Leviticus 11 contains the dietary restrictions of the Law. The Lord was very precise in telling His people what they could, and what they could not eat. Why do you think the Lord was so concerned with what foods His people ate? The reason is given to us in Leviticus 20:24-26, “But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of 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.”

The Lord indicated that some animals were considered ‘clean’ and some were considered ‘unclean’. In order to preserve His people, the Lord did not allow them to eat ‘unclean’ animals. In Leviticus 11, we have the Lord giving instructions concerning:

* The beasts on the earth – Verses 1-8

* Things in the water – Verses 9-12

* Creeping and flying animals – Verses 13-23

* Concerning the beasts on the earth, verse 3 tells what could be eaten. That says, “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.” In this case a clean animal would be a cow, sheep, goat, oxen, etc. If an animal did not meet ALL of these qualifications, they were considered unclean and were forbidden to be eaten. Here, an unclean animal would be a horse, pig, dog, etc.

* Considering aquatic animals, verse 9 tells what could be eaten. That says, “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.” In this case, a clean aquatic animal would be bass, perch, flounder, mackerel, pike, etc. An unclean aquatic animal would be squid, catfish, shark, eel, all shellfish, etc.

* Considering flying animals and creeping things, verses 21-22 tell us what could be eaten. That says, “Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.” Flying animals that were clean would include chicken, duck, goose, etc. Clean insects would include locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, etc. Verses 13-21 and verse 29-31 list many of the unclean flying animals and creeping things.

Today, can see how proper it was for the Lord to forbid certain types of animals from being eaten. The ‘unclean’ animals were more prone to carry diseases and parasites that were very difficult to remove from the animals and would have caused the death of many. The lifestyle of the Israelites would have made it virtually impossible to completely clean and cook these animals until they were safe to eat. Notice that many of the ‘unclean’ animals were created to clean up after other animals and to eat the carcasses of dead animals. Even today, most of these are considered unsanitary and are not normally eaten. Are we still bound by these dietary laws today? Consider the lesson we have in Acts 10:9-15, “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” While we still do not eat some of those ‘unclean’ animals today, we are not bound by the law to abstain from eating them. (256.4)