Leviticus 11:47
To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(47) To make a difference.—Better, that ye may put difference, as the Authorised Version renders the same word in Leviticus 10:10. That is, the design of the dietary law is to enable both the administrators of the law and the people to distinguish, by the characteristics and criteria specified above, between what is clean and unclean.

And between the beast that may be eaten.—From the fact that the same word, “beast,” is used in both clauses with regard to the animal which may be eaten and the one which may not be eaten without the qualifying adjunct “clean” and “unclean,” the administrators of the law during the second Temple concluded that the same clean animal is meant in both instances, under different conditions. The clean animal may be eaten when it is in a healthy state, but the same animal may not be eaten when it has organic defects, or is diseased. Hence they enacted the following canon: an animal is perfectly sound when it is capable of conceiving and bringing forth young. This is the reason why the LXX. renders the word beast here by viviparous.

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.
]These verses set forth the spiritual ground on which the distinction between clean and unclean is based. Compare the marginal references and Leviticus 10:10; Leviticus 20:25-26; 1 Peter 1:15-16.

The basis of the obligation to maintain the distinction was the call of the Hebrews to be the special people of Yahweh. It was to he something in their daily life to remind them of the covenant which distinguished them from the nations of the world. By Jesus Christ it was revealed Matthew 15:11 to the elect people that they were no longer to he tied by the letter of the Law in regard to their food, but were to be left to the exercise of a regenerated judgment. They were to learn that the kingdom of God is not eating, or abstaining from, meats and drinks; but righteousness, and truth, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17. Compare Acts 10:15; 1 Timothy 4:4).

47. make a difference between the unclean and the clean—that is, between animals used and not used for food. It is probable that the laws contained in this chapter were not entirely new, but only gave the sanction of divine enactment to ancient usages. Some of the prohibited animals have, on physiological grounds, been everywhere rejected by the general sense or experience of mankind; while others may have been declared unclean from their unwholesomeness in warm countries or from some reasons, which are now imperfectly known, connected with contemporary idolatry. No text from Poole on this verse.

To make a difference between the unclean and the clean,.... Whether of beasts, fish, fowl, and flying creeping things:

and between the beast that may be eaten, and the beast that may not be eaten; the former clause takes in all in general, this instances in a particular sort of creatures; and the first mentioned of which, that might be eaten, are, that part the hoof, are cloven footed, and chew the cud; and that might not, that chew the cud, but divide not the hoof, or divide the hoof, but chew not the cud; and now, by such like descriptions and distinctions of the creatures treated of, the Israelites would be able to make a difference between the one and the other, and know what was to be eaten, and what not.

To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
Leviticus 11:47Leviticus 11:46, Leviticus 11:47 contain the concluding formula to the whole of this law. If we take a survey, in closing, of the animals that are enumerated as unclean and not suitable for food, we shall find that among the larger land animals they were chiefly beasts of prey, that seize upon other living creatures and devour them in their blood; among the water animals, all snake-like fishes and slimy shell-fish; among birds, the birds of prey, which watch for the life of other animals and kill them, the marsh-birds, which live on worms, carrion, and all kinds of impurities, and such mongrel creatures as the ostrich, which lives in the desert, and the bat, which flies about in the dark; and lastly, all the smaller animals, with the exception of a few graminivorous locusts, but more especially the snake-like lizards, - partly because they called to mind the old serpent, partly because they crawled in the dust, seeking their food in mire and filth, and suggested the thought of corruption by the slimy nature of their bodies. They comprised, in fact, all such animals as exhibited more or less the darker type of sin, death, and corruption; and it was on this ethical ground alone, and not for all kinds of sanitary reasons, or even from political motives, that the nation of Israel, which was called to sanctification, was forbidden to eat them. It is true there are several animals mentioned as unclean, e.g., the ass, the camel, and others, in which we can no longer recognise this type. But we must bear in mind, that the distinction between clean animals and unclean goes back to the very earliest times (Genesis 7:2-3), and that in relation to the large land animals, as well as to the fishes, the Mosaic law followed the marks laid down by tradition, which took its rise in the primeval age, whose childlike mind, acute perception, and deep intuitive insight into nature generally, discerned more truly and essentially the real nature of the animal creation than we shall ever be able to do, with thoughts and perceptions disturbed as ours are by the influences of unnatural and ungodly culture.

(Note: "In its direct and deep insight into the entire nexus of the physical, psychical, and spiritual world, into the secret correspondences of the cosmos and nomos, this sense for nature anticipated discoveries which we shall never make with our ways of thinking, but which a purified humanity, when looking back from the new earth, will fully understand, and will no longer only 'see through a glass darkly.'" - Leyrer, Herzog's Cycl.)

Leviticus 11:47 Interlinear
Leviticus 11:47 Parallel Texts

Leviticus 11:47 NIV
Leviticus 11:47 NLT
Leviticus 11:47 ESV
Leviticus 11:47 NASB
Leviticus 11:47 KJV

Leviticus 11:47 Bible Apps
Leviticus 11:47 Parallel
Leviticus 11:47 Biblia Paralela
Leviticus 11:47 Chinese Bible
Leviticus 11:47 French Bible
Leviticus 11:47 German Bible

Bible Hub

Leviticus 11:46
Top of Page
Top of Page