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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Deuteronomy 14

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The Fifth Book of Moses, Called Deuteronomy

Commentary by ROBERT JAMIESON

CHAPTER 14

Deu 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 JF & B for Le 19:27, 28; JF & B for 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 [ Deu 14:2 ].

      Deu 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 JF & B for Le 11:1).

      Deu 14:4-8. OF BEASTS.

      5. The hart--(see on JF & B for 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 Solomon's table.
      wild goat--The word akko is different from that commonly used for a wild goat ( 1Sa 24:2 Psa 104:18 Pro 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 Syrian sheep-goat.

      Deu 14:11-20. OF BIRDS.

      11-20. Of all clean birds ye shall eat--(See on JF & B for Le 11:21).

      13. glede--thought to be the same as that rendered vulture ( see on JF & B for Le 11:14).

      15. the cuckow--more probably the sea-gull. [See on JF & B for Le 11:16].

      16. the swan--rather, the goose [MICHAELIS]. [See on JF & B for Le 11:18].

      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 JF & B for Le 11:18].
      cormorant--rather, the plungeon; a seafowl. [See on JF & B for Le 11:17].

      18. the lapwing--the upupa or hoop: a beautiful bird, but of the most unclean habits. [See on JF & B for Le 11:19].

      21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself--(See on JF & B for Le 17:15; JF & B for 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 [ Exd 23:19 34:26 ]. It was pointed against an annual pagan ceremony (see on JF & B for Ex 23:19; Exd 34:26 ).

      [ Deu 14:22-29. LAW OF THE TITHE].

      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 [ Num 18:24 ]. Besides the tenth of all the land produce, they had forty-eight cities, with the surrounding grounds [ Num 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.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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