Deuteronomy 14

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 4, 1998


The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1 ½ months of Moses’ life. He’s 120 years old.

It’s God’s "review" for the people to make sure they understand His ways before they go into the land.

Deuteronomy 14

:1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.

This is similar to what was prohibited in:

(Lev 19:27-28 KJV) Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. {28} Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

These all refer to ancient practices of the pagans to honor their gods.

Some of the pagans honored their god (the Arabian god Orotal) with the cutting of their hair, or making cuts in their flesh.


Be careful that you don't let your appearance make people think that you worship anybody other than Jesus Christ.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

I think there’s a balance to this.

I’ve known some Christian musicians who look pretty "rocked out", but it’s so they can have an opening into the lives of people who wouldn’t listen to them otherwise.

Paul wrote:

(1 Cor 9:20-22 KJV) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; {21} To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. {22} To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

We need to find a balance between relating to people and yet not giving them the impression that we serve their gods.

:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself

peculiarsegullah – possession, property; valued property, peculiar treasure

We are God’s treasures.

:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.

Does that mean "abominable snowmen"?

abominabletow`ebah – a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable; in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages)

:5 The hart …

hart = deer

roebuck = gazelle

fallow deer = roe deer

pygarg = mountain goat

wild ox = antelope

chamois = mountain sheep

:6 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.

A basic rule for telling clean and unclean animals apart.

:7 as the camel, and the hare, and the coney

coney = rock badger, a rodent.

:7 therefore they are unclean unto you.

The implications of being "unclean"

Being unclean wasn't quite like sinning, but very close.

There was a consequence to being unclean.

Le 7:21 Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean [thing, as] the uncleanness of man, or [any] unclean beast, or any abominable unclean [thing], and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which [pertain] unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.

If you were involved in unclean things, you could not participate in worship, and you could not participate in fellowship with God (the peace offering).

We might call this a "ceremonial" uncleanness.

It's not just talking about germs and disease.

There was a distinction between clean and unclean all the way back to Noah, way before Moses' time:

Ge 7:1-2 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.

God didn't tell Noah a lot about which animals were clean and which were unclean. Apparently, this was something that Noah already understood.

Yet after being in Egypt for 400 years, things weren't so clear anymore.

I think it was because the Israelites had spent too much time in the worldly land of Egypt.

They no longer understood the differences between clean and unclean.


Be careful about being too much in the world.

You lose your ability to discern what is pleasing to the Lord and what isn't.

(Prov 14:7 NASB) Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

:8 And the swine

Sorry, no bacon.

:9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:

Yummy! Fish sticks!

:10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

Bummer! No shrimp!

:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,

ossifrage and osprey = Two types of vultures.

:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,

kite = A medium-sized bird of prey

:15 the cuckoo

cuckoo = Possibly the sea gull.

:17 the gier eagle, and the cormorant

gier eagle = the Egyptian vulture

cormorant = A large, black, gooselike bird.

:18 lapwing, and the bat.

lapwing = A beautiful bird with colored plumage.

bat = Buffalo batwings anyone?

I heard Bob Coy the other night talking about the chemistry of temptation.

He said something like, "The things that tempt us are the things that are tempting to us". Brilliant. Actually he was trying to say that some things are going to be a temptation for us, others we don’t have a problem.

I usually don’t go to the zoo and start getting evil cravings for French fried bats.

Just because it’s in the Law doesn’t mean we’re going to have a problem with obeying it.

Purpose of Dietary Laws

The specific dietary restrictions no longer apply to us.

MAR 7:15-23 there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 ["If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."] 17 And when leaving the multitude, He had entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He *said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him; 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated? "({Thus He} declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting {and} wickedness, {as well as} deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride {and} foolishness. 23 "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

From the time of Jesus, it has become clear that it's not what goes into a person by way of food that makes them spiritually unclean.

Beyond this, there are a couple of reasons for these laws.

1. Health reasons

Most of the animals on the "unclean" list were scavengers, carriers of disease.

In the middle ages, during the "black plague", many people died from the bubonic plague, except the Jews.

Some believed this proved that it was a Jewish plot.

What it actually proved was the superiority of their way of life, demonstrated by these dietary laws.

God wanted His people healthier than the rest.

In a way, some of these dietary laws aren't all that bad for us!

2. Holiness

This is the reason that God specifically gives.

vs. 2 – we are a "holy" people.

He wants His people to be Holy, because He is Holy.

He wants His people to be different, set apart from the ways of the world, and learning to eat what He asks them to eat is a way of teaching them to learn to depend on God for knowing what is right.

Like Father, like son...

(1 Pet 1:13-16 KJV) Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; {14} As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: {15} But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; {16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Being holy carries the idea of departing from sin, being separate from the world.

Some people want to know just how much they can do, and still call themselves Christians.

God's desire is that we learn to get as far away from sin as possible.

God wants us to develop a sensitivity to Him, a desire to be pleasing to Him.

:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

This command was considered by Jewish interpreters to be for a second tithe.

The tithe was a tenth. He reminds the people to not forget to give Him back the tithe.

Ryrie: Two tithes were required: an annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levites (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21) and a second tithe brought to Jerusalem for the Lord's feast (Deut. 14:22). Every third year, however, the second tithe was kept at home and used for the poor (Deut. 14:28).

:23 that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

What does tithing have to do with fearing the Lord?

It has to do with learning to trust and obey God, even when sometimes it doesn’t make sense or seem logical.

There are times when it doesn’t make sense to give, and yet God wants us to trust Him to take care of us:

(Mal 3:8-10 KJV) Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. {9} Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. {10} Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

This is not just an Old Testament concept. The Old Testament concept is tied to the tithe, that God owns the tithe. Yet in the New Testament, we see that we owe Him everything. There is still the sense that as we give what God has led us to give, that He will take care of our needs:

(2 Cor 9:6-8 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

:26 strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and

strong drink – (Ryrie) Some think this was fermented, but low in alcohol content, beer. Others note that Num. 28:7 uses this same word for the content of a strong drink offering, indicating perhaps that the strong drink was not drunk by the offerer but used in a drink offering to the Lord. Proverbs 20:1 warns against its use, and Israel did not consume wine or strong drink during the 40 years in the wilderness (Deut. 29:6).

:26 thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

If it was too far to go to the Central Sanctuary, too far to take your lambs and cows, then you could sell them for money, and buy animals at the Sanctuary, and still give to God. Does this mean that God would take MasterCard or VISA today?

:28 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:

This second tithe, rather than always taking it to the Central Sanctuary, once every three years you’d keep it back at the local synagogue to help support the local Levites and the poor.