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CRITICAL NOTES.—The people were not only to suppress idolatry, but their whole life and conduct must be ruled according to their holy character and high calling. They must not, like other nations, disfigure their bodies in passionate grief, nor defile themselves with unclean meat.
Deuteronomy 14:1. Cut (Leviticus 19:28) as idolators in mourning. (1 Kings 18:28; Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5; Ezekiel 7:18.) Baldness, A space between the eyebrows left bare in honour of the dead. (Leviticus 21:5.)
Deuteronomy 14:2. Holy. A super-added motive to induce obedience and “an emphatic elucidation of the first clause of Deuteronomy 14:1.”—Del.
Deuteronomy 14:3-20. Clean and unclean animals. (cf. Leviticus 11:0.) Nothing abominable or unclean to be eaten.
Deuteronomy 14:4. Beasts. These, whose flesh would be excellent, mentioned here; because the Israelites were about to be settled in the land of promise, on the mountain pastures of which a portion of the tribes were already established, and where these animals abounded. (Jamieson.) Hart, the Syrian deer (cf. Deuteronomy 12:15.) Roebuck, the gazelle. Pyrgarg, or bison, a species of antelope, common in tracts which had been frequented by the Israelites. Wild Ox, translated “wild bull.” (Isaiah 51:20.) Must be distinguished from the re’ em of Numbers 23:22. Chamois, 14:70., the camel-leopard, i.e., the giraffe. All the creatures here given are classed by Bochart, among the goat and deer kind.
Deuteronomy 14:6. Hoof. Those only to be eaten which completely divide the hoof and chew the chud. The exceptions are given here and in Leviticus 10:4-7.
Deuteronomy 14:9-10. Fish. The rule is simple and comprehensive. Any fish from salt or fresh water might be eaten. But shell-fish of all kinds, whether molusks or crustaceans, and cetaceous animals, were prohibited as well as fish which appears to have no scales, like the eel.—Speak. Com. 20. Birds. The same as those in Leviticus 11:13, sqq.
Deuteronomy 14:13. The Glede is added. These are chiefly birds of prey; unclean feeders; needful as scavengers, but not good for food.
Deuteronomy 14:21. Dieth of itself. The arrangement is peculiar to the repetition of law in Deut. (Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 22:8. Stranger. A heathen traveller or sojourner; for a proselyte was subject to the law as well as a Jew. Seethe, a third repetition, a prohibition against a Pagan ceremony. (Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26.)
Deuteronomy 14:22-23. Tithe. The dedication of a tenth part of the year’s produce in everything was a duty; to be brought to the sanctuary. The tithes and firstlings named here, to introduce certain directions concerning sacred meals celebrated out of them.
Deuteronomy 14:24-29. Too Long. An agreement anticipating settlement in Canaan. Distances made it difficult to carry produce to the sanctuary. It might be commuted or sold for money’s worth and the proceeds go towards a social feast. Whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, not in a bad sense, but simply preference or liking. Levite. (Deuteronomy 12:19.) Every third year the whole tithe of the year’s produce was set apart, not eaten before the Lord in the sanctuary, as a portion for the Levite, widow and stranger in different towns. This was not a third or. additional tithe, but the former, differently applied. The first and second year’s tithe, was eaten in the sanctuary; the tithe of the third year was for the poor and needy at home. Bless thee. As an encouragement to carry out these instructions, God’s blessing is said to follow (Deuteronomy 15:10.)
CONFORMITY TO WORDLY CUSTOMS.—Deuteronomy 14:1-3
As the chosen of God, Israel must not only put away idolatry, but abstain from heathen superstitions and practices. They were endowed with nobler life, called to a special position, and must not conform to the customs of nations by whom they were surrounded.
I. Conformity is inconsistent with a Christian’s position. He is called out of the world, separated from it in habits, character and aim: he must not go back to his old course of life. Christians are “a peculiar people,” precious to God and to the world; they must not lose their value and spiritual distinction. They should live near to God and not descend to base and worldly positions. Exalted above others they must keep their dignity, never dishonour their God, nor forget His claims. “I have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. (Leviticus 20:26).
