Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
Verse 1. - Ye are the children of Jehovah your God (cf. Exodus 4:22, etc.). As his children, it behooved them to avoid all that would be offensive to him or indicate distrust in him. Ye shall not cut yourselves, etc. (cf. Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5; Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 48:36, 37; Ezekiel 7:18; Ezekiel 27:31). ("Ex hac opinions sunt ilia varia et detestabilia genera lugendi, paedores, muliebres lacerationes genarum, pectoris, feminum, capitis percussiones." Cicero, 'Tusc. Quaest.,' 3:26; see also ' De Legibus,' 2:25.)
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.
Verse 2. - (Cf. Deuteronomy 7:6.) The reason assigned here is an emphatic expansion of the statement in ver. 1.
Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
Verse 3. - Any abominable thing. Any abomination, i.e. anything which is an abomination to the Lord, having been by him pronounced unclean and forbidden; "anything which I have put far away from you (i.e. made to be abominable to you)" (Targum Jonath.). "Every creature of God is good," and "there is nothing unclean of itself" (1 Timothy 4:4; Romans 14:14); "but by the ordinance of God, certain creatures, meats, and drinks were made unclean to the Jews... and this taught them holiness in abstaining from the impure communion with the wicked" (Ainsworth).
These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,
Verses 4-20. - The regulations here concerning food, and the animals the use of which is forbidden, are substantially the same as in Leviticus 2. There are, however, some differences between the two accounts which may be noticed.
1. In Deuteronomy, the mammals which may be used for food are severally specified as well as described by the general characteristic of the class; in Leviticus, only the latter description is given.
2. In the list of fowls which may not be eaten, the raah (glade) is mentioned in Deuteronomy, but not in Leviticus; and the bird which in the one is called da'ah, is in the other called dayyah (vulture).
3. The class of reptiles which is carefully described in Leviticus is wholly omitted in Deuteronomy.
4. Winged insects are forbidden without exception in Deuteronomy; in Leviticus, the locust and certain other insects of the same kind are excepted.
5. Some slight differences in the order of enumeration appear.
The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.
Verse 5. - The hart; ayyal (אַיָּל), probably the fallow deer, or deer generally. The roebuck; tsebi (צְבִי), the gazelle (Gazella Arabica). The fallow deer; yachmur (יחְמוּר), the roebuck. The wild goat; akko (אַקּו), the ibex. The pygarg; dishon (דִישׁון), some kind of antelope, probably the Gazella Dorcas. The wild ox; the'o (תְאו), probably the bubale, or wild cow of the Arabs (Alcephalus bubalis), a species of antelope. The chamois; zamer (זָמֶר), probably the wild sheep (Ovis Tragelaphus.)
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,
Verse 13. - The glede; ra'ah (רָאָה). This word occurs only here, and it is supposed by some that, by an error of the copyist, substituting ר for ד, it has come instead of דָאָה, as used in Leviticus 11:14. But it is more probable, as above suggested, that the da'ah of Leviticus is represented by the dayyah of Deuteronomy, and that consequently the reading raah should be re-rained. This word, derived from רָאָה, to see, to look, would appropriately designate a bird of keen sight, one of the hawk species. The bird intended may be a buzzard, of which there are now several kinds in Palestine.
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.
Verse 21. - (Cf. Leviticus 17:15; Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26.) The stranger that is in thy gates. "The uncircumcised stranger that is in thy cities ' (Targum), i.e. "a heathen who takes upon him that he will serve no idol, with the residue of the commandments which were commanded to the sons of Noah, but is not circumcised nor baptized (Maimonides, 'Issure Biah,' Deuteronomy 14. § 7)" (Ainsworth). Alien; a foreigner, one not resident in the land of Israel.
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Verses 22-29. - A tithing of each year's produce of the cultivated ground was to be made; and this tithe was to be brought to the place which the Lord should choose, as also the firstling of the herds and flocks; and there a sacrificial meal was to be partaken of, that Israel might learn to fear Jehovah their God always, reverencing him as their Ruler, and rejoicing in him as the Giver of all good. Verse 22. - Thy seed. "Seed" here refers to plants as well as what is raised from seed (cf. Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 17:5, 6). The reference is to the second or festival tithe which was exclusively of vegetables.
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:
Verse 24. - In the land of Canaan, as the people would be dispersed over a wide tract, it might happen that the place which the Lord should choose was at such a distance from the usual residence of many that to observe this injunction would be to them very difficult, if not impossible. To meet this, therefore, it was enacted that the tithe might be commuted into money, and with this the things required for the sacrificial meals at the sanctuary might be purchased.
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,
Verse 26. - Strong drink; shecar (שֵׁכַר). "Any drink which can inebriate, whether that is made from grain, or the juice of apples, or when honey is boiled into a sweet and barbarous potion, or the fruit of the palm [dates], is expressed into liquor, and the duller water is colored by the prepared fruits" (Jerome, 'De Vit. Cler.').
And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
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:
Verses 28, 29. - Every third year the whole tithe of the year's produce was to be set apart, not to be brought to the sanctuary to be eaten before the Lord, but as a portion in their towns for the Levite, the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless. The end of three years; i.e. as the third year expired, consequently, in the last year of the triennium (Deuteronomy 26:12); just as "the end of seven years" means each seventh year (Deuteronomy 15:1; Deuteronomy 31:10; Jeremiah 34:14). This was not an additional tithe, but the former differently applied; the tithe of the first and second years was to be eaten before the Lord at the sanctuary; the tithe of the third year was for the poor and needy.
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.