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Leviticus - Chapter 11

Bible Study Notes

Leviticus 11:1-8 Laws on what animals are considered unclean for food or touching their dead carcasses.

Can’t Eat:

Chew the cud – Camel, Rock Badger, and Rabbit

Parting Hoof - Pig

Notes: God used the tangible issues of life, which he labeled clean/unclean, to repeatedly impress upon Israel the difference between what was holy and unholy. “Clean” means acceptable to God; “unclean” means unacceptable to God. All of the reasons for the prohibitions are not specified. The major points were: 1) that Israel was to obey God’s absolute standard, regardless of the reason for it, or the lack of understanding of it; and 2) such a unique diet was specified that Israel would find it difficult to eat with the idolatrous people around and among them. Their dietary laws served as a barrier to easy socialization with idolatrous peoples.

Leviticus 11:9-12 Laws on what fish are considered unclean for food or touching their dead carcasses.

Can’t Eat:

No fins and scales – Lobster, Crab, etc.

Leviticus 11:13-19 Laws on what birds are considered unclean for food or touching their dead carcasses.

Can’t Eat: Eagles, vulture, kite, falcon, raven, ostrich, nighthawk sea gull, hawk, owl, cormorant, stork, heron, hoopoe, and bat.

Leviticus 11:20-23 Laws on what insects are considered unclean for food or touching their dead carcasses.

Can’t Eat: Winged insects those that go on all four, unless they have jointed legs above their feet like the grasshopper, locust, and cricket.

Leviticus 11:24-28 Touching the carcass of these shall be unclean until evening. If carried by (though not touching) shall wash their clothes and be unclean until evening. All animals that walk on paws on all fours (Cats, Dogs, etc.) are also unclean.

Leviticus 11:29-38 Laws on what swarming things on the ground are considered unclean for food or touching their dead carcasses.

Can’t Eat: rat, mouse, lizard, gecko, and chameleon.

If you touch their dead carcass, you are unclean until evening. Anything their dead body touches shall be unclean. It must be put in water and unclean until evening. If it falls in earthenware vessels (bowls used to cook and eat from) you shall break and throw away. There are exceptions to springs and cisterns holding water. If they touch seeds to be sown, they shall be unclean.

Notes: a spring or a cistern. The movement and quantity of water determined the probability of actual contamination. Water was scarce also, and it would have been a threat to the water supply if all water touched by these prohibited carcasses were forbidden for drinking.

Leviticus 11:39-43 Touching, eating, or carrying a clean animal’s carcass makes you unclean until evening. Things that go on its belly are unclean (worms, snakes, etc.).

Leviticus 11:44-47 Keeping these laws keeps them holy for the Lord is holy

Notes: Through dietary laws and rituals, God is teaching them the reality of living his way in everything. They are being taught to obey God in every seemingly mundane area of life, so as to learn how crucial obedience is. Sacrifices, rituals, diet, and even clothing and cooking are all carefully ordered by God to teach them that they are to live differently from everyone else. This is to be an external illustration for the separation from sin in their hearts. The connection between ceremonial holiness carries over into personal holiness. The only motivation given for all these laws is to learn to be holy because God is holy.


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