II. Conformity is derogatory to a Christian’s character. They are “children of the Lord” and should not be slaves to fashion and habit. As sons of God they must walk in love and free from idols. Walk worthy of the high vocation wherewith they are called (Ephesians 4:1). They are holy, “a holy people unto the Lord,” and must keep themselves unspotted from the world. (James 1:27). Character, righteous character should be the impress of God’s people. To be like God should be their desire and aim. “He that avoids iniquity is the best Christian,” says Calamy. There must not be a mere outward Nonconformity but inward spiritual tranformation which makes life new and holy—new in motive, source and end. “Be not conformed (fashioned) to this world; be ye transformed (transfigured, Matthew 17:2; changed, 2 Corinthians 3:18) by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2).
III. Conformity is opposed to Divine purpose in a Christian’s life. “Chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations.” Here we have Divine proprietorship and wonderful exaltation. To be filled with the spirit and fashioned with the influence of the world is to lose sight of God’s purpose in life and duty. Christians should be consecrated to God’s service, acquire holy habits, and foster holy desires. They are chosen and blessed to set forth God’s glory—” to shew forth the praises (virtues, excellences) of Him who hath called you out of darkness (ignorance, sin and misery) into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
WORLDLY SORROW.—Deuteronomy 14:1-2
“Man’s days are full of trouble from one source or another” (Job 5:7.) “Sorrow is at once the lot, the trial, and the privilege of man,” says Helps. But how different the spirit and the method of expressing it. Israel must not mourn like other nations for the dead. Wordly sorrow is most unbecoming in God’s people.
I. It is excessive in its nature. It is often assumed and unnatural, noisy and passionate in demonstration. Heathens went to excess in their wild paroxysms of grief. It was not the grief of civilisation and softness; but the grief of a savage and a child.
II. It is injurious in its results. It was common among Canaanites and Phœnicians to cut themselves. Excitable nations of the east often made ghastly incisions on their faces, and in other parts of the body, with sharp instruments. The Persians, Abyssinians, Bedouins, and other races, still practide this. It was deemed a token of respect for the dead, and well-pleasing to deities who presided over the grave. The true Israelite is created in God’s image and must not mourn thus. Human suffering and woe are not acceptable to God. That sorrow which leads to bodily injury and drives away from God is the sorrow of Judas who hanged himself—a sorrow which results in no amendment. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
III. It is hopeless in its aim. It does not propitiate God, nor does it affect the dead. The Christian is taught that God rules all events. Departed friends not taken by chance or accident. They are in the hands of God, and, if His children, beyond the reach of harm. Through “the shadow of death” the believer looks by faith. The “eternal night” of classic authors is illuminated by the resurrection of Christ, who has “become the first fruits of them that slept.” Jesus has “abolished death” (taken away its power, made it of no effect) “and hath brought life and immortality” (incorruptibility) “to light through (by means of) the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). We can, therefore, see through and beyond the grave—know our own lot and the lot of dear friends. “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Deuteronomy 14:1-2. Three great blessings.
1. Election, “chosen.”
2. Adoption, “children.”
3. Sanctification, “holy people.”
Distinguished Marks. Distinguished,
1. By the grace of God which made them.
2. By the Providence of God. A herd of poor slaves could not have gained their place and constituted themselves into a nation.
3. By the laws of God. Laws wiser than any other nation.
4. By the purpose of God. Separated from the rest of the world. Associated with great privileges and destined to spread great principles.
Thy God, peculiarly thine as opposed to every other. The object of thy affection and trust (Psalms 73:24-28). “God bases all the prescriptions of His law, as the Great Lawgiver, on the ground that those that were to obey were his own chosen, beloved, redeemed, and sanctified people. He begins by declaring first of all, their grand relationship to Him as the Lord their God the King of Israel. “Ye are,” by adopting love, “the children of the Lord your God.” A Covenant God; yours because He has given Himself to to you; yours because ye have deliberately chosen Him; and with a solemn oath have promised, “We will serve the Lord our God.” Well, upon this strong ground, this sure foundation, as affectionate as it is sure, He says, “you shall not imitate the heathen by mourning for the dead as they mourn;” or transferred from Judaism to Christianity. “You shall not weep for your dead as others weep, who have no hope; having a better, surer, nobler prospect, alike of the state of the soul, and the emergence from the grave of the earthly shrine it has left behind it.”—Dr. Cumming.
