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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 11

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,

Unto Moses and to Aaron. — Magistrate and minister must jointly see that God’s laws be duly executed. Queen Elizabeth once in her progress visiting the county of Suffolk, all the justices of peace in that county met her majesty; having every one his minister next to his body; which the queen took special notice of, and thereupon uttered this speech, that she had often demanded of her Privy Council why her county of Suffolk was better governed than any other county, and could never understand the reason thereof, but now she herself perceived the reason. It must needs be so, said she, where Moses and Aaron, the word and the sword, go together.

Verse 2

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These [are] the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that [are] on the earth.

These are the beasts which ye shall eat. — These, and these only; (1.) That ye may be at mine appointment for your very meat, as who am chief Lord of all; (2.) That there may be a difference betwixt you and all other people; (3.) That ye may be taught to study purity, and know that the very creatures are defiled by man’s sin; (4.) That ye may have these things as "a shadow of things to come." Colossians 2:16-17

Verse 3

Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, [and] cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud. — To teach them to think upon God’s commandments to do them, Psalms 103:18 cleansing themselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Moreover clean Christians, typed by those clean beasts, must rightly part the hoof; that is, rightly divide their time; giving a due share thereof to either of their callings.

Verse 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.

The camel. — The foolish Jews when they saw Mohammed arising in such power, were immediately ready to cry him up for their Messiah. But when they saw him eat of a camel, saith mine author, Dr Hall’s Peacemaker. they were as blank as when they saw the hoped issue of their late Jewish virgin turned to a daughter.

Verse 5

And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you.

And the coney. — Which hath his name in Hebrew from hiding himself in holes. A weak, but a wise creature. Proverbs 30:26 And wisdom is better than strength. Ecclesiastes 9:15 The hare that trusts to the swiftness of her legs, is at length taken and torn in pieces; when the coney that flees to the rocks, doth easily avoid the dogs that pursue her. See Isaiah 40:30-31 .

Verse 6

And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you.

Because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not. — Meditation must end in practice: as lessons of music must be practised, and a copy not read only, but written after.

Verse 7

And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he [is] unclean to you.

And the swine.Anima sui data pro sale, ne carnes putrescant, said Cleanthes. The swine hath his soul for salt only; so hath the drunkard.

Verse 8

Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they [are] unclean to you.

Of their flesh shall ye not eat. — Not above the quantity of an olive, say the Jew doctors, who will needs be mending magnificat, adding to the law.

Verse 9

These shall ye eat of all that [are] in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

Whatsoever hath fins and scales. — The fins of the fish are for steering of their motion, the scales for smoothness of passage, for safeguard, for ornament. Those only are clean in the sight of God, Qui squamas et loricam habent patientiae, et pinnulas hilaritatis, saith Bernard. Sermon I. in Die oct. And.

Verse 10

And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which [is] in the waters, they [shall be] an abomination unto you:

Of all that move in the waters. — And yet swim also in the air. Like to these is the temporary believer: for that seeming to mount up in spiritual joys, yet he withal swimmeth, yea, batheth himself in the waters of sensual delights.

Verse 11

They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

They shall be even an abomination. — To teach us, that nothing is lawful, no not for our common use, unless it be "sanctified by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:5 Acts 10:35

Verse 12

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that [shall be] an abomination unto you.

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales. — These are little in motion or action, and so not so wholesome as eels and lampreys, that lie lazily in the mud.

Verse 13

And these [are they which] ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they [are] an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

The eagle. — Which yet is counted and called the king of birds, and delights in high flying. That which is highly "esteemed amongst men is abomination before God." Luke 16:15

Verse 14

And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

And the vulture, and the kite. — That feed upon carrion and dead carcasses, and are emblems of greedy gripers and oppressors.

Verse 15

Every raven after his kind;

Every raven. — Unnatural to his young, whom God himself heareth and feedeth, Psalms 147:9 though they cry with a harsh note, and cry to God by implication only; and though the raven be an inauspicate bird, and a sign both of man’s punishment and God’s curse. Isaiah 34:11

Verse 16

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

And the owl, and the night hawk. — Night birds that hate the light, or fly against it, as bats do, are an abomination. Deeds of darkness are out of date, now in the days of the gospel especially. Romans 13:12-13

Verse 17

And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

And the cormorant. — An unsatisfiable bird, that fitly resembleth the devil, who daily devours souls, and yet enlargeth his desires as hell.

Verse 18

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,

And the swan. — Whose white feathers, but black skin under them, might serve to set forth the hatefulness of hypocrisy.

Verse 19

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

And the stork. — Which builds high, Psalms 104:17 but feeds low on fishes, frogs, and snakes; and so might be the rather rejected as unfit for food.

And the lapwing. — Which is worthily made a hieroglyphic of infelicity; because it hath as a coronet upon the head, and yet feeds upon the worst of excrements. It is pity that the saints, that are brought up in scarlet, should embrace the dunghill; Lamentations 4:5 that any one that is washed in Christ’s blood, should bedabble his robe in the stinking puddle of the world.

And the bat. — Cast away either thy wings or thy teeth, saith one Dr Hall, Epist. to W. L. to a neuter, and loathing this batlike nature, be what thou art, either a bird or a beast.

Verse 20

All fowls that creep, going upon [all] four, [shall be] an abomination unto you.

