Deuteronomy 14
Benson Commentary
Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
Deuteronomy 14:1. Ye are the children of the Lord your God — Ye are not only the creatures, and the offspring, but the peculiar people, the worshippers, the servants, and those of you that are truly pious, the adopted children of Jehovah, the one living and true God, who is your God in covenant; and therefore you should not dishonour him, your heavenly Father, nor disparage yourselves, by unworthy or unbecoming practices, such as here follow; and whom you must not disobey. Ye shall not cut yourselves — This was the practice of idolaters, both in the worship of their idols and in their funerals, as also upon occasion of public calamities. For the dead — Through excessive sorrow for your dead friends, as if you had no hope of their happiness after death, 1 Thessalonians 4:13. See on Leviticus 19:28. These furious expressions of mourning for the dead subsist at this day in some of the eastern countries: see on Genesis 50:10. But nothing surely can be more unbecoming the sons of God and heirs of immortality than thus to sorrow like those who expect no life after this. Nor make any baldness between your eyes — On the fore part of your heads, (Leviticus 21:5,) just over the space that is between your eyes.

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Deuteronomy 14:2. Thou art a holy people — Since you have the honour to be separated to God as a peculiar people, by laws different from those of all other nations, it behooves you to act suitably to the dignity of your privileges, and to beware of defiling yourselves with any such heathenish rites or practices as are either impious or absurd. Any abominable thing — Unclean, and forbidden by me, which therefore should be abominable to you: see on Leviticus 11.

Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,
The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.
Deuteronomy 14:5. The pygargs — A kind of goat. And the chamois — Hebrew, זמר, zemer, which Bochart takes for that kind of goat which is called in Latin Rupi-capra, or mountain-goat, from the Arabic zamara, to bound like a roe.

And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.
Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.
Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
Deuteronomy 14:13. And the glede — Hebrew, הראה, haraah, a bird of the vulture kind, which evidently has its name from its sharp sight. This is omitted in Leviticus.

And every raven after his kind,
And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.
But of all clean fowls ye may eat.
Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
Deuteronomy 14:21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself — The blood being in it, rendered it unlawful to be eaten. Proselytes of the gate, not being obliged to observe these laws, or mere Gentiles, who might happen to be in their country, might eat such meat. But those who were termed proselytes of righteousness, that is, circumcised Gentiles, who had embraced the Jewish religion, were bound to abstain from such food as much as the native Jews.

Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Deuteronomy 14:22-23. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed — There were three sorts of tithes to be paid from the people, besides those from the Levites to the priests; 1st, To the Levites for their maintenance, Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21. These were to be eaten where they dwelt, (Numbers 14:31,) and therefore to be paid there. 2d, For the Lord’s feasts and sacrifices, to be eaten by the offerers at Jerusalem: these are here intended. 3d, Besides these two, there was to be every third year a tithe for the poor, to be eaten at their own dwellings, Deuteronomy 14:28-29. That thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God — That thou mayest not only be accustomed to the worship of Jehovah thy God, but mayest become truly pious. For the fear of God was taught in that place of his public worship, and the very presenting themselves before him was a good means to keep them in awe of him.

And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Deuteronomy 14:24-25. When the Lord thy God hath blessed thee — Hath given thee so great an increase that the tenth thereof is more than thou canst carry to the sanctuary. Bind up the money in thy hand — That is, in a bag, to be taken in thy hand and carried with thee.

Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Deuteronomy 14:26. Thou shalt bestow that money, &c. — This was an injunction to the Israelites to use a part of their income in hospitality; to rejoice in the goodness of God, when they came before his presence, to acknowledge he was the author of all their blessings, and to gladden the hearts of the poor, the fatherless, and the widow, by entertaining them; thus imitating God’s goodness to themselves by acts of kindness to others. Thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God — The comfortable and cheerful using of what God hath given us, with temperance and sobriety, is really the honouring of God with it. Contentment, holy joy, and thankfulness, make every meal a religious feast.

And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Deuteronomy 14:27-28. The Levite — thou shalt not forsake him — Thou shalt give him a share in such tithes, or in the product of them. At the end of three years — That is, in the third year, as it is expressed Deuteronomy 26:12. The same year — This is added to show that he speaks of the third year, and not of the fourth, as some might conjecture from the preceding phrase, at the end of three years.

At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Deuteronomy 14:29. The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow — For this tithe was not to be spent merely in feasting themselves, but for the relief of such as were in want, who otherwise might have been compelled to beg, or to serve strangers, and thereby be in danger of being perverted from their religion.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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