Leviticus 11:4
Nevertheless these shall you not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof; he is unclean to you.
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(4) Nevertheless these shall ye not eat.—As there are some quadrupeds which comply with only one of the two above-named conditions—i.e., which ruminate but have not their hoofs perfectly parted in two, or, vice versâ, are bisulcous and not ruminant—it is here declared that such animals must not be eaten.

As the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not . . . —Better, though he cheweth the cud, yet he divideth not, as the same phrase is properly rendered in the Authorised Version in Leviticus 11:7. The first animal adduced to illustrate this fact is the indispensable camel, or “the ship of the desert,” as it is aptly called. Though cloven-footed above, the toes of the camel are united below in a large elastic pad on which the camel treads, and which is like the sole of a shoe. Hence it does not come within the category of those animals which are thoroughly bisulcate. The Egyptians, the Zebii, and the Hindus, too, did not eat camel’s flesh, because they supposed it to be heating, and to engender cruelty and revenge; whilst the Persians, the ancient Arabians, and the Moslems feasted upon its milk and flesh.

Leviticus 11:4. The camel — A usual food in Arabia, but yielding bad nourishment; for though its food is only vegetables and water, the fibres of its flesh are hardened, and rendered in a great measure indigestible, and the salts highly exalted, by its habitual and great exercise. This prohibition cut off all familiar intercourse between the Jews and Arabians.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.
]Divideth not the hoof - The toes of the camel are divided above, but they are united below in a sort of cushion or pad resting upon the hard bottom of the foot, which is "like the sole of a shoe." The Moslems eat the flesh of the camel, but it is said not to be wholesome. 4. the camel—It does to a certain extent divide the hoof, for the foot consists of two large parts, but the division is not complete; the toes rest upon an elastic pad on which the animal goes; as a beast of burden its flesh is tough. An additional reason for its prohibition might be to keep the Israelites apart from the descendants of Ishmael. The camel was a usual food in Arabia, but yielding bad nourishment, as Galen notes.

Divideth not the hoof, to wit, so as to have his foot cloven in two, which being expressed Leviticus 11:3, is here to be understood; otherwise the camel’s hoof is divided, but it is but a small and imperfect division, as Aristotle and Pliny observe, and observation shows. Nevertheless, these shall ye not eat,.... To whom one of these descriptive characters may agree but not the other:

of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: there being some that chewed the cud but did not divide the hoof; others that divided the hoof but did not chew the cud, of which instances are given as follow:

as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you; and not to be eaten, whether male or female; or rather, "though he cheweth the cud"; and this account agrees with what naturalists give of it; so Aristotle (z) says it has not both rows of teeth, but wants its upper teeth, and chews as horned cattle do, and has bellies like theirs; for they have more bellies than one, as the sheep, and goat, and hart, and others; since the service of the mouth is not sufficient to grind the food for want of teeth, this is supplied by the bellies, which receive the food one after another; in the first it is undigested, in the second somewhat more digested, in the third more fully, in the fourth completely: and so many bellies the camel has, as a very learned searcher (a) into these things observes; the first is the biggest, the second very small, the third much greater than the second, and the fourth equal to the second; in the second belly between the tunics, he says, seem to be the hydrophylacia, in which the water they drink is kept, very commodious for these animals passing through sandy deserts, so that they can long bear thirst: Pliny (b) says four days: Leo Africanus (c) relates a method used by travellers in the deserts of Lybia, who being in extreme want of water kill one of their camels, out of whose intestines they press out water; this they drink, this they carry about till they find a well, or must die with thirst: and the account also which is given of the feet of these creatures agrees; it parts the hoof, but not thoroughly, it is not cleft quite through, and so comes not up to Moses's descriptive character of clean creatures; its hoof is divided in two, but so divided, as Aristotle (d) observes, that it is but little divided on the back part unto the second joint of the toes; the fore part is very little divided, to the first joint of the toes, and there is something between the parts, as in the feet of geese: and so Pliny says (e) it has two hoofs, but the lower part of the foot is but very little divided, so that it is not thoroughly cleft: but though the flesh of these creatures was forbidden the Jews, it was eaten by people of other nations; both Aristotle (f) and Pliny (g) commend the milk of camels; and by the former the flesh of them is said to be exceeding sweet; and Diodorus Siculus relates (h), that what with their milk and their flesh, which is eaten, as well as on account of their carrying burdens, they are very profitable unto men; and Strabo (i) says, the Nomades eat the flesh and milk of camels; and so the Africans, according to Leo Africanus (k); and a countryman of ours (l), who lived some time in Arabia, relates, that when a camel falls they kill it, and the poorer sort of the company eat it; and he says that he himself ate of camel's flesh, and that it was very sweet and nourishing: these creatures, in the mystic sense, may be an emblem of such persons, that carry their heads high, are proud and haughty, that boast of their riches, or trust in their righteousness.

(z) De Part. Animal. l. 3. c. 14. (a) Scheuchzer. ib. p. 280. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 18. (c) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. p. 75. (d) Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 1.((e) L. 11. c. 45. (f) Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 26. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 41. (h) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 137. (i) Geograph. l. 16. p. 535. (k) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. p. 48. l. 6. 617, 620. Arab. Geogr. Clim. 1. par. 1. 3. (l) Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, c. 8. p. 106. Vid. Hieron, adv. Jovinian. l. 2.

Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
4. The camel’s hoof is parted above but the lower part is not divided. The Egyptians did not eat the flesh of the camel, but both the flesh and the milk are considered as lawful food by the Arabs.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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