|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
But all other flying creeping things,.... Excepting the four sorts before mentioned, wherefore we rightly supply the word "other":
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.
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