Touch not, taste not, handle not.
] This the apostle says, not of himself, but in the person of the Jewish doctors; who urging the use of the ceremonial law, to which they added decrees and constitutions of their own, said, "touch not" the dead body of any man, the bone of a man, or a grave, any man or woman in their uncleanness; not only their flesh, but the bed they lay on, or the seat they sat on; or any creature that was by the law unclean; of a Gentile, or any notorious sinner, or common man: hence the Pharisees used to wash themselves when they returned from market, lest they should have been by any means accidentally defiled by touching any thing unclean. There is a treatise in their Misna, called Oholot, which gives many rules, and is full of decrees about things (egmb) (Myamjm) , "that defile by touching". And so they likewise said, "taste not", neither the fat, nor the blood of any creature which might be eaten itself, nor swine's flesh, nor the flesh of any creature that chewed the cud, or divided the hoof; nor might the Nazarites taste wine, or strong drink, or vinegar made of either, or moist grapes, or even the kernels and husks; and if a man ate but the quantity of an olive of any of the above things, he was, according to the Jewish canons, to be cut off, or beaten F24: and they also said, "handle not"; or, as the Syriac and Arabic read, "do not come near", or "draw not nigh", to a Gentile, to one of another nation, or any unclean person, to whom they forbid any near approach or conversation; or "handle not" any of the above things. Some think that these several rules have respect only to meats; as "touch not", that is, do not eat of things forbidden ever so little; nay, "taste not", do not let anything of them come within your lips; yea, "handle not", do not so much as touch them with your fingers. Others think that touch not regards abstinence from women; see ( 1 Corinthians 7:1 ) ; and respects the prohibition of marriage by some in those times; and "taste not", the forbearance of certain meats, at certain times, which God had not restrained any from; and "handle not", that is, make no use of, or enjoy your own goods, and so designs that voluntary poverty which some entered into under the direction of false teachers.
F24 Maimon. Maacolot Asurot, c. 7. sect. 1. & c. 14. sect. 2. & Nezirut, c. 5. sect. 3.