(Heb. chazir). The flesh of swine was forbidden as food by the Levitical law, (Leviticus 11:7; 14:8) the abhorrence which the Jews as a nation had of it may be inferred from (Isaiah 65:4) and 2 Macc 6:18,19. No other reason for the command to abstain from swine's flesh is given in the law of Moses beyond the general one which forbade any of the mammalia as food which did not literally fulfill the terms of the definition of a clean animal" viz,, that it was to be a cloven-footed ruminant. It is, however, probable that dietetical considerations may have influenced Moses in his prohibition of swine's flesh: it is generally believed that its use in hot countries is liable to induce cutaneous disorders; hence in a people liable to leprosy the necessity for the observance of a strict rule, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Although the Jews did not breed swine during the greater period of their existence as a nation there can be little doubt that the heathen nations of Palestine used the flesh as food. At the time of our Lord's ministry it would appear that the Jews occasionally violated the law of Moses with regard to swine's flesh. Whether "the herd of swine" into which the devils were allowed to enter, (Matthew 8:32; Mark 5:13) were the property of the Jewish or of the Gentile inhabitants of Gadara does not appear from the sacred narrative. The wild boar of the wood, (Psalms 80:13) is the common Sus scrofa which is frequently met with in the woody parts of Palestine, especially in Mount Tabor.
* See also: Sow.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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