Problem: Do the badger and rabbit chew the cud according to the Bible? But, they don’t do that. So, which is true?
Lev. 11:5-6, “‘Likewise, the rock badger, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; 6 the rabbit also, for though it chews the cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.”
The problem here is that cud is food that is regurgitated from the stomach into the mouth so that it can be chewed again. Neither the rock badger nor the rabbit regurgitates their food into their stomachs to chew. The solution is that these animals were categorized with other animals who appeared to chew cud because they move their jaws in the same manner as the other animals listed.
Lev. 11:3, “Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat.”
Lev. 11:4, ‘Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.”
Lev. 11:5, ‘Likewise, the rock badger, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.”
Lev. 11:6, ‘the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.”
Lev. 11:7, ‘and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you.’
“It is known that rabbits practice what is called “refection,” in which indigestible vegetable matter contains certain bacteria and is passed as droppings and then eaten again. This process enables the rabbit to better digest it. This process is very similar to rumination, and it gives the impression of chewing the cud. So, the Hebrew phrase “chewing the cud” should not be taken in the modern technical sense, but in the ancient sense of a chewing motion that includes both rumination and refection in the modern sense.1
1 Geisler, Norman, and Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2002, p. 90.