Deuteronomy 14

Clean and Unclean Food

1 You are the children of the LORD your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead,
2 for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.
3 Do not eat any detestable thing.
4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,
5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep.[a]
6 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.
7 However, of those that chew the cud or that have a divided hoof you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the hyrax. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a divided hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you.
8 The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.
9 Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales.
10 But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.
11 You may eat any clean bird.
12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,
13 the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon,
14 any kind of raven,
15 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk,
16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl,
17 the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant,
18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.
19 All flying insects are unclean to you; do not eat them.
20 But any winged creature that is clean you may eat.
21 Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to the foreigner residing in any of your towns, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to any other foreigner. But you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.


22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.
24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away),
25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.
26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.
27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.
28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns,
29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

The Israelites to distinguish themselves from other nations. (1-21) Respecting the application of tithes. (22-29)

Verses 1-21 Moses tells the people of Israel how God had given them three distinguishing privileges, which were their honour, and figures of those spiritual blessings in heavenly things, with which God has in Christ blessed us. Here is election; "The Lord hath chosen thee." He did not choose them because they were by their own acts a peculiar people to him above other nations, but he chose them that they might be so by his grace; and thus were believers chosen, ( Ephesians 1:4 ) . Here is adoption; "Ye are the children of the Lord your God;" not because God needed children, but because they were orphans, and needed a father. Every spiritual Israelite is indeed a child of God, a partaker of his nature and favour. Here is sanctification; "Thou art a holy people." God's people are required to be holy, and if they are holy, they are indebted to the grace God which makes them so. Those whom God chooses to be his children, he will form to be a holy people, and zealous of good works. They must be careful to avoid every thing which might disgrace their profession, in the sight of those who watch for their halting. Our heavenly Father forbids nothing but for our welfare. Do thyself no harm; do not ruin thy health, thy reputation, thy domestic comforts, thy peace of mind. Especially do not murder thy soul. Do not be the vile slave of thy appetites and passions. Do not render all around thee miserable, and thyself wretched; but aim at that which is most excellent and useful. The laws which regarded many sorts of flesh as unclean, were to keep them from mingling with their idolatrous neighbours. It is plain in the gospel, that these laws are now done away. But let us ask our own hearts, Are we of the children of the Lord our God? Are we separate from the ungodly world, in being set apart to God's glory, the purchase of Christ's blood? Are we subjects of the work of the Holy Ghost? Lord, teach us from these precepts how pure and holy all thy people ought to live!

Verses 22-29 A second portion from the produce of their land was required. The whole appointment evidently was against the covetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. It promoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raised a fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that their worldly portion was most comfortably enjoyed, when shared with their brethren who were in want. If we thus serve God, and do good with what we have, it is promised that the Lord our God will bless us in all the works of our land. The blessing of God is all to our outward prosperity; and without that blessing, the work of our hands will bring nothing to pass. The blessing descends upon the working hand. Expect not that God should bless thee in thy idleness and love of ease. And it descends upon the giving hand. He who thus scatters, certainly increases; and to be free and generous in the support of religion, and any good work, is the surest and safest way of thriving.

Cross References 36

  • 1. Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5; Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5; S John 1:12; S Romans 8:14; Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:26
  • 2. S Genesis 28:14; Exodus 22:31; Isaiah 6:13; Malachi 2:15
  • 3. S Leviticus 20:26; Romans 12:1
  • 4. S Exodus 8:22; S Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 26:18-19
  • 5. Ezekiel 4:14
  • 6. Leviticus 11:2-45; Acts 10:14
  • 7. S Leviticus 7:23
  • 8. S Deuteronomy 12:15
  • 9. Job 39:1; Psalms 104:18
  • 10. S Leviticus 5:2; Leviticus 11:26-27
  • 11. S Genesis 1:11
  • 12. Isaiah 34:15
  • 13. S Genesis 8:7
  • 14. Psalms 102:6; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14
  • 15. S Leviticus 20:25
  • 16. S Leviticus 11:39; Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 22:8
  • 17. ver 2
  • 18. S Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26
  • 19. S Genesis 14:20; S Leviticus 27:30; S Numbers 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:6,17; Nehemiah 10:37
  • 20. S Deuteronomy 12:17,18
  • 21. Psalms 4:7
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 12:5; 1 Kings 3:2
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 4:10
  • 24. Psalms 22:23; Psalms 33:8; Malachi 2:5
  • 25. Matthew 21:12; John 2:14
  • 26. S Leviticus 10:9; Ecclesiastes 10:16-17
  • 27. S Leviticus 23:40; S Deuteronomy 12:18; Deuteronomy 12:7-8
  • 28. S Deuteronomy 12:19
  • 29. S Numbers 18:20; Numbers 26:62; Deuteronomy 18:1-2
  • 30. S Leviticus 27:30
  • 31. Deuteronomy 26:12
  • 32. ver 27; Genesis 47:22
  • 33. Numbers 26:62
  • 34. Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Psalms 94:6; Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 58:6; Deuteronomy 26:12
  • 35. S Deuteronomy 6:11
  • 36. Deuteronomy 15:10; Psalms 41:1; Proverbs 22:9; Malachi 3:10

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The precise identification of some of the birds and animals in this chapter is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter some cautions are given against the use of some rites and ceremonies in mourning for the dead, with the reason thereof, De 14:1,2 and instructions about what are lawful to be eaten, and what not, whether of beasts, fishes, or fowl, De 14:3-21, and concerning eating one sort of tithes both at the place God should choose, and within their own gates, De 14:22-29.

Deuteronomy 14 Commentaries

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