Clean and Unclean Land Creatures
1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Tell the Israelites: ‘This is the kind of creature you may eat from among all the animals#tn Heb “the animal,” but as a collective plural, and so throughout this chapter. that are on the land. 3 You may eat any among the animals that has a divided hoof (the hooves are completely split in two#tn Heb “every divider of hoof and cleaver of the cleft of hooves”; KJV, ASV “parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted.”) and that also chews the cud.#tn Heb “bringer up of the cud” (a few of the ancient versions include the conjunction “and,” but it does not appear in the MT). The following verses make it clear that both dividing the hoof and chewing the cud were required; one of these conditions would not be enough to make the animal suitable for eating without the other. 4 However, you must not eat these#tn Heb “this,” but as a collective plural (see the following context). from among those that chew the cud and have divided hooves: The camel is unclean to you#sn Regarding “clean” versus “unclean,” see the note on Lev 10:10. because it chews the cud#tn Heb “because a chewer of the cud it is” (see also vv. 5 and 6). even though its hoof is not divided.#tn Heb “and hoof there is not dividing” (see also vv. 5 and 6). 5 The rock badger#sn A small animal generally understood to be Hyrax syriacus; KJV, ASV, NIV “coney”; NKJV “rock hyrax.” is unclean to you because it chews the cud even though its hoof is not divided. 6 The hare is unclean to you because it chews the cud even though its hoof is not divided. 7 The pig is unclean to you because its hoof is divided (the hoof is completely split in two#tn See the note on Lev 11:3.), even though it does not chew the cud.#tn The meaning and basic rendering of this clause is quite certain, but the verb for “chewing” the cud here is not the same as the preceding verses, where the expression is “to bring up the cud” (see the note on v. 3 above). It appears to be a cognate verb for the noun “cud” (גֵּרָה, gerah) and could mean either “to drag up” (i.e., from the Hebrew Qal of גָרָר [garar] meaning “to drag,” referring to the dragging the cud up and down between the stomach and mouth of the ruminant animal; so J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:647, 653) or “to chew” (i.e., from the Hebrew Niphal [or Qal B] of גָרָר used in a reciprocal sense; so J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 149, and compare BDB 176 s.v. גָרַר, “to chew,” with HALOT 204 s.v. גרר qal.B, “to ruminate”). 8 You must not eat from their meat and you must not touch their carcasses;#sn The regulations against touching the carcasses of dead unclean animals (contrast the restriction against eating their flesh) is treated in more detail in Lev 11:24-28 (cf. also vv. 29-40). For the time being, this chapter continues to develop the issue of what can and cannot be eaten. they are unclean to you.
Clean and Unclean Water Creatures
9 “‘These you can eat from all creatures that are in the water: Any creatures in the water that have both fins and scales,#tn Heb “all which have fin and scale” (see also vv. 10 and 12). whether in the seas or in the streams,#tn Heb “in the water, in the seas and in the streams” (see also vv. 10 and 12). you may eat. 10 But any creatures that do not have both fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the streams, from all the swarming things of the water and from all the living creatures that are in the water, are detestable to you. 11 Since they are detestable to you, you must not eat their meat and their carcass you must detest. 12 Any creature in the water that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you.
Clean and Unclean Birds
13 “‘These you are to detest from among the birds – they must not be eaten, because they are detestable:#tn For zoological remarks on the following list of birds see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:662-64; and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 159-60. the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 14 the kite, the buzzard of any kind,#tn Heb “and the buzzard to its kind” (see also vv. 16 and 19 for the same expression “of any kind”). 15 every kind of crow,#tn Heb “every crow to its kind.” Many English versions (e.g., KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) render this as “raven.” 16 the eagle owl,#tn Literally, “the daughter of the wasteland.” Various proposals for the species of bird referred to here include “owl” (KJV), “horned owl” (NIV, NCV), and “ostrich” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT). the short-eared owl, the long-eared owl, the hawk of any kind, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the screech owl, 18 the white owl, the scops owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
Clean and Unclean Insects
20 “‘Every winged swarming thing that walks on all fours#tn Heb “the one walking on four” (cf. vv. 21-23 and 27-28). is detestable to you. 21 However, this you may eat from all the winged swarming things that walk on all fours, which have jointed legs#tn Heb “which to it are lower legs from above to its feet” (reading the Qere “to it” rather than the Kethib “not”). to hop with on the land. 22 These you may eat from them:#tn For entomological remarks on the following list of insects see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:665-66; and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 160-61. the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, the grasshopper of any kind. 23 But any other winged swarming thing that has four legs is detestable to you.
