Leviticus 11:5-6 especially. Context: Lev. 11:4 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.
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.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
My understanding is that, although the hyrax and the rabbit are now known technically not to be true ruminants (that is, to chew the cud), their digestive processes involve a chewing action that, to outward appearances, closely resembles that of ruminants. The cited verse takes this, as well as the state of human knowledge at that time, into account with regard to the distinction between clean and unclean animals by simply banning them completely, eliminating the necessity to make a "judgment call" that might result in uncleanness from God's perspective. (Even the founding taxonomist Carl Linnaeus originally classified these animals as ruminants, many centuries after the Biblical narrative.)
Both animals move their jaws in such a manner as to appear to be chewing the cud. They considered the hyrax and rabbit as clean animals because of the appearance of cud-chewing. But they were not clean because they did not divide the hoof. We talk this way about the sun rising and setting, especially when we talk to little children. To a small child, the daily cycle of the sun has the appearance of rising and setting. Scientifically, it doesn't happen this way, but it looks like it does (possibly compare Joshua 10:12-14 with this).
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.