|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 8. - Of their carcass shall ye not touch. This prohibition is founded upon the same feeling of disgust as the prohibition of eating their flesh. Whatever is foal must be avoided.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Of their flesh shall ye not eat,.... Meaning, not of swine only, but of the camel, coney, and hare:
and their carcass shall ye not touch; which must not be understood of touching them in any sense; for then it would have been unlawful for a Jew to have rode upon a camel, or to take out and make use of hog's lard in medicine; but of touching them in order to kill them, and prepare them for food, and eat them; and indeed all unnecessary touching of them is forbidden, lest it should bring them to the eating of them; though perhaps it may chiefly respect the touching of them dead:
they are unclean to you: one and all of them; for as this was said of each of them in particular, so now of all of them together; and which holds good of all wild creatures not named, to whom the description above belongs, and which used to be eaten by other nations; some of which were called Pamphagi, from eating all sorts, and others Agriophagi, from eating wild creatures, as lions, panthers, elephants (l), &c.
(l) Plin. l. 6. c. 30. Solinus, c. 43.
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