|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
And the vulture, and the kite after his kind. Perhaps it might be better if the version was inverted, and the words be read, "and the kite, and the vulture, after his kind"; and the last word is by us rendered the vulture in Job 28:7 and very rightly, since the kite is not remarkable for its sight, any other than all rapacious creatures are, whereas the vulture is to a proverb; and besides, of the vulture there are two sorts, as Aristotle says (k), the one lesser and whiter, the other larger and more of an ash colour; and there are some that are of the eagle kind (l), whereas there is but one sort of kites; though Ainsworth makes mention of two, the greater of a ruddy colour, common in England, and the lesser of a blacker colour, known in Germany, but produces no authority for it; however, these are both ravenous creatures: of the kite, Aelianus says (m), it is very rapacious, and will take meat out of the meat market, but not touch any sacrificed to Jupiter; the truth of which may well be questioned; and of vultures he reports (n), that they will watch a dying man, and follow armies going to battle, expecting prey; See Gill on Matthew 24:28.
(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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. the vulture—The word so rendered in our version means more probably "the kite" or "glede" and describes a varying but majestic flight, exactly that of the kite, which now darts forward with the rapidity of an arrow, now rests motionless on its expanded wings in the air. It feeds on small birds, insects, and fish.
the kite—the vulture. In Egypt and perhaps in the adjoining countries also, the kite and vulture are often seen together flying in company, or busily pursuing their foul but important office of devouring the carrion and relics of putrefying flesh, which might otherwise pollute the atmosphere.
after his kind—that is, the prohibition against eating it extended to the whole species.
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