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Leviticus 11:26 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

(26) The carcases of every beast.—The construction of this text constituted one of the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees during the second Temple. According to the Pharisees, or the National Church in the time of Christ, the phrase “that toucheth them” in the last part of this verse refers to “the carcases” of the unclean animals spoken of in the preceding verse. It was only when an unclean animal was dead, whether death was owing to natural causes, design, or accident, that contact with its body defiled (see Lev. 11:8; Lev. 11:31); but when alive, unclean animals were freely used. Hence camels, asses, horses, &c, were employed in daily life, though unclean (1Ch. 12:40; Zec. 14:15; Mat. 21:2; Luk. 13:15, &c.). The Authorised Version rightly expresses this sense by inserting “the carcases” in italics at the beginning of the verse, thus showing that “them” in the latter part of the verse refers to the bodies of unclean animals when dead. Indeed some MSS. have actually “that toucheth their carcases,” instead of “that toucheth them.” The Sadducees, however, took the expression “them” to refer to the living unclean animals, and hence maintained that touching the body of any animal described in this dietary list as unclean defiled. The difference which this interpretation of the text produced in the domestic life and social intercourse of the Jews can hardly be described, since, according to the doctrine of the Sadducees, it was exceedingly difficult to remain undefiled as soon as one of them stepped outside their dwellings.

Consult other comments:

Leviticus 11:26 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 11:26 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 11:26 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Leviticus 11:26 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 11:26 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Leviticus 11:26 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 11:26 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 11:26 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)