GOD’S PROVISION FOR MAN’S TABLE.—Deuteronomy 14:3-20
Here we have regulations concerning animal food for the Israelites, and cautions against defilement by contact with dead flesh, which they were not permitted to eat. Substantially the restrictions are a repetition, with a little variation of the rules given in Leviticus 11:0. Though minute and apparently trivial these rules are full of instruction and meaning. They set forth God’s provision for man’s table.
I. Provision, Divine in its source. Israel could not have procured it and would not have known without Divine teaching what was good for them. We can neither catch a fish nor shoot a bird without a Providence. We are helpless and dependent as Israel was, taught to pray for daily bread and to recognise that power which can “furnish a table in the wilderness” Psalms 78:19.
II. Provision good in quality. Nothing unclean, nothing unwholesome, was specified. Not anything was to be eaten apt to stimulate gross and sensual passions, or to foster coarse tastes and degrading habits. The laws were subservient to sanitary and religious ends, and the food provided was suitable and distinct from that of idolatrous nations. Divine wisdom decided what was best for the purpose. They were thus preserved in health and vigour, and ceremonially kept from the taint of death.
III. Provisions abundant in quantity. There was no stint in beasts, birds or fish. The articles of food were nutritious and abundant. God’s legislation for our lower reminds of His care for our higher nature. There is no lack anywhere. Temporally and spiritually, means are provided to satisfy our wants and promote our happiness. Let us remember our Benefactor, for Henry says, that we cannot put a morsel of food into our mouths till God puts it into our hands—discern kindness not only in prescribing, but in prohibiting, and be grateful to “the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17). For a man may be blessed with riches, wealth, and honour; want nothing, “yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof.” (Ecclesiastes 6:2).
TOUCHING THE UNCLEAN.—Deuteronomy 14:3; Deuteronomy 14:21
By eating creatures that are unclean, which are described as “abominable,” the people made themselves abominable and repulsive. Hence the admonition to abstain from objects of defilemement which rob of holy communion with God.
I. Defilement is easy. Involuntary or accidental contact was enough. It was difficult, if not impossible to avoid the touch. So with the attractions and sins of “this present world.” Because it is near and present, it affects the senses, influences the mind, and directs the life. “Touch not, taste not, handle not” its pleasures.
II. Defilement is serious in its consequences. It interrupted fellowship with God and excluded from the sanctuary for a time. It prohibited the touch of sacred things and all intercourse with the legally clean. What a type of sin in polluting the soul and excluding from heaven. “This ye know, that no unclean person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:5).
III. Defilement must be avoided by strenuous effort. This rule necessitated Israel to pay great attention to cleanliness, personal and national. “Touch not—eat not.” If there were no touching there would be no eating, no participation. (Eve and Achan). Daniel refused the food from the king’s table. Entire separation is enjoined. Watch, pray and keep your garments unspotted from the world. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord (separated, Hosea 4:17), and touch not the (any) unclean thing.” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Deuteronomy 14:4. These and these only.
1. That ye may be at mine appointment for your very meat, as chief Lord of all.
2. That there may be a difference betwixt you and all other people.
3. That ye may be taught to study purity, and know that the very creatures are defiled by man’s sin.
4. That ye may have these things as “a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:16-17).—Trapp; Leviticus 11:0.
Deuteronomy 14:6. Cheweth cud. In this combination of parting the hoof and chewing the cud, the union of two moral and spirital qualities is supposed to be spiritualised, viz., sure walking in the way of God’s laws (Romans 2:18; Romans 3:20-22; Galatians 2:12-14; Ephesians 5:15) and meditation upon it (Psalms 1:2).—Wordsworth. The hearer of God’s word ought to be like those animals that chew the cud; he ought not only to feed upon it, but to ruminate upon it (St. Aug. on Psalms 46:0). Clean and unclean.
