The Israelites are not to adopt superstitious customs in mourning, Deuteronomy 14:1, Deuteronomy 14:2. The different kinds of clean and unclean animals, vv. 3-20. Nothing to be eaten that dieth of itself, Deuteronomy 14:21. Concerning offerings which, from distance cannot be carried to the altar of God, and which may be turned into money, Deuteronomy 14:22-26. The Levite is not to be forsaken, Deuteronomy 14:27. The third year's tithe for the Levite, stranger, widow, etc., Deuteronomy 14:28, Deuteronomy 14:29.
Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.Ye are the children of the Lord - The very highest character that can be conferred on any created beings; ye shall not cut yourselves, i. e., their hair, for it was a custom among idolatrous nations to consecrate their hair to their deities, though they sometimes also made incisions in their flesh.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,These are the beasts which ye shall eat - On Leviticus 11. I have entered into considerable detail relative to the clean and unclean animals there mentioned. For the general subject, the reader is referred to the notes on that chapter; but as there are particulars mentioned here which Moses does not introduce in Leviticus, it will be necessary to consider them in this place.
The ox - שור shor: Bos, fifth order Pecora, of the genus Mammalia, species 41. This term includes all clean animals of the beeve kind; not only the ox properly so called, but also the bull, the cow, heifer, and calf.
The sheep - שה seh: Ovis, fifth order Pecora, of the genus Mammalia, species 40; including the ram, the wether, the ewe, and the lamb.
The goat - עז az: Capra, fifth order Pecora, of the genus Mammalia, species 39; including the he-goat, she-goat, and kid. The words in the text, שה כשבים seh chesabim, signify the lamb or young of sheep; and שה עזים seh izzim, the young or kid of goats: but this is a Hebrew idiom which signifies every creature of the genus, as בן אנוש ben enosh and בן אדם ben adam, son of man, signify any human being. See Psalm 144:3; Job 25:6.
The flesh of these animals is universally allowed to be the most wholesome and nutritive. They live on the very best vegetables; and having several stomachs, their food is well concocted, and the chyle formed from it the most pure because the best elaborated, as it is well refined before it enters into the blood. On ruminating or chewing the cud, see the note on Leviticus 11:3.
The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.The hart - איל aiyal, the deer, according to Dr. Shaw: see the note on Deuteronomy 12:15.
The roebuck - צבי tsebi, generally supposed to be the antelope, belonging to the fifth order Pecora, genus Mammalia, and species 38. It has round twisted spiral horns, hairy tufts on the knees, browses on tender shoots, lives in hilly countries, is fond of climbing rocks, and is remarkable for its beautiful black eyes. The flesh is good and well flavoured.
The fallow deer - יחמור yachmur, from חמר chamar, to be troubled, disturbed, disordered: this is supposed to mean, not the fallow deer, but the bubalus or buffalo, which is represented by Dr. Shaw, and other travelers and naturalists, as a sullen, malevolent, and spiteful animal, capricious, ferocious, and every way brutal. According to the Linnaean classification, the buffalo belongs to the fifth order Pecora, genus Mammalia, species bos. According to 1 Kings 4:23, this was one of the animals which was daily served up at the table of Solomon. Though the flesh of the buffalo is not considered very delicious, yet in the countries where it abounds it is eaten as frequently by all classes of persons as the ox is in England. The yachmur is not mentioned in the parallel place, Leviticus 11.
The wild goat - אקו akko. It is not easy to tell what creature is intended by the akko. Dr. Shaw supposed it to be a kind of very timorous goat, known in the East by the name fishtall and serwee, and bearing a resemblance both to the goat and the stag, whence the propriety of the name given it by the Septuagint and Vulgate, tragelaphus, the goat-stag; probably the rupicapra or rock-goat. The word is found nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.
The pygarg - דישן dishon. As this word is nowhere else used, we cannot tell what animal is meant by it. The word pygarg πυγαργος, literally signifies white buttocks, and is applied to a kind of eagle with a white tail; but here it evidently means a quadruped. It was probably some kind of goat, common and well known in Judea.
The wild ox - תאו teo. This is supposed to be the oryx of the Greeks, which is a species of large stag. It may be the same with the bekker el wash, described by Dr. Shaw as "a species of the deer kind, whose horns are exactly in the fashion of our stag, but whose size is only between the red and fallow deer." In Isaiah 51:20 a creature of the name of תוא to is mentioned, which we translate wild bull; it may be the same creature intended above, with the interchange of the two last letters.
The chamois - זמר zemer. This was probably a species of goat or deer, but of what kind we know not: that it cannot mean the chamois is evident from this circumstance, "that the chamois inhabits only the regions of snow and ice, and cannot bear the heat." - Buffon. The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it the Camelopard, but this creature is only found in the torrid zone and probably was never seen in Judea; consequently could never be prescribed as a clean animal, to be used as ordinary food. I must once more be permitted to say, that to ascertain the natural history of the Bible is a hopeless case. Of a few of its animals and vegetables we are comparatively certain, but of the great majority we know almost nothing. Guessing and conjecture are endless, and they have on these subjects been already sufficiently employed. What learning, deep, solid, extensive learning, and judgment could do, has already been done by the incomparable Bochart in his Hierozoicon. The learned reader may consult this work, and, while he gains much general information, will have to regret that he can apply so little of it to the main and grand question. As I have consulted every authority within my reach, on the subject of the clean and unclean animals mentioned in the law, and have detailed all the information I could collect in my notes on Leviticus 11, I must refer my readers to what I have there laid down.
And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.
Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.
Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,The vulture after his kind - The word דאה daah is improperly translated vulture Leviticus 11:14, and means a kite or glede. The word דיה daiyah in this verse is not only different from that in Leviticus, but means also a different animal, properly enough translated vulture. See the note on Leviticus 11:14.
And every raven after his kind,
And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.
But of all clean fowls ye may eat.
Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk - Mr.
Calmet thinks that this precept refers to the paschal lamb only, which was not to be offered to God till it was weaned from its mother; but see the note on Exodus 23:19.
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.Thou shalt truly tithe - Meaning the second tithe which themselves were to eat, Deuteronomy 14:23, for there was a first tithe that was given to the Levites, out of which they paid a tenth part to the priests, Numbers 18:24-28; Nehemiah 10:37, Nehemiah 10:38. Then of that which remained, the owners separated a second tithe, which they ate before the Lord the first and second year; and in the third year it was given to the Levites and to the poor, Deuteronomy 14:28, Deuteronomy 14:29. In the fourth and fifth years it was eaten again by the owners, and in the sixth year was given to the poor. The seventh year was a Sabbath to the land, and then all things were common, Exodus 23:10, Exodus 23:11, where see the notes, Exodus 23:11 (note), and see Ainsworth on this verse.
And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,Or for strong drink - What the sikera or strong drink of the Hebrews was, see in the note on Leviticus 10:9 (note). This one verse sufficiently shows that the Mosaic law made ample provision for the comfort and happiness of the people.
And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.And the Levite (because he hath no part nor inheritance - And hence much of his support depended on the mere freewill-offerings of the people. God chose to make his ministers thus dependent on the people, that they might be induced (among other motives) to labor for their spiritual profiting, that the people, thus blessed under their ministry, might feel it their duty and privilege to support and render them comfortable.