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De 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 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).
De 14:4-8. OF BEASTS.
De 14:11-20. OF BIRDS.
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 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).
21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of
[De 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 [Nu 18:24]. Besides the tenth of all the land produce, they had forty-eight cities, with the surrounding grounds [Nu 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.