1. A Sanatary enactment. Unclean were most unhealthy in warm climates, and even now their flesh is not considered wholesome and nutritious.
2. An argument for separation. The distinction in meats would prevent intercourse with heathen nations, and contamination with idolatry and vice. It kept them distinct and peculiar, and raised an impassable barrier to evil customs—a barrier stronger than difference of creed, diversity of language, and system of polity. Christians must stand and live apart from worldly maxims and customs.
3. A type of holy life. The injunction to abstain from unclean meats was a symbol of the holiness and purity that became them as people of God. It set forth that kingdom which “is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). “The ordinance of Moses was for the whole nation. It was not like the Egyptian law, intended for priests alone; nor like the Hindoo law, binding only on the twice-born Brahmin; nor like the Parsee law, to be apprehended and obeyed only by those disciplined in spiritual matters. It was a law for the people, for every man, woman, and child of the race chosen to be “a kingdom of priests, an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). It was to be one of the foreshadows of the higher spiritual quality, of the better seed of Abraham, which was, in later ages, pronounced “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9; cf. Isaiah 61:6; 1 Corinthians 10:17).—Speak. Com.
Deuteronomy 14:3-20. In this provision of food we see—
1. A mark of divine condescension. If kings legislated for the diet of their people, is it beneath the King of Israel to appoint the food for his chosen people? “All that we know of God,” says Dr. Cumming, “in creation, in providence, in redemption, leads us to see that He takes as much care of what the world calls, in its ignorance, little things, as He does of what the world thinks, in equal ignorance, great and weighty things.”
2. A proof of divine benevolence. It is kind to provide at all. But what thought indicated, in the choice of animals which multiplied slowly, which were not difficult to obtain, found without leaving the camp, and without danger and contact with heathens around them. All this intended to reclaim and bless!
In ev’ry way, in every sense,
Man is the care of Providence;
And whenso’er he goeth wrong,
The errors to himself belong.
SEETHING A KID.—Deuteronomy 14:21
This injunction is here repeated, and must therefore be of some importance (cf. Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26). He may view it—
I. As a protest against superstition. The repetition immediately after directions concerning the first fruits of harvest, indicates specific reference to heathen custom. Idolators at the end of harvest seethed a kid in its mother’s milk and sprinkled the broth as a magical charm on fields and gardens, to make them more productive. Israel must not imitate this custom. None of the gods can send the shower and fertilize the earth. “He causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man.”
II. As a law of humanity. There was great cruelty in making the milk of the mother, intended for the sustenance of the kid, the means of its destruction. Some have called this prohibition “an excess of legislative refinement,” but in whatever light we look at this custom, it had an appearance of barbarity. “This was a gross and unwholesome dish, calculated to kindle up animal and ferocious passions, and on this account, as well as its barbarity, Moses may have forbidden it.” “The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty ‘unjust violence’ ‘homesteads of violence.’ ”—Kay. (Psalms 74:20.) But the religion of the Bible is humane (cf. Leviticus 22:28; Deuteronomy 22:16; Deuteronomy 25:4.) Rational creatures must be treated kindly, and we must shun everything that blunts our worst sensibilities. If God has tender care for animals so should we have. “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10.)
I would not enter on my list of friends,
(Tho’ graced with polished manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility), the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.—Cowper.
THE DEDICATION OF THE TENTH.—Deuteronomy 14:22-23; Deuteronomy 28:29
A tithing of the produce of cultivated ground and the firstling of herds and flocks were brought to the sanctuary every year. Here a sacrifice meal was prepared for Israel and their households that they might rejoice before the Lord and learn to fear Him always.
I. To meet the claims of God. There must be devout acknowledgment of God as the source of all mercies, without whose care the earth would not yield its produce, nor the flocks their increase. Corn, wine and oil come from Him. In every department of life we must recognise His rights. The seventh of our time, the first fruits of the field and the first-born of the family, the revenues of the family and the Church should be given to him as Owner and Proprietor of all things. “Well may we think our substance due when we owe ourselves,” says Bp. Hall.
