8; Matthew 24:28; Romans 1:28-32; 3:13-17; Titus 3:3; the ossifrage. {Peres,} from {paras} to break, probably the species of eagle anciently called {ossifraga} or bone-breaker, (from {os,} a bone, and {frango,} to break,) because it not only strips off the flesh, but breaks the bone, in order to extract the marrow.

Verse 15
Every raven after his kind;
Genesis 8:7; 1 Kings 17:4,6; Proverbs 30:17; Luke 12:24

Verse 16
And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
Deuteronomy 14:15-18; Psalms 102:6; Isaiah 13:21,22; 34:11-15; John 3:19-21; Ephesians 2:2,3; 4:18,19; 5:7-11; Philippians 3:18,19; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7; Revelation 18:2

Verse 19

bat: Isaiah 2:20, Isaiah href="/desk/?q=isa+66:17&sr=1">Isaiah 66:17


Verse 20
All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
23,27; Deuteronomy 14:19; 2 Kings 17:28-41; Psalms 17:14; Matthew 6:24; Philippians 3:18,19; 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-17; Jude 1:10,19

Verse 22
Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
Exodus 10:4,5; Isaiah 35:3; Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6; Romans 14:1; 15:1; Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 12:12,13

Verse 24
And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.
8,27,28,31,38-40; 17:15,16; Isaiah 22:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 2:1-3; 5:11; Colossians 2:16,17,20; Hebrews 9:26; 1 John 1:7

Verse 25
And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
wash his clothes, and be unclean
28,40; 14:8; 15:5,7-11,13; 16:28; Exodus 19:10,14; Numbers 19:8,10,19,21,22; Numbers 31:24; Psalms 51:2,7; Zechariah 13:1; John 13:8; Acts 22:16; Hebrews 9:10; 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 7:14

Verse 27
And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.
20,23

Verse 28
And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
beareth
24,25
shall wash

Verse 29
These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,
creeping things that creep
20,21,41,42; Psalms 10:3; 17:13,14; Haggai 2:6; Luke 12:15; 16:14; John 6:26; John 6:66; Ephesians 4:14; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:5; 2 Timothy 3:2-5; Hebrews 13:5

Verse 31
These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.
8,24,25

Verse 32
And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.
it must be put into water
6:28; 15:12; Titus 2:14; 3:5

Verse 33
And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
ye shall break it
35; 14:45; Jeremiah 48:38; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 3:21

Verse 34
Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.
Proverbs 15:8; 21:4,27; 28:8; Titus 1:15

Verse 35
And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
they shall be
33; 6:28; 15:12; 2 Corinthians 5:1-7

Verse 36
Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.
a fountain
Zechariah 13:1; John 4:14
wherein there is plenty of water
Heb. a gathering together of waters.

Verse 37
And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.
sowing seed
1 Corinthians 15:37; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9; 5:18

Verse 39
And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.
24,28,31,40; 15:5,7; Numbers 19:11,16

Verse 40
And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
eateth
25; 17:15,16; 22:8; Exodus 22:31; Deuteronomy 14:21; Isaiah 1:16; Ezekiel 4:14; 36:25; Ezekiel 44:31; Zechariah 13:1; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 10:21; 1 John 1:7
shall wash
28; 14:8,9; 15:5-10,27; 16:26,28; Numbers 19:7,8,19

Verse 41
And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
20,23,29

Verse 42
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
goeth upon the belly
Genesis 3:14,15; Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17; Matthew 3:7; 23:23; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3,13; Titus 1:12
hath more feet
Heb. doth multiply feet.

Verse 43
Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
Ye shall
41,42; 20:25
yourselves
Heb. your souls.

Verse 44
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
I am the
Exodus 20:2
ye shall
10:3; 19:2; 20:7,26; Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Samuel 6:20; Psalms 99:5,9; Isaiah 6:3-5; Amos 3:3; Matthew 5:48; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15,16; 2:9; Revelation 22:11

Verse 45
For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
that bringeth
Exodus 6:7; Psalms 105:43-45
be holy
44; Exodus 6:7; 20:2; Psalms 105:43-45; Hosea 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Verse 46
This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
This
The distinction of clean and unclean animals, (see note on Le 11:2) existed even before the flood, though it probably then only related to sacrifices; but at this time we find there were very particular laws enacted respecting the diet of the people, and the ceremonial uncleanness contracted by touching the carcases of unclean animals. The reasons for the enactment of these laws seem to be--1. As a test of obedience, and to teach the Israelites habits of self-denial, and the government of their appetites. 2. To keep them distinct from other nations, and consequently from their idolatrous usages, by throwing hindrances in the way of their social intercourse; for these distinctions were applicable both to persons and things. The Canaanites not only ate the animals prohibited by Moses, which we usually eat, but others also, among which dogs were one. Besides, many of those declared unclean were sacred among the heathen, and sacrificed to their gods. 3. Because those prohibited were innutritive and unwholesome; as the swine, the flesh of which being strong and difficult to digest, affords a very gross aliment, and produces, especially in hot climates, cutaneous, scrophulous, and scorbutic disorders, as the itch, leprosy, etc.
7:37; 14:54; 15:32; Ezekiel 43:12

Verse 47
To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
10:10; Ezekiel 44:23; Malachi 3:18; Romans 14:2,3,13-23

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Leviticus 11:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/leviticus-11.html.

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