Distinction between Clean and Unclean Foods in Leviticus 11

Distinction between Clean and Unclean Foods in Leviticus 11

Introduction

In order to live every human being must eat. Consumption of elements that are helpful to the body is of essence to aid in development of both the young and the old. The law of clean and unclean foods in the bible states and emphasizes that clean foods are pure for human consumption while the unclean foods are not good for human consumption and therefore people are supposed to avoid them to be pure. Dietary issue is sensitive and most people have strong opinion about certain foods and have a solid stand when it comes to selection of food based on their religion.

The Bible addresses almost all aspects of life including the nutrition and is categorical on certain issues of dietary. This is the reason as to why there are dietary laws in the Bible, and the people who live according to the Bible must take them seriously regardless of the final decision at an individual level. The law has been followed by thousands of Jews for many years. However, some Christians believe that they are not bound by law at this era and the law has been revoked for Christians giving them freedom to eat any meal provided they pray and cleanse it.  Many people argue that the clean and the unclean rule were adopted in the old convent and that it is obsolete. However, it is important to note that the Bible is clear and outlines the clean and unclean food for human consumption.

Thesis statement

The Bible is meant to enlighten the people and create awareness that there are some things that are prohibited and unclean for human to even associate with. This is more so important since most of the people assume some of the things stated in the bible claiming that they are past time and that the nature of the current world has made them extinct. However depending on the religion that one follows and what they believe is right or wrong, they have a chance to make a decision on whether to follow what used to be followed in the past or not. The laws of clean and unclean foods take center stage in the two are contradicting, and there is a need to declare a common stand show direction to others. This, therefore, calls for a thorough scrutiny about the issue as stated in the bible.

Clean food

The law of clean and unclean foods was set by God and was directed to mosses as they lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. This was meant to guide them on their journey to the wilderness. The Lord told Moses and Aaron that of all the foods there are the ones that are to be eaten by the people of Israel so as to avoid contaminating themselves and undermining the relationship that they had with their God. The ones that were to be eaten were said to be clean food and he went a step further and stated them. He said that all the animals that have a divided hoof and can chew a cud are fit for consumption by human beings and therefore gave them a green right to consume them. He also stated that all the animals living in water of the streams and the seas and has scales and fins are also clean for consumption this was meant to isolate the animals living in the water bodies as some according to God if consumed made the people unclean.

The flying insects that walk on all fours were also declared clean for consumption by God. The Lord also declared that locusts, katydid, cricket or grasshopper are clean food and gave the man go ahead to eat them. The outline of what are clean foods in the Bible is very specific and categorical, and this has been adopted by those who follow the Bible.

Unclean food

God also went a step further with Mosses and Aaron and declared some food and more specifically animals as unclean for human consumption. Consumption of these foods is prohibited and makes a human being unclean. Those animals that chew cud but have not divided hovels were declared to be unclean. These are animals like camels though they chew cud their hooves are not divided and therefore are in the category of unclean foods.  The other animals put in this category are hyrax and rabbit. On the other hand there are the animals that have divided hooves but do not chew cud.  These animals were declared unclean. An example of such animal is a pig and the human beings were prohibited to even touch their carcasses because doing so contaminated them making them unclean.

All the creatures that lived in the seas and water bodies and lacked scales and fins were declared unclean. Their meat and carcasses were regarded as unclean, and the human beings were not to come into contact with them. The birds that were declared to be unfit for human consumption are the vulture, the red kite, black kite, raven, horned owl, screech owl, gull, eagle any kind of hawk, black vulture, little owl, cormorant, great owl, little owl, white owl, desert owl, osprey, stocker, hoopoe, bat and any kind of heron.

Some insects flying and walking on their fours were regarded as unclean. These were the ones that have jointed legs and hopped on the ground. Anyone that touches the carcasses of such unclean animals or gets into contact with them is to wash their clothes and are regarded unclean till evening. In the category of the entire animals that walk on their fours, those that walk on their paws were also regarded as unclean.

