The General Epistle of Barnabas

Chapter 9

9:1 “But why did Moses say you shall not eat of the swine, neither the eagle, nor the hawk; nor the crow, nor any fish that has not a scale upon him? Answer, that in the spiritual sense, he comprehended three doctrines, that were to be gathered from there.”
9:2 “Besides which he says to them in the book of Deuteronomy, And I will give my statutes to this people. Wherefore it is not the command of God that they should not eat these things; but Moses in the spirit spoke to them.”
9:3 “Now the sow he forbade them to eat; meaning this: you shall not join yourself to such persons as are like to swine; who while they live in pleasure, forget their God; but when any want pinches them, then they know the Lord; as the sow when she is full knows not her master; but when she is hungry she makes a noise; and being again fed, is silent.”
9:4 “Neither says he, shall you eat the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the crow; that is you shall not keep company with such kind of men as know not how by their labor and sweat to get themselves food: but injuriously ravish away the things of others; and watch how to lay snares for them; when at the same time they appear to live in perfect innocence.”
9:5 “(So these birds alone seek not food for themselves, but) sitting idle seek how they may eat of the flesh others have provided; being destructive through their wickedness.)”
9:6 “Neither, says he, shall you eat the lamprey, nor the polypus, nor the cuttlefish; that is you shall not be like such men, by using to converse with them; who are altogether wicked and adjudged to death. For so those fishes are alone accursed, and wallow in the mire, nor swim as other fishes, but tumble in the dirt at the bottom of the deep.”
9:7 “But he adds, neither shall you eat of the hare. To what end? To signify this to us; you shall not be an adulterer; nor liken yourself to such persons. For the hare every year multiplies the places of its conception; and so many years as it lives, so many it has.”
9:8 “Neither shall you eat of the hyena; that is again, be not an adulterer, nor a corrupter of others; neither be like to such. And wherefore so? Because that creature every year changes its kind, and is sometimes male and sometimes female.”
9:9 “For which cause also he justly hated the weasel; to the end that they should not be like such persons who with their mouths commit wickedness by reason of their uncleanness; nor join themselves with those impure women, who with their mouths commit wickedness. Because that animal conceives with its mouth.”
9:10 “Moses, therefore, speaking as concerning meats, delivered indeed three great precepts to them in the spiritual signification of those commands. But they according to the desires of the flesh, understood him as if he had only meant it of meats.”
9:11 “And therefore David took aright the knowledge of his three-fold command, saying in like manner.”
9:12 “Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly; as the fishes before mentioned in the bottom of the deep in darkness.”
9:13 “Nor stood in the way of sinners, as they who seem to reverence the Lord, but yet sin, as the sow.”
9:14 “And has not sat in the seat of the scorners; as those birds who sit and watch that they may devour.”
9:15 “Here you have the law concerning meat perfectly set forth, and according to the true knowledge of it.”
9:16 “But, Moses said, you shall eat all that divides the hoof, and chews the cud. Signifying thereby such an one as having taken his food, knows him that nourishes him; and resting upon him, rejoices in him.”
9:17 “And in this he spoke well, having respect to the commandment. What, therefore, is it that he said? That we should hold fast to them that reverence the Lord; with those who meditate on the command of the word which they have received in their heart; with those that declare the righteous judgments of the Lord, and keep his commandments.”
9:18 “In short, with those who know that to meditate is a work of pleasure, and therefore exercise themselves in the word of the Lord.”
9:19 “But why might they eat those that clave the hoof? Because the righteous lives in this present world; but his expectation is fixed upon the other. See, brothers, how admirably Moses commanded these things.”
9:20 “But how should we thus know all this, and understand it? We, therefore, understanding aright the commandments, speak as the Lord would have us. Wherefore he has circumcised our ears and our hearts, that we might know these things.”

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