I love these chapters! At first pass, they may seem ridiculous, restricting, nit picky, but years of science and history will prove them trustworthy.
Let’s start with the animals.
“This is the law regarding the animal and bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.” (11:46-47)
Notice how the LORD creates two categories: clean vs unclean, edible vs not to be eaten.
There are similar qualities between the animals which are deemed clean and edible: Chew cud and cloven hoof, fish with fins and scales. Not only are these animals historically not responsible for spreading disease, they’re also not ranked among the more intelligent animals. You can sneak up on them, slit their throats, making them pass out first, and kill them humanely.
There’s no humane way to kill a dolphin, they’re clever. That’s one reason why they’re in the “do not eat” list. Pigs are both purposed for eating trash (making them unclean/semi-toxic to eat since our bodies take so long to digest them), and they’re also smart enough to scream the entire time they’re being slaughtered. It’s horrifying.
So we come away with two basic reasons for the animals found on these lists:
- God loves us
- God loves animals
Moving on to uncleanliness after birth. This is both about hygiene and mandatory mother-child bonding.
The LORD had a lot to prepare Israel for in order to train them to be different from the Canaanites. One huge hurdle was the widely accepted worship of Molech, which centered around child sacrifice. Over and over, the LORD commands Israel not to do this, but as we know… being told not to do something isn’t a huge motivator for us humans.
What, then, is the LORD’s first line of defense against His people offering their children to be sacrificed?
A mother who just bonded with that baby is isolation for 1-2 months.
This also helps us understand why it’s one month for a boy and two for a girl. Little girls have always been more vulnerable to this sort of thing. People love those baby boys but baby girls were historically disappointing. So the LORD has the mother bond with them twice as long.
Granted, these explanations are only a small peek into God’s “why’s”, but I hope they teach us a few things: He’s smarter than us. Plus, He’s God, and shouldn’t that be enough to trust Him?
His laws are seeped in love, because He is love. He’s not trying to ruin our fun, he’s trying to not let fun ruin us.
What are some of your “whys”? Ask God for His revelation and do some research!