Leviticus

This essay has a total of 1030 words and 5 pages.


Leviticus





Leviticus 11 is dealing with the subject of cleanness and uncleanness, specifically, with
the subject of clean and unclean foods. The word "clean"has a lot of different meanings
today depending upon the context in which it is used. For one thing, the expression clean
and its counterpoint unclean is one of the prominent themes of Leviticus. Unclean and its
cognates occurs 132 times in the Old Testament; over half of these are in Leviticus. So
the sense of uncleanness is a predominate theme, and the word clean, along with its
related terms, occurs 74 times in Leviticus, which is over one-third of the uses found in
the Old Testament.

When we come to chapter 11, it is stated that cleanness and uncleanness has to do
principally with food. It deals secondarily with cleanness or uncleanness that is the
result of contact with a dead animal, but it seems the reason the dead animal is called
unclean is because we couldn't eat it. Even a clean animal, a bull or a sheep, could not
be eaten if it were not killed in a sacrificially prescribed way. So it has to do with
food or that which is touched when dead. We find first the land creatures, the animals
that roam about through the earth (vv. 1-8); then we find in verses 9-12 the water
creatures, those that live under water or in the water, and finally we have the flying
creatures.

First, there are the land animals. There are two basic stipulations which must be met
before an animal that dwells on the land can be considered clean and therefore can be
eaten by the Israelite. It must be split-hoofed, and it must be a cud-chewer. It cannot be
just one of those; it must be both of those. So a non-cud chewing split-hoofer isn't good
enough. It has to be both, and the text makes it very clear. A rabbit, for example, is
called a cud-chewer (I think you and I understand that rabbits do not chew their cud like
a cow does). But if we watched a rabbit eat, we would observe that as the rabbit ate his
food, he chewed it up very carefully. We have two dogs and they are not cud-chewers. We
throw a piece of food on the floor, and they don't chew AT ALL! One animal is so fearful
that the other animal is going to get it that they just inhale the food. They don't chew
their cud. But when we look at a rabbit, we see that a rabbit sort of works on that food,
and works on it, just like mothers tell their children they ought to chew up their meat
and other things. So a cud-chewer does not technically have to be cow-like in having
multiple stomachs, but one that chews its food well. I think we could say it is that which
chews its non-meat food well. So cud-chewers are vegetarians. It is to be split-hoofed and
cud-chewing if it is clean, and therefore the Israelites may partake of it.

Second, the sea creatures. When we come to the creatures that dwell in the sea, they must
meet two qualifications as well_they must have fins and scales. Now that is certainly the
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