Deuteronomy 14

Listen to Deuteronomy 14
1 “Since you are the people of the LORD your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead.
2 You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
3 “You must not eat any detestable animals that are ceremonially unclean.
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 addax, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.
6 “You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud,
7 but if the animal doesn’t have both, it may not be eaten. So you may not eat the camel, the hare, or the hyrax. They chew the cud but do not have split hooves, so they are ceremonially unclean for you.
8 And you may not eat the pig. It has split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses.
9 “Of all the marine animals, you may eat whatever has both fins and scales.
10 You may not, however, eat marine animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are ceremonially unclean for you.
11 “You may eat any bird that is ceremonially clean.
12 These are the birds you may not eat: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture,
13 the kite, the falcon, buzzards of all kinds,
14 ravens of all kinds,
15 the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds,
16 the little owl, the great owl, the barn owl,
17 the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the cormorant,
18 the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat.
19 “All winged insects that walk along the ground are ceremonially unclean for you and may not be eaten.
20 But you may eat any winged bird or insect that is ceremonially clean.
21 “You must not eat anything that has died a natural death. You may give it to a foreigner living in your town, or you may sell it to a stranger. But do not eat it yourselves, for you are set apart as holy to the LORD your God. “You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.
22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year.
23 Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the LORD your God.
24 “Now when the LORD your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe.
25 If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the LORD your God has chosen.
26 When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want—cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the LORD your God and celebrate with your household.
27 And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you.
28 “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town.
29 Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all your work.

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.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The identification of some of the animals and birds listed in this chapter is uncertain.
  • [b]. Or coney, or rock badger.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO DEUTERONOMY 14

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