DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 14.
Precepts Concerning Unclean Beasts and Tithing.
OF UNCLEAN BEASTS. — V.1. Ye are the children of the Lord, your God, and this relation toward the covenant God made them a people of property, of God’s possession, a peculiar people; ye shall not cut yourselves, make incisions in the flesh, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead, as a sign of mourning, Lev. 19, 28. V.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. For this reason the entire life of the people was to be governed by the obedience, veneration, and childlike confidence which God expected of them and which was to show itself even in the matters of every-day life. V.3. Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing, namely, such things as He loathed because they offended His holiness. This section is mainly a repetition of Lev, 11. V.4. These are the beasts which ye shall eat, which would not bring Levitical uncleanness upon them: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, v.5. the hart, the common deer of Palestine, and the roebuck, or antelope, and the fallow deer, a sort of mountain sheep, and the wild goat, a species of gazelle, and the pygarg, a small gazelle, and the wild ox, and the chamois, a species of deer of the mountains. V.6. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, distinct from the front to the rear, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat, whether true ruminants or not. V.7. Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof: as the camel, the rear of whose padded foot is an undivided, yielding ball, and the hare, and the coney, Lev. 11, 5. 6: for they chew the cud, make the movements characteristic of ruminating, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. V.8. 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 carcass, Lev. 11, 26. 27. V.9. These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat, such animals as are commonly regarded as true fish; v.10. and whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. V.11. Of all clean birds ye shall eat. V.12. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, v.13. and the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, v.14. and every raven after his kind, v.15. and the owl, or rather, the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, a species of gull, and the hawk after his kind, v.16. the little owl, and the great owl, or the ibis, and the swan, or rather, a species of owl, v.17. and the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, v.18. and the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. Cp. Lev. 11, 13-19, The list includes such birds and flying animals, as either tear their prey to pieces or feed on carrion and offal. V.19. And every creeping thing that flieth, reptiles and insects, with the exception of the locusts mentioned Lev. 11, 21. 22, is unclean unto you; they shall not be eaten. V.20. But of all clean fowls ye may eat. V.21. Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself, a beast that dies of some sickness or accident; thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates that he may eat it, he could use it for food, if he chose; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien, a person not a member of Israel; for thou art an holy people unto the Lord, thy God, wherefore they should abstain from all foods which the Lord loathed. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk, Ex. 23, 19; 34, 26. The distinction between foods is no longer a matter of God’s command, Acts 10, 15, but His warning against every form of spiritual contamination is just as strict as ever, 1 Thess. 4, 4.
OF TITHING. — V.22. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed that the field bringeth forth year by year, set aside the tenth part of the income for the use of Jehovah. V.23. And thou shalt eat before the Lord, thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the central Sanctuary which He intended to select in Canaan, the tithe of thy corn, that is, of grain in general, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks, chap, 12, 5-7, that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord, thy God, always. The fear of the Lord does not only include the feeling of utter dependence upon Him, but includes also the idea of piety, and Israel, with the proper reverence; was to rejoice in the fellowship of the covenant God. V.24. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, namely, the tithe of the field and orchard, of the herd and of the flock, 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, for it happened later that some Israelites lived more than a week’s journey from Shiloh, from the heights of Gibeon, and from Jerusalem, v.25. then shalt thou turn it, the gift of the tenth, into money, by selling it or by taking its equivalent in cash, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord, thy God, shall choose; v.26. and thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, that is, buy for that silver whatever sacrificial animal or offering he might want, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth, whatever it might request of the person for the offering which it had determined to bring; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord, thy God, chap. 12, 7. 18, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thine household, v.27. and the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him, chap. 12, 12. 18. 19; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee, Num. 18, 20, and should therefore be given special consideration by the members of the Jewish Church. V.28. At the end of three years, after the harvest of every third year, thou shalt bring forth, namely, out of the granaries and bins, all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates, in storehouses provided for that purpose in the cities; v.29. 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, for once have their fill to eat and to drink; that the Lord, thy God, may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest, as a reward for this cheerful care of the poor, as it flowed out of true charity. Twice within the cycle of the Sabbatic year the tenth of the increase was thus set aside for the poor and needy, and four times it was taken to the Sanctuary of Jehovah. If the Lord blesses a Christian in his labor, the latter should not forget those that are less fortunate, lest the Lord withdraw His blessing in anger.