Shellfish is a culinary term for aquatic invertebrates used as food: molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Both saltwater and freshwater invertebrates are considered shellfish. Many gentile societies have eaten shellfish as a staple diet for thousands of years.

Biblical Views on Shellfish

Shellfish is referred to only twice in the Bible, both in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Jews, and some Christians, do not eat shellfish because of the Old Testament prohibition against it[1][2].

All references in Amplified Version

Tanakh (Old Testament)

  • Leviticus 11:9-12 - 9 These you may eat of all that are in the waters: whatever has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, these you may eat; 10 But all that have not fins and scales in the seas and in the rivers, of all the creeping things in the waters, and of all the living creatures which are in the waters, they are [to be considered] an abomination and abhorrence to you. 11 They shall continue to be an abomination to you; you shall not eat of their flesh, but you shall detest their carcasses. 12 Everything in the waters that has not fins or scales shall be abhorrent and detestable to you.
  • Deuteronomy 14:9-10 - 9 These you may eat of all that are in the waters: whatever has fins and scales you may eat, 10 And whatever has not fins and scales you may not eat; it is unclean for you.


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