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Clean and Unclean Animals

14 “You are the sons of the Lord your God; [a]you shall not cut yourselves nor [b]shave your forehead for the sake of the dead, for you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you out of all the peoples who are on the earth to be a people for His own possession.

“You shall not eat anything that is detestable [to the Lord and forbidden by Him]. These are the animals that you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. Among the animals, you may eat any animal that has the divided hoof [that is, a hoof] split into two parts [especially at its distal extremity] and that chews the cud. However, you are not to eat any of these [animals] among those which chew the cud, or among those that divide the hoof in two: the camel, the hare and the [c]shaphan, for though they chew the cud, they do not split the hoof; they are unclean for you. The swine, because it has a divided hoof but does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You shall not eat their meat nor touch their carcasses.

“Of all [creatures] that are in the waters, you may eat these: anything that has fins and scales you may eat, 10 but you may not eat anything that does not have fins and scales; it is unclean for you.

11 “You may eat any clean bird. 12 But these are the ones which you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, and the black buzzard, 13 and the red kite, the falcon, and the birds of prey [d]of any variety, 14 and every raven of any variety, 15 and the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, the hawk of any variety, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the long-eared owl, 17 the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, and the heron of any variety, and the hoopoe, and the bat. 19 And all flying insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten. 20 You may eat any clean bird.

21 “You shall not eat anything that dies on its own. You may give it to the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) who is in your [city] gates, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner [since they are not under God’s law], but you are a people holy (set apart) to the Lord your God. You shall not [e]boil a young goat or a lamb in its mother’s milk.

22 “Every year you shall certainly tithe [a tenth] of all the yield of your seed which is produced by your field. 23 [f]You shall eat the tithe (tenth) of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock before the Lord your God in the place where He chooses to establish His Name (Presence), so that you may learn to fear [and worship] the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] always. 24 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His Name (Presence) is a great distance from you and you are not able to carry your tithe, because the Lord your God has blessed you [with such an abundance], 25 then you shall exchange your tithe for money, and take the money in your hand and go to the place [of worship] which the Lord your God chooses. 26 You may spend the money for [g]anything your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or [other] strong drink, or [h]anything else you want. You shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. 27 Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your [city] gates, for he does not have a share [of land] or an inheritance among you.

28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce for that year, and shall store it up within your [city] gates. 29 The Levite, because he has no share [of land] or an inheritance among you, and the stranger, and the orphan and the widow who are within your [city] gates, shall come and eat and be satisfied, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

The Sabbatical Year

15 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release (remission, pardon) from debt. This is the regulation for the release: every [i]creditor shall forgive what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not [j]require repayment from his neighbor and his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed. You may require repayment from a foreigner, but whatever of yours is with your brother [Israelite] your hand shall release. However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will most certainly bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you will listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all these commandments which I am commanding you today. When the Lord your God blesses [k]you as He has promised you, then you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

“If there is a poor man among you, one of your fellow Israelites, in [l]any of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not [m]be heartless, nor [n]close-fisted with your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend to him [o]whatever he needs. Beware that there is no wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release (remission, pardon), is approaching,’ and your eye is hostile (unsympathetic) toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing [since he would not have to repay you]; for he may cry out to the Lord against you, and it will become a sin for you. 10 You shall freely and generously give to him, and your heart shall not be resentful when you give to him, because for this [generous] thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11 For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor in your land.’

12 “If your fellow Israelite, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, and serves you for six years, then in the seventh year you shall set him free [from your service]. 13 When you set him free, you shall not let him go away empty-handed. 14 You shall give him generous provisions from your flock, from your threshing floor and from your wine press; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 And you shall remember and thoughtfully consider that you were [once] a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore, I am commanding you these things today. 16 Now if the servant says to you, ‘I will not leave you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is doing well with you; 17 then take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall [willingly] be your servant always. Also you shall do the same for your maidservant.(A)

18 “It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has served you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

19 “You shall consecrate (set apart) to the Lord your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and flock. You shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20 You and your household shall eat it every year before the Lord your God in the place [for worship] which the Lord chooses. 21 But if it has any defect or injury, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God. 22 You shall eat it within your [city] gates; the [ceremonially] unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as [if it were] a gazelle or a deer. 23 Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.

