INTRODUCTION TO Leviticus 11
This chapter treats of creatures clean and unclean, as fit or not fit to be eaten; and first of beasts, whose signs are given, Leviticus 11:1 then of fishes, which are likewise described, Leviticus 11:9 after that of fowls, and those that are not to be eaten are particularly named, Leviticus 11:13 next of creeping things, which are distinguished into two sorts, as flying creeping things, of which those that are unclean, their carcasses are not even to be touched, as neither the carcasses of unclean beasts, Leviticus 11:20 and creeping things on the earth, which defile by touching, as well as eating, and make everything unclean, upon which, being dead, they fall, Leviticus 11:29 and these laws are enforced from the holiness and goodness of God, Leviticus 11:44 and the chapter is concluded with a recapitulation of them, Leviticus 11:46.
saying unto them; as follows.
these are the beasts that ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth; they are not particularly mentioned here, but they are in Deuteronomy 14:4 and they are these ten; the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois; of all which; see Gill on Deuteronomy 14:4, Deuteronomy 14:5, here only some general things are observed to describe them by, as follow.
and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that shall ye eat: who having no upper teeth cannot thoroughly chew their food at once, and therefore bring it up again out of their stomachs into their mouths and chew it over again, that it may be better prepared for digestion in the stomach, and so yield better nourishment; and this makes the flesh of such creatures fitter for food: and these creatures have more stomachs than one; the ventricles for rumination are four; the first is the paunch, which in oxen is so big as to hold food of fifty pound weight, the second the honeycomb, the third the tripe, the fourth the honey tripe, and to which are helpful the pectoral muscle, the abdomen, with the diaphragm (y): all this might have a moral and spiritual meaning in it, and may be applied either to ministers of the word; who ought rightly to divide the word of truth, and give to everyone their part, and who should walk uprightly according to it, and who should give themselves up wholly to the meditation of it, and thoroughly digest it; and study to show themselves workmen, that need not to be ashamed; or to private Christians, who have a discerning spirit in spiritual things, and can distinguish not only morality from immorality, but spiritual things from carnal, heavenly things from earthly, the voice of Christ from the voice of a stranger, and the doctrines of Christ from the doctrines of men; and who also walk as they should do, by faith on Christ, in the ways of God, and according to the Gospel; these chew the cud, meditate on the word, feed upon it while delivered, recall it, and have it brought to their remembrance by the divine Spirit, and ponder it in their hearts; see Psalm 1:1.
(x) Apud Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 7. (y) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 278, 279.
of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: there being some that chewed the cud but did not divide the hoof; others that divided the hoof but did not chew the cud, of which instances are given as follow:
as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you; and not to be eaten, whether male or female; or rather, "though he cheweth the cud"; and this account agrees with what naturalists give of it; so Aristotle (z) says it has not both rows of teeth, but wants its upper teeth, and chews as horned cattle do, and has bellies like theirs; for they have more bellies than one, as the sheep, and goat, and hart, and others; since the service of the mouth is not sufficient to grind the food for want of teeth, this is supplied by the bellies, which receive the food one after another; in the first it is undigested, in the second somewhat more digested, in the third more fully, in the fourth completely: and so many bellies the camel has, as a very learned searcher (a) into these things observes; the first is the biggest, the second very small, the third much greater than the second, and the fourth equal to the second; in the second belly between the tunics, he says, seem to be the hydrophylacia, in which the water they drink is kept, very commodious for these animals passing through sandy deserts, so that they can long bear thirst: Pliny (b) says four days: Leo Africanus (c) relates a method used by travellers in the deserts of Lybia, who being in extreme want of water kill one of their camels, out of whose intestines they press out water; this they drink, this they carry about till they find a well, or must die with thirst: and the account also which is given of the feet of these creatures agrees; it parts the hoof, but not thoroughly, it is not cleft quite through, and so comes not up to Moses's descriptive character of clean creatures; its hoof is divided in two, but so divided, as Aristotle (d) observes, that it is but little divided on the back part unto the second joint of the toes; the fore part is very little divided, to the first joint of the toes, and there is something between the parts, as in the feet of geese: and so Pliny says (e) it has two hoofs, but the lower part of the foot is but very little divided, so that it is not thoroughly cleft: but though the flesh of these creatures was forbidden the Jews, it was eaten by people of other nations; both Aristotle (f) and Pliny (g) commend the milk of camels; and by the former the flesh of them is said to be exceeding sweet; and Diodorus Siculus relates (h), that what with their milk and their flesh, which is eaten, as well as on account of their carrying burdens, they are very profitable unto men; and Strabo (i) says, the Nomades eat the flesh and milk of camels; and so the Africans, according to Leo Africanus (k); and a countryman of ours (l), who lived some time in Arabia, relates, that when a camel falls they kill it, and the poorer sort of the company eat it; and he says that he himself ate of camel's flesh, and that it was very sweet and nourishing: these creatures, in the mystic sense, may be an emblem of such persons, that carry their heads high, are proud and haughty, that boast of their riches, or trust in their righteousness.
(z) De Part. Animal. l. 3. c. 14. (a) Scheuchzer. ib. p. 280. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 18. (c) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. p. 75. (d) Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 1.((e) L. 11. c. 45. (f) Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 26. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 41. (h) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 137. (i) Geograph. l. 16. p. 535. (k) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. p. 48. l. 6. 617, 620. Arab. Geogr. Clim. 1. par. 1. 3. (l) Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, c. 8. p. 106. Vid. Hieron, adv. Jovinian. l. 2.
because he cheweth the cud; or "though he cheweth"; which yet, some observe, the coney or rabbit does not, it having upper teeth, and therefore they think some other creature is meant by Shaphan, the word here used; and Bochart (m) is of opinion, that the Aljarbuo of the Arabians, a sort of mountain mouse, is meant, which chews the cud and divides not the hoof, and resides in rocks, which agrees with the account of the Shaphan in Proverbs 30:26 but this is rejected by Dr. Shaw (n), who takes the creature here to be the Daman Israel, or Israel's lamb, an animal of Mount Lebanon, a harmless creature of the same size and quality with the rabbit, and with the like incurvating posture, and disposition or the fore teeth, but is of a browner colour, with smaller eyes, and a head more pointed, like the marmots; the fore feet likewise are short, and the hinder are nearly as long in proportion as those of the jerboa; and though this animal is known to burrow sometimes in the ground, yet its usual residence and refuge is in the holes and clifts of the rocks; but a learned man (o), and very inquisitive in the things of nature, tells us, that the "cuniculus", coney, or rabbit, this sort of animals do chew half an hour after eating:
but divideth not the hoof; which is well known of this creature:
he is unclean unto you; not fit or proper to be eaten of, but to be abstained from as an unclean animal; and may be an emblem of timorous persons, as these creatures by Aristotle (p) are observed to be, and it is well known they are; even of the fearful and unbelieving, reckoned among the impure, who will have their portion in the lake of fire, Revelation 21:8.
