Leviticus 11:33
And every earthen vessel, into where any of them falls, whatever is in it shall be unclean; and you shall break it.
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(33) And every earthen vessel.—The case, however, is different with regard to vessels made of clay and burned in the kiln.

Whereinto any of them falleth.—Better, where into aught of them falleth, that is, into which any of the aforesaid portion of a defiling carcase falls (see Leviticus 11:32). Whilst defiled vessels of other materials were made clean by water, earthen vessels, when they became defiled, had to be destroyed (see Leviticus 6:28), and their contents were rendered polluted.

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.
]Earthen vessel - See the marginal references. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth,.... Any of the above eight reptiles, should they by chance fall into the midst an earthen vessel:

whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; if it only by falling touched the outside of it, it was not unclean; but if it fell into it, then whatever was contained in it was unclean; for, as Jarchi says, an earthen vessel does not pollute or receive pollution, but from the air of it (u), from its inside:

and ye shall break it; other vessels might be put into water and rinsed, and so be cleansed, but earthen vessels, being of no great value, were to be broken in pieces: an emblem this, as Ainsworth suggests, of the dissolution of our bodies, which are as earthen vessels, and of the destruction of sin thereby, and of the entire removal of it by death. (u) Vid. Misn. Celaim, c. 2. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
The same rule was applicable to all these animals: "whoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even," i.e., for the rest of the day; he was then of course to wash himself. Whoever carried their carrion, viz., to take it away, was also unclean till the evening, and being still more deeply affected by the defilement, he was to wash his clothes as well.
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