“Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.”
Every so often, you will come across an unbeliever who has managed to get a snippet of information from the Bible without knowing where that information is from or what it really means. One example of this is the accusation that the Bible says that rabbits chew the cud, but they don’t, so obviously the Bible is wrong.
To save time, the relevant passage is part of the food laws in Leviticus 11:6. The Israelites are given permission to eat animals with cloven hooves, that chew the cud. So the rabbit or hare is specifically excluded because “it chews the cud but does not part the hoof”.
Ruminants, such as cattle, sheep and goats, pass the test, so to speak, because they do indeed chew the cud and have cloven hooves. Notice that “parting the hoof” is not an action, but rather a description. These ruminants swallow grass relatively unchewed into one stomach. They later regurgitate this partially digested grass, chew it again (chewing the cud) and swallow it again, whereon it passes through the other stomachs.
But the Hebrew word does not describe this action. Instead, it describes “raising up what has been swallowed”. Rabbits do indeed do this because they produce partly digested light fecal pellets, which they eat, digest further, then defecate the more familiar, darker fecal pellets. So, the complex digestive system of the rabbit does match what the original Hebrew actually says even though the English appears to be different. Author: Paul F. Taylor
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your word is wise and always true. Amen.
Ref: Sarfati, J., Do rabbits chew their cud?, Creation 20(4):56—September 1998. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.
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