(m) Hierozoic par. 1. l. 3. c. 33. col. 1015, 1016. (n) Travels, p. 177, 348. Ed. 2.((o) Scheuchzer. ut supra, (Physic. Sacr. vol. 2.) p. 281. (p) Hist. Animal. l. 1. c. 1.
but divideth not the hoof, he is unclean to you; and so not to be eaten; so Plutarch (q) says, that the Jews are said to abstain from the hare, disdaining it as a filthy and unclean animal, and yet was in the greatest esteem with the Romans of any four footed beast, as Martial says (r): Moses, as Bochart (s) and other learned men observe, is the only writer that speaks of the hare as chewing the cud; though they also observe, that Aristotle (t) makes mention of that in common with those that do chew the cud, namely a "coagulum" or "runnet" in its stomach; his words are,"all that have many bellies have what is called a coagulum or runnet, and of them that have but one belly, the hare;''only that: this creature being prone to lust, may be an emblem of lustful persons, who give up themselves to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness, Ephesians 4:19. (The "hare" is this verse may be an animal that is now is extinct but was alive at the time of Moses. It is only other mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:7. Editor.)
(q) Sympos. l. 9. c. 5. (r) L. 13. Epigr. 87. (s) Ut supra, (Hierozoic par. 1. l. 3.) c. 31. col. 977. (t) De Part. Animal. l. 3. c. 15. & Hist. Animal. l. 3. c. 21.
yet he cheweth not the cud; and a learned physician observes (x), that such creatures that chew not the cud, so perfect a chyle cannot be elaborated by them as is by those that chew the cud, and therefore their flesh must be less wholesome; and of the swine, he says (y), they have but one belly, and so there is no rumination or chewing the cud by them; wherefore they are to be placed, and are in a lower degree than the camel, the coney, and the hare; and as they cannot digest the chyle so well as those that chew the cud, and also live upon most sordid and filthy food, the eating of swine's flesh, he observes, must produce many inconveniences to the body, as especially scorbutic, arthritic, scabious, and leprous disorders: so Manetho the Egyptian says (z), that he that eats swine's milk is liable to be filled with the leprosy; and Maimonides (a) gives it as the principal reason of its being forbid the Jews, because it is such a filthy creature, and eats such filthy things:
he is unclean to you: and so it has always been accounted by the Jews, and nothing is more abominable to them, as is even testified by Heathen (b) writers; and in this they have been imitated by many nations, particularly the Egyptians, who, as Herodotus says (c), reckon swine a very filthy creature; so that if anyone does but touch it passing by, he is obliged to plunge himself into a river with his clothes on; and keepers of them may not go into any of their temples, nor do the rest of the Egyptians intermarry with them, but they marry among themselves; the reason of this their abhorrence of swine, Aelianus says (d), is because they are so gluttonous that they will not spare their own young, nor abstain from human flesh; and this, says he, is the reason why the Egyptians hate it as an impure and voracious animal: likewise the Arabians entirely abstain from swine's flesh, as Solinus says (e), who adds, that if any of this sort of creatures is carried into Arabia, it immediately dies; and the same Pliny (f) attests: and so the Phoenicians, the near neighbours of the Jews, would not eat the flesh of them; hence Antoninus is said to abstain from it after the manner of the Phoenicians (g), unless the historian should mean the Jews; also the Gallo-Grecians or Galatians (h); nay, even the Indians have such an abhorrence of it, that they would as soon taste of human flesh as taste of that (i), and it is well known that the Mahometans abstain from it; and they have such an aversion to it, that if any chance to kill a wild pig, for tame they have none, they look on the merit of it to be almost equivalent to the killing a Christian in fight (k): now these creatures may be an emblem of filthy and impure sinners, especially apostates, who return to their former impurities and wallow in them, 2 Peter 2:22.
(u) Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 1.((w) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 46. (x) Scheuchzer. ut supra, (Physic. Sacr. vol. 2.) p. 282. (y) Ib. p. 284. (z) Apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 10. c. 16. (a) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 48. (b) "Et vetus indulget", &c. Juvenal. Satyr. 6. "nec distare putant", &c. Ib. Satyr. 14. Vid. Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 11, 12. (c) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 47. (d) Ut supra. (Apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 10. c. 16.) (e) Polyhistor. c. 46. (f) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 52. (g) Herodian. Hist. l. 5. c. 16. (h) Pausan. Achaica, sive, l. 7. p. 430. (i) Ctesias apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 16. c. 37. (k) Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, p. 163.
and their carcass shall ye not touch; which must not be understood of touching them in any sense; for then it would have been unlawful for a Jew to have rode upon a camel, or to take out and make use of hog's lard in medicine; but of touching them in order to kill them, and prepare them for food, and eat them; and indeed all unnecessary touching of them is forbidden, lest it should bring them to the eating of them; though perhaps it may chiefly respect the touching of them dead:
they are unclean to you: one and all of them; for as this was said of each of them in particular, so now of all of them together; and which holds good of all wild creatures not named, to whom the description above belongs, and which used to be eaten by other nations; some of which were called Pamphagi, from eating all sorts, and others Agriophagi, from eating wild creatures, as lions, panthers, elephants (l), &c.
(l) Plin. l. 6. c. 30. Solinus, c. 43.
whatsoever hath fins and scales, in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat; some render it disjunctively, "fins or scales" (p); but as Maimonides (q) observes, whatsoever has scales has fins; and who also says, if a fish has but one fin and one scale, it was lawful to eat: fins to fishes are like wings to birds, and oars to boats, with which they swim and move swiftly from place to place; and scales are a covering and a protection of them; and such fishes being much in motion, and so well covered, are less humid and more solid and substantial, and more wholesome: in a spiritual sense, fins may denote the exercise of grace, in which there is a motion of the soul, Godward, Christward, and heavenward; and scales may signify good works, which adorn believers, and protect them from the reproaches and calumnies of men.
(m) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37. (n) Plutarch. Sympos. p. 730. (o) Orat. 5. p. 330. (p) So Bootius. (q) Hilchot Maacolot Asurot, l. 1. sect. 24.
of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters; the former of these are interpreted by Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom of little fishes that have but a small body, and such as are created out of the waters; and the latter, of such as are produced of a male and female; or, as Maimonides (r) explains it, the one signifies the lesser creatures, such as worms and horse leeches; the other greater ones, sea beasts, as sea dogs, &c.
they shall be an abomination to you; not only unclean, and so unfit to eat, but to be had in abhorrence and detestation, as being exceeding disagreeable and unwholesome; and, as a learned man observes (s), to these prohibited in general belong all those animals in lakes, rivers, or seas, which are of a slow motion, and which, because of the slow motion of their bodies, do not so well digest their food; and for that may be compared with four footed beasts that have but one belly, and so unwholesome as they.
