|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-47 What animals were clean and unclean. - These laws seem to have been intended, 1. As a test of the people's obedience, as Adam was forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge; and to teach them self-denial, and the government of their appetites. 2. To keep the Israelites distinct from other nations. Many also of these forbidden animals were objects of superstition and idolatry to the heathen. 3. The people were taught to make distinctions between the holy and unholy in their companions and intimate connexions. 4. The law forbad, not only the eating of the unclean beasts, but the touching of them. Those who would be kept from any sin, must be careful to avoid all temptations to it, or coming near it. The exceptions are very minute, and all were designed to call forth constant care and exactness in their obedience; and to teach us to obey. Whilst we enjoy our Christian liberty, and are free from such burdensome observances, we must be careful not to abuse our liberty. For the Lord hath redeemed and called his people, that they may be holy, even as he is holy. We must come out, and be separate from the world; we must leave the company of the ungodly, and all needless connexions with those who are dead in sin; we must be zealous of good works devoted followers of God, and companions of his people.
Verse 1. - The Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron. Aaron, having now been consecrated high priest, is joined with Moses as the recipient of the laws on cleanness and uncleanness in Leviticus 11:1; Leviticus 13:1; Leviticus 14:33; Leviticus 15:1. His name is not mentioned in Leviticus 12:1; Leviticus 14:1; Leviticus 17:1; Leviticus 18:1; Leviticus 19:1; Leviticus 20:1; Leviticus 21:1, 16; Leviticus 22:1, 17, 26. Probably there is no signification in these omissions.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron,.... The one being the chief magistrate, and the other the high priest, and both concerned to see the following laws put into execution; according to Jarchi, the Lord spoke to Moses that he might speak to Aaron; but being now in office, and one part of his office being to distinguish between clean and unclean, the following discourse is directed equally to him as to Moses:
saying unto them; as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Le 11:1-47. Beasts That May and May Not Be Eaten.
1, 2. the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron—These laws, being addressed to both the civil and ecclesiastical rulers in Israel, may serve to indicate the twofold view that is to be taken of them. Undoubtedly the first and strongest reason for instituting a distinction among meats was to discourage the Israelites from spreading into other countries, and from general intercourse with the world—to prevent them acquiring familiarity with the inhabitants of the countries bordering on Canaan, so as to fall into their idolatries or be contaminated with their vices: in short, to keep them a distinct and peculiar people. To this purpose, no difference of creed, no system of polity, no diversity of language or manner, was so subservient as a distinction of meats founded on religion; and hence the Jews, who were taught by education to abhor many articles of food freely partaken of by other people, never, even during periods of great degeneracy, could amalgamate with the nations among which they were dispersed. But although this was the principal foundation of these laws, dietetic reasons also had weight; for there is no doubt that the flesh of many of the animals here ranked as unclean, is everywhere, but especially in warm climates, less wholesome and adapted for food than those which were allowed to be eaten. These laws, therefore, being subservient to sanitary as well as religious ends, were addressed both to Moses and Aaron.
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