Deuteronomy 14

1 You are children of the Lord your God. You must not lacerate yourselves or shave your forelocks for the dead.
2 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; it is you the Lord has chosen out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
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.
8 And the pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. You shall not eat their meat, and you shall not touch their carcasses.
9 Of all that live in water 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 any clean birds.
12 But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey,
13 the buzzard, the kite 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 great owl, the water hen
17 and the desert 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 You may eat any clean winged creature.
21 You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to aliens residing in your towns for them to eat, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk.
22 Set apart a tithe of all the yield of your seed that is brought in yearly from the field.
23 In the presence of the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose as a dwelling for his name, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, your wine, and your oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
24 But if, when the Lord your God has blessed you, the distance is so great that you are unable to transport it, because the place where the Lord your God will choose to set his name is too far away from you,
25 then you may turn it into money. With the money secure in hand, go to the place that the Lord your God will choose;
26 spend the money for whatever you wish—oxen, sheep, wine, strong drink, or whatever you desire. And you shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your household rejoicing together.
27 As for the Levites resident in your towns, do not neglect them, because they have no allotment or inheritance with you.
28 Every third year you shall bring out the full tithe of your produce for that year, and store it within your towns;
29 the Levites, because they have no allotment or inheritance with you, as well as the resident aliens, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work that you undertake.

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]. Or [pelican]
  • [b]. Identification of several of the birds in verses 12-18 is uncertain

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