(r) Hilchot Maacolot Asuret, l. 1. c. 2. sect. 12. (s) Scheuchzer. ut supra, (Physic. Sacr. vol. 2.) p. 287.
ye shall not eat of their flesh, here mention is made of the flesh of fishes, as is by the apostle, 1 Corinthians 15:39. Aben Ezra observes, that their wise men say, this is according to the usage of words in those ages:
but you shall have their carcasses in abomination; not only abstain from eating them and touching them, but to express the utmost aversion to them.
that shall be an abomination unto you; the Targum of Jonathan says, that not only the flesh of such fish, but the broth, and pickles made of them, were to be an abomination; which contradicts what Pliny (t) relates, that the Jews made a pickle of fishes that lacked scales; so Grotius understands him: this law of the Jews is taken notice of by Porphyry (u), who says, it is forbidden all the Jews to eat horse flesh, or fishes that lack scales, or any animal that has but one hoof: and Pliny (w), from an ancient author, Cassius Hemina, makes mention of a law of Numa, forbidding the use of fish that had not scales, in feasts made for the gods.
(t) Nat. Hist. l. 31. c. 8. (u) De Abstinentia, l. 4. c. 14. (w) Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 2.
they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination; and they are those that follow:
the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray; about the first of these there is no difficulty, all agree the eagle is intended; which has its name either from the nature of its sight, or from the casting of its feathers, or from its tearing with its bill: it is a bird of prey, a very rapacious creature, and sometimes called the bird of Jupiter, and sacred to the gods; and these may be the reasons why forbid to be eaten, as well as because its flesh is hard, and not fit for food, and unwholesome; "the ossifrage" or "bone breaker" has its name from its tearing its prey and breaking its bones for the marrow, as the word "peres" here used signifies, Micah 3:3 it is said to dig up bodies in burying places to eat what it finds in the bones (z): this is thought to be of the eagle kind, as it is reckoned by Pliny (a), though Aristotle (b) speaks of it as very different from the eagle, as larger than that, and of an ash colour; and is so kind to the eagle's young, that when they are cast out by that, it takes them and brings them up: the "ospray" is the "halioeetus", or sea eagle, as the Septuagint version and several others render it; which Aristotle (c) describes as having a large and thick neck, crooked wings, and a broad tail, and resides about the sea and shores: Pliny (d) speaks of it as having a very clear sight, and, poising itself on high, having sight of a fish in the sea, will rush down at once and fetch it out of the water; and he also reports that she will take her young before they are fledged, and oblige them to look directly against the rays of the sun, and if any of them wink, or their eyes water, she casts them out of her nest as a spurious brood. Aristotle (e), who relates the same, says she kills them. The name of this creature, in the Hebrew text, seems to be taken from its strength; wherefore Bochart (f) is of opinion, that the "melanoeetos", or black eagle, which, though the least of eagles as to its size, exceeds all others in strength, as both Aristotle (g) and Pliny (h) say; and therefore, as the latter observes, is called by the Romans "valeria", from its strength. Maimonides (i) says of these two last fowls, which we render the ossifrage and the ospray, that they are not to be found on the continent, but in the desert places of the isles of the sea very far off, even those which are at the end of the habitable world.
(x) Maacolot Asurot, c. 1. sect. 14, 15. (y) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 75. 1. Maimon. ib. sect. 15. (z) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Ossifraga". (a) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.((b) Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 6. l. 8. c. 3. & l. 9. c. 34. (c) Ib. l. 9. c. 32. (d) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.) (e) Ib. c. 34. (f) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 6. col. 188. (g) Ut supra, (Hist. Animal. l. 9.) c. 32. (h) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.) (i) Maacolot Asurot, c. 1. sect. 17.
(k) Hist. Animal. l. 8. c. 3.((l) Aristot. ib. l. 9. c. 32. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3. Aelian. de Animal. l. 2. c. 46. (m) De Animal. l. 2. c. 42. (n) Ib. c. 46.
(o) Aelian. De Animal. l. 1. c. 48. & l. 7. c. 18.
and the night hawk; which, according to Pliny (y), is sometimes called "cymindis", and is seldom to be found in woods, sees not so well in the day time, and wages a deadly war with the eagle, and they are often found joined together: Bochart (z) who thinks that the female ostrich is meant by the preceding bird, is of opinion that the male ostrich is meant here, there being no general name in the Hebrew language to comprehend both sexes:
and the cuckoo; a bird well known by its voice at least: some have thought it to be the same with the hawk, changing its figure and voice; but this has been refuted by naturalists (a): but though it is here forbidden to be eaten, yet its young, when fat, are said to be of a grateful savour by Aristotle: and Pliny (b) says, no bird is to be compared to it for the sweetness of its flesh, though perhaps it may not be here intended: the word is by the Septuagint rendered a "sea gull", and so it is by Ainsworth, and which is approved of by Bochart (c):
and the hawk after his kind; a well known bird, of which, according to Aristotle (d), there are not less than ten sorts: Pliny (e) says sixteen; it has its name in Hebrew from flying, it being a bird that flies very swiftly; see Job 39:26 the hawk was a symbol of deity with the Egyptians, and was reverenced and worshipped by them (f).
(p) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1. Vid. Aristot. de Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 14. (q) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 14. col. 226. (r) Pirush in Exodus 23.19. (s) De Animal. l. 14. c. 13. (t) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 162. (u) Geograph. l. 16. p. 531. (w) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Ostrich". (x) Descriptio Africae, l. 6. p. 601, 605, 613. l. 9. p. 766. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 8. (z) Ut supra, (Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 15. col. 235. (a) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 7. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 9. (b) Ibid. (c) Ut supra, (Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 15.) Colossians 26. (d) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 36. (e) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 8. (f) Plutarch. de Iside & Osyr. Strabo. Geograph. l. 17. p. 559, 562. Diodor. Sicul. l. 1. p. 78. Clement. Alex. Stromat. l. 5. p. 566.
(g) Ray's Ornithol. p. 63. apud Supplement to Chambers's Dictionary in the word "Bubo". (h) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Owl". (i) Ut supra, (Apud Bochard. Heirozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 20. col. 275. (k) Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.((l) Gesner. apud Bochart. ut supra, (i)) c. 21. col. 278. (m) Ibid.
