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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 14

Verses 1-29

  1. CLEAN/UNCLEAN (Ch.14)
    1. Moses also includes as other forms of apostasy as including pagan rites of mourning the dead & eating of foods declared ritually unclean.
      1. In other societies, only the priests were subject to regulations such as these, but Israel was to be a holy people, where the behavior of each person was to be as blameless as the conduct of its priests.
        1. How about today?...is holiness required for pastors or the congregation?
    2. IMPROPER MOURNING (1,2)
    3. This precaution against lapsing into paganism is obscure.
      1. Mutilation of the body and shaving of the head were apparently heathen mourning customs.
      2. These rites belonged to a veneration of the dead, or of death itself, and were therefore entirely inappropriate for the people of the living God.
      3. The prohibition against such practices took high ground, For you are a holy people to the Lord your God. [holy = to be different]
      4. Christian courtesy toward persons of all faiths should not lead to a tolerance that fails to recognize the difference between truth and error.
    4. RULES OF DIET (3-21)
    5. The reasons why some meats were considered unclean and others clean are not stated.
      1. Health reasons are probable. Also…
      2. Certain creatures were given idolatrous veneration.
        1. However, what matters is the purpose of these classifications: by the very food they ate, or abstained from eating, Israelites were to show themselves an holy people (21), that is, a separated people.
    6. The distinguishing factors between clean and unclean animals were carefully spelled out.
      1. Only those that had cloven hooves and chewed the cud were permissible as food: both requirements were necessary (7,8).
    7. (21) The prohibition, Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk, is variously interpreted.
      1. Some see this as a matter of humaneness; but more likely the forbidden practice had pagan associations.
      2. On 3 separate occasions, the Torah tells the Jews not to boil a kid in its mother's milk. (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21). The Oral Torah explains that this passage prohibits eating meat and dairy together.
        1. In Israel they wont serve coffee after a meat dinner in Hotels, because you might put milk in your coffee.
    8. Dietary regulations were related to ritual rather than to hygiene seems probable from our Lord’s pronouncements about them.
      1. Mark, commenting on his own quotation of Jesus in Mark 7:18-23, said, Thus he declared all foods clean (v.19, RSV).
      2. Paul when discussing food said, (Read 1Tim.4:1-5).
        1. Yet, the spiritual principle stays the same..we must be a separated & obedient people.
        2. Clean & unclean is a reminder to us to distinguish between what God accepts & what He rejects.
    9. So, in both speech & actions Israel was to be truthful at all times, and especially in all things which related to God. (same for the church)
      1. For Israel to represent themselves as God’s holy people & then act in ways that harmed the reputation of God before others, was taken with the utmost seriousness.
      2. How about with the church? Just as serious?
  2. John Wilkes Booth’s Brother From the book: Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 105-106
    1. Edwin Thomas Booth at age 15 debuted on the stage playing Tressel to his father’s Richard III. Within a few short years he was playing the lead in Shakespearean tragedies throughout the United States and Europe. He was the Olivier of his time. He brought a spirit of tragedy that put him in a class by himself.
    2. Edwin had a younger brother, John, who was also an actor. Although he could not compare with his older brother, he did give a memorable interpretation of Brutus in the 1863 production of Julius Caesar, by the New York Winter Garden Theater. Two years later, he performed his last role in a theater when he jumped from the box of a bloodied President Lincoln to the stage of Ford’s Theater. John Wilkes Booth met the end he deserved. But his murderous life placed a stigma over the life of his brother Edwin.
    3. An invisible asterisk now stood beside his name in the minds of the people. He was no longer Edwin Booth the consummate tragedian, but Edwin Booth the brother of the assassin. He retired from the stage to ponder the question why?
    4. Edwin Booth’s life was a tragic accident simply because of his last name. The sensationalists wouldn’t let him separate himself from the crime.
    5. It is interesting to note that he carried a letter with him that could have vindicated him from the sibling attachment to John Wilkes Booth. It was a letter from General Adams Budeau, Chief Secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant, thanking him for a singular act of bravery. It seems that while he was waiting for a train on the platform at Jersey City, a coach he was about to board bolted forward. He turned in time to see that a young boy had slipped from the edge of the pressing crowd into the path of the oncoming train. Without thinking, Edwin raced to the edge of the platform and, linking his leg around a railing, grabbed the boy by the collar. The grateful boy recognized him, but he didn’t recognize the boy. It wasn’t until he received the letter of thanks that he learned it was Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of his brother’s future victim.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 14". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-14.html. 2017.