Deuteronomy 14:21
You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself: you shall give it to the stranger that is in your gates, that he may eat it; or you may sell it to an alien: for you are an holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
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(21) That he may eat it.—Literally, and he will eat it. The common practice, and not the intention of the writer, may be indicated. It should be remembered that these rules and restrictions were intended to raise the Israelites above the common level; not to degrade the other nations in comparison of them. Strangers were not compelled to eat what Israel refused; they were left free to please themselves.

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.—This is the last appearance of a command repeated twice in Exodus (Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26). See Notes there.

Deuteronomy 14:21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself — The blood being in it, rendered it unlawful to be eaten. Proselytes of the gate, not being obliged to observe these laws, or mere Gentiles, who might happen to be in their country, might eat such meat. But those who were termed proselytes of righteousness, that is, circumcised Gentiles, who had embraced the Jewish religion, were bound to abstain from such food as much as the native Jews.14:1-21 Moses tells the people of Israel how God had given them three distinguishing privileges, which were their honour, and figures of those spiritual blessings in heavenly things, with which God has in Christ blessed us. Here is election; The Lord hath chosen thee. He did not choose them because they were by their own acts a peculiar people to him above other nations, but he chose them that they might be so by his grace; and thus were believers chosen, Eph 1:4. Here is adoption; Ye are the children of the Lord your God; not because God needed children, but because they were orphans, and needed a father. Every spiritual Israelite is indeed a child of God, a partaker of his nature and favour. Here is sanctification; Thou art a holy people. God's people are required to be holy, and if they are holy, they are indebted to the grace God which makes them so. Those whom God chooses to be his children, he will form to be a holy people, and zealous of good works. They must be careful to avoid every thing which might disgrace their profession, in the sight of those who watch for their halting. Our heavenly Father forbids nothing but for our welfare. Do thyself no harm; do not ruin thy health, thy reputation, thy domestic comforts, thy peace of mind. Especially do not murder thy soul. Do not be the vile slave of thy appetites and passions. Do not render all around thee miserable, and thyself wretched; but aim at that which is most excellent and useful. The laws which regarded many sorts of flesh as unclean, were to keep them from mingling with their idolatrous neighbours. It is plain in the gospel, that these laws are now done away. But let us ask our own hearts, Are we of the children of the Lord our God? Are we separate from the ungodly world, in being set apart to God's glory, the purchase of Christ's blood? Are we subjects of the work of the Holy Ghost? Lord, teach us from these precepts how pure and holy all thy people ought to live!The prohibition is repeated from Leviticus 22:8. The directions as to the disposal of the carcass are unique to Deuteronomy, and their motive is clear. To have forbidden the people either themselves to eat that which had died, or to allow any others to do so, would have involved loss of property, and consequent temptation to an infraction of the command. The permissions now for the first time granted would have been useless in the wilderness. During the 40 years' wandering there could be but little opportunity of selling such carcasses; while non-Israelites living in the camp would in such a matter be bound by the same rules as the Israelites Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 24:22. Further, it would seem (compare Leviticus 17:15) that greater stringency is here given to the requirement of abstinence from that which had died of itself. Probably on this, as on so many other points, allowance was made for the circumstances of the people. Flesh meat was no doubt often scarce in the desert. It would therefore have been a hardship to forbid entirely the use of that which had not been killed. However, now that the plenty of the promised land was before them, the modified toleration of this unholy food was withdrawn. 21. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself—(See on [139]Le 17:15; [140]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 [Ex 23:19; 34:26]. It was pointed against an annual pagan ceremony (see on [141]Ex 23:19; Ex 34:26).

[De 14:22-29. Law of the Tithe].

Unto the stranger; not to the proselyte, for such were obliged by this law, Leviticus 17:15, but to such as were strangers in religion as well as in nation. Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself,.... This law is repeated from Leviticus 17:15; see Gill on Leviticus 17:15,

thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; not to the proselyte of righteousness, for he might not eat of it any more than an Israelite, and if he did, he was obliged to wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and was unclean until the evening, as in Leviticus 17:15 but to a proselyte of the gate, who took upon him, as Jarchi observes, not to serve idols, one that has renounced idolatry, but has not embraced the Jewish religion; such an one might eat of things that died of themselves, or were not killed in a proper manner. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan call him an uncircumcised stranger or proselyte, who had not submitted to circumcision, as the proselyte of righteousness did:

or thou mayest sell it unto an alien; an idolater, one that was neither a proselyte of righteousness nor of the gate, an entire alien from the commonwealth of Israel; one that was occasionally in the land of Canaan, or was travelling in it or through it, to such an one it might be sold:

for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; separated from all others, and devoted to his service, and therefore must live on clean, food and good meat, and not eat what others might:

thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk; this is the third time this law is mentioned; refer to the notes; see Gill on Exodus 23:19; see Gill on Exodus 34:26; the reason of which repetition, the Jewish writers say (s), is, that it is once said to forbid the eating it, a second time to forbid any use of it or profit by it, and a third time to forbid the boiling of it.