and the pelican; which has its name in Hebrew from vomiting; being said by Aben Ezra and Baal Hatturim to be a bird that vomits its food; and it is observed by several naturalists (q), of the pelican, that it swallows down shellfish, and after they have lain some time in its stomach, it vomits them up again; where having been heated, the shells open, and it picks out the meat:
and the gier eagle; or vulture eagle, the "gypoeetos" of Aristotle (r), and who says it is called also "oripelargos", or the mountain stork; and which Pliny (s) also makes to be an eagle of the vulture kind. Dr. Shaw says (t), that near Cairo there are several flocks of the "ach bobba" (white father, differing little from the stork but in its colour), the "percnopterus" or "oripelargos", which like the ravens about London feed upon carrion, and nastiness that is thrown without the city; this the Arabs call "rachama", the same with Leviticus 11:18 and in Deuteronomy 14:17 and whatever bird is here meant, it must be one that is tender toward its young, as its name signifies, as Aben Ezra and Baal Hatturim observe; and though both the eagle and the vulture are rapacious birds, yet have a great regard to their young; of the eagle see Deuteronomy 32:11 and the vulture, with the Egyptians, was an "hieroglyphic" of a tender mother, or any merciful person; it being reported of it, that during the one hundred twenty days its young are under its care, it very rarely flies from them, being so solicitous of nourishing them; and that by making incisions in its thigh, it lets out a bloody flow of milk, when it has nothing else to support them (u). The Talmudists (w) say, that the bird "racham", as it is here called, is the same with "serakrak", and is by the Targum of Jonathan, and in the Syriac version, here rendered "serakraka", so called from which signifies to "squall"; and, according to Munster (x), is thought by some to be the "pica", magpie, or rather the jay; and Dr. Shaw (y) observes, that by a small transmutation of letters, that and the "shagarag" of the Arabs are the same; which he says is of the size and shape of a jay, though with a smaller bill, and shorter legs; the back is brownish; the head, neck, and belly, of a light green; and upon the wings and tail there are several spots or ringlets of a deep blue; it makes a "squalling" noise; and, he adds, it has no small affinity both in voice and plumage with the jay. The Septuagint version renders the word by the "swan"; which if not intended by the first word in this text, may by this, being kind to its young, though otherwise reckoned a cruel and unmerciful bird, as Bochart (z) observes; some think the woodpecker is meant, so called from its love to its parents (a).
(n) Hist. Animal. l. 8. c. 12. Vid. Plin. l. 10. c. 23. (o) Ut supra, (Apud Bochard Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 23. (p) Ut supra, (Hist. Animal. l. 8.) c. 6. so Plin. l. 10. c. 46. (q) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 10. Aelian. de Animal. l. 3. c. 20, Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 40. (r) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 32. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.((t) Travels, p. 449. Ed. 2.((u) Horns Apollo & Pisidas apud Bochart. ut supra, (o)) c. 27. col. 388. (w) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.((x) Dictionar. Chald. p. 4. 18. (y) Travels, p. 183. (z) Ut supra (o)), c. 25. col. 300. (a) Plin. l. 10. c. 33.
the heron after her kind; this bird has its name in Hebrew from its being soon angry, as Aben Ezra observes; and Jarchi calls it the angry vulture or kite, as it is in the Talmud (h); and adds, and it appears to me to be what they call the "heron", one sort of which named "asterias", as there is one sort so called by Pliny (i); it becomes tame in Egypt, and so well understands the voice of a man, as Aelianus (k) reports, that if anyone by way of reproach calls it a servant or slothful, it is immediately exceeding angry. There are three kinds of herons, as both Aristotle (l) and Pliny (m); and by a learned man of ours (n), their names are thus given, the criel or dwarf heron, the blue heron, and the bittour; some reckon nineteen:
and the lapwing; the upupa or hoopoe; it has its name in Hebrew, according to Jarchi, from its having a double crest; and so Pliny (o) ascribes to it a double or folded crest, and speaks of it as a filthy bird; and, according to Aristotle (p) and Aelian (q), its nest is chiefly made of human dung, that by the ill smell of it men may be kept from taking its young; and therefore may well be reckoned among impure fowl. Calmet (r) says, there is no such thing as a lapwing to be seen in any part of England; but there are such as we call so, whether the same bird with this I cannot say:
and the bat; a little bird which flies in the night, Aben Ezra says; Kimchi (s) describes it a mouse with wings, which flies in the night, and we sometimes call it the "flitter mouse"; it is a creature between a fowl and a beast; and, as Aristotle says (t), it partakes of both, and is of neither; and it is the only fowl, as Pliny (u) observes, that has teeth and teats, that brings forth animals, and nourishes them with milk. It is a creature so very disagreeable, that one would think almost there was no need of a law to forbid the eating of it; and yet it is said by some to be eatable, and to be eaten, as Strabo (w) affirms, yea, to be delicious food. It is asserted (x), that there is a sort of them in the east, larger than ordinary, and is salted and eaten--that there are bats in China as large as pullets, and are as delicate eating. Of these several fowls before mentioned, some are of the ravenous kind, and are an emblem of persecutors and covetous persons, and such as live by rapine and violence; others are of a lustful nature, and are an emblem of those who serve various lusts and pleasures, and give up themselves to uncleanness; others are night birds, and are a proper emblem of them whose works are works of darkness, and love darkness rather than the light; and others never rise higher than the earth, and so may denote earthly minded persons; and others live on impure things, and so fitly represent such who live an impure life; with all such the people of God are to have no fellowship.
(b) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 13. Aelian. de Animal. l. 3. c. 23. & l. 10. c. 16. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23. (c) Georgic. l. 2.((d) Satyr. 14. (e) Apud Bochart. ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 29. col. 329. (f) Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.) (g) Calmet in the word "Stork". (h) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.((i) Ut supra, (f)) c. 60. so Aristot. l. 9. c. 1.((k) De Animal. l. 5. c. 36. (l) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 1.((m) Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.) (n) Ainsworth's Dictionary, in voce "Ardea". (o) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 29. (p) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 15. (q) De Animal. l. 3. c. 26. (r) Dictionary, in the word "Lapwing". (s) Sepher Shorash. in voc. (t) De Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 13. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 61. l. 11. c. 37. (w) Geograph. l. 16. (x) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Bat".
going upon all four; that is, upon their four feet, when they walk or creep:
these shall be an abomination to you; not used as food, but detested as such.
(y) Maacolot Asurot, c. 2. l. 5.
of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four; even though it is a creeping thing that flies and goes upon four feet, provided they be such:
which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; there is a double reading of this clause; the textual reading is, "which have not legs", and is followed by several interpreters and translators; and the marginal reading, which we follow, is, "which have legs"; and both are to be regarded as true, and written by Moses, as Ainsworth observes; for locusts are born without legs, and yet creep low, as Pliny asserts (z), and they have them afterwards; and it is a canon of the Jews, that what have not legs or wings now, or have not wings to cover the greatest part of them, but shall have after a time when grown up, these are as free (to eat) now, as when grown up (a). Dr. Shaw thinks (b) the words may bear this construction, "which have knees upon" or "above their hinder legs, to leap withal upon the earth"; and applying this to the locust afterwards, and only instanced in, he observes, that this has the two hindermost of its legs and feet much stronger, larger, and longer than any of the foremost. In them the knee, or the articulation of the leg and thigh, is distinguished by a remarkable bending or curvature, whereby it is able, whenever prepared, to jump, to spring, or raise itself up with great force and activity. And these Aristotle (c) calls the leaping parts; and though he attributes to the locust six feet, as does also Pliny (d), yet he takes the two leaping parts into the account; whereas Moses distinguishes those two from the four feet; and so Austin (e) observes, that Moses does not reckon among the feet the two hinder thighs with which locusts leap, which he calls clean, and thereby distinguishes them from such unclean flying creatures which do not leap with their thighs, such as beetles; and so the Jewish writers always describe a clean locust as having four feet, and two legs, thighs, or knees. Maimonides (f) gives three signs of them, which are these, whatsoever has four feet and four wings, which cover the greatest part of its body in length, and the greatest part of the compass of it, and has two thighs or knees to leap with, they are of the clean kind; and although its head is long, and it hath a tail, if its name is "chagob" (a locust) it is clean.