All fowls that creep. — So all mongrels in religion, that, like the planet Mercury, can he good in conjunction with good, and bad with bad; that have religionem ephemeram, fidem menstruam. Hilar.

Verse 21

Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon [all] four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;

Which have legs above their feet,i.e., Which have the hinder feet longer, whereby they may leap. Whereas those that have all four feet equal, as Leviticus 11:23 , may not be eaten.

Verse 22

[Even] these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

The locust, … — All creeping fowls that go upon all four might not be beaten, except Arbe, Soleam, Chargol, and Chargah, names to us unknown.

Verse 23

But all [other] flying creeping things, which have four feet, [shall be] an abomination unto you.

Which have four feet. — See on Leviticus 11:21 .

Verse 24

And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.

Whosoever toucheth the carcass. — This and the like signified that all, even the least sins, are to be purged through Christ, and carefully cast away.

Verse 25

And whosoever beareth [ought] of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

Beareth aught, … — In his clothes, though he do not touch them with his flesh.

Shall wash his clothes. — This was a type of the defiling property of sin: as also of our cleansing by repentance, and faith in Christ’s blood.

Verse 26

[The carcases] of every beast which divideth the hoof, and [is] not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, [are] unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.

Not cloven footed. — See on Leviticus 11:5 .

Verse 27

And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on [all] four, those [are] unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.

Paws. — As wolves, lions, bears, dogs, cats, apes, …

Verse 28

And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they [are] unclean unto you.

Shall wash his clothes. — As having committed a greater sin than he that toucheth a carcass only. All sin defileth not alike.

Verse 29

These also [shall be] unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

And the tortoise. — Which hath its name in Hebrew of a coach or wagon. The thick shell wherewith it is covered is said to be so hard, that a loaded wagon may go over it and not break it. And such is a hard heart, that cannot repent, or relent never so little.

Verse 30

And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.

The chameleon. — A very fearful creature, and therefore easily turning himself into sundry colours. Carnal fear puts men upon unwarrantable shifts. See Zephaniah 3:13 .

Verse 31

These [are] unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.

Touch them, when they be dead. — There is no kind of living creature that is defiled while it is alive, or that defileth while it is alive, save man only, saith Maimony. Others note that there were more remarkable expressions of God’s anger upon man’s sin in the dead body of a man than of a beast. The one made unclean but till evening: the other seven days.

Verse 32

And upon whatsoever [any] of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether [it be] any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel [it be], wherein [any] work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.

It shall be unclean. — With a ceremonial uncleanness only, and not moral: howbeit, the disobedience, even in such a small matter, brought a guilt upon the soul, which did defile, while the prohibition was in force; as one well observeth.

Verse 33

And every earthen vessel, whereinto [any] of them falleth, whatsoever [is] in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.

Ye shall break it. — So shall reprobates be broken in pieces, like a potter’s vessel. Psalms 2:9 , Jeremiah 9:11

Verse 34

Of all meat which may be eaten, [that] on which [such] water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every [such] vessel shall be unclean.

Such water. — Coming out of such an unclean place, or vessel.

Verse 35

And every [thing] whereupon [any part] of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; [whether it be] oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: [for] they [are] unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.

Whether it be oven, or ranges for pots. — All this, to teach them how strict they were to be, in avoiding the least pollution of sin.

Verse 36

Nevertheless a fountain or pit, [wherein there is] plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.

Nevertheless a fountain. — Because it would cleanse itself, and work out the uncleanness. So will faith.

Verse 37

And if [any part] of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it [shall be] clean.

It shall be clean. — Because of necessity.

Verse 38

But if [any] water be put upon the seed, and [any part] of their carcase fall thereon, it [shall be] unclean unto you.

It shall be unclean. — And therefore not to be eaten, but given to beasts.

Verse 39

And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.

Of which ye may. — Compare Psalms 49:12 , pecoribus morticinis. - Tremel.

Verse 40

And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

Shall wash his clothes. — To teach them to "hate even the garment spotted by the flesh," Judges 1:23 all provocations and instruments of sin.

Verse 41

And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth [shall be] an abomination; it shall not be eaten.

Ver. 41,42. And every creeping thing. — Whether it goeth upon the belly, as snakes, worms; or crawls upon all fours, as toads, scorpions; or hath any feet to creep withal, as caterpillars, Millepedae,

Verse 42

Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon [all] four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they [are] an abomination.

See Trapp on " Leviticus 11:41 "

Verse 43

Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.

Ye shall not make yourselves. — Heb., Your souls. See on Leviticus 11:32 .

Verse 44

For I [am] the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I [am] holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. — Great men look to be served like themselves: so the great God.

Verse 45

For I [am] the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy.

That bringeth you up. — This is often inculcated. God’s blessings are binders; and every new deliverance calls for new obedience.

Verse 46

This [is] the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:

This is the law of the beasts. — Grounded upon right reason, however it may seem otherwise, as is also every other law of God.

Verse 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.

To make a difference. — Ministers also in their discourses should put a difference, and take out "the precious from the vile," Jeremiah 15:19 as did Zuinglius; who, when he inveighed most vehemently against sin, would usually come in with this clause, Probe vir, haec nihil ad te, This is not intended to thee, thou godly man.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 11". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/leviticus-11.html. 1865-1868.
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