24 “‘By these#tn Heb “and to these.” you defile yourselves; anyone who touches their carcass will be unclean until the evening, 25 and anyone who carries their carcass must wash his clothes and will be unclean until the evening.
Inedible Land Quadrupeds
26 “‘All#tn Heb “to all” (cf. the note on v. 24). This and the following verses develop more fully the categories of uncleanness set forth in principle in vv. 24-25. animals that divide the hoof but it is not completely split in two#tn Heb “divides hoof and cleft it does not cleave”; KJV “divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted”; NLT “divided but unsplit hooves.” and do not chew the cud#tn See the note on Lev 11:3. are unclean to you; anyone who touches them becomes unclean.#sn Compare the regulations in Lev 11:2-8. 27 All that walk on their paws among all the creatures that walk on all fours#tn Heb “the one walking on four.” Compare Lev 11:20-23. are unclean to you. Anyone who touches their carcass will be unclean until the evening, 28 and the one who carries their carcass must wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you.
Creatures that Swarm on the Land
29 “‘Now this is what is unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm on the land:#tn For zoological analyses of the list of creatures in vv. 29-30, see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:671-72; and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 161-62. the rat, the mouse, the large lizard of any kind, 30 the Mediterranean gecko, the spotted lizard, the wall gecko, the skink, and the chameleon. 31 These are the ones that are unclean to you among all the swarming things. Anyone who touches them when they die will be unclean until evening. 32 Also, anything they fall on#tn Heb “And all which it shall fall on it from them.” when they die will become unclean – any wood vessel or garment or article of leather or sackcloth. Any such vessel with which work is done must be immersed in water#tn Heb “in water it shall be brought.” and will be unclean until the evening. Then it will become clean. 33 As for any clay vessel they fall into,#tn Heb “And any earthenware vessel which shall fall from them into its midst.” everything in it#tn Heb “all which is in its midst.” will become unclean and you must break it. 34 Any food that may be eaten which becomes soaked with water#tn Heb “which water comes on it.” will become unclean. Anything drinkable#tn Heb “any drink which may be drunk”; NASB “any liquid which may be drunk”; NLT “any beverage that is in such an unclean container.” in any such vessel will become unclean.#tn This half of the verse assumes that the unclean carcass has fallen into the food or drink (cf. v. 33 and also vv. 35-38). 35 Anything their carcass may fall on will become unclean. An oven or small stove must be smashed to pieces; they are unclean, and they will stay unclean#tn Heb “be unclean.” to you. 36 However, a spring or a cistern which collects water#tn Heb “a spring and a cistern collection of water”; NAB, NIV “for collecting water.” will be clean, but one who touches their carcass will be unclean. 37 Now, if such a carcass falls on any sowing seed which is to be sown,#tn Heb “And if there falls from their carcass on any seed of sowing which shall be sown.” it is clean, 38 but if water is put on the seed and such a carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you.
Edible Land Quadrupeds
39 “‘Now if an animal#tn This word for “animal” refers to land animal quadrupeds, not just any beast that dwells on the land (cf. 11:2). that you may eat dies,#tn Heb “which is food for you” or “which is for you to eat.” whoever touches its carcass will be unclean until the evening. 40 One who eats from its carcass must wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening, and whoever carries its carcass must wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. 41 Every swarming thing that swarms on the land is detestable; it must not be eaten. 42 You must not eat anything that crawls#tn Heb “goes” (KJV, ASV “goeth”); NIV “moves about”; NLT “slither along.” The same Hebrew term is translated “walks” in the following clause. on its belly or anything that walks on all fours or on any number of legs#tn Heb “until all multiplying of legs.” of all the swarming things that swarm on the land, because they are detestable. 43 Do not make yourselves detestable by any of the swarming things.#tn Heb “by any of the swarming things that swarm.” You must not defile yourselves by them and become unclean by them, 44 for I am the Lord your God and you are to sanctify yourselves and be holy because I am holy. You must not defile yourselves by any of the swarming things that creep on the ground, 45 for I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God,#tn Heb “to be to you for a God.” and you are to be holy because I am holy. 46 This is the law#sn The Hebrew term translated “law” (תוֹרָה, torah) introduces here a summary or colophon for all of Lev 11. Similar summaries are found in Lev 7:37-38; 13:59; 14:54-57; and 15:32-33. of the land animals, the birds, all the living creatures that move in the water, and all the creatures#tn Heb “for all the creatures.” that swarm on the land, 47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between the living creatures that may be eaten and the living creatures that must not be eaten.’”