(z) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (a) Maimon. ib. c. 1. sect. 23. (b) Travels, p. 420. (c) De Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 6. (d) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 48. (e) Retract. l. 2. c. 15. (f) Maacolot Asurot, c. 1. sect. 22.
the locust after his kind; this is the common locust, called by the name of Arbeh, from the great multiplication and vast multitudes of them; the phrase, "after his kind", and which also is used in all the following instances, signifies the whole entire species of them, which might be eaten:
and the bald locust after his kind; which in the Hebrew text is Soleam, and has its name, as Aben Ezra suggests, from its ascending rocks: but since locusts do not climb rocks, or have any peculiar regard for them, rather this kind of locust may be so called, from their devouring and consuming all that come in their way (g), from the Chaldee word which signifies to swallow, devour, and consume; but why we should call it the bald locust is not so clear, though it seems there were such, since the Jews describe some that have no baldness, which the gloss explains, whose head is not bald (h), which shows that some are bald; and so, this is described by Kimchi (i), it has an eminence, a rising, or bunch upon it; some render it baldness, and it hath no tail, and its head is long; and so Ben Melech:
and the beetle after his kind; which is another sort of locust called Chargol, and should not be rendered a beetle, for no sort of beetles are eatable, nor have legs to leap withal, and so come not under the general description given of such flying, creeping things, fit to eat: Kimchi says it is one kind of a locust (k), and Hiscuni derives its name from and because it strives to leap with its feet, which answers to the above descriptive character: the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, and some others, render it by Ophiomachus, a fighter with serpents, to which the locust is an enemy, and kills them, taking fast hold of their jaws, as Pliny says (l), and so Aristotle (m):
and the grasshopper after his kind; this is another, and the fourth kind of the locust that might be eaten; its name is Chagab, from the Arabic word Chaguba, "to vail", locusts vailing the light of the sun: and according to the Jewish doctors, it is a name which every locust fit to eat should have;"among the locusts (fit for food) are these, who have four feet, and four wings and thighs, and wings covering the greatest part of them, and whose name is Chagab (n);''and commentators say (o), it must be called by this name, as well as have those signs: the difference between these several sorts is with them this; the Chagab has a tail, but no bunch; Arbeh neither bunch nor tail; and Soleam has a bunch, but not a tail; and Chargol has both bunch and tail (p): Maimonides (q) reckons up eight sorts of them fit to eat; and these creatures were not only eaten by the Jews, but by several other nations: with the Parthians they were very agreeable and grateful food, as Pliny (r) relates; who also says (s), that some part of the Ethiopians live only upon them all the year, hardened in smoke, and with salt: Diodorus Siculus (t) makes mention of the same, and calls them Acridophagi, locust eaters, and gives a particular account of their hunting and taking them, and preserving them for food; and so does Strabo (u); and the same Solinus (w) relates of those that border on Mauritania; and they are still eaten in Barbary, where they dry them in ovens to preserve them, and then either eat them alone, or pounded and mixed with milk: their taste is said to be like shrimps (x); and Bochart (y) has shown, from various writers, that they were a delicious food with the Greeks, especially among the common people; and so they are with the Indians (z).
(g) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 88. 1.((h) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 65. 2.((i) Sepher Shorash. in voc. (k) Ib. in voc. (l) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29.) (m) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 6. (n) Misn. Cholin, c. 3. sect. 7. (o) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (p) Vid. T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 65. 2.((q) Maacolot Asurot, c. 1. sect. 21. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (s) Ib. l. 6. c. 30. (t) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 162, 163. (u) Geograph. l. 16. p. 531. (w) Polyhistor. c. 43. (x) Sir Hans Sloane's Natural History of Jamaica, vol. 1. p. 29. (y) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 7. col. 490, 491. (z) Agreement of Customs of the East Indians and Jews, art. 12. p. 60.
which have four feet; or more; the Vulgate Latin version adds, "only", but wrongly; for those that have more are unclean, and forbidden to be eaten, excepting those in the preceding verse; and most creeping things that fly have six feet, as the locusts themselves, reckoning their leaping legs into the number; though it may be observed, that those creatures that have six feet have but four equal ones, on which they walk or creep; and the two foremost, which are longer, are as hands to them to wipe their eyes with, and protect them from anything that may fall into them and hurt them; they not being able to see clearly because of the hardness of their eyes, as Aristotle (a) observes, and particularly it may be remarked of the fly, as it is by Lucian (b), that though it has six feet it only goes on four, using the other two foremost as hands; and therefore you may see it walking on four feet, with something eatable in its hands, lifting them up on high, just after the manner of men: now all such creatures that have four feet or more, excepting the above:
shall be an abomination unto you; abhorred as food, and abstained from.
(a) Ut supra. (Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 6.) (b) De Musca.
whosoever toucheth the carcass of them shall be unclean until the even; not only he was unclean that ate them, but he that even touched their dead bodies was reckoned unclean; might not go into the tabernacle, nor have conversation with men, nor eat of the holy things, which were forbid men in any uncleanness; and though there is no mention of his washing himself, it may be understood, this being a short or concise way of speaking, as Aben Ezra observes; who adds, that it was necessary that he should wash himself in water; which was typical of washing and cleansing by the grace and blood of Christ, without which a man cannot be cleansed from the least sin, and pollution by it; and may signify that during the legal dispensation there was no proper cleansing from sin, until the evening of the world, when Christ came and shed his blood for the cleansing of it.
shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; from whence both Jarchi and Aben Ezra infer, that the pollution by hearing or carrying is greater than that by touching; since such a man, so defiled, was obliged to wash his clothes as well as his body; so saints, that have contracted pollution by any manner of sin, are to wash their garments and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 7:14.
nor cheweth the cud; though it may divide the hoof, as the swine; and on the other hand, such as may chew the cud, and yet not dividing the hoof, as the coney and hare; for the Scripture here, as Aben Ezra observes again, uses a short and concise way of speaking: these
are unclean unto you; to be reckoned by them such, and neither to be eaten nor touched:
everyone that toucheth them shall be unclean; until the evening; and obliged to washing, though not expressed: this is not to be understood of touching them while alive, as some Sadducees or Karaites understand it, according to Aben Ezra; for camels, horses, mules, &c. might be, and were rode upon, and so touched; but of them when dead, or their carcases, as is rightly supplied in the beginning of the verse; and the Jewish writers (c) understand this of the flesh of the carcass only, not of the bones, horns, and hoofs, which, they say, do not defile, only the flesh: this is repeated from Leviticus 11:8.
