Deuteronomy 14:2
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.
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(2) For thou art an holy people.—This verse is repeated from Deuteronomy 7:6, word for word, except the and,” which is added here. In the former passage, the principle is made the ground for destroying all monuments of idolatry in the land of Israel. Here it is made the basis of outward personal dignity and purity. This recalls the arrangement of the Book of Leviticus somewhat forcibly. The laws of ceremonial holiness stand first in that book, before the law of yearly atonement. Then follow the laws of moral holiness. But the principle and ground of all these laws is the same: “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy, and ye are Mine.”

Nations.—Rather, peoples. The commonwealth of Israel and its institutions are contrasted with other states and their institutions.

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.

14:1-21 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, Eph 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!Make any baldness between your eyes - i. e. by shaving the forepart of the head and the eyebrows. The practices named in this verse were common among the pagan, and seem to be forbidden, not only because such wild excesses of grief (compare 1 Kings 18:28) would be inconsistent in those who as children of a heavenly Father had prospects beyond this world, but also because these usages themselves arose out of idolatrous notions. CHAPTER 14

De 14:1, 2. God's People Must Not Disfigure Themselves in Mourning.

1. ye shall not cut yourselves … for the dead—It was a common practice of idolaters, both on ceremonious occasions of their worship (1Ki 18:28), and at funerals (compare Jer 16:6; 41:5), to make ghastly incisions on their faces and other parts of their persons with their finger nails or sharp instruments. The making a large bare space between the eyebrows was another heathen custom in honor of the dead (see on [128]Le 19:27, 28; [129]Le 21:5). Such indecorous and degrading usages, being extravagant and unnatural expressions of hopeless sorrow (1Th 4:13), were to be carefully avoided by the Israelites, as derogatory to the character, and inconsistent with the position, of those who were the people of God [De 14:2].

No text from Poole on this verse.

For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God,.... Set apart by him from all other people, and devoted to his worship and service, and many of them were sanctified and made holy in a special and spiritual sense; and therefore should not conform to the customs of Gentiles, whether in their extravagant mourning for the dead, or in their religious services; see Deuteronomy 7:6,

and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people, above all the nations that are upon the earth; to be his peculiar treasure, to be his peculiar servants and worshippers, to enjoy peculiar blessings and privileges, and behave in a peculiar manner different from all other people; and have no connection with them, especially in things sacred; and, in order to keep them a distinct peculiar people from all others, a peculiar diet was appointed them, that so being prohibited to eat such things as others did, they might be kept out of their company and conversation, and so from being drawn into their idolatrous practices; the rules concerning which follow; see Deuteronomy 7:6.

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a {a} peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

(a) Therefore you should not follow the superstition of the Gentiles.

2. For thou art an holy people, etc.] Almost exactly as Deuteronomy 7:6 (q.v.). Note also the Sg. address in contrast to the Pl. of the context. This v. is, therefore, probably an addition by the hand which inserted these later laws in the code of D.

Verse 2. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 7:6.) The reason assigned here is an emphatic expansion of the statement in ver. 1. Deuteronomy 14:2The Israelites were not only to suffer no idolatry to rise up in their midst, but in all their walk of life to show themselves as a holy nation of the Lord; and neither to disfigure their bodies by passionate expressions of sorrow for the dead (Deuteronomy 14:1 and Deuteronomy 14:2), nor to defile themselves by unclean food (vv. 3-21). Both of these were opposed to their calling. To bring this to their mind, Moses introduces the laws which follow with the words, "ye are children to the Lord your God." The divine sonship of Israel was founded upon its election and calling as the holy nation of Jehovah, which is regarded in the Old Testament not as generation by the Spirit of God, but simply as an adoption springing out of the free love of God, as the manifestation of paternal love on the part of Jehovah to Israel, which binds the son to obedience, reverence, and childlike trust towards a Creator and Father, who would train it up into a holy people. The laws in Deuteronomy 14:1 are simply a repetition of Leviticus 19:28 and Leviticus 21:5. למת, with reference to, or on account of, a dead person, is more expressive than לנפשׁ (for a soul) in Leviticus 19:28. The reason assigned for this command in Deuteronomy 14:2 (as in Deuteronomy 7:6) is simply an emphatic elucidation of the first clause of Deuteronomy 14:1. (On the substance of the verse, see Exodus 19:5-6).
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