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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 14

A.M. 2553. B.C. 1451.

Directions concerning mourning, Deuteronomy 14:1 , Deuteronomy 14:2 . Concerning clean and unclean meats, Deuteronomy 14:3-21 . Concerning tithes, Deuteronomy 14:29 .

Verse 1

Deuteronomy 14:1. Ye are the children of the Lord your God Ye are not only the creatures, and the offspring, but the peculiar people, the worshippers, the servants, and those of you that are truly pious, the adopted children of Jehovah, the one living and true God, who is your God in covenant; and therefore you should not dishonour him, your heavenly Father, nor disparage yourselves, by unworthy or unbecoming practices, such as here follow; and whom you must not disobey. Ye shall not cut yourselves This was the practice of idolaters, both in the worship of their idols and in their funerals, as also upon occasion of public calamities. For the dead Through excessive sorrow for your dead friends, as if you had no hope of their happiness after death, 1 Thessalonians 4:13. See on Leviticus 19:28. These furious expressions of mourning for the dead subsist at this day in some of the eastern countries: see on Genesis 50:10. But nothing surely can be more unbecoming the sons of God and heirs of immortality than thus to sorrow like those who expect no life after this. Nor make any baldness between your eyes On the fore part of your heads, (Leviticus 21:5,) just over the space that is between your eyes.

Verse 2

Deuteronomy 14:2. Thou art a holy people Since you have the honour to be separated to God as a peculiar people, by laws different from those of all other nations, it behooves you to act suitably to the dignity of your privileges, and to beware of defiling yourselves with any such heathenish rites or practices as are either impious or absurd. Any abominable thing Unclean, and forbidden by me, which therefore should be abominable to you: see on Leviticus 11:0.

Verse 5

Deuteronomy 14:5. The pygargs A kind of goat. And the chamois Hebrew, זמר , zemer, which Bochart takes for that kind of goat which is called in Latin Rupi-capra, or mountain-goat, from the Arabic zamara, to bound like a roe.

Verse 13

Deuteronomy 14:13. And the glede Hebrew, הראה , haraah, a bird of the vulture kind, which evidently has its name from its sharp sight. This is omitted in Leviticus.

Verse 21

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.

Verses 22-23

Deuteronomy 14:22-23. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed There were three sorts of tithes to be paid from the people, besides those from the Levites to the priests; 1st, To the Levites for their maintenance, Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21. These were to be eaten where they dwelt, (Numbers 14:31,) and therefore to be paid there. 2d, For the Lord’s feasts and sacrifices, to be eaten by the offerers at Jerusalem: these are here intended. 3d, Besides these two, there was to be every third year a tithe for the poor, to be eaten at their own dwellings, Deuteronomy 14:28-29. That thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God That thou mayest not only be accustomed to the worship of Jehovah thy God, but mayest become truly pious. For the fear of God was taught in that place of his public worship, and the very presenting themselves before him was a good means to keep them in awe of him.

Verses 24-25

Deuteronomy 14:24-25. When the Lord thy God hath blessed thee Hath given thee so great an increase that the tenth thereof is more than thou canst carry to the sanctuary. Bind up the money in thy hand That is, in a bag, to be taken in thy hand and carried with thee.

Verse 26

Deuteronomy 14:26. Thou shalt bestow that money, &c. This was an injunction to the Israelites to use a part of their income in hospitality; to rejoice in the goodness of God, when they came before his presence, to acknowledge he was the author of all their blessings, and to gladden the hearts of the poor, the fatherless, and the widow, by entertaining them; thus imitating God’s goodness to themselves by acts of kindness to others. Thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God The comfortable and cheerful using of what God hath given us, with temperance and sobriety, is really the honouring of God with it. Contentment, holy joy, and thankfulness, make every meal a religious feast.

Verses 27-28

Deuteronomy 14:27-28. The Levite thou shalt not forsake him Thou shalt give him a share in such tithes, or in the product of them. At the end of three years That is, in the third year, as it is expressed Deuteronomy 26:12. The same year This is added to show that he speaks of the third year, and not of the fourth, as some might conjecture from the preceding phrase, at the end of three years.

Verse 29

Deuteronomy 14:29. The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow For this tithe was not to be spent merely in feasting themselves, but for the relief of such as were in want, who otherwise might have been compelled to beg, or to serve strangers, and thereby be in danger of being perverted from their religion.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 14". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/deuteronomy-14.html. 1857.