De 14:1, 2.
God's People Must Not Disfigure Themselves in
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 Le 19:27, 28; 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].
De 14:3-21. What May Be
Eaten, and What Not.
3. Thou shalt not eat any abominable
thing—that is, anything forbidden as unclean (see on Le 11:1).
5. The hart—(see on De 12:15).
fallow deer—The Hebrew word
(Jachmur) so rendered, does not represent the fallow deer, which
is unknown in Western Asia, but an antelope (Oryx leucoryx),
called by the Arabs, jazmar. It is of a white color, black at
the extremities, and a bright red on the thighs. It was used at
wild goat—The word akko is
different from that commonly used for a wild goat (1Sa
24:2; Ps 104:18; Pr 5:19),
and it is supposed to be a goat-deer, having the body of a stag, but
the head, horns, and beard of a goat. An animal of this sort is found
in the East, and called Lerwee [Shaw, Travels].
pygarg—a species of antelope (Oryx
addax) with white buttocks, wreathed horns two feet in length, and
standing about three feet seven inches high at the shoulders. It is
common in the tracks which the Israelites had frequented [Shaw].
wild ox—supposed to be the Nubian
Oryx, which differs from the Oryx leucoryx (formerly
mentioned) by its black color; and it is, moreover, of larger stature
and more slender frame, with longer and more curved horns. It is called
Bekkar-El-Wash by the Arabs.
chamois—rendered by the
Septuagint Cameleopard; but, by others who rightly judge it must
have been an animal more familiar to the Hebrews, it is thought to be
the Kebsch (Ovis tragelaphus), rather larger than a
common sheep, covered not with wool, but with reddish hair—a
De 14:11-20. Of
11-20. Of all clean birds ye shall
eat—(See on Le 11:21).
13. glede—thought to be the same as that
rendered vulture ( see on Le 11:14).
15. the cuckow—more probably the
sea-gull. [See on Le 11:16].
16. the swan—rather, the goose [Michaelis]. [See on Le
17. gier eagle—The Hebrew word
Rachemah is manifestly identical with Rachamah, the name
which the Arabs give to the common vulture of Western Asia and Egypt
(Neophron percnopterus). [See on Le
cormorant—rather, the plungeon;
a seafowl. [See on Le 11:17].
18. the lapwing—the upupa or hoop: a
beautiful bird, but of the most unclean habits. [See on Le 11:19].
21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of
itself—(See on Le 17:15; Le 22:8).
thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in
thy gates—not a proselyte, for he, as well as an Israelite,
was subject to this law; but a heathen traveller or sojourner.
Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's
milk—This is the third place in which the prohibition is
repeated [Ex 23:19; 34:26]. It was pointed against an annual pagan
ceremony (see on Ex 23:19; Ex 34:26).
[De 14:22-29. Law of the
22-27. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of
thy seed—The dedication of a tenth part of the year's produce
in everything was then a religious duty. It was to be brought as an
offering to the sanctuary; and, where distance prevented its being
taken in kind, it was by this statute convertible into money.
28, 29. At the end of three years … the
Levite … shall come, &c.—The Levites having no
inheritance like the other tribes, the Israelites were not to forget
them, but honestly to tithe their increase [Nu 18:24]. Besides the tenth of all the land
produce, they had forty-eight cities, with the surrounding grounds
35:7], "the best of the
land," and a certain proportion of the sacrifices as their allotted
perquisites. They had, therefore, if not an affluent, yet a comfortable
and independent, fund for their support.