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The sacred historian in this Chapter, enters upon the subject of clean and unclean beasts, and shows what may be eaten and what may not. As the Israelites were to be separated and distinguished from all nations of the earth; the LORD was pleased to mark them also respecting their diet, in the flesh of beasts, of fishes, of birds, and of creeping things.
At the very entrance on the perusal of this chapter, I would beg the Reader to attend to what the apostle saith on the general subject of Jewish meats, by way of pointing out the blessed privileges to which we are brought by the gospel, Hebrews 9:9-58.9.10 . And connect with this what the same apostle saith elsewhere, Romans 14:17 ; 1 Timothy 4:4-54.4.5 ; Colossians 2:16-51.2.17 ; 1 Corinthians 10:31 .
It is worthy of remark, that before the flood the flesh of animals was not allowed for food. Genesis 1:29-1.1.30 . After the flood a permission was given to eat flesh. Genesis 9:3 . Here the LORD draws a line of distinction between clean and unclean. Certainly this was for a mark of distinction between the LORD'S people, Israel, and other nations. And it should seem that by tradition, or somewhat like it, the LORD'S people had been distinguished respecting their food from the days of Abraham. So we read, that the Egyptians would not eat bread with the Hebrews: Genesis 43:32 . And probably this might have been derived from divine appointment, though we have no mention made of it; because we find that at the going into the ark, the LORD himself taught Noah concerning clean and unclean creatures. Genesis 7:2 .
Some have thought that in order to discountenance the most distant approach to idolatry, those creatures which the neighboring nations made their idols, were those which the LORD marked particularly as unclean; that they might be held in the greater abomination by the Israelites. Whether this be so or not, I do not say. But one observation I would make in this place concerning an error, which, for want of due attention, some Christians have fallen into, I mean respecting swine's flesh being so carefully abstained from by the Jews. It hath been thought that they eat it not, because CHRIST permitted the devil to enter into the herd of swine: Mark 5:13 . Whereas a moment's consideration would convince, that as the Jews did not believe in our LORD himself, consequently they pay no attention to this miracle. This scripture of the Levitical law concerning the unclean beast, explains it. The hog cheweth not the cud, and therefore, though he be cloven-footed yet is he unclean.
I make no observations on these verses, but only just to remark, that a spiritual and moral reflection may be drawn from every one. It was easy to follow up the doctrine contained in them, with an eye to believers, whose bodies are the temple of the HOLY GHOST; and to show how everything that is of an unclean and polluting nature should be avoided. Ephesians 5:1-49.5.5 .
One general observation will be all that is necessary to offer on the law, concerning the clean and unclean among the fishes, and the fowls, and the creeping things of the earth. The grand object evidently intended from the whole, is to show that we are all unclean by nature, and made clean only in CHRIST JESUS. This is the first and ultimate design of these laws, which were all intermediate and introductory, as leading to the LORD JESUS. Our adored Redeemer hath delivered us from the law of carnal ordinances, which perish with the using, being dead to them with CHRIST. He hath taught us, that it is not that which goeth into the mouth that defileth a man, but that which cometh out from the heart. And as every creature of GOD is good that is sanctified by the word and prayer; it is our happiness and privilege, that what GOD hath cleansed is no longer unclean. See Colossians 2:21-51.2.22 ; Matthew 15:11 ; 1 Timothy 4:3-54.4.4 ; Acts 10:28 .
DEAREST JESUS! enable me in every part of the law of ordinances to be looking through them unto thee. And while calling myself a member of thy mystical body, give me grace to be holy as thou art holy. Separate me, O my GOD, from all that is unclean. Let all filthiness and fornication, and uncleanness be driven far from me, and let it not be once named by me, or thy people, as becometh saints. And oh! do thou, by thy blessed SPIRIT, dwell in me and be in me. Make my body thy temple. Bring every thought into obedience to the captivity of CHRIST. And while walking through the world, LORD keep me from all the pollutions of the world. Be thou my ruler and guide, that I may so use the world as not abusing it, because the fashion of it passeth away.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 11". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent