Leviticus 11:1 - 47
ESV - 1 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them. 2 Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth.
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God’s laws always serve a purpose - in the case of the dietary laws, the purpose is His children's well-being (Deut 5:29). The "clean" animals mentioned in the Bible (Lev 11:3-8; Deut 14:6-8) are suitable for human consumption (and sacrifice) and are mainly vegetarians. No beasts of prey or scavengers are allowed for human food. Animals such as pigs, bears, vultures and raptors usually thrive on decaying flesh. Predatory animals such as wolves and lions most often prey on diseased and weak animals. God forbids the consumption of beasts of prey, scavengers and carrion eaters. When it comes to sea creatures, bottom dwellers such as lobsters and crabs scavenge for dead animals on the sea floor. Shellfish such as oysters, clams and mussels similarly consume decaying organic matter (including other sea creatures’ feces) that sinks to the sea floor - most often sewage is part of their diet. God created these creatures to filtrate the water not for human consumption. All animals God designates as unclean routinely eat flesh that would sicken and harm humans. When we eat these animals we partake of a food chain that includes things harmful to us. On the other hand cows, goats, sheep, deer, and other "clean" animals specified as cloven-footed and chewing the cud are all vegetarians.
Not all cloven-footed animals were clean, but only those that chewed the cud in addition to having cloven feet. Animals that either chewed the cud without having cloven feet, or had cloven feet without chewing the cud, were unclean. In my opinion, this distinction was based on a metaphorical correspondence between the physical characteristics in question (which promoted both sure-footedness and slow, methodical digestion) and a combination of spiritual characteristics, both of which God wanted His people to possess (that is, actions that were measured, sure, and well thought-out, while also being firmly based on God's revealed word). (Psalm 1 uses this same imagery in speaking of the good man meditating on God's law day and night, representing both this same slow, methodical process, and also a reliable (sure-footed) basis for correct, God-pleasing actions.)
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