« PreviousContinue »
names given to the several tribes of animals were derived from their respective notes.
Other names appear to be derived from the characteristic qualities of the creatures; as, for instance the camel might be called Bau GAMEL, from its revengeful temper, and the sheep, 5777 RACHEL, from its meekness; the ram, bus AJIL, because agile and active, and the goat, 7YW SAIR, from its being hairy.
The ingenious editor of CALMET, criticising upon the name of the stork, says, “ I take this opportunity of remarking, that the external actions of any creature are most likely to give it an appellation, before its disposition; and that, did we know intimately the actions, appearances, and manners of creatures, we should, no doubt, find in their names, when primitive and original, very descriptive and apt epithets.”
ON THE MOSAICAL DISTINCTION OF ANIMALS INTO CLEAN
In the eleventh chapter of the book of Leviticus, is a catalogue of beasts, fishes, birds, &c. which God bad either permitted the Israelites to eat, or which were prohibited.
The marks of discrimination are the following: (1.) Of QuaDRUPEDS.-" The animals prohibited as unclean, were the soLIPEDES, or those with one hoof, as the horse, and the ass: the animals allowed to be eaten, as clean, were the FISSIPEDES, or those of hoofs divided into two parts, or cloven, as oxen, deer, sheep, and goats. But then this distinction must be entire, not partial; effective, not merely apparent: and beside its external construction, its internal, its anatomical construction must also be correctly correspondent to this formation. Moreover, animals whose feet are divided into more than two parts are unclean; so that the number of their toes, as three, four, or five, is an entire rejection of them, whatever other quality they may possess.
.“ Such appears to be the principle of the Levitical distinction of animals, clean and unclean, so far as relates to their feet; their RUMINATION is a distinct character; but a character absolutely unavailing, without the more obvious and evident marks derivable from the construction of their members.
“We may consider the animals mentioned in this chapter as instances of a rule designed for general application, which excludes, (1.) all whose feet are not by one cleft thoroughly divided into two parts, as the camel. (2.) All whose feet, though thoroughly divided by one cleft into two parts, externally, yet internally by the construction of their bones differ from the character of the permitted kinds, as the swine. Though the outward appearance of the hog's feet be like that of a cloven footed animal, yet, internally, they have the same number of bones and joints as animals which have fingers and toes; so that the arrangement of its feet bones is into first and second and third phalanges, or knuckles, no less than those of the human hand. Beside, therefore, the absence of rumination in the hog kind, its feet are not accordant with those of such beasts as are clean, according to the Levitical regulations. (3.) All whose feet are thoroughly divided by two clefts into three toes, as the saphan. (4.) All whose feet are thoroughly divided by three clefts into four toes, as the hare; and therefore, à fortiori, if there be any animals whose feet are divided into five toes, they are so much farther removed from the character requisite to permission. . “It is proper to recollect that the quality of rumination is one character necessary to lawfulness, yet the saphan, though it ruminates, is proscribed; and the hare, though in some of its varieties it may ruminate, yet is the whole species declared unclean by reason of the construction of the feet. This, then, seems to be the legislative naturalist's most obvious distinction; a distinction which the eye of the unlearned can appropriate at sight, and therefore it is adapted to public information." • The preceding remarks are taken from the author of “ Scripture Illustrated;" and MICHAELIS in his Commentary on the Laws of Moses, article cciv. observes, “ that in so early an age of the world we should find a systematic division of quadrupeds so excellent as never yet, after all the improvements in Natural History, to have become obsolete, but, on the contrary, to be still considered as useful by the greatest masters of the science, cannot but be looked upon as truly wonderful.”
II. Of FISHES. Those that were permitted for food, and declared clean, were “ such as had fins and scales.”
“ Fins are analogous to the feet of land animals: as, therefore, the sacred legislator had given directions for separating quadrupeds according to their hoofs and claws, so he directs that fishes, which had no clear and distinct members adapted to locomotion, should be unclean; but those which had fins should be clean,
two requisites, a cloven hoof and a power of runination were necessary to render a quadruped lawful, so two characters are necessary to answer the same purpose in fishes.”
III. Of BIRDS." There are no particular characters given for distinguishing these by classes, as clean or unclean; but a list of exceptions is rendered, and these are forbidden without enumerating those which are allowed. It will be found, however, on consideration, that those which live on grain are not prohibited; and, as these are the domesticated kinds, we might almost express it in other words--that birds of prey, generally,
are rejected, that is, those with crooked beaks, and strong talons; whether they prey on lesser fowls, on animals, or on fish: while those which eat vegetables are admitted as lawful. So that the same principle is maintained, to a certain degree, among birds as among beasts.”
IV. All creatures that creep, going upon all four, and whatsoever goeth upon the belly, or whatsoever hath more feet than four among creeping things, are declared to be an abomination. With regard, however, to those winged insects, which, besides four walking legs, have also two longer, springing legs (pedes saltatorii), an exception is made, and, under the denomination of locusts, they are declared to be clean.
I proceed now to assign some of the reasons for this distinction, but would first premise, that from Genesis, vii. 2, it seems to have been recognised before the giving of the law from Sinai: on which, however, SPENCER, de Legibus Hebræorum, l. i. c. v. remarks, that Moses, writing to the Israelites who already knew the law, makes mention of clean and unclean animals (in the same manner as he does of the Sabbath in the history of the creation), by way of anticipation. The passage, therefore, may merely intimate that of the more useful animals Noah took a greater number, and of those that were less so only pairs. .
