The carcasses of every beast which divides the hoof, and is not cloven footed, nor chews the cud, are unclean to you: every one that touches them shall be unclean.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The carcases of every beast.—The construction of this text constituted one of the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees during the second Temple. According to the Pharisees, or the National Church in the time of Christ, the phrase “that toucheth them” in the last part of this verse refers to “the carcases” of the unclean animals spoken of in the preceding verse. It was only when an unclean animal was dead, whether death was owing to natural causes, design, or accident, that contact with its body defiled (see Leviticus 11:8; Leviticus 11:31); but when alive, unclean animals were freely used. Hence camels, asses, horses, &c, were employed in daily life, though unclean (1Chronicles 12:40; Zechariah 14:15; Matthew 21:2; Luke 13:15, &c.). The Authorised Version rightly expresses this sense by inserting “the carcases” in italics at the beginning of the verse, thus showing that “them” in the latter part of the verse refers to the bodies of unclean animals when dead. Indeed some MSS. have actually “that toucheth their carcases,” instead of “that toucheth them.” The Sadducees, however, took the expression “them” to refer to the living unclean animals, and hence maintained that touching the body of any animal described in this dietary list as unclean defiled. The difference which this interpretation of the text produced in the domestic life and social intercourse of the Jews can hardly be described, since, according to the doctrine of the Sadducees, it was exceedingly difficult to remain undefiled as soon as one of them stepped outside their dwellings.Leviticus 11:26. The carcasses of every beast, &c., are unclean — They were prohibited from touching their dead bodies, but not their bodies when alive: for they used camels, horses, asses, &c., for necessary service, Leviticus 11:31.
]Leviticus 5:2. carcasses is easily to be understood out of Leviticus 11:24,25, where it is expressed.
nor cheweth the cud; though it may divide the hoof, as the swine; and on the other hand, such as may chew the cud, and yet not dividing the hoof, as the coney and hare; for the Scripture here, as Aben Ezra observes again, uses a short and concise way of speaking: these
are unclean unto you; to be reckoned by them such, and neither to be eaten nor touched:
everyone that toucheth them shall be unclean; until the evening; and obliged to washing, though not expressed: this is not to be understood of touching them while alive, as some Sadducees or Karaites understand it, according to Aben Ezra; for camels, horses, mules, &c. might be, and were rode upon, and so touched; but of them when dead, or their carcases, as is rightly supplied in the beginning of the verse; and the Jewish writers (c) understand this of the flesh of the carcass only, not of the bones, horns, and hoofs, which, they say, do not defile, only the flesh: this is repeated from Leviticus 11:8.The carcasses of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not cloven-footed, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Deuteronomy 14:19). To the birds there are appended flying animals of other kinds: "all swarms of fowl that go upon fours," i.e., the smaller winged animals with four feet, which are called sherez, "swarms," on account of their multitude. These were not to be eaten, as they were all abominations, with the exception of those "which have two shank-feet above their feet (i.e., springing feet) to leap with" (לא for לו as in Exodus 21:8). Locusts are the animals referred to, four varieties being mentioned with their different species ("after his kind"); but these cannot be identified with exactness, as there is still a dearth of information as to the natural history of the oriental locust. It is well known that locusts were eaten by many of the nations of antiquity both in Asia and Africa, and even the ancient Greeks thought the Cicades very agreeable in flavour (Arist. h. an. 5, 30). In Arabia they are sold in the market, sometimes strung upon cords, sometimes by measure; and they are also dried, and kept in bags for winter use. For the most part, however, it is only by the poorer classes that they are eaten, and many of the tribes of Arabia abhor them (Robinson, ii. p. 628); and those who use them as food do not eat all the species indiscriminately. They are generally cooked over hot coals, or on a plate, or in an oven, or stewed in butter, and eaten either with salt or with spice and vinegar, the head, wings, and feet being thrown away. They are also boiled in salt and water, and eaten with salt or butter. Another process is to dry them thoroughly, and then grind them into meal and make cakes of them. The Israelites were allowed to eat the arbeh, i.e., according to Exodus 10:13, Exodus 10:19; Nahum 3:17, etc., the flying migratory locust, gryllus migratorius, which still bears this name, according to Niebuhr, in Maskat and Bagdad, and is poetically designated in Psalm 78:46; Psalm 105:34, as חסיל, the devourer, and ילק, the eater-up; but Knobel is mistaken in supposing that these names are applied to certain species of the arbeh. סלעם, according to the Chaldee, deglutivit, absorpsit, is unquestionably a larger and peculiarly voracious species of locust. This is all that can be inferred from the rashon of the Targums and Talmud, whilst the ἀττάκης and attacus of the lxx and Vulg. are altogether unexplained. חרגּל: according to the Arabic, a galloping, i.e., a hopping, not a flying species of locust. This is supported by the Samaritan, also by the lxx and Vulg., ὀφιομάχης, ophiomachus. According to Hesychius and Suidas, it was a species of locust without wings, probably a very large kind; as it is stated in Mishnah, Shabb. vi. 10, that an egg of the chargol was sometimes suspended in the ear, as a remedy for earache. Among the different species of locusts in Mesopotamia, Niebuhr (Arab. p. 170) saw two of a very large size with springing feet, but without wings. חגב, a word of uncertain etymology, occurs in Numbers 13:33, where the spies are described as being like chagabim by the side of the inhabitants of the country, and in 2 Chronicles 7:13, where the chagab devours the land. From these passages we may infer that it was a species of locust without wings, small but very numerous, probably the ἀττέλαβος, which is often mentioned along with the ἀκρίς, but as a distinct species, locustarum minima sine pennis (Plin. h. n. 29, c. 4, s. 29), or parva locusta modicis pennis reptans potius quam volitans semperque subsiliens (Jerome (on Nahum 3:17).
(Note: In Deuteronomy 14:19 the edible kinds of locusts are passed over, because it was not the intention of Moses to repeat every particular of the earlier laws in these addresses. But when Knobel (on Lev. pp. 455 and 461) gives this explanation of the omission, that the eating of locusts is prohibited in Deuteronomy, and the Deuteronomist passes them over because in his more advanced age there was apparently no longer any necessity for the prohibition, this arbitrary interpretation is proved to be at variance with historical truth by the fact that locusts were eaten by John the Baptist, inasmuch as this proves at all events that a more advanced age had not given up the custom of eating locusts.)
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