II. To support the works of piety. The claims of creative right have strengthened by the infinite price of the Redeemer’s blood. Apart from what is applied to personal, family and civil uses, some portion, if not a tenth, is required for worship, evangelisation and humanity.
1. Religiously. The ministers and ordinances of God’s house must be upheld. Contributions are put upon the principle of willing gifts, rather than of stipulated demands. Though God commanded Israel to bring their offerings, no law compelled the disobedient. Thus we are treated with confidence and consideration. God honours men by permitting them to expend their treasures and skill on sacred edifices and to render solemn worship to Him.
2. Socially. “The Levite and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow shall come and shall eat and be satisfied.” In works of charity we gladden others. The helpless and fatherless must never be forgotten. Real generosity is the surest way of thriving. He that gives shall receive, and he that scatters shall increase. The liberal soul shall be made fat. “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barn be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10).
SYSTEMATIC PROVISION FOR BENEFICENT WORK
On this subject we may collect and arrange a few thoughts from a pamphlet by the Rev. John Ross. Such provision is—
I. The duty of God’s people. In Jewish law God claimed tithes and gifts for the worship of the sanctuary and the necessities of the poor. Conspicuous features of these demands are—the priority of God’s claim—that provision for it be made before man’s self-enjoyment, that it bear some suitable proportion to the Divine glory and grace, and that for fulness and power, system is essential; i.e., that the work of God be provided for before man’s indulgence. (Leviticus 19:0; Numbers 18:0; Deuteronomy 14:0). The New Testament has also its plan of meeting God’s claim, containing the same elements of priority, certainly, proportion and system. See 1 Corinthians 16:2, sustained and illustrated by the weighty arguments and motives of 2 Cor. chaps. 8, 9
II. The Financial Law of Christ. Christ is sole King in His Church. The constitution of this church is Christian, not Jewish. The apostle Paul was the organiser of churches, and the first epistle to the Corinthians is the great Church organising epistle. In its closing chapter the apostle institutes a system of finance. This system bears the character of an authoritative and repeated law. “As I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” The method taught by the apostle to provide the revenues of the Church is an expansion of Jewish and Pentecostal church systems, an example for us, an implied and inferential obligation sustained by cumulative and presumptive argument. New Testament institutions are not given with Sinaitic form and severity. They meet us as sacred provisions for urgent occasions. They appeal to a willing heart more than to a legal mind. Christ rules in love, but His will should not have less authority or constraining power on that account. (John 7:17.)
III. The necessity of the Age. The present age needs loftiness of aim, seriousness of feeling and ardour of devotion. Faithful consecration of substance to God, elevated by Christian love to a financial rule of life, would nourish every moral and spiritual principle in the soul. Storing the Lord’s portion is the necessity of the age, from its tendency.
1. To check the idolatry of money and to strengthen the love of God in the heart.
2. To meet adequately the demands of religion and humanity.
3. To exhibit the power and beauty of godliness. By a warm Christian liberality—by asserting the supremacy of, and providing for, things spiritual and eternal. By fostering simplicity of life and personal fidelity to God. By liberally sustaining the honour of Christ in the sight of men.
DIVINE CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN CIRCUMSTANCES.—Deuteronomy 14:24-25
In the land of Canaan, however, where the people would be scattered over a great extent of country, there would be many for whom the fulfilment of this command would be very difficult—would in fact appear almost impossible. To meet this difficulty, permission was given for those who lived at a great distance from the sanctuary to sell the tithes at home, provided they could not convey them in kind, and then to spend the money so obtained in the purchase of the things required for the sacrificial meals at the place of the sanctuary.—Delitzsch. Here we have—
I. Divine knowledge of man’s circumstances. “If the place be too far for thee.” God knows our distance from his house—the effort and strength required to get there, “if the way be too long for thee,” and the very street and house in which we dwell. “The street called straight, and the house of Judas.” (Acts 9:11; Acts 10:6). God’s knowledge of human actions and human life in all departments is perfect. He is everywhere present to discern and observe our physical and moral condition. His omniscience extends to all space, and to all creatures.
