Leviticus 11

A “Word of Wisdom” for the Israelites

“Leviticus 11: A ‘Word of Wisdom’ for the Israelites,” Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide (2002), 58–59


On any given day, people may forget to pray or neglect to work or worship, but they seldom forget to eat. Since one purpose of the law of Moses was to provide continual daily reminders to the Israelites of their duty to God, the law included instructions concerning what the children of Israel could and could not eat. Leviticus 11 contains these instructions. The rules and instructions are commonly known as “kosher laws.” Kosher comes from a Hebrew word that means “religiously clean.” Like the Word of Wisdom revealed in our day, the kosher laws promoted good health, but their major purpose was to teach obedience. This law of health, like the Word of Wisdom today, helped set God’s people apart from the world in habits and practices, which was another purpose of the law of Moses, and helped them become clean and holy.

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Leviticus 11.

  1. Is It Kosher?

    Kosher means proper or sanctified by Jewish law. List the following animals in your notebook: snail, sheep, mouse, locust, stork, pig, cow, camel, eagle, shark. For each animal, write whether they were “kosher” or “not kosher” for Israelites to eat, and then explain why. For each reason, give a verse from Leviticus 11 that supports your answer.

  2. Review the Word of Wisdom

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 89:5–17 and list what the Lord commanded Church members in our day to eat or not eat. Compare these instructions to Leviticus 11 where the Lord taught the children of Israel what they could and could not eat.

  3. Why Does It Matter?

    Why do you think the Lord has commanded His people not to eat certain things? (If you need help, see Leviticus 11:43–47; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; D&C 89:1–4, 18–21.)