Leviticus 11:3
Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye 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. Leviticus 11:3(cf. Deuteronomy 14:4-8). Of the larger quadrupeds, which are divided in Genesis 1:24-25 into beasts of the earth (living wild) and tame cattle, only the cattle (behemah) are mentioned here, as denoting the larger land animals, some of which were reared by man as domesticated animals, and others used as food. Of these the Israelites might eat "whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud among the cattle." פּרסת שׁסע שׁסעת, literally "tearing (having) a rent in the hoofs," according to Deuteronomy 14:5 into "two claws," i.e., with a hoof completely severed in two. גּרה, rumination, μηρυκισμός (lxx), from גּרר (cf. יגּר Leviticus 11:7), to draw (Habakkuk 1:15), to draw to and fro; hence to bring up the food again, to ruminate. גּרה מעלת is connected with the preceding words with vav cop. to indicate the close connection of the two regulations, viz., that there was to be the perfectly cloven foot as well as the rumination (cf. Leviticus 11:4.). These marks are combined in the oxen, sheep, and goats, and also in the stag and gazelle. The latter are expressly mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:4-5, where - in addition to the common stag (איּל) and gazelle (צבי, δορκάς, lxx), or dorcas-antelope, which is most frequently met with in Palestine, Syria, and Arabia, of the size of a roebuck, with a reddish brown back and white body, horns sixteen inches long, and fine dark eyes, and the flesh of which, according to Avicenna, is the best of all the wild game-the following five are also selected, viz.: (1) יחמוּר, not βούβαλος, the buffalo (lxx, and Luther), but Damhirsch, a stag which is still much more common in Asia than in Europe and Palestine (see v. Schubert, R. iii. p. 118); (2) אקּו, probably, according to the Chaldee, Syriac, etc., the capricorn (Steinbock), which is very common in Palestine, not τραγέλαφος (lxx, Vulg.), the buck-stag (Bockhirsch), an animal lately discovered in Nubia (cf. Leyrer in Herzog's Cycl. vi. p. 143); (3) דּישׁן, according to the lxx and Vulg. πύραργος, a kind of antelope resembling the stag, which is met with in Africa (Herod. 4, 192), - according to the Chaldee and Syriac, the buffalo-antelope, - according to the Samar. and Arabic, the mountain-stag; (4) תּאו, according to the Chaldee the wild ox, which is also met with in Egypt and Arabia, probably the oryx (lxx, Vulg.), a species of antelope as large as a stag; and (5) זמר, according to the lxx and most of the ancient versions, the giraffe, but this is only found in the deserts of Africa, and would hardly be met with even in Egypt-it is more probably capreae sylvestris species, according to the Chaldee.
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