Leviticus 11:3
Whatever parts the hoof, and is cloven footed, and chews the cud, among the beasts, that shall you eat.
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(3) Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted.—Better, Whatsoever is clovenfooted, and entirely separateth the hoofs. The first rule laid down by which the clean quadruped is to be distinguished is that the hoofs must be completely cloven or divided above as well as below, or, as the parallel passage in Deuteronomy 14:6 has it, “and cleaveth the cleft into two claws.” Such is the case in the foot of the ox, the sheep, and the goat, where the hoof is wholly divided below as much as above. The foot of the dog, the cat, and the lion, though exhibiting a division into several distinct toes or claws, is contrary to the regulation here laid down, inasmuch as the division is simply on the upper side, the lower side being united by a membrane, and hence the hoof is not “entirely separated.”

And cheweth the cud.—In addition to the foot being perfectly cloven, the quadruped to be clean is to be ruminating. The canon which obtained during the second Temple is thus formulated: “Every quadruped which has no upper teeth is known to be ruminant, and when it is also clovenfooted is clean.” According to the law of Manu the highest Hindoo castes were also forbidden to eat the flesh or drink the milk of quadrupeds with uncloven hoof. The same was the case with the Egyptian priests: they abstained from eating the flesh of any animal which had uncloven hoofs or many claws.

Leviticus 11:3. Whatsoever parteth the hoof — That is, divides it into two parts only; or, is cloven-footed — As is here expressed. These qualities are not assigned as reasons why such animals are proper for food, but merely as marks whereby to distinguish them. In some animals the hoofs are solid, and not divided at all, as horses, asses, and mules; in others they are divided into several parts like toes, as in lions, wolves, dogs, (of which see Leviticus 11:27;) in a third sort, they are cloven or divided into two parts, as oxen, deer, sheep, goats. These last are of two kinds; for in some the hoof is divided, but not cloven quite through, as the camel; in others it is both parted and cloven, which are those allowed by this law to be clean creatures. And cheweth the cud — Some creatures, such as oxen, sheep, and goats, for want of the upper fore-teeth, cannot chew their food perfectly at once; nor can the stomach make a perfect digestion till it be ground a second time. Therefore such animals are provided with a double stomach; an upper, into which the food goes down after the first chewing; and another, into which it is sent after the second. Such creatures as chew the cud are reckoned more wholesome, because they grind and digest what they eat better, and consequently yield a lighter and more nutritious food than others. Under the prohibition of eating beasts which do not answer this description, all beasts of prey, and those which eat flesh, are included, whose juices, Dr. James observes, are highly alkalescent, and injurious to health. All animals of the horse and ass kind are here also prohibited, and it is well known that the flesh of these is difficult to be digested, and that the juices are rank and unwholesome.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.
]Parteth ... - Rather, is clovenfooted and completely separates the hoofs. 3-7. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud—Ruminating animals by the peculiar structure of their stomachs digest their food more fully than others. It is found that in the act of chewing the cud, a large portion of the poisonous properties of noxious plants eaten by them, passes off by the salivary glands. This power of secreting the poisonous effects of vegetables, is said to be particularly remarkable in cows and goats, whose mouths are often sore, and sometimes bleed, in consequence. Their flesh is therefore in a better state for food, as it contains more of the nutritious juices, is more easily digested in the human stomach, and is consequently more easily assimilated. Animals which do not chew the cud, convert their food less perfectly; their flesh is therefore unwholesome, from the gross animal juices with which they abound, and is apt to produce scorbutic and scrofulous disorders. But the animals that may be eaten are those which "part the hoof as well as chew the cud," and this is another means of freeing the flesh of the animal from noxious substances. "In the case of animals with parted hoofs, when feeding in unfavorable situations a prodigious amount of fœtid matter is discharged, and passes off between the toes; while animals with undivided hoofs, feeding on the same ground, become severely affected in the legs, from the poisonous plants among the pasture" [Whitlaw, Code of Health]. All experience attests this, and accordingly the use of ruminating animals (that is, those which both chew the cud and part the hoof) has always obtained in most countries though it was observed most carefully by the people who were favored with the promulgation of God's law. Cloven-footed, to wit, is divided into two parts only, as in the coney, swine, &c., whereas the horse, camel, &c. have their hoofs entire and undivided. This clause is added only to explain and limit the former, as appears from Leviticus 11:26; for the feet or hoofs of dogs, cats, &c. are parted or cloven into many parts. Cheweth the cud, Heb. and bringeth up the cud, i.e. the meat once chewed out of the stomach into the mouth again, that it may be chewed a second time for better concoction. And this branch is to be joined with the former, both properties being necessary for the allowed beasts. But the reason hereof must be resolved into the will of the lawgiver; though interpreters guess that God would hereby signify their duties by the first, that of dividing the word of God aright, and discerning between good and evil, between God’s institutions and men’s inventions; and by the latter, that duty of recalling God’s word to our minds, and serious meditation upon it. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven footed,.... That is, whose hoof is parted and cloven quite through; for there are some creatures that have partitions in their feet, but not quite through, they are parted above, but underneath are joined together by a skin; wherefore both these phrases are used to describe the beasts lawful to be eaten: the Egyptians seem to have borrowed this law from the Jews, for Chaeremon says (x), that they abstain from such four footed beasts that have only one hoof, or have many partitions, or have no horns: and so the Targum of Jonathan adds here,"which have horns,''which, though not in the text, agrees well with the creatures allowed by this law to be eaten, see Deuteronomy 14:4 for such are all horned cattle; nor are there any cattle horned forbid to be eaten:

