Deuteronomy 14

Listen to Deuteronomy 14

Clean and Unclean Food

1 "You are 1the sons of the LORD your God. 2You shall not cut yourselves or make any 3baldness on your foreheads for the dead.
2 For 4you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
3 5"You shall not eat any abomination.
4 6These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,
5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex,[a] the antelope, and the mountain sheep.
6 Every animal that parts the hoof and has the hoof cloven in two and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat.
7 Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cloven you shall not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the 7rock badger, because they chew the cud but do not part the hoof, are unclean for you.
8 And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and 8their carcasses you shall not touch.
9 "Of all that are in the waters you may eat these: whatever has fins and scales you may eat.
10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
11 "You may eat all clean birds.
12 But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle,[b] the bearded vulture, the black vulture,
13 the kite, the falcon of any kind;
14 every raven of any kind;
15 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind;
16 the little owl and the short-eared owl, the barn owl
17 and the tawny owl, the carrion vulture and the cormorant,
18 the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat.
19 And all winged insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.
20 All clean winged things you may eat.
21 9"You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For 10you are a people holy to the LORD your God. 11"You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.


22 12"You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.
23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, 13you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, 14and the firstborn of your herd and flock, 15that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
24 And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because 16the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there,
25 then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses
26 and spend the money for whatever you desire--oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And 17you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.
27 And you shall not neglect 18the Levite who is within your towns, for 19he has no portion or inheritance with you.
28 20"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns.
29 And the Levite, because 21he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that 22the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

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 22

  • 1. [Isaiah 1:2; Hosea 1:10; John 1:12; Romans 9:8, 26; Galatians 3:26]
  • 2. See Leviticus 19:28
  • 3. [Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 7:18; Amos 8:10]
  • 4. See Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 5. Ezekiel 4:14; [Acts 10:13, 14]
  • 6. For ver. 4-20, see Leviticus 11:2-23
  • 7. Leviticus 11:5; [Psalms 104:18; Proverbs 30:26]
  • 8. [Leviticus 11:26]
  • 9. See Leviticus 7:24
  • 10. See Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 11. See Exodus 23:19
  • 12. See Numbers 18:21
  • 13. Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 15:20
  • 14. Deuteronomy 12:6
  • 15. Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 17:19
  • 16. Deuteronomy 12:21
  • 17. [See ver. 23 above]
  • 18. See Deuteronomy 12:19
  • 19. See Numbers 18:20
  • 20. Deuteronomy 26:12; [Amos 4:4]
  • 21. [See ver. 27 above]
  • 22. Deuteronomy 15:10; Deuteronomy 24:19; Psalms 41:1; Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9; Malachi 3:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or addax
  • [b]. The identity of many of these birds 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