(c) Misn. Edaiot, c. 6. sect. 3. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
among all manner of beasts that go on all four; this is added, to distinguish them from fowl, such as are clean; who walk but on two feet, though their feet are divided into fingers or talons, and may be called hands on which they walk:
these are unclean unto you: and as they might not be eaten, so neither touched, as follows:
whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until the even; See Gill on Leviticus 11:24.
(d) "super volas suas", Pagninus, Montanus, "super manus suas", Munster, Tigurine version, Drusius.
shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; as he that bore the carcasses of any of the flying creeping things, Leviticus 11:25.
they are unclean to you; even the carcasses of the one and of the other; and to all the Israelites, men, women, and children, as Aben Ezra observes.
the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind; the first of these, "the weasel", a creature well known; there are two sorts of it, as Pliny (f) says, the field weasel, and the house weasel; the former are called by the Jewish writers the weasel of the bushes (g), and the latter the weasel that dwells in the foundations of houses (h); and of the former there was a doubt among some of them whether it was a species of the eight reptiles in Leviticus 11:29 or whether it was a species of animals (i); and which, Maimonides says, is a species of foxes like to weasels: Bochart (k) thinks the mole is intended; but the generality of interpreters understand it of the weasel; and so Jarchi and Kimchi, and Philip Aquinas (l), interpret it by "mustela", the weasel: however, all agree the second is rightly interpreted "the mouse"; which has its name in Hebrew from its being a waster and destroyer of fields; an instance of which we have in 1 Samuel 6:5; see Gill on 1 Samuel 6:5; so that this sort may be chiefly intended, though it includes all others, who are distinguished by their colours, the black, the red, and the white, which are all mentioned by Jonathan in his paraphrase of the text: this animal, as a learned physician (m) expresses it, eats almost everything, gnaws whatever it meets with, and, among other things, is a great lover of swine's flesh, which was an abomination to the Jews; nor does it abstain from dung, and therefore it is no wonder it should be reckoned among impure creatures; and yet we find they were eaten by some people, see Isaiah 66:17 especially the dormouse; for which the old Romans made conveniences to keep them in, and feed them, and breed them for the table (n): so rats in the West Indies are brought to market and sold for food, as a learned author (o) of undoubted credit assures us, who was an eyewitness of it: the last in this text, "the tortoise", means the land tortoise; it has its name from the shell with which it is covered, this word being sometimes used for a covered wagon, Numbers 7:3 there are various kinds of them, as Pliny (p) and other writers observe, and who, as Strabo (q) and Mela (r) also, speak of a people they call Chelonophagi, or tortoise eaters: a tortoise of the land kind is esteemed a very delicate dish: Dr. Shaw (s), speaking of the land and water tortoises in Barbary, says, the former, which hides itself during the winter months, is very palatable food, but the latter is very unwholesome: the Septuagint version renders it, the "land crocodile", which, is approved of by Bochart (t): and Leo Africanus says (u), that many in Egypt eat the flesh of the crocodile, and affirm it to be of good savour; and so Benzon (w) says, its flesh is white and tender, and tastes like veal; though some among them, as Strabo (x) asserts, have a great antipathy and hatred to them; and others worship them as gods, and neither can be supposed to eat them; the land crocodiles are eaten by the Syrians, as Jerom (y) affirms, for those feeding on the sweetest flowers, as is said, their entrails are highly valued for their agreeable odour: Jarchi says, it is a creature like a frog; he means a toad; so Philip Aquinas and many render the word: Dr. Shaw takes the creature designed to be the sharp-scaled tailed lizard (z).
(d) Misn. Meilah, c. 4. sect. 3.((e) Pirush. in ib. (f) Nat. Hist. l. 29. c. 4. (g) Misn. Celaim, c. 8. sect. 5. (h) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 20. 2.((i) Maimon. in Misn. ib. (k) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 95. col. 1022. (l) Sepher Shorash. & Aquinas in rad. (m) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 307. (n) Varro de re Rustic. l. 3. c. 14. apud Sir Hans Sloane's History of Jamaica, vol. 1. Introduct. p. 24. (o) Sir Hans Sloane, ib. p. 25. (p) Nat. Hist. l. 9. c. 10. & l. 32. c. 4. (q) Geograph. l. 16. p. 532. (r) De Situ Orbis, l. 3. c. 8. (s) Travels, p. 178. (t) Ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 1.) l. 4. c. 1.((u) Descriptio Africae, l. 9. p. 762. (w) Nov. Orb. Hist. c. 3.((x) Geograph. l. 17. p. 558, 560, 561, 563. (y) Adv. Jovin. l. 2.((z) Ut supra. Travels, p. 178
and the chameleon; this is a little creature like a lizard, but with a larger and longer head; it has four feet, and on each foot three claws; its tail is long; with this, as well as with its feet, it fastens itself to the branches of trees; its tail is flat, its nose long, and made in an obtuse point; its back is sharp, its skin plaited and jagged like a saw, from the neck to the last joint of the tail, and upon its head it hath something like a comb; in other respects it is made like a fish; that is to say, it has no neck (d); what is said of its living on air, and changing colour according to what it is applied, are now reckoned vulgar mistakes: but whatever creature is here meant, it seems to have its name in Hebrew from its strength, wherefore Bochart (e) takes the "guaril" or "alwarlo" of the Arabs to be meant; which is the stoutest and strongest sort of lizard, and is superior in strength to serpents, and the land tortoise, with which it often contends:
and the lizard; so Jarchi interprets the word by a "lizard"; it has a larger letter than usual in it, that this creature might be taken notice of, and guarded against as very pernicious, and yet with some people it is eaten: Calmet says (f), there are several sorts of lizards, which are well known: there are some in Arabia of a cubit long, but in the Indies there are some, they say, of twenty four feet in length: in America, where they are very good, they eat them: one lizard is enough to satisfy four men: and so in the West Indies, says Sir Hans Sloane (g), I was somewhat surprised to see serpents, rats, and lizards sold for food, and that to understanding people, and of a very good and nice palate; and elsewhere (h), he says, all nations inhabiting these parts of the world (the West Indies) do the same: "Guanes" or "lizards" are very common in Jamaica, and eaten there, and were of great use when the English first took this island, being, as I was assured, says he, commonly sold by the first planters for half a crown apiece: Dr. Shaw (i) says, that he was informed that more than 40,000 persons in Cairo, and in the neighbourhood, live upon no other food than lizards and serpents, though he thinks (k), because the chameleon is called by the Arabs "taitah", which differs little in name from "letaah", here; that therefore that, which is indeed a species of the lizard, might, with more propriety, be substituted for it:
and the snail; so the word is rendered by Jarchi, on the place, and by Kimchi, and Philip Aquinas, and David de Pomis, in their lexicons; and these creatures, though forbid to the Jews, yet are not only used for medicine, but also for food by many: snails of several kinds, we are told, are eaten with much satisfaction in Italy and France: in Silesia they make places for the breeding of them at this day, where they are fed with turnip tops, &c. and carefully preserved for the market; and the Romans took care of them in the same manner (l): Bochart (m) thinks a kind of lizard is meant, which lies in sand, called by the Arabs "chulaca", or "luchaca", because the word here used signifies, in the Talmudic (n) language, sandy ground:
and the mole; and so it is interpreted by Onkelos and Jarchi here, and by David de Pomis, and Philip Aquinas, in their lexicons: the same word is used for a certain sort of fowl, which we translate the "swan"; Leviticus 11:18 but here of a creeping thing: whatever is intended by it, it seems to have its name from its breath; either in a contrary signification, if understood of the mole, which either holds its breath, or breathes not while under ground; or from its breathing more freely, wherefore Bochart (o) takes it to be the "chameleon"; which, as Pliny (p) says, is always gaping with its mouth for air; and it has been a vulgar notion, though a wrong one, that it lives upon it: the Targum of Jonathan interprets it by the "salamander"; now whoever ate any of the above eight creeping things, according to the Jewish canons, was to be beaten (q). (b) Ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 1.) l. 4. c. 2.((c) Nat. Hist. l. 29. c. 4. (d) Calmet, in the word "Chameleon". (e) Ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 4.) c. 3.((f) Dictionary, in the word "Lizard", Vid. Hieron. adv. Jovinian. l. 2.((g) Natural History of Jamaica, vol. 1. Introduct. p. 25. (h) Ibid. vol. 2. p. 333. (i) Travels, p. 412. (k) Ibid. p. 178. (l) Sir Hans Sloane's Nat. Hist. ib. p. 23, 24. (m) Ut supra, (e)) c. 5. (n) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 31. 1. Gloss. in fol. 54. 1.((o) Ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 4.) c. 6. (p) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 33. (q) Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 2. sect. 7.
