Dave Burnette's Commentary

Leviticus Chapter 11

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1445-1444 BC)
Overview: A Handbook for the Priests and Levites (c 1-27)
Theme: Worshipping a Holy God (c 1-17)
Message: Instructions for the People (v 1-47)

Leviticus 11 Commentary

(11:1-8) Clean and Unclean Animals - God had strictly forbidden eating the meat of certain unclean animals; to make sure, he forbade even touching them. He wanted the people to be totally separated from those things he had forbidden. So often we flirt with temptation, rationalizing that at least we are technically keeping the commandment not to commit the sin. But God wants us to separate ourselves completely from all sin and even from tempting situations. Does this passage make you aware of areas of your life where you have "technical" innocence but in which you have actually been involved in sin? It's time to cross back over the line and stay there.

(11:25) Preparing for Worship - In order to worship, the people needed to be prepared. Some acts of disobedience, some natural acts (such as childbirth, menstruation, and sex), and some accidents (such as touching a dead or diseased body) would make people ceremonially unclean and thus forbidden to participate in worship. This did not imply that they were rejected by God, but it insured that all worship was done decently and in order. This chapter describes many of the intentional and accidental occurrences that would disqualify people from worship until they were "cleansed" or straightened out. Similarly, we need to be prepared for worship. We cannot live any way we want during the week and then rush into God's presence on Sunday. We should prepare ourselves through repentance, correction of errors where possible, and thoughtful anticipation of what it will mean to be in God's presence with other believers.

(11:44-45) A Call to Be Holy - There is more to this chapter than eating right. These verses provide a key to understanding all the laws and regulations in Leviticus. God wanted his people to be holy (set apart, different, unique), just as he is holy. He knew they had only two options: to be separate and holy or to compromise with their pagan neighbors and become corrupt. That is why he called them out of idolatrous Egypt and set them apart as a unique nation, dedicated to worshiping him alone and leading lives that honored him. That is also why he designed laws and restrictions to help them remain separate--socially and spiritually--from the wicked pagan nations they would encounter in Canaan. Christians also are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15). Like the Israelites, we should remain spiritually separate from the world's wickedness, even though, unlike the Israelites, we rub shoulders with unbelievers every day. It is no easy task to be holy in an unholy world, but God doesn't ask you to accomplish this on your own. He has provided help. Through the death of his Son, you are "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" (Colossians 1:22). With Christ, you can live in the world without having to be of the world (John.17:15-16).

(11:46-47) A Visible Distinction - The designations of clean and unclean were used to define the kinds of animals the Israelites could and could not eat. There were several reasons for this restricted diet: (1) To ensure the health of the nation. The forbidden foods were usually scavenging animals that fed on dead animals; thus, disease could be transmitted through them. (2) To visibly distinguish Israel from other nations. The pig, for example, was a common sacrifice of pagan religions. (3) To avoid objectionable associations. Creatures that creep on the earth, for example, were reminiscent of serpents, which often symbolized sin.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Be Ye Holy

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Leviticus with Chapter 11 and in today's text we see a continued look as God reveals His character to us through this handbook to the Priest. We see that Jesus is our ultimate High Priest and the definition of sin and sacrifice as it relates to atonement and forgiveness of sin. Today God classifies clean and unclean meats and what catches my eye is verse 44-45 when God says - be ye Holy for I am Holy. In making application we are to make decisions according to scripture as God is instructing us on what is right or Godly, and what is wrong or sinful. In our text today the clean things are for us to eat as they are health and disease free while the unclean things are unhealthy and carry disease. God wants you to know what is good for you so that you will experience His best in life. How about you? Do you make decisions according to scripture, following the example of Christ? Let us learn from today's text and make decisions according to the holy or clean things for these things are good for us and ultimately the best for us and our lives.


Leviticus 11

Leviticus 11

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,

 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.

 3Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

 4Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

 5And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

 6And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

 7And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

 8Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

 9These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

 10And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

 11They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

 12Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

 13And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

 14And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

 15Every raven after his kind;

 16And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

 17And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

 18And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,

 19And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

 20All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.

 21Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;

 22Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

 23But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

 24And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.

 25And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

 26The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.

 27And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.

 28And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.

 29These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

 30And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.

 31These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.

 32And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.

 33And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.

 34Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.

 35And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean and shall be unclean unto you.

 36Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.

 37And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.

 38But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.

 39And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.

 40And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

 41And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.

 42Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

 43Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.

 44For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

 45For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

 46This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:

 47To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.