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Leviticus 11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Clean and Unclean Animals

11 The Lord told Moses and Aaron to say to the community of Israel:

You may eat any animal that has divided hoofs and chews the cud.[a] 4-8 But you must not eat animals such as camels, rock badgers, and rabbits that chew the cud but don’t have divided hoofs. And you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean,[b] and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies.

9-12 You may eat anything that lives in water and has fins and scales. But it would be disgusting for you to eat anything else that lives in water, and you must not even touch their dead bodies.

13-19 Eagles, vultures, buzzards, crows, ostriches, hawks, sea gulls, owls, pelicans, storks, herons, hoopoes,[c] and bats are also disgusting, and you are forbidden to eat any of them.

20-23 The only winged insects you may eat are locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets. All other winged insects that crawl are too disgusting for you to eat.

24-28 Don’t even touch the dead bodies of animals that have divided hoofs but don’t chew the cud. And don’t touch the dead bodies of animals that have paws. If you do, you must wash your clothes, but you are still unclean until evening.

29-30 Moles, rats, mice, and all kinds of lizards are unclean. 31 Anyone who touches their dead bodies or anything touched by their dead bodies becomes unclean until evening. 32 If something made of wood, cloth, or leather touches one of their dead bodies, it must be washed, but it is still unclean until evening. 33 If any of these animals is found dead in a clay pot, the pot must be broken to pieces, and everything in it becomes unclean. 34 If you pour water from this pot on any food, that food becomes unclean, and anything drinkable in the pot becomes unclean.

35 If the dead body of one of these animals touches anything else, including ovens and stoves, that thing becomes unclean and must be destroyed. 36 A spring or a cistern where one of these dead animals is found is still clean, but anyone who touches the animal becomes unclean. 37 If the dead body of one of these animals is found lying on seeds that have been set aside for planting, the seeds remain clean. 38 But seeds that are soaking in water become unclean, if the dead animal is found in the water.

39 If an animal that may be eaten happens to die, and you touch it, you become unclean until evening. 40 If you eat any of its meat or carry its body away, you must wash your clothes, but you are still unclean until evening.

41-42 Don’t eat any of those disgusting little creatures that crawl or walk close to the ground. 43 If you eat any of them, you will become just as disgusting and unclean as they are. 44 I am the Lord your God, and you must dedicate yourselves to me and be holy, just as I am holy. Don’t become disgusting by eating any of these unclean creatures. 45 I brought you out of Egypt so that I could be your God. Now you must become holy, because I am holy!

46-47 I have given these laws so that you will know what animals, birds, and fish are clean and may be eaten, and which ones are unclean and may not be eaten.

Footnotes:

  1. 11.3 chews the cud: Some animals that eat grass and leaves have more than one stomach and chew their food a second time after it has been partly digested in the first stomach. This partly digested food is called the “cud.”
  2. 11.4-8 unclean: In the Old Testament “clean” and “unclean” refer to whatever makes a person, animal, or object acceptable or unacceptable to God. For example, a person became unclean by eating certain foods, touching certain objects, and having certain kinds of diseases or bodily discharges.
  3. 11.13-19 Eagles. . . hoopoes: Some of the birds in this list are difficult to identify.

Leviticus 11 New International Version (NIV)

Clean and Unclean Food

11 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.

“‘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. The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

“‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean. 11 And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.

13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle,[a] the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

20 “‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. 21 There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.

24 “‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

26 “‘Every animal that does not have a divided hoof or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them will be unclean. 27 Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 28 Anyone who picks up their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. These animals are unclean for you.

29 “‘Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. 31 Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you. Whoever touches them when they are dead will be unclean till evening. 32 When one of them dies and falls on something, that article, whatever its use, will be unclean, whether it is made of wood, cloth, hide or sackcloth. Put it in water; it will be unclean till evening, and then it will be clean. 33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot. 34 Any food you are allowed to eat that has come into contact with water from any such pot is unclean, and any liquid that is drunk from such a pot is unclean. 35 Anything that one of their carcasses falls on becomes unclean; an oven or cooking pot must be broken up. They are unclean, and you are to regard them as unclean. 36 A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean. 37 If a carcass falls on any seeds that are to be planted, they remain clean. 38 But if water has been put on the seed and a carcass falls on it, it is unclean for you.

39 “‘If an animal that you are allowed to eat dies, anyone who touches its carcass will be unclean till evening. 40 Anyone who eats some of its carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening. Anyone who picks up the carcass must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.

41 “‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. 42 You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. 43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. 45 I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

46 “‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves about in the water and every creature that moves along the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Leviticus 11:13 The precise identification of some of the birds, insects and animals in this chapter is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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