Leviticus 11:38
But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.
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(38) But if any water be put upon the seed.—The case, however, is different when the grain is moistened, because the fluid softens the corn, and thus enables the defilement of the carcase to penetrate into its very fibres. The wet corn therefore is regarded in the same light as porous clay vessels which become saturated with defilement, and must be broken. (Comp. Leviticus 6:28.) By water, according to the rule which obtained during the second Temple, the seven liquids mentioned in Leviticus 11:34 are meant.

Leviticus 11:38. If any water be on the seed, &c. — Bishop Kidder observes, the meaning is, If water be put upon the seed to prepare it for food; thus distinguishing it from seed that was intended to be sown. But others have thought the reason of the difference to be, partly that wet seed sooner receives, and longer retains, any pollution than dry, and partly because such seed was not fit to be sown presently, and therefore that necessity which justified the immediate use of the dry seed, could not be pretended in this case.

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.
]See Leviticus 2:4. The word rendered "ranges for pots" has been conjectured to mean either an excavated fireplace, fitted to receive a pair of ovens, or a support like a pair of andirons. 31-35. whosoever doth touch them, when … dead, shall be unclean until the even—These regulations must have often caused annoyance by suddenly requiring the exclusion of people from society, as well as the ordinances of religion. Nevertheless they were extremely useful and salutary, especially as enforcing attention to cleanliness. This is a matter of essential importance in the East, where venomous reptiles often creep into houses and are found lurking in boxes, vessels, or holes in the wall; and the carcass of one of them, or a dead mouse, mole, lizard, or other unclean animal, might be inadvertently touched by the hand, or fall on clothes, skin bottles, or any article of common domestic use. By connecting, therefore, the touch of such creatures with ceremonial defilement, which required immediately to be removed, an effectual means was taken to prevent the bad effects of venom and all unclean or noxious matter. The reason of the difference is, partly because wet seed doth sooner receive and longer retain any pollution; and partly because such seed was not fit to be sown presently; and therefore that necessity which justified the use of the dry seed, which was speedily to be sown, could not be pretended in this case.

But if any water be put upon the seed,.... Either accidentally or on purpose; whether on sowing seed, and with water with which they water the field, as Aben Ezra interprets it; or on seed used for food, by steeping it in water, as sometimes wheat is, and boiled; and whether it is water or the rest of the liquors, and whether they are put on the seed, or the seed falls into them, it matters not, as Jarchi says:

and any part of their carcass fall thereon; that is, on the seed, though Aben Ezra observes, some say upon the water: the Targum of Jonathan adds, in its moisture, or while it is wet; and so may be thought to be more susceptible of impurity from the touch of a dead reptile, or any part of it, and which would render it unfit for sowing or eating, until it was dried and cleansed; yea, Jarchi says, if it falls thereon, even after it is dried:

it shall be unclean unto you; unfit for use.

But if any {l} water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.

(l) He speaks of seed that is laid to sleep before it is sown.

Leviticus 11:38All seed-corn that was intended to be sown remained clean, namely, because the uncleanness attaching to it externally would be absorbed by the earth. But if water had been put upon the seed, i.e., if the grain had been softened by water, it was to be unclean, because in that case the uncleanness would penetrate the softened grains and defile the substance of the seed, which would therefore produce uncleanness in the fruit.
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