Leviticus 11:5

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And the coney, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. (ASV)


Here, "coney" is also translated "hyrax" or "rock rabbit" or "rock badger" or "dassie"; it is a small rabbitlike animal.

However, it does not chew the cud.


The difficulty here is in the translation of the Hebrew text into English. The Hebrew text refers to the animal that re-chews food that was chewed previously. The closest English rendering of this is to chew the cud. Where the English text limits those animals that chew the cud to certain specific animals, this limitation is not in the Hebrew text. The prohibition in Leviticus applies to any animal that chews again that which it has chewed before. It includes all those animals that chew the cud but also includes any animals that ruminate. The laws found in Leviticus refer to characteristics that are seen through physical observation and not to biological processes. In this case, the law specifies, with precision, the animals which are covered by the law. In this manner, the people would not be confused as to the application of the law and which animals were not to be eaten.

While the text is not clear, the problem is that of translating from one language to another. There is no contradiction, or error, or even confusion in the original Hebrew text.


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