Leviticus 11

1 ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon,
2 "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals:
3 any that has a separate hoof which is completely divided and chews the cud - these animals you may eat.
4 But you are not to eat those that only chew the cud or only have a separate hoof. For example, the camel, the coney and the hare are unclean for you, because they chew the cud but don't have a separate hoof;
7 while the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn't chew the cud.
8 You are not to eat meat from these or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
9 "'Of all the things that live in the water, you may eat these: anything in the water that has fins and scales, whether in seas or in rivers -these you may eat.
10 But everything in the seas and rivers without both fins and scales, of all the small water-creatures and of all the living creatures in the water, is a detestable thing for you.
11 Yes, these will be detestable for you -you are not to eat their meat, and you are to detest their carcasses.
12 Whatever lacks fins and scales in the water is a detestable thing for you.
13 "'The following creatures of the air are to be detestable for you - they are not to be eaten, they are a detestable thing: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey,
14 the kite, the various kinds of buzzards,
15 the various kinds of ravens,
16 the ostrich, the screech-owl, the seagull, the various kinds of hawks,
17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl,
18 the horned owl, the pelican, the barn owl,
19 the stork, the various kinds of herons, the hoopoe and the bat.
20 "'All winged swarming creatures that go on all fours are a detestable thing for you;
21 except that of all winged swarming creatures that go on all fours, you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, enabling them to jump off the ground.
22 Specifically, of these you may eat the various kinds of locusts, grasshoppers, katydids and crickets.
23 But other than that, all winged swarming creatures having four feet are a detestable thing for you.
24 "'The following will make you unclean; whoever touches the carcass of them will be unclean until evening,
25 and whoever picks up any part of their carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening:
26 every animal that has a separate but incompletely divided hoof or that doesn't chew the cud is unclean for you; anyone who touches them will become unclean.
27 Whatever goes on its paws, among all animals that go on all fours, is unclean for you; whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening;
28 and whoever picks up its carcass is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening -these are unclean for you.
29 "'The following are unclean for you among the small creatures that swarm on the ground: the weasel, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards,
30 the gecko, the land crocodile, the skink, the sand-lizard and the chameleon.
31 They are unclean crawling creatures; whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean until evening.
32 Anything on which one of them falls when dead will become unclean -wooden utensil, article of clothing, leather, sacking -any utensil used for work; it must be put in water, and it will be unclean until evening; then it will be clean.
33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, whatever is in it will become unclean, and you are to break the pot.
34 Any food permitted to be eaten that water from such a vessel gets on will become unclean, and any permitted liquid in such a vessel will become unclean.
35 Everything on which any carcass-part of theirs falls will become unclean, whether oven or stove; it is to be broken in pieces -they are unclean and will be unclean for you;
36 although a spring or cistern for collecting water remains clean. But anyone who touches one of their carcasses will become unclean.
37 If any carcass-part of theirs falls on any kind of seed to be sown, it is clean;
38 but if water is put on the seed and a carcass-part of theirs falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 "'If an animal of a kind that you are permitted to eat dies, whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until evening.
40 A person who eats meat from its carcass or carries its carcass is to wash his clothes; he will be unclean until evening.
41 "'Any creature that swarms on the ground is a detestable thing; it is not to be eaten -
42 whatever moves on its stomach, goes on all fours, or has many legs -all creatures that swarm on the ground; you are not to eat them, because they are a detestable thing.
43 You are not to make yourselves detestable with any of these swarming, crawling creatures; do not make yourselves unclean with them, do not defile yourselves with them.
44 For I am ADONAI your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy; and do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground.
45 For I am ADONAI, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.
46 "'Such, then, is the law concerning animals, flying creatures, all living creatures that move about in the water, and all creatures that swarm on the ground.
47 Its purpose is to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.'" Suggested readings for Parashah Sh'mini from the B'rit Hadashah:

Leviticus 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 11

This chapter treats of creatures clean and unclean, as fit or not fit to be eaten; and first of beasts, whose signs are given, Le 11:1-8 then of fishes, which are likewise described, Le 11:9-12 after that of fowls, and those that are not to be eaten are particularly named, Le 11:13-19 next of creeping things, which are distinguished into two sorts, as flying creeping things, of which those that are unclean, their carcasses are not even to be touched, as neither the carcasses of unclean beasts, Le 11:20-28 and creeping things on the earth, which defile by touching, as well as eating, and make everything unclean, upon which, being dead, they fall, Le 11:29-43 and these laws are enforced from the holiness and goodness of God, Le 11:44,45 and the chapter is concluded with a recapitulation of them, Le 11:46,47.

Leviticus 11 Commentaries