CUNÆus, de Republica Hebræorum, c. xxiv. 1. ii. declares that though no doubt the laws for the distinction of animals, in the 11th chapter of Leviticus, were enacted with wise counsel, yet the special reason of the lawgiver cannot be known. Others, however, have undertaken to assign various reasons for it; and these, as adduced by SPENCER, LOWMAN, MICHAELIS, and several learned writers, I propose to collect and state, intermixing such remarks and illustrations as have been suggested to me in the course of that laborious investigation which I have given to this subject. · The Scripture, which is our safest guide in inquiries of this nature, informs us that the design was both moral and political, being intended to preserve the Jews a distinct people from the nations of idolatry. This is declared Levit. xx. 24, 25, and 26. “I am the Lord your God, who have separated you from other people; ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean : and ye shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by fowl, or by any living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean : and ye shall be holy unto me, for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine." As if Jehovah had said, “ I have selected you from and exalted you far above the ignorant and idolatrous world. Let it be your care to conduct yourselves worthy of this distinction. Let the quality of your food, as well as the rites of your worship, display your peculiar and holy character. Let even your manner of eating be so appropriate, so pure, so nicely adjusted by my law, as to con. vince yourselves, and all the world, that you are indeed separated from idolaters, and devoted to me alone.” Agreeably with this, Moses tells them, Deut. xxiv. 2, 3. 31. “ The Lord hath chosen you to be a peculiar people unto himself. Ye shall not eat any abominable thing. Ye shall not eat any thing that dieth of itself; ye shall give it to the stranger, or sell it to an alien; for ye are a holy people.” That is, since God has invested you with singular honour and favour, you ought to reverence yourselves; you ought to disdain the vile food of Heathen idolaters; such food you may lawfully give or sell to foreigners; but a due self-respect forbids you to eat it.”
I. The immediate and primary intention of the law was, as I apprehend, to break the Israelites from the ill habits they had been accustomed to or indulged in Egypt, and to keep them for ever distinct from that corrupt people, both in principles and practices); and, by parity of reason, from all other idolatrous nations. No more simple nor effectual method could be devised for preventing or ensnaring intercourse, or dangerous assimilation, than by a law regulating their food; for nothing separates one people from another more than that one should eat what the other considers as unlawful, or rejects as improper. Those who cannot eat and drink together are never likely to become intimate. We see an instance of this in the case of the Egyptians, who, from time immemorial had been accustomed to consider certain animals as improper for food, and therefore to avoid all intercourse with those who ate or even touched what they deemed defiling. [See Gen. xliii. 32.] Hence they and the Hebrews could not eat together; and of course could not associate or live together. Accordingly, they assigned that people, when they had come down to dwell in their country, a separate district for their residence: for some of the animals which the Hebrews ate were, among them not indeed unclean, but sacred, being so expressly consecrated to a deity that they durst not slaughter them. The Hebrews, by killing and eating these animals, must
Dr. Tappan's Lectures, p. 260. 5 This was the opinion of Minutius Fælix, which his commentator Aurelius has supported by many testimonies of the ancients; see also Basil, Orat. vi. p. 34; Origen. 1. iii. iv. contra Cels. p. 225, ed. Spencer and Theodoret, Quest. in Levit.
6 So the poet Anaximandrides, in Athenæo Dienosoph, 1. vii. p. 299, thus ridicules the Egyptians:
Ουκ αν δυνα μην συμμαχειν υμιν εγω
appear not only odious but sacrilegious, transgressing the rules of good behaviour and offending the gods. Other animals, as several of the birds of prey, were also held sacred by the Egyptians, or were venerated in the rites of augury?. The Hebrews, being instructed to consider these as unclean, would be prevented from the indulgence of the like superstition. Hence Origen, contra Celsum, 1. iv. justly admired the Jewish ritual, and observes, that those animals which are prohibited by Moses were such as were reputed sacred by the Egyptians, and used in divination by other nations. Tæ vousWueve map ALYUT11015, nuL TOIS NOITOIS TWV avbwrw Marlina. And Montfaucon, in his Hexapl. Orig. has published a fragment of Eusebius Emisenus, from a manuscript Catena in the library of the king of France, which may be thus translated : “God wills that they should eat some kinds of flesh, and that they should abstain from others, not that any of them in themselves were common or unclean, but this he did on two accounts; the one was that he would have those animals to be eaten which were worshiped in Egypt, because eating them would render their pretensions most contemptible. And, pursuant to the same opinion, he forbids the eating of those kinds which the Egyptians used to eat very greedily and luxuri. ously, as the swine, &c. The other reason was, that their properties and natures seemed to lay a prejudice in the way of some of these, and to render them, as it were, a sort of profanation. Some were monstrously big, others very ugly, others fed upon dead bodies, and to others human nature had an inbred antipathy; so that, in the inain, what the law forbid was nature's aversion before.” Thus were the Jews taught to distinguish themselves from that people, not only in their religious worship, not being allowed “ to sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians,"
Anguillam numen esse reris optimum,
So Juvenal, Sat. xv. says of the Egyptians:
“ Lanatis animalibus abstinet omnis
Damas, Opera ad calcem, declares, “ Egyptii coluerunt cattum, et canem, et lupum, et simiam, et draconem. Alii cepas, et allia et spinas." The ox was sacred to A pis, the dog to Anubis, &c.
7 The hawk was dedicated to Osiris, the eagle to the god Ammon of Thebais, the raven to Orus. The custom of consecrating all the birds of prey to the gods came originally from the Egyptians. According to Ælian, 1. xii. they were distributed in the following manner; “ Accipitres distributi sunt, autem et consecrati variis diis. Perdicarius et oxypteros Apollinis ministri sunt, ut ferunt ossifraga et harpe sacræ sunt Minervæ. Plumbario Murcurium delectari aiunt. Junoni dedicatur tanysipteros; Dianæ buteo; Matri deûm mermnus; alii denique aliis diis."