The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleLeviticus 11:7
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven
Not only its hoofs are parted, but cloven quite
through, and so in this respect answers Moses's first descriptive
character of clean creatures; though Aristotle F21 and Pliny F23 speak
of some kind of swine in Illyricum, Paeonia, and other places, which
have solid hoofs; but perhaps these were not properly swine, though so
yet he cheweth not the cud;
and a learned physician observes F24,
that such creatures that chew not the cud, so perfect a chyle cannot be
elaborated by them as is by those that chew the cud, and therefore
their flesh must be less wholesome; and of the swine, he says F25, they
have but one belly, and so there is no rumination or chewing the cud by
them; wherefore they are to be placed, and are in a lower degree than
the camel, the coney, and the hare; and as they cannot digest the chyle
so well as those that chew the cud, and also live upon most sordid and
filthy food, the eating of swine's flesh, he observes, must produce
many inconveniences to the body, as especially scorbutic, arthritic,
scabious, and leprous disorders: so Manetho the Egyptian says F26, that
he that eats swine's milk is liable to be filled with the leprosy; and
Maimonides F1 gives it as the principal reason of its being forbid the
Jews, because it is such a filthy creature, and eats such filthy
he [is] unclean to you:
and so it has always been accounted by the
Jews, and nothing is more abominable to them, as is even testified by
Heathen F2 writers; and in this they have been imitated by many
nations, particularly the Egyptians, who, as Herodotus says F3, reckon
swine a very filthy creature; so that if anyone does but touch it
passing by, he is obliged to plunge himself into a river with his
clothes on; and keepers of them may not go into any of their temples,
nor do the rest of the Egyptians intermarry with them, but they marry
among themselves; the reason of this their abhorrence of swine,
Aelianus says F4, is because they are so gluttonous that they will not
spare their own young, nor abstain from human flesh; and this, says he,
is the reason why the Egyptians hate it as an impure and voracious
animal: likewise the Arabians entirely abstain from swine's flesh, as
Solinus says F5, who adds, that if any of this sort of creatures is
carried into Arabia, it immediately dies; and the same Pliny F6
attests: and so the Phoenicians, the near neighbours of the Jews, would
not eat the flesh of them; hence Antoninus is said to abstain from it
after the manner of the Phoenicians F7, unless the historian should
mean the Jews; also the Gallo-Grecians or Galatians F8; nay, even the
Indians have such an abhorrence of it, that they would as soon taste of
human flesh as taste of that F9, and it is well known that the
Mahometans abstain from it; and they have such an aversion to it, that
if any chance to kill a wild pig, for tame they have none, they look on
the merit of it to be almost equivalent to the killing a Christian in
fight F11: now these creatures may be an emblem of filthy and impure
sinners, especially apostates, who return to their former impurities
and wallow in them, (2 Peter 2:22) .
F21 Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 1.
F23 Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 46.
F24 Scheuchzer. ut supra, (Physic. Sacr. vol. 2.) p. 282.
F25 Ib. p. 284.
F26 Apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 10. c. 16.
F1 Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 48.
F2 "Et vetus indulget"… Juvenal. Satyr. 6. "nec distare putant", &c.
Ib. Satyr. 14. Vid. Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 11, 12.
F3 Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 47.
F4 Ut supra. (Apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 10. c. 16.)
F5 Polyhistor. c. 46.
F6 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 52.
F7 Herodian. Hist. l. 5. c. 16.
F8 Pausan. Achaica, sive, l. 7. p. 430.
F9 Ctesias apud Aelian. de Animal. l. 16. c. 37.
F11 Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, p. 163.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 11:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=le&chapter=011&verse=007>. 1999.