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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Deuteronomy 14




The whole life and walk of the people were to be regulated by the principle “ye are the children of the Lord your God” Deuteronomy 14:1.

Verse 1

Make any baldness between your eyes - i. e. by shaving the forepart of the head and the eyebrows. The practices named in this verse were common among the pagan, and seem to be forbidden, not only because such wild excesses of grief (compare 1 Kings 18:28) would be inconsistent in those who as children of a heavenly Father had prospects beyond this world, but also because these usages themselves arose out of idolatrous notions.

Verses 3-21

Compare Deuteronomy 14:5

The “pygarg” is a species of gazelle, and the “wild ox” and “chamois” are swift types of antelope.

Deuteronomy 14:21

The prohibition is repeated from Leviticus 22:8. The directions as to the disposal of the carcass are unique to Deuteronomy, and their motive is clear. To have forbidden the people either themselves to eat that which had died, or to allow any others to do so, would have involved loss of property, and consequent temptation to an infraction of the command. The permissions now for the first time granted would have been useless in the wilderness. During the 40 years‘ wandering there could be but little opportunity of selling such carcasses; while non-Israelites living in the camp would in such a matter be bound by the same rules as the Israelites Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 24:22. Further, it would seem (compare Leviticus 17:15) that greater stringency is here given to the requirement of abstinence from that which had died of itself. Probably on this, as on so many other points, allowance was made for the circumstances of the people. Flesh meat was no doubt often scarce in the desert. It would therefore have been a hardship to forbid entirely the use of that which had not been killed. However, now that the plenty of the promised land was before them, the modified toleration of this unholy food was withdrawn.

Verse 22

These words recall in general terms the command of the earlier legislation respecting tithes (compare Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26), but refer more particularly to the second or festival tithe, which was an exclusively vegetable one.

Verse 28-29

Compare the marginal references. The tithe thus directed in the third year to be dispensed in charity at home, was not paid in addition to that in other years bestowed on the sacred meals, but was substituted for it. The three years would count from the sabbatical year (see the next chapter), in which year there would of course be neither payment of tithe nor celebration of the feasts at the sanctuary. In the third year and sixth year of the septennial cycle the feasts would be superseded by the private hospitality enjoined in these verses.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 14:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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