whosoever doth touch them when they are dead shall be unclean until the even; for touching them while alive did not defile, only when dead; and this the Jews interpret, while they are in the case in which they died, that is, while they are moist; for, as Ben Gersom says, if they are so dry, as that they cannot return to their moisture, they do not defile; for which reason, neither the bones, nor nails, nor nerves, nor skin of these creeping things, defile; but, they say (s), while the back bone is whole, and the bones cleave to it, then a creeping thing is reckoned moist, and while it is so it defiles. (r) Hilchot, Abot Hatumaot, c. 4. sect. 14. (s) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Niddah, c. 7. sect. 1.
whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack; every wooden vessel, as the Targum of Jonathan; and all sorts of clothes, of woollen, linen, or silk, and all sorts of skins, excepting skins of sea beasts; for these, according to the Jews (t), received no pollution; and also sacks or sackcloth, made of goats' hair, and the like:
whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done; any tool or instrument made use of by any artificer in his trade, or any vessel wrought by him:
it must be put into water; dipped into it, even into forty seahs of water, according to the Targum of Jonathan; and which is to be understood, not of any working tool, or finished vessel only, but of any vessel of wood, raiment, skin, or sack, before mentioned:
it shall be unclean until the even; even though put into water and washed:
so it shall be cleansed; in the above manner, by being put or dipped into water; or "afterwards", as the Septuagint, when it has been dipped and the even is come, and not before. (t) Bartenora in Misn. Celaim, c. 17. sect. 13.
whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; if it only by falling touched the outside of it, it was not unclean; but if it fell into it, then whatever was contained in it was unclean; for, as Jarchi says, an earthen vessel does not pollute or receive pollution, but from the air of it (u), from its inside:
and ye shall break it; other vessels might be put into water and rinsed, and so be cleansed, but earthen vessels, being of no great value, were to be broken in pieces: an emblem this, as Ainsworth suggests, of the dissolution of our bodies, which are as earthen vessels, and of the destruction of sin thereby, and of the entire removal of it by death. (u) Vid. Misn. Celaim, c. 2. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
that on which such water cometh shall be unclean; that is, such water as is put into an unclean vessel, become so by the fall of any unclean reptile into it; wherefore such water poured out upon any sort of food, clean and fit to eat, or that is put into such water, to be dressed, it becomes unclean and unfit to eat; for the vessel, being unclean, defiles the water, and the water defiles the food: Jarchi interprets this of water in general, which coming upon anything eatable, prepares it for uncleanness; "we learn (says he) that no food is fit and prepared to receive defilement until water comes upon it once; and after it is come upon it once, it receives defilement for ever, even though it becomes dry;'' but the former seems to be the true sense:
and all drink that may be drank in every such vessel shall be unclean; whatever otherwise might be lawfully drank, yet being put into such a vessel, into which any unclean reptile was fallen, or being in it when it fell into it, became unclean and not fit to be drank; and those liquors which receive uncleanness, and make meats unclean by coming on them, according to the Misnic doctors (w), are these seven, dew, water, wine, oil, blood, milk, and honey. (w) Misn. Machshirin, c. 6. sect. 4.
whether it be oven, or ranges of pots; the one to bake bread in, and the other to boil flesh in, as Aben Ezra observes:
they shall be broken down; and no more made use of for baking and boiling:
for they are unclean, and shall be unclean to you; were made hereby unfit for use, and should not be used: the Jewish writers (x) explain the phrase, "to you", to your necessity, that which they had need of, but now should not use nor receive advantage from; even "to you"; all men, women, and children, as Hiskuni interprets it: all this was ordered to create in them an abhorrence of these creatures, and to make them cautious of eating and touching them, and careful that they come not nigh, or touched, or fell upon anything, since it would give them so much trouble, as well as occasion loss. (x) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Edaiot, c. 7. sect. 8.
shall be clean: and fit for use, either because of the abundance of water in it, which could not be affected with the fall of such a creature into it as where there is but a small quantity; or rather this exception was made, because pools of water were of considerable value in these countries, and frequently in use for bathings, &c. and therefore for the good of men, and that they might not suffer so great a loss by such an accident, they are declared notwithstanding to be clean and free for use: hence you may learn, says Jarchi, that he that dips in them is pure from his uncleanness; that a man might lawfully make use of them for a bath on account of any uncleanness, notwithstanding the carcass of a creeping thing had fallen into it; as a mouse, or rat, or any such creature:
but that which toucheth their carcass shall be unclean; not the waters which touch the carcass, as Aben Ezra interprets it, for then the whole would be defiled, and unfit for use; but either the man that touched the carcass, laid hold upon it to pluck it out of the fountain or pit, or that which he made use of to get it out, or both these, were unclean in a ceremonial sense: the Targum of Jonathan is, "but he that toucheth their carcasses in the midst of these waters shall be unclean.''
yet it shall be clean; be fit for use and sown in the earth; because being cast into the earth, and dying and quickening there, and then springing up again in stalk and ear, it would go through various changes before it became the food of man: the Targum of Jonathan describes it, such as is sown in its dryness, or being dry; for if it was wetted it was unfit for use, as follows.