II. Divine Provision for Man’s Future. This arrangement was made in anticipation of settlement in Canaan. Thus God’s providence goes before us in life. The real meaning of providence is to see to provide beforehand (pro and vides). “God’s providence is mine inheritance,” says one. He anticipates our difficulties and wants, and makes provision beforehand for every exigency. “For thou preventest (goes before) him with the blessings of goodness.” (Psalms 21:3).
III. Divine tenderness for Man’s welfare. God seems to consult man’s convenience, does not rigidly exact what he cannot give or do. He is no hard taskmaster, but reasonable in demands (Matthew 25:4). We see accommodation to circumstances in the law of sacrifice (Leviticus 5:7), in rules for commutation (Leviticus 27:0), and in relaxation of injunctions concerning meat (Deuteronomy 12:21). The spirit of the command is more important than the letter. For if there be first a willing mind it is accepted, according “to that a man hath, and not according to that a man hath not.” (2 Corinthians 8:12).
CHARITY AT HOME.—Deuteronomy 14:28-29
Every third year the tithe was to be devoted to works of charity at home. “Lay it up within thy gates.”
I. Dispensed to the needy. Widows and orphans, helpless and forsaken, are real objects of charity. “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” is a part of New Testament religion. (James 1:27). Our guests are to be invited from the ranks of the poor. “When thou makest a dinner or supper call not thy friends, lest they bid thee again; but the poor, the maimed, for they cannot recompense thee.” (Leviticus 14:12-14).
II. Dispensed in a spirit of gratitude. The rich should be thankful to be able to give, and the poor grateful to receive. God gives no scanty measure to us. Increase of family and of stock, corn and wine in rich abundance. We should cherish a deep sense of our unworthiness, a constant dependence upon the Divine bounty, and to feel that we are the stewards only of the treasures which heaven has put into our hands. “Who am I and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of thine own have we given Thee.”
III. Dispensed under the blessing of God. “That the Lord thy God may bless thee.” We better enjoy what we have by sharing it with others. There is exquisite delight in acts of kindness. That which is cordially devoted to the cause of God and the benefit of man, lives, in its blessed influence, in human hearts—in immortal fruits—of earthly virtues, in perpetual memorial before God and in eternal harvest of joy. “What I saved I lost; what I spent I had; what I gave I have,” said J. J. Gurney. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Man is God’s image: but a poor man is
Christ’s stamp to boot. Both images regard.
God reckons for him; counts the favour His.
Write “So much given to God.” Thou shalt be heard.
Let thy alms go before, and keep heaven’s gate
Open for thee; or both may come too late.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
Deuteronomy 14:21. Holy peoble. He hath aevered you from the mass of the profane world, and picked you out to be jewels for Himself; He hath set you apart for thiv end, that you may be holy to Him, as the Hebrew word that signifiea holiness imports setting apart, or fitting for a peculiar use; be not then untrue to his design, He hath not called you to uncleannsse, but unto holiness (1 Thes. iv. 7). Therefore be ye holy. It is sacrilege for you to disposeof yourselves after the impure manner of the world, and to a ply yourselves to any profatie use, whom God hath consecrated to Himself.—Abp. Lsighton.
Deuteronomy 14:23. The Lord thy God. “This is very emphatic, expressive not only of a truth, but of a privilege, and of a special privilege. It imports more than some who have been denominated rational divines are willing to allow—not simply that Jehovah is our Creator, Preserver, and Sovereign, our Protector, the object of our worship, of our supreme love and adoration; but properly, that he is our portion by a peculiar covenant relation. As an evidence of this, it deserves to be remarked, that He never proclaims Himself nor is He ever styled in Scripture, “the God of Angels.” It must be by virtue of some spiritual transaction, such as never took place with angels, and in which they have no share, that He proclaims Himself our God—all that God or Deity can be to us.”
Deuteronomy 14:22. The law of the tithe.
1. A. Divine apointment.
2. A rule of Christian liberality. “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or the fruit of the tree is the Lords; it is Holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30 (cf. 2 Chronicles 31:5-6; 2 Chronicles 31:12, Nehemiah 13:12).
Consecrated Funds—how secured; how applied; what results from the application.
Deuteronomy 14:21; Deuteronomy 14:26-27. Social joy in sacrificial meals.