The Feast of Passover

16 “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. You shall sacrifice the Passover [lamb] to the Lord your God from the flock or the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to [p]establish His Name (Presence). You shall not eat [q]leavened bread with it; instead, for seven days you shall eat the Passover with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you left the land of Egypt in haste); [do this] so that all the days of your life you may remember [thoughtfully] the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the meat which you sacrificed the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover [lamb] in any of your cities which the Lord your God is giving you; but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His Name (Presence), you shall sacrifice the Passover [lamb] in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. You shall cook and eat it in the place which the Lord your God chooses. In the morning you are to return to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a celebration to the Lord your God; so you shall do no work [on that day].

The Feast of Weeks

“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall celebrate the [r]Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give [to Him] just as the Lord your God blesses you; 11 and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is within your [city] gates, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are among you, at the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His Name (Presence). 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to obey these statutes.

The Feast of Booths

13 “You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) seven days, when you have gathered in [the grain] from your threshing floor and [the wine] from your wine vat. 14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are within your city. 15 Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) and at the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and at the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man [s]shall give as he is able, in accordance with the blessing which the Lord your God has given you.

18 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your cities (gates) which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 You shall pursue justice, and only justice [that which is uncompromisingly righteous], so that you may live and take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

21 “You shall not plant for yourself an [t]Asherah of any kind of tree or wood beside the altar of the Lord your God, which you shall make. 22 You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the Lord your God hates.

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 14:1 These practices were mourning customs associated with paganism.
  2. Deuteronomy 14:1 Lit make a baldness between your eyes.
  3. Deuteronomy 14:7 A small, shy, furry animal (Hyrax syriacus) found in the peninsula of the Sinai, northern Israel, and the region around the Dead Sea; kjv coney.
  4. Deuteronomy 14:13 Lit according to its kind, and so throughout.
  5. Deuteronomy 14:21 This may refer to an ancient Canaanite fertility rite, though another possibility is that it is an affront to the Creator to kill an animal with the substance that was intended to nourish it. In any case, the rabbis later extended the law to prohibit the consumption of boiled meat upon which a drop of milk had fallen, if the milk imparted any flavor to the meat. Subsequent Jewish law has forbidden the serving of meat and dairy products together.
  6. Deuteronomy 14:23 This seems to refer to a communal meal which was part of worship, directed by the priests. Elsewhere, the tithe is designated for the priests in compensation for their services, and for the needy (Num 18:21; Deut 26:12).
  7. Deuteronomy 14:26 Lit whatever your soul desires.
  8. Deuteronomy 14:26 Lit whatever your soul desires.
  9. Deuteronomy 15:2 Lit master of a loan.
  10. Deuteronomy 15:2 Lit collect.
  11. Deuteronomy 15:6 Lit according to the word to you.
  12. Deuteronomy 15:7 Lit one of your gates.
  13. Deuteronomy 15:7 Lit harden your heart.
  14. Deuteronomy 15:7 Lit close your hand to.
  15. Deuteronomy 15:8 Lit sufficient for his need.
  16. Deuteronomy 16:2 Lit make His Name dwell and so throughout the chapter.
  17. Deuteronomy 16:3 Because yeast ferments and spreads throughout the dough, it was used symbolically to represent the spread of sin.
  18. Deuteronomy 16:10 Also called the “Feast of Harvest” (Ex 23:16) or “day of first fruits” (Num 28:26). Later called “Pentecost” (Acts 2:1).
  19. Deuteronomy 16:17 Lit according to the gift of his hand.
  20. Deuteronomy 16:21 I.e. a wooden symbol of a female deity which seems to have been wrongfully (and sinfully) linked with God.

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