|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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters,.... Which is repeated that they might take particular notice of this law, and be careful to observe it, this being the only sign given:
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales, &c.—Under this classification frogs, eels, shellfish of all descriptions, were included as unclean; "many of the latter (shellfish) enjoy a reputation they do not deserve, and have, when plentifully partaken of, produced effects which have led to a suspicion of their containing something of a poisonous nature."
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