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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 14

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2


Verses 1, 2:

Israel as a nation was "the children of Jehovah Elohim," see Exodus 4:22, et. al. As such they were to abstain from all heathen practices which were offensive to Jehovah.

Compare this text with Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5. See comments on these verses.

Verses 3-6

Verses 3-6:

"Any abominable thing," anything which the Lord has pronounced unclean and forbidden. These dietary restrictions were imposed by law upon Israel, and not upon other peoples. They were given for the primary purpose of teaching that Israel was to be a separate people from the other nations of the world, holy unto Jehovah. With the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, the regulations regarding clean and unclean were lifted, as Acts 10:9-18 teaches. All creatures may be regarded as clean today, see 1 Timothy 4:4; Romans 14:14.

A secondary purpose of the dietary restrictions of the Laws was for reasons of health. For example, certain of the animals designated as unclean are potential carriers of disease. Both rabbit meat and pork may be carriers of a parasite, trichina, which causes the disease of trichinosis in humans.

Certain animals were designated as clean, thus acceptable for food. The criterion: animals with cloven hoof or cleft paws, and which chewed the cud were considered clean, see Leviticus 11:2-3. The text lists ten such animals:

(1) The ox.

(2) The sheep.

(3) The goat.

(4) The hart, ayyal, a stag or male deer, similar to the American eLu

(5) The roebuck, tsebi, a male roe deer.

(6) The fallow deer, yachmur, a smaller deer found in the forests and mountains of Europe and northern Asia.

(7) The wild goat, akko, or ibex.

(8) The pygarg, dishon, a variety of antelope.

(9) The wild ox, theo, a species of antelope.

(10) The chamois, zamer, probably the wild mountain sheep, known as the Barbary Sheep or Aoudad.

Verses 7-8

Verses 7, 8:

Unclean animals were those which chewed the cud but did not have divided or cloven hooves or paws, or those which had cloven hooves but did not chew the cud. See Leviticus 11:4-8.


Verses 9-10

Verses 9, 10:

Aquatic creatures that were clean were those with both scales and fins. Unclean sea creatures were those with fins and no scales, or scales and no fins. See Leviticus 11:9-12.

Verses 11-20

Verses 11-20:

The text lists the various birds or flying creatures designated as unclean. This list is the same as that of Leviticus 11:13-23, with two exceptions:

(1) The glede, raah, a species of vulture, included in the present text, but not in the list in Leviticus.

(2) Certain insects listed in Leviticus 11:22, q.v.

Verse 21

Verse 21:

Compare this verse with Leviticus 17:15 and comments thereon.

"The stranger" likely refers to an uncircumcised foreigner who lived among the Israelites.

"Alien," a foreigner who is not a resident in Israel.

For the prohibitions of seething or boiling a kid goat in its mother’s milk, see Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26.

Verses 22-26

Verses 22-26:

God appointed a specific place for Israel to bring the tithes of each year’s produce of their fields, and the tithes of their livestock, see Deuteronomy 12:17-18.

"Thou shalt eat before the Lord," denoting that they were to partake of a sacrificial meal at the same time they made their offering of the tithes.

When Israel settled in Canaan, some might live at such a great distance from the Temple site that it would not be possible to bring the tithes to offer them there. In this event, they were to sell the tithes, and bring the money from that sale to the Temple area. There they were to purchase those things required for the sacrificial meal at the sanctuary.

Verse 26: "Whatsoever thy soul lusteth after," or, "whatever your soul desires."

"Strong drink," whatever is capable of making one drunk, whether made from grain or fruit.

Verses 27-29

Verses 27-29:

Each third year, Israel was to place the tithe of all their increase in storage in their cities, and not to bring it to the sanctuary. The purpose of this was to provide sustenance for:

(1) The Levites.

(2) The stranger, the poor non-Israeli living in the Land.

(3) The fatherless, or orphan.

(4) The widow.

Anyone in these categories who was in need could partake of those tithes stored in the cities.

This was not an additional tithe, but a different application of the required tithe. It was God’s way of teaching Israel the practice of true hospitality, and thus to partake of the character of Jehovah, the God of compassion.

True compassion for the needy is a hallmark of God’s faithful child today, Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Timothy 5:10.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-14.html. 1985.
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