1. Its nature. “before the Lord.” In His presence, under His control, and bestowed by His mercy. “The joy of the Lord.” “True joy is a serious thing,” says Bonar.
2. Its participators. Levites, strangers, fatherless and widows (Deuteronomy 14:29), representatives of God. “God hath left His poor saints to receive His rents.”—Gurnall.
3. Its aim. Not for mere display nor popularity. (a) To sanctify home joy. “That mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God. (b) To secure God’s favour. “That the Lord may bless thee.” “A kind action is never lost.” “Kindness begets kindness.” “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17).
Deuteronomy 14:24-29. The conscientious discharge of religious duty.
1. God will have no excuses for disobedience.
2. He makes provision against difficulties in the path of obedience.
3. The spirit of the law may be observed when obedience to the letter is impossible. This is accepted as a real and full obedience.—Bib. Museum.
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 14
Deuteronomy 14:1. Shall not. The Christian must not attempt to go with the current of a sinful world; if he does, it will not only hinder, but end his religious progress; but he must go against it, and then every effort of his soul will surely be upward, heavenward, Godward.—Dr. Davies.
Deuteronomy 14:2. Holy people. When courtiers come down into the country, the common home-bred people possibly think their habits strange; but they care not for that. “It is the fashion at court.” What need then have the Godly to be so tender-foreheaded, to be out of countenance because the world looks on holiness as a singularity? It is the only fashion in the highest court—yea of the King of Kings, Himself.—Salter.
Deuteronomy 14:3-20. Eat. Our nature is so intensely symbolical, that where the outward sign of defilement becomes habitual, the innner is too apt to correspond.—(Mrs Stowe). Clean. Not only man had become unclean, but the irrational creation as well. Sin struck the universe with leprosy to its very heart. Neither four-footed beast, nor bird, nor reptile, escaped the contagion. The animal creation, therefore, needs to be made clean. Now a certain portion of the human world—the Hebrew nation—has been made clean unto God; but the clean nation must have clean food. Behold, then, a small proportion of the rational and irrational creation made clean by the establishment of the kingdom of God; the remainder of the world, however, continues still in its impurity. But the Gospel undertakes the task of cleansing the whole universe.—Cynddyhan Jones.
Deuteronomy 14:9. Fins and scales are the means by which the excrescences of fish are carried oft, the same as in animals by perspiration. I have never known an instance of disease by eating such fish; but those that have no fins or scales cause, in hot climates, the most malignant disorders when eaten; in many cases they prove a mortal poison.—Whitlaw.
Deuteronomy 14:20. All clean. The good things of Providence may be considered as having this inscription, accipe, redde, cave, that is, “accept us as from God, return us in gratitude to him, and take care not to abuse us.”—Wilson.
Deuteronomy 14:21. Stranger in gate. We read in our chronicles of King Oswald, that as he sat at table when a fair silver dish, full of regal delicacies was set before him, and he ready to fall to, hearing from his almoner that there were great store of poor at his gates, piteously crying out for some relief, he did not fill them with words, as “God help them,” “God relieve them!” etc., but commanded his steward presently to take the dish off the table and distribute the meat, then beat the dish all in pieces and cast it among them.—Holdsworth.
Deuteronomy 14:22-27. Tithe. It is said of Dr. Samuel Wright that his charity was conducted upon rule; for which purpose he kept a purse, in which was found this memorandum:—“Something from all the money I receive to be put into this purse for charitable puposes. From my salary as minister, which is uncertain, a tenth part—from occasional and extraordinary gifts, which are more uncertain, a twentieth part—from copy money of things I print and interest of my estate, a seventh part.”—Buck.
Deuteronomy 14:29. The Lord thy God. A friend calling upon the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, during his last illness, said to him, “Sir, you have given us many good advices, pray what are you now doing with your own soul?” “I am doing with it,” said he, “what I did forty years ago; I am resting on that word, ‘I am the Lord thy God,’ and on this I mean to die.”
Should boundless wealth increase my store,
Can wealth my cares beguile?
I should be wretched still, and poor,
Without thy blissful smile.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 14". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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