King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Deuteronomy 14

The Israelites to distinguish themselves from other nations. (1-21) Respecting the application of tithes. (22-29)

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The Israelites to distinguish themselves from other nations

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.

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, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.

4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,

5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.

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.

7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.

8 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.

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

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

11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.

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

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

14 And every raven after his kind,

15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,

17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,

18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.

20 But of all clean fowls ye may eat.

21 Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the 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.

Respecting the application of tithes

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

23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:

26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.

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:

29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Be ye. Heb. “you are,” &c. It may be connected with the preceding chapter. — Cut, as the barbarians and infidels do, who have no hope, 1 Thes. iv. 12. Lev. xix. 29. — Dead idols, Adonis, &c. The Arabs and Saracens cut the hair on the forepart of the head only, and so did the ancient Scotch monks, in imitation, as they pretended, of S. John. The Egyptians cut off the hair of their head and eye-brows when they were initiated in the mysteries of Isis, (S. Amb. ep. 58,) to testify that they partook in her sorrow for the death of her husband, Osiris. Hence it is probable that Moses forbids any conformity in such superstitious practices; particularly as the Israelites were consecrated to the service of the living God. C.

Ver. 3. Unclean. See the annotations on Leviticus xi. Ch. — Some of the beasts here specified were not mentioned before, as the buffle, &c.

Ver. 5. Buffle. Heb. yachmur, which some translate “the fallow-deer.” The Arabs give this name to a beast resembling a hart, which has horns and red hair. C. — It was served up on the table of Solomon, 3 K. iv. 23. Pliny (viii. 13,) mentions the bubalus of Africa, which is like a calf. M. — Chamois, (tragelaphum) a beast which has the head of a he-goat, and the carcass of a hart. Scaliger. Plin. viii. 33. — Bochart translates akko after the Arab. “the wild goat.” — Pygarg, another species of goat, (Plin. viii. 53,) of the colour of ashes. Bellon. q. 51. Dishon means “ashes” in Hebrew. — Goat, (orygem) “a wild goat, (Sept.) Bochart; &c.) or ox.” Aristotle allows it only one horn. Juvenal mentions that the Getulians feasted on its flesh; and the Egyptian priests, according to Horus, were allowed to eat it, without any scrupulous examination of the sealers. C. — Camelopardalus. This animal resembles a camel in its head and longish neck, and the panther in the spotted skin. Plin. viii. 18. — Bochart (iii. 21,) thinks that the Heb. zamer, means “a wild goat,” noted for “leaping.”

Ver. 7. Cherogril, or porcupine. Lev. xi. 5. S. Barnabas and Clem. Alex. (Pæd. ii. 10,) subjoin the hyena to the hare, though the name occur not in Moses. This animal was supposed to change sexes every year, and was a symbol of incontinency. M.

Ver. 10. Unclean. S. Barnabas adds, “Thou shalt not eat the murena, polypus, or cuttle fish;” and these are in effect of the description given by Moses. C.

Ver. 13. Ringtail (ixion). Heb. raa. The same bird seems to be called dae in Leviticus, by the change of the first letter, though it is there translated the kite. The ixion is a sort of white, quick-sighted vulture. — Kite. Heb. diae, according to Bochart, means the vulture, as Isaias (xxxiv. 15,) insinuates that this bird goes in flocks, while the kite is a solitary bird.

Ver. 15. Ostrich. Heb. “the daughter of the june.“ The Rabbins say only the young ones were eaten. But this seems doubtful, with respect to many nations, which formerly served up ostriches at table. Heliogabalus presented some of these, as well as camel, to his guests, falsely asserting, (C.) that the Jews were commanded to eat them, præceptum Judæis ut ederent. Lamprid.

Ver. 19. Wings. Heb. “every reptile that flieth,” such as bees. C.

Ver. 21. Of itself, or by suffocation. — Stranger, who has not embraced your religion. M. — Hence it is inferred, that the Jews might keep unclean animals, and sell them; as they did not defile till they were dead. Jans. — If they had been unclean by nature, they could not have been sold, which shews that this ceremonial law regarded only the Jewish religion. — Dam. All appearance of cruelty must be avoided. Christ, who is signified by the kid, on account of his assuming our sinful nature, shall not be slain in his infancy. S. Tho. 2. q. 102. a. 6. W. — Some take this prohibition literally, and extend it to calves and lambs. The Arabs use milk in almost all their ragouts. Roger. ii. 2. — Others think that kids must not be eaten while they are as yet too tender, Qui plus lactis habet quam sanguinis. Juv. Sat. xi. — But we believe that God forbids the paschal lamb or kid to be offered while it sucks. It must be of a competent age, of one year. Ex. xii. 5. and xxiii. 19. Other victims would do if they were only eight days old. Lev. xxii. 27. C.

Ver. 22. Tithes. The Jews carried with them some money to buy peace-offerings. E.

Ver. 26. Herds. Heb. “oxen.” — Sheep; under which name are comprised goats.

Ver. 29. Filled. Of this feast the owner did not partake, (S. Aug. q. 20,) as he did of the former, v. 26. M. — Josephus (iv. 8,) acknowledges three sorts of tithes: but Calmet thinks that only two were paid every third year, and that the same tithe is mentioned, v. 22. and 28. Tobias i. 7. The only difference is, that on the third and sixth years, the products were consumed on the spot, and in other years they were spent at Jerusalem. See Lev. xxvii. Many, however, believe that three tithes were then exacted: 1. For the Levites. 2. For a feast at Jerusalem, and to defray the expenses on the road. 3. For the poor at home. D. &c. H.