XI Of clean and unclean beasts, ver. 1-8. Fishes, ver. 9-12. Fowls, ver. 13-19. Creeping things whether flying, ver. 20-28. or creeping upon the earth, ver. 29-43. An exhortation to holiness, ver. 44, 45. The conclusion, ver. 46, 47.
1. From the laws concerning the priests, he now comes to those which belong to all the people. God spake to both of them, because the cognizance of the following matters belonged to both: the priest was to direct the people about the things forbidden or allowed, where any doubt or difficulty arose; and the magistrate was to see the direction followed.
2. These are the beasts - Though every creature of God be good and pure in itself, yet it pleased God to make a difference between clean and unclean, which he did in part before the flood, Gen. vii, 2, but more fully here for many reasons; as,
1. To assert his own sovereignty over man, and all the creatures which men may not use but with God's leave.
2. To keep up the wall of partition between the Jews and other nations, which was very necessary for many great and wise purposes.
3. That by bridling their appetite in things in themselves lawful, and some of them very desirable, they might be better prepared and enabled to deny themselves in things simply and grossly sinful.
4. For the preservation of their health, some of the creatures forbidden being, though used by the neighbouring nations, of unwholesome nourishment, especially to the Jews, who were very obnoxious to leprosies. To teach them to abhor that filthiness, and all those ill qualities for which some of these creatures are noted.
3. Cloven-footed - That is, divided into two parts only: This clause is added to explain and limit the former, as appears from ver. 26, for the feet of dogs, cats &c. are parted or cloven into many parts. And cheweth the cud - Hebrew. and bringeth up the cud, that is, the meat once chewed, out of the stomach in the mouth again, that it may be chewed a second time for better concoction. And this branch is to be joined with the former, both properties being necessary for the allowed beasts. But the reason hereof must be resolved into the will of the law - giver; though interpreters guess that