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Deuteronomy - Chapter 14

Bible Study Notes
Deuteronomy 14:1-21 They shall not practice the religious customs of the nations around them like cutting themselves or make bald spots on their heads for their dead. They shall eat only the clean animals that God has already ordained for them to eat. They were not allowed to eat or touch the carcasses of unclean animals. Of the sea, they were to only eat those that had scales AND fins. They may eat all birds except the eagle, vulture, kite, falcon, raven, ostrich, nighthawk, sea gull, hawk, owl, cormorant, stork, heron, hoopoe, and bat. They were not to eat insects that were winged, but other winged things they could? Animals that are clean to eat that die naturally (found that way) are not to be eaten. They must be slaughtered fresh. And lastly, they shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Notes: The two practices, lacerating the body and shaving the head, were associated with mourning customs of foreign religions. Though the actions could in themselves appear to be innocent, they were associated with practices and beliefs reprehensible to the Lord. Clean animals consisted of those that chew the cud AND have their hoof cloven in two. These special dietary laws were to separate them from social mixing with pagan idolatrous people, to prevent them from being lured into idolatry. When the gospel breaks down the separation between Israel and the Gentiles, all foods are declared clean. Eating the meat of an animal that had died a natural death was prohibited because the animal had not been killed in the proper fashion and the blood drained out. As for birds, the list of unclean birds were chosen because these eat decaying flesh of dead animals and blood, which are forbidden to Israelites.

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 They shall tithe (10%) all yields that come from seeds and eat it before the Lord in a place He chooses along with the firstborn of their flock. If the place God chooses is too far away to carry the tithe, they can sell their  tithe and take the money to purchase the same amount of tithe where the place God chooses and eat it there. Since the Levites have no land inheritance, the children of Israel were not to neglect them. Every three years, they shall bring their tithe into the city where the Levites, the widows, the sojourner, and the fatherless are and give it to them so they can eat it before the Lord. If they do these things. God will bless all the work of their hands.

Notes: In year three and year six of the seven-year sabbatical cycle, rather than taking this tithe to the central sanctuary, it was instead stored up within the individual cities in the land.

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