Leviticus 11:4
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.
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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.

Leviticus 11:4Any animal which was wanting in either of these marks was to be unclean, or not to be eaten. This is the case with the camel, whose flesh is eaten by the Arabs; it ruminates, but it has not cloven hoofs. Its foot is severed, it is true, but not thoroughly cloven, as there is a ball behind, upon which it treads. The hare and hyrax (Klippdachs) were also unclean, because, although they ruminate, they have not cloven hoofs. It is true that modern naturalists affirm that the two latter do not ruminate at all, as they have not the four stomachs that are common to ruminant animals; but they move the jaw sometimes in a manner which looks like ruminating, so that even Linnaeus affirmed that the hare chewed the cud, and Moses followed the popular opinion. According to Bochart, Oedmann, and others, the shaphan is the jerboa, and according to the Rabbins and Luther, the rabbit or coney. But the more correct view is, that it is the wabr of the Arabs, which is still called tsofun in Southern Arabia (hyrax Syriacus), an animal which feeds on plants, a native of the countries of the Lebanon and Jordan, also of Arabia and Africa. They live in the natural caves and clefts of the rocks (Psalm 104:18), are very gregarious, being often seen seated in troops before the openings to their caves, and extremely timid as they are quite defenceless (Proverbs 30:26). They are about the size of rabbits, of a brownish grey or brownish yellow colour, but white under the belly; they have bright eyes, round ears, and no tail. The Arabs eat them, but do not place them before their guests.

(Note: See Shaw, iii. p. 301; Seetzen, ii. p. 228; Robinson's Biblical Researches, p. 387; and Roediger on Gesenius thesaurus, p. 1467.)

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