Deuteronomy 14:5

5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain-sheep.

Deuteronomy 14:5 Meaning and Commentary

Deuteronomy 14:5

The hart, the roebuck, and the fallow deer
All of the deer kind, and very agreeable food; harts were very common in the land of Canaan and parts adjacent; Aelianus says F21 harts are bred in the great mountains in Syria, Amanus, Lebanon, and Carmel: the roebuck, or "dorcas", from whence a good woman had her name, ( Acts 9:36 ) is spoken of by Martial F23 as very delicious food, and so are fallow deer; the word "jachmur", here used, having the signification of redness in it, may be used for that sort which are called red deer: it is observed that in the Arabic language it is used for an animal with two horns, living in the woods, not unlike an hart, but swifter than that; and it is asked, is it not the "aloe" or "elch" F24?

and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois;
the wild goat is reckoned by Pliny F25 among the half wild creatures in Africa; according to the philosopher F26 there are none but in Syria, on which Canaan bordered, and were very remarkable ones, having ears a span and nine inches long, and some reached to the ground. The Hebrew name for this creature is "akko"; and there is a fourfooted wild beast, by the Tartarians called "akkyk", and by the Turks "akoim", and which with the Scythians and Sarmatians are to be met with in flocks; it is between a hart and a ram, its body whitish, and the flesh exceeding sweet F1; it seems to be the same with the "tragelaphus", of which there were in Arabia, as Diodorus Siculus F2 says; the next is the "pygarg", which we so render from the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, or white buttocks, so called from the hinder part of it being white; a species of the eagle with a white tail is called a "pygarg", but here a four footed animal is meant; and which is mentioned as such, along with hinds, does, and goats, by Herodotus F3, Aelian F4, and Pliny F5: it has its name "dishon", in Hebrew, from its ash colour, and the "tragelaphus", or goat deer, has part of its back ash coloured, and has ash coloured spots or streaks on its sides F6: some take it to be the "strepsiceros", a kind of buck or goat with writhed horns, which the Africans, as Pliny says F7, call "addaca", which is thought by some to be a corruption of "al-dashen", so Junius; the Targum of Jonathan takes it for the "unicorn" or "rhinoceros"; and the Talmudists say F8 that the unicorn, though it has but one horn, is free, i.e. lawful to be eaten: the "wild ox" was common in Arabia; Strabo F9 speaks of multitudes of wild oxen in some parts of Arabia, on the flesh of which and other animals the Arabians live; in the Septuagint version it is called the "oryx", which is a creature that has but one horn, and divides the hoof F11, and so might be eaten; (See Gill on Isaiah 51:20), the last, the "chamois", has a French name, and is a creature of the goat kind, from whose skin the chamois leather is made; in the figure of its body it seems to approach very much to the stag kind F12; perhaps it is the same with the "cemas" of Aelian F13, mentioned by him along with roebucks. Some take it to be the "tarandus", of which Pliny says F14 it is of the size of an ox, has a head bigger than a hart, and not unlike it; its horns are branched, hoofs cloven, and is hairy like a bear. In the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan this is the "pygarg"; these several sorts of beasts were allowed to be eaten; the three first there is no difficulty about them, but the other seven it is hard to determine what they are, at least some of them. Dr. Shaw F15 thinks that the deer, the antelope, the wild bear, the goat deer, the white buttocks, the buffalo, and jeraffa, may lay in the best claim to the "ailee", "tzebi", "yachmur", "akkub", "dishon", "thau", and "zomer", here.


F21 Hist. Animal. l. 5. c. 56.
F23 "Delicium parvo" Epigram. l. 13. 93.
F24 Castel. Lex. Polyglott. Col. 1. 294.
F25 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 53.
F26 Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 8. c. 28.
F1 Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 415.
F2 Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 134. Vid. Plin. l. 8. c. 33.
F3 Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 192.
F4 Hist. Animal l. 7. c. 19.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 53.
F6 Calmet's Dictionary on the word "Pygarg".
F7 Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 39.
F8 T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 59. 2.
F9 Geograph. l. 16. p. 530.
F11 Aristot. Hist. Animal, l. 2. c. 1.
F12 Supplement to Chambers's Dictionary on the word "Rupricapra".
F13 Hist. Animal. l. 14. c. 14.
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 34. 34.
F15 Travels, p. 418.

Deuteronomy 14:5 In-Context

3 You shall not eat any abhorrent thing.
4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,
5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain-sheep.
6 Any animal that divides the hoof and has the hoof cleft in two, and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat.
7 Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cleft you shall not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger, because they chew the cud but do not divide the hoof; they are unclean for you.