Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14

Deuteronomy 14:1-2 Since Israel had been chosen by God they were to serve as a channel of blessings (Gen. 12:1-3) to the world, they were to be seen as children of the LORD. Everything they did was to reflect glory to God, this is too was part of Yeshua’s instructions his disciples: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). A significant way of reflecting God’s light to the world would be how they acted in the face of death. Although the nations cut themselves when they suffered the loss of a loved one, Israel was not to. They were not to imitate the practices of the pagans. The Lord had power over death and his people were called that truth. They were to be holy to the Lord. We are not to be concerned with being accepted by others but with pleasing the Lord. This was a continual temptation to Israel in the incident with the transition from the prophet Samuel in 1 Sam. 8:5. Moses here calls Israel to holiness in the everyday affairs of life as they stand distinct from the nations.

Deuteronomy 14:3-5 Israel was to be different not only in their mourning, but in the food they ate. Moses itemized their diet so that they would not eat any detestable thing. The Hebrew word denotes something that is repulsive in God’s sight (or even man’s). Israel’s diet was not only to prevent eating what was unsafe and under God’s protection.  In the New Testament, God declared all foods clean when the New Covenant included all the nations (1 Tim. 4:3-5). The choice of Israel’s animals included the ox, the sheep, and the goat. There were also many wild animals as well which could be hunted and killed for meat. The animals mentioned in verses 4-5 were all split-hoofed and cud chewing more detail follows in v 6-8. We see the blessing of obedience in Daniel and his friend in their diet in Babylon in Daniel 1. The list of clean and unclean animals is found in Lev. 11:2–23.  

Deuteronomy 14:6-8 A guide here is given containing two elements, split hooves and chewing the cud with an exemption in v 7. There we learn that animals that chew the cud but are without a cloven hoof, such as the camel, rabbit and shaphan an animal similar to the rabbit found in the Sinai. The pig was excluded because though it had a split hoof it did not chew the cud.  Again, the distinction of clean and unclean is not a matter of health but rather a way of viewing the world in which holiness and cleanness are associated with life and uncleanness with death. To be holy is to be like God, the source of life; to be unclean is to be under the power of death. The food laws distinguished Israel as a holy nation; other nations were to be considered to be unclean. With the New Covenant God’s holy people includes people and their diets from all the nations (1 Pet. 2:9).

Deuteronomy 14:9-11 Moses here describs the criteria for determining sea food. Only mentioned here is the general principles both positive and negative. Fish category No principle is listed here, but individual varieties are specified.

Deuteronomy 14:12-18. Twenty-one varieties of birds are placed on the unclean list, some of which are difficult to identify. The vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, the black kite, the horned owl, the screech owl, the white owl, and the desert owl are birds whose modern equivalent is uncertain. The common denominator of these prohibited birds seems to be that they are carnivores that consumed dead animals. The hoopoe is an insect-eater with a long-curved bill. Its black-and-white wing plumage and peculiar walk make it easy to identify.

Deuteronomy 14:19-20 A fourth category of animals are flying insects. These were decreed to be unclean, in contrast to the other winged creatures that were clean. Moses had specified the forbidden insects in Leviticus 11:20-23. “All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.”

Deuteronomy 14:21 – Two other restrictions were given the first was carrion. Although what was dead could be given to a resident alien, or even be sold to a non-Jew, Israelites were not to eat carrion since the manner of the animal’s death could not be assured. Among other things, the lifeblood of the animal dying on its own was not poured out according to God’s word (12:16,24). The other is: Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. it clearly has to do with a cultic ritual among the nations that they were going to dispossess.  This practice was so detestable to the Lord that it is mentioned twice as something prohibited by God’s people. The first of these occurrences is in Exod. 23:19 in the context of festival keeping and the use of blood of the sacrifice (23:14-19). The second is in Exod. 34:26, and follows a statement identical to Exod 23:18-19 in the same context of the festival and offering.

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 The tithe had its roots in Israel’s history (Gen 14:20; 28:22; Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21-28). This was a call to acknowledge the Lord as master and giver of all and called for giving 10 percent of what was earned annually. This included grain, wine, oil, livestock, and other commodities actually produced by the farmer (vv. 22-23). The offering of these, in keeping with covenant practice involved a meal shared by the Lord and the people at the dwelling place of Israel’s Great King, the central sanctuary (Exod 23:19; 24:11; 34:26; Deut 12:5-7). The Lord’s portion was, of represented by the burning of the offerings while what the people took part of was literal. The underlying purpose for presenting the tithe was to impart a proper reverence for the Lord as the Sovereign King to which all Israel was accountable (v. 23).

Deuteronomy 14:24-26 One problem with presenting tithes in the sanctuary was the distinct possibility of bringing these offerings from a long distance. To provide in this situation the law permitted the conversion of the produce into money, which then could be used to purchase the same goods on arrival at the house of the Lord (vv. 24-25). This provision continued into New Testament times and is in part behind the accounts of Jesus and the moneychangers (Matt 21:12-13; John 2:13-16). This became abused over time so that money changing and buying and selling polluted the Temple and crowded out the Gentiles from coming in worship since the court of the Gentiles is where much of the business took place.  The statement “in the presence of the LORD your God” (v. 26). This demonstrates that the Lord is present among His people in these offerings. We see this illustrated when Yeshua celebrated Passover with his disciples. Later when the King returns, we will once again dine with the Lord at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-10). A distinct part of the covenant relationship is the breaking of bread together.

Deuteronomy 14:27-29 A part of our worship and acknowledgement of God as our King is supporting God’s work through His people.  The Levites, who had no property needed the provision from God’s people to minister to His people.  Every third year the tithe was directed to the support of the Levites as well as others who needed the support of the community of faith the aliens, orphans, and widows (vv. 28-29). This was not the only giving for the Levite, Num 18 spells out other provisions. Since the Levite served the Lord, he shared in all the tithes offered to the Lord (Num 18:21-24). Not all that was brought to the tabernacle or temple was placed on the altar. Much was set given to provide for the support of the Levites who also tithed to the Lord (Num 18:26). The third year tithe provided for the Levites and their families at their homes while the portion of the regular tithes was for their immediate needs. As they provided for the Levite God promised to bless His people.   purpose of using it then and there as sustenance and sacrifice for their immediate needs. As all of these dependent members of the community were blessed by its citizens, so the latter could expect the blessing of the Lord upon their lives and labors (v. 29).

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