and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that shall ye eat: who having no upper teeth cannot thoroughly chew their food at once, and therefore bring it up again out of their stomachs into their mouths and chew it over again, that it may be better prepared for digestion in the stomach, and so yield better nourishment; and this makes the flesh of such creatures fitter for food: and these creatures have more stomachs than one; the ventricles for rumination are four; the first is the paunch, which in oxen is so big as to hold food of fifty pound weight, the second the honeycomb, the third the tripe, the fourth the honey tripe, and to which are helpful the pectoral muscle, the abdomen, with the diaphragm (y): all this might have a moral and spiritual meaning in it, and may be applied either to ministers of the word; who ought rightly to divide the word of truth, and give to everyone their part, and who should walk uprightly according to it, and who should give themselves up wholly to the meditation of it, and thoroughly digest it; and study to show themselves workmen, that need not to be ashamed; or to private Christians, who have a discerning spirit in spiritual things, and can distinguish not only morality from immorality, but spiritual things from carnal, heavenly things from earthly, the voice of Christ from the voice of a stranger, and the doctrines of Christ from the doctrines of men; and who also walk as they should do, by faith on Christ, in the ways of God, and according to the Gospel; these chew the cud, meditate on the word, feed upon it while delivered, recall it, and have it brought to their remembrance by the divine Spirit, and ponder it in their hearts; see Psalm 1:1.

(x) Apud Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 7. (y) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 2. p. 278, 279.

Whatsoever parteth the {b} hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

(b) He notes four types of beasts, some that chew the cud only, and some that only have the hoof cleft. Others neither chew the cud, nor have the hoof cleft, and the fourth both chew the cud and have the hoof divided, which may be eaten.

Verses 3, 4. - Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, should rather be translated, Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and completely divides it, The camel parts but does not wholly divide the hoof, as there is ball at the back of the foot, of the nature of a heel. After the directions occasioned by this judgment of God, Moses reminded Aaron and his sons of the general laws concerning the consumption of the priests' portions of the sacrifices, and their relation to the existing circumstances: first of all (Leviticus 10:12, Leviticus 10:13), of the law relating to the eating of the meat-offering, which belonged to the priests after the azcarah had been lifted off (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 6:9-11), and then (Leviticus 10:14, Leviticus 10:15) of that relating to the wave-breast and heave-leg (Leviticus 7:32-34). By the minchah in Leviticus 10:12 we are to understand the meal and oil, which were offered with the burnt-offering of the nation (Leviticus 9:4 and Leviticus 9:7); and by the אשּׁים in Leviticus 10:12 and Leviticus 10:15, those portions of the burnt-offering, meat-offering, and peace-offering of the nation which were burned upon the altar (Leviticus 9:13, Leviticus 9:17, and Leviticus 9:20). He then looked for "the he-goat of the sin-offering," - i.e., the flesh of the goat which had been brought for a sin-offering (Leviticus 9:15), and which was to have been eaten by the priests in the holy place along with the sin-offerings, whose blood was not taken into the sanctuary (Leviticus 6:19, Leviticus 6:22); - "and, behold, it was burned" (שׂרף, 3 perf. Pual). Moses was angry at this, and reproved Eleazar and Ithamar, who had attended to the burning: "Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin-offering in a holy place?" he said; "for it is most holy, and He (Jehovah) hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for it before Jehovah," as its blood had not been brought into the holy place (הוּבא construed as a passive with an accusative, as in Genesis 4:18, etc.). "To bear the iniquity" does not signify here, as in Leviticus 5:1, to bear and atone for the sin in its consequences, but, as in Exodus 28:38, to take the sin of another upon one's self, for the purpose of cancelling it, to make expiation for it. As, according to Exodus 28:38, the high priest was to appear before the Lord with the diadem upon his forehead, as the symbol of the holiness of his office, to cancel, as the mediator of the nation and by virtue of his official holiness, the sin which adhered to the holy gifts of the nation (see the note on this passage), so here it is stated with regard to the official eating of the most holy flesh of the sin-offering, which had been enjoined upon the priests, that they were thereby to bear the sin of the congregation, to make atonement for it. This effect or signification could only be ascribed to the eating, by its being regarded as an incorporation of the victim laden with sin, whereby the priests actually took away the sin by virtue of the holiness and sanctifying power belonging to their office, and not merely declared it removed, as Oehler explains the words (Herzog's Cycl. x. p. 649). Exodus 28:38 is decisive in opposition to the declaratory view, which does not embrace the meaning of the words, and is not applicable to the passage at all. "Incorporabant quasi peccatum populique reatum in se recipiebant" (Deyling observv. ss. i. 45, 2).

(Note: C. a Lapide has given this correct interpretation of the passage: "ut scilicet cum hostiis populi pro peccato simul etiam populi peccata in vos quasi recipiatis, ut illa expietis." There is no foundation for the objection offered by Oehler, that the actual removal of guilt and the atonement itself were effected by the offering of the blood. For it by no means follows from Leviticus 17:11, that the blood, as the soul of the sacrificial animal, covered or expiated the soul of the sinner, and that the removal and extinction of the sin had already taken place with the covering of the soul before the holy God, which involved the forgiveness of the sin and the reception of the sinner to mercy.)

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