(s) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 2. sect. 9.

Ye shall not eat of any thing that {c} dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the {d} 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.

(c) Because their blood was not shed, but remains in them.

(d) Who is not of your religion.

21. Ye shall not eat of any thing which dieth of itself] Lit. any carcase, anything found dead, without being slain by the finder. There is a possible case in Doughty, ii. 129; but usually when an Arab sees his camel must die, in consequence of an accident, he slays it forthwith.

thou mayest give it unto the stranger] The gçr or foreigner settled in Israel (see on Deuteronomy 1:16), distinct from the following foreigner, not settled, but trading, with Israel.

E, Exodus 22:30 (31) enjoins that flesh torn of beasts shall be given to dogs; but H, Leviticus 17:15, enjoins that neither that which dies of itself nor what is torn of beasts shall be eaten either by Israelite or by gêr: obviously a later law, when the position of the gêr was more established in Israel and he was brought further into religious communion.

for thou art an holy people] As in Deuteronomy 14:2.

See further on Unclean and Clean Foods, Appendix I.

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk] So E, Exodus 23:19, and J, Exodus 34:26. The prohibition has a natural seemliness like those laws in H, Leviticus 22:27 f., which forbid the sacrifice of a calf, lamb, or kid till it has been seven days under the dam, and the sacrifice of the dam and young together[134]. But there must be other motives behind the law. That it occurs among laws on ritual implies that the practice it vetoes had a sacramental meaning (as Calvin on Exodus 33:19 points out); that both in E and J it immediately follows the offering of first-fruits suggests that this meaning was connected with the security of the harvest or of the fertility of the soil: ‘a superstitious usage of some of the Gentiles, who, ’tis said, at the end of their harvest seethed a kid in its dam’s milk, and sprinkled that milk pottage in a magical way upon their gardens and fields to make them the more fruitful the next year[135].’

[134] Some have even supposed that it was meant to exclude kids from use as food till they were weaned, which is neither ‘agreeable to reason’ (Calvin) nor to H’s law quoted above.

[135] M. Henry on Exodus 23:19. He may have got this from Maimonides through Bochart, or through Spencer whose Leges Hebraeorum was published some years before his own commentary. W. R. Smith (Ret. Sem. 204 n.) suggests that as certain primitive peoples appear to regard milk as equivalent to blood, the seething of a kid in its mother’s milk would involve the partakers of the flesh in the guilt of ‘eating with the blood.’ Calvin had made the same suggestion with a more apposite emphasis: ‘God would not admit a monstrous thing in His sacrifice, that a kid’s flesh should be cooked in its dam’s milk, and thus, as it were, in its own blood.’—From its wording this law cannot mean the prohibition of any milk in sacrifice (to-day in Arabia sheep and goats are said to taste better when boiled in milk, Musil, Ethn. Ber. 149, and are frequently so cooked), yet it is significant that milk nowhere appears among the festal offerings of Israel, probably because of its ready fermentation (W. R. Smith).Verse 21. - (Cf. Leviticus 17:15; Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26.) The stranger that is in thy gates. "The uncircumcised stranger that is in thy cities ' (Targum), i.e. "a heathen who takes upon him that he will serve no idol, with the residue of the commandments which were commanded to the sons of Noah, but is not circumcised nor baptized (Maimonides, 'Issure Biah,' Deuteronomy 14. § 7)" (Ainsworth). Alien; a foreigner, one not resident in the land of Israel. With reference to food, the Israelites were to eat nothing whatever that was abominable. In explanation of this prohibition, the laws of Leviticus 11 relating to clean and unclean animals are repeated in all essential points in vv. 4-20 (for the exposition, see at Leviticus 11); also in Deuteronomy 14:21 the prohibition against eating any animal that had fallen down dead (as in Exodus 32:30 and Leviticus 17:15), and against boiling a kid in its mother's milk (as in Exodus 23:19).
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