The animals that moved on the ground were also deemed unclean for consumption and they include rats, any lizards, the wall lizard, the monitor lizard, the gecko, the chameleon and the skink. Their carcasses are also not supposed to be touched, and anyone who touched them is deemed unclean.  If any of the unclean animal’s dies and fall anything whatever regardless of whether it is made of wood,  hides, cloth or sackcloth it was also is supposed to be put in clean water and deemed unclean till evening. If such animal carcasses fell on a pot or were in contact with any utensil, it made it unclean. Any food from such a pot or any water is taken from such a pot is also unclean. Such a pot was to be broken because anything taken from it was unclean for human consumption. Springs or any cistern that collects water, however, was not regarded as unclean but whoever touched the carcass in the spring was regarded as unclean. If the carcass of unclean animals falls on any seeds they were planted, they are deemed as unclean. It went a step further and stated that if the water came into contact with a seeds and the carcass falls on that seed it is deemed unclean.  Any creature moving along the ground walking on its fours, many feet or belly is unclean.

Purifying All Foods

Jesus said that nothing from outside the body of a man could make them unclean by going inside their bodies. He instead said that what comes outside a man is what makes them unclean. Jesus changed the rules in regard to some of the laws that were set in the Old Testament. He said that the heart of the man is the one that determines how pure they are and that everything that enters to a man goes to their stomach and then out of the body. According to him what goes in the body of a human being does not affect the hearts instead what comes out of the people. Aspects like adultery, evil thoughts, malice, deceit, theft, lewdness, envy, arrogance, murder, greed and slander are the ones that show how pure or unclean they are.

Jesus said cleanliness or purity is not determined by what someone consumes and rather he said that thoughts of people that drove to doing bad things make them unclean. In an instance when some disciples of Jesus were eating with their hands not washed, some of the law teachers and Pharisees who had come from Jerusalem claimed that they were unclean. This is because according to them they were not supposed to eat without giving their hands a ceremonial wash something that was practiced by their ancestors. Jesus defended his disciples by saying that people had put aside the Gods commandments and started obeying their commandments. He said that some people claim to worship the Lord, but their strong beliefs bar them on what they believe is right or wrong ignoring the fact that some of the thing they fix in their hearts and minds make them deviate from the will of God.

Conclusion

Religion is sensitive and different religions have what they stand for. For this reason, there are various things that are right for certain religious and others are not accepted. The Old Testament is clear that some of the foods are prohibited for human consumption and that when consumed someone becomes unclean. It goes an extra mile and even outlines them clearly for everyone to see them. There are those who believe in the Old Testament, and for this reason, they abide by the rules stated there and therefore they still follow the rule of clean and unclean food. On the other hand, the when Jesus came he said that what a human being injects does not in any way have an effect on their faith and that it only goes to the stomach and therefore do not affect their heart. This gave the people the right to eat all the foods. Most of the Christians believe in the New Testament, and therefore they have adopted the rule that all the food was purified. In today’s world, there are religions that criticize others of the different ways they follow and what they stand for. This has affected the relationships between them because everyone sees their religion as superior to the other and therefore always criticizing them. For this reason, the religion issue has become sensitive, and for quite some time it has become hard to the religions to come to terms with the dietary issue as stated in both the new and the Old Testament because they contradict on the issue. This has left the people with the freedom of choosing the religion they feel the best and obeying its rules.

Bibliography

Clines, David J. A. Word Biblical Commentary. Volume 18B, Volume 18B. Nashville: T. Nelson, 2011.

Erdman, Charles R. The Book of Leviticus, An Exposition. New York: Revell, 2001.

Hubbard, Robert L., and R. K. Harrison. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

Keil, Carl Friedrich, and Franz Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1996.

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 23-27: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2001.

The New Interpreter’s Bible. Volume XI, Volume XI. Nashville, Tenn: Abingdon, 2000.

Preuss, Horst Dietrich. Old Testament Theology. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996.

 

 

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