and any part of their carcass fall thereon; that is, on the seed, though Aben Ezra observes, some say upon the water: the Targum of Jonathan adds, in its moisture, or while it is wet; and so may be thought to be more susceptible of impurity from the touch of a dead reptile, or any part of it, and which would render it unfit for sowing or eating, until it was dried and cleansed; yea, Jarchi says, if it falls thereon, even after it is dried:
it shall be unclean unto you; unfit for use.
he that toucheth the carcass thereof shall be unclean until the even; not the bones, nerves, horns, hoofs, or skin, as Jarchi observes; these might be handled, because some of them, at least, were wrought up into one instrument or another, by artificers, for use and service, but the flesh of them might not be touched; whoever did touch it was ceremonially unclean, and might not go into the sanctuary, or have conversation with men, until the evening of the day in which this was done.
shall wash his clothes; besides his body, which even he that touched it was obliged to:
and be unclean until the even; though he and his clothes were washed, and he might not go into the court of the tabernacle, or have any concern with holy things, or conversation with men:
he also that beareth the carcass of it; removes it from one place to another, carries it to the dunghill, or a ditch, and there lays it, or buries it in the earth:
shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even; from whence, as before observed by the Jewish writers, uncleanness by bearing is greater than uncleanness by touching, since the former obliged to washing of clothes, not so the latter; so Jarchi here; and yet still was unclean until the evening, though he had washed himself in water, as Aben Ezra notes; and so says Jarchi, though he dips himself, he has need of the evening of the sun.
shall be an abomination; detested and abhorred as food:
it shall not be eaten; it shall not be lawful to eat such a creature. This, as Jarchi, is binding upon him that causes another to eat, as well as he that eats, the one is guilty as the other. And indeed such are not fit to eat, and cannot be wholesome and nourishing; for, as a learned physician observes (y), insects consist of particles exceeding small, volatile, unfit for nourishment, most of them live on unclean food, and delight in dung, and in the putrid flesh of other animals, and by laying their little eggs or excrements, corrupt honey, syrups, &c. see Ecclesiastes 10:1 and yet some sorts of them are eaten by some people. Sir Hans Sloane, after having spoken of serpents, rats, and lizards, sold for food to his great surprise at Jamaica, adds (z), but what of all things most unusual, and to my great admiration, was the great esteem set on a sort of "cossi" or timber worms, called cotton tree worms by the negroes and the Indians, the one the original inhabitants of Africa, and the other of America; these, he says (a), are sought after by them, and boiled in their soups, pottages, olios, pepper pots, and are accounted of admirable taste, like to, but much beyond marrow; yea, he observes (b), that not they only, but the most polite people in the world, the Romans, accounted them so great a dainty, as to feed them with meal, and endeavour breeding them up. He speaks (c) also of ants, so large as to be sold in the markets in New Granada, where they are carefully looked after, and bought up for food; and says, the negroes feed on the abdomen of these creatures: he observes (d), that field crickets were found in baskets among other provisions of the Indians. (y) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 302. (z) Nat. Hist. of Jamaica, vol. 1. Introduct. p. 25. (a) Ib. vol. 2. p. 193. (b) Introduct. ut supra. (a)) Vid. Plin. l. 17. c. 24. & Aelian. de Animal. l. 14. c. 13. (c) Ib. vol. 2. p. 221, 223. (d) Ib. p. 204. Vid. Aristotel. Hist. Animal. l. 5. c. 30.
and whatsoever goeth upon all four; that is, whatsoever creeping thing; for otherwise there are beasts that go upon all four that are clean and fit to eat; but this is observed to distinguish this sort of creeping things from those that go upon their belly, and from those that have more feet, as in the next clause; Jarchi particularly instances in the scorpion:
or whatsoever hath mere feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth; such as caterpillars, and particularly the Scolopendra, which the eastern people call Nedal; so Jarchi says, this is Nedal, a reptile which hath feet from its head to its tail, called Centipeda; and the Targum of Jonathan is, "from the serpent, to the Nedal or Scolopendra, which has many feet.'' Some of then, have seventy two, thirty six on a side, and others eighty four; some fewer, but all have many:
them ye shall not eat, for they are an abomination; abominable for food, and to be had in the utmost aversion. (e) Clim. 1. par. 6. (f) De Situ Orbis, l. 3. c. 8. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 8. (h) Peter Martyr de Angleria, Decad. 1. l. 3.((i) Ib. l. 5. (k) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 141.
neither shall you make yourselves unclean with them; by touching and bearing them, as with dead beasts, so with dead flies and the like:
that ye should be defiled thereby; in a ceremonial sense.
ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy, for I am holy; that is, separate themselves from all other people, and be distinct from them, by using a different diet from theirs, as their Lord and God was different from all others, so called; and thus by observing his commands, and living according to his will, and to his glory, they would be holy in a moral sense, as they ought to be, who were under the peculiar care and notice of a holy God, and so highly favoured by him; and particularly by attending to the above laws concerning food, they would be kept from mixing with, and having conversation with the Gentiles, and so be preserved from falling into idolatry, and continue a holy people, serving and worshipping the Lord their God, and him only; and which seems to be a principal view as to religion, in delivering out the above commands:
neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; which is repeated to keep them at the utmost distance from these things, and to fill them with an aversion to them, that they might be careful to avoid them. There is no penalty annexed to these laws, but the breach of them making them unclean, thereby they were debarred the use of the sanctuary, and of holy things, and of the conversation of men, for that day; but, according to the Jewish writers, such transgressions were punishable with stripes. Jarchi observes out of the Talmud (l), that he that eateth "putitha" (a small water reptile) was to be beaten four times, and if an ant or pismire five times, and if a wasp or hornet six times. (l) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 28. 1. Pesachim, fol. 24. 1. Maccot, fol. 16. 2.
to be your God; to make it appear that he was their God, and they were his special people, whom he had chosen for himself above all people upon the earth; that he was their King and their God, to protect and defend them, to provide for them, and take care of them, and bestow all good things on them proper for them:
ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy; separate from all others as he was, living holy lives and conversations, agreeably to his will made known to them, in imitation or him who had chosen and called them to be his people; for, since holiness is his nature, it becomes them who are his house and family, his subjects and people.
and of the fowl; Leviticus 11:2 the unclean ones, which are particularly mentioned that they might be avoided, all others excepting them being allowed:, Leviticus 11:13.
and of every living creature that moveth in the waters; all sorts of fish in the sea, rivers, ponds, and pools, such as have fins and scales, these were to be eaten, but, if they had neither, were forbidden:, Leviticus 11:9.
and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth; eight of which are mentioned particularly, which, when dead, defiled by touching; and all others are forbidden to be eaten, Leviticus 11:29 together with such creeping things that fly, excepting those that had legs above their feet to leap with, Leviticus 11:20. This is a recapitulation of the several laws respecting them, though not in the exact order in which they are delivered in this chapter.