Deuteronomy 14


The Israelites are not to adopt superstitious customs in

mourning, 1, 2.

The different kinds of clean and unclean animals, 3-20.

Nothing to be eaten that dieth of itself, 21.

Concerning offerings which, from distance cannot be carried to

the altar of God, and which may be turned into money, 22-26.

The Levite is not to be forsaken, 27.

The third year's tithe for the Levite, stranger, widow, &c.,

28, 29.


Verse 1. Ye are the children of the Lord] The very highest

character that can be conferred on any created beings; ye shall

not cut yourselves, i. e., their hair, for it was a custom among

idolatrous nations to consecrate their hair to their deities,

though they sometimes also made incisions in their flesh.

Verse 4. These are the beasts which ye shall eat] On

Le 11:1-47, I have entered into considerable detail relative to the

clean and unclean animals there mentioned. For the general subject,

the reader is referred to the notes on that chapter; but as there are

particulars mentioned here which Moses does not introduce in

Leviticus, it will be necessary to consider them in this place.

The ox] shor: BOS, fifth order Pecora, of the genus

MAMMALIA, species 41. This term includes all clean animals of the

beeve kind; not only the ox properly so called, but also the bull,

the cow, heifer, and calf.

The sheep] seh: OVIS, fifth order Pecora, of the genus

MAMMALIA, species 40; including the ram, the wether, the ewe, and

the lamb.

The goat] az: CAPRA, fifth order Pecora, of the genus

MAMMALIA, species 39; including the he-goat, she-goat, and kid.

The words in the text, seh chesabim, signify the lamb or

young of sheep; and seh izzim, the young or kid of goats:

but this is a Hebrew idiom which signifies every creature of the

genus, as ben enosh and ben adam, son of man,

signify any human being. See Ps 144:3; Job 25:6.

The flesh of these animals is universally allowed to be the most

wholesome and nutritive. They live on the very best vegetables;

and having several stomachs, their food is well concocted, and the

chyle formed from it the most pure because the best elaborated, as

it is well refined before it enters into the blood. On ruminating

or chewing the cud, See Clarke on Le 11:3.

Verse 5. The hart] aiyal, the deer, according to Dr.

Shaw: See Clarke on De 12:15.

The roebuck] tsebi, generally supposed to be the

antelope, belonging to the fifth order Pecora, genus MAMMALIA, and

species 38. It has round twisted spiral horns, hairy tufts on the

knees, browses on tender shoots, lives in hilly countries, is fond

of climbing rocks, and is remarkable for its beautiful black eyes.

The flesh is good and well flavoured.

The fallow deer] yachmur, from chamar, to be

troubled, disturbed, disordered: this is supposed to mean, not the

fallow deer, but the bubalus or buffalo, which is represented by

Dr. Shaw, and other travellers and naturalists, as a sullen,

malevolent, and spiteful animal, capricious, ferocious, and every

way brutal. According to the Linnaean classification, the buffalo

belongs to the fifth order Pecora, genus MAMMALIA, species bos.

According to 1Ki 4:23, this was one of the animals which was

daily served up at the table of Solomon. Though the flesh of the

buffalo is not considered very delicious, yet in the countries

where it abounds it is eaten as frequently by all classes of

persons as the ox is in England. The yachmur is not mentioned in

the parallel place, Le 11:1-47.

The wild goat] akko. It is not easy to tell what

creature is intended by the akko. Dr. Shaw supposed it to be a

kind of very timorous goat, known in the East by the name fishtall

and serwee, and bearing a resemblance both to the goat and the

stag, whence the propriety of the name given it by the Septuagint

and Vulgate, tragelaphus, the goat-stag; probably the rupicapra

or rock-goat. The word is found nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.

The pygarg] dishon. As this word is nowhere else used,

we cannot tell what animal is meant by it. The word pygarg

πυγαργος, literally signifies white buttocks, and is applied to a

kind of eagle with a white tail; but here it evidently means a

quadruped. It was probably some kind of goat, common and well

known in Judea.

The wild ox] teo. This is supposed to be the oryx of

the Greeks, which is a species of large stag. It may be the same

with the bekker el wash, described by Dr. Shaw as "a species of the

deer kind, whose horns are exactly in the fashion of our stag, but

whose size is only between the red and fallow deer." In Isa 51:20

a creature of the name of to is mentioned, which we translate

wild bull; it may be the same creature intended above, with the

interchange of the two last letters.

The chamois] zemer. This was probably a species of goat

or deer, but of what kind we know not: that it cannot mean the

chamois is evident from this circumstance, "that the chamois

inhabits only the regions of snow and ice, and cannot bear the

heat."-Buffon. The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it the

Camelopard, but this creature is only found in the torrid zone and

probably was never seen in Judea; consequently could never be

prescribed as a clean animal, to be used as ordinary food. I must

once more be permitted to say, that to ascertain the natural

history of the Bible is a hopeless case. Of a few of its animals

and vegetables we are comparatively certain, but of the great

majority we know almost nothing. Guessing and conjecture are

endless, and they have on these subjects been already sufficiently

employed. What learning, deep, solid, extensive learning, and

judgment could do, has already been done by the incomparable

Bochart in his Hierozoicon. The learned reader may consult this

work, and, while he gains much general information, will have to

regret that he can apply so little of it to the main and grand

question. As I have consulted every authority within my reach, on

the subject of the clean and unclean animals mentioned in the law,

and have detailed all the information I could collect in my notes

on Lev. xi., I must refer my readers to what I have there laid


Verse 13. The vulture after his kind] The word daah is

improperly translated vulture Le 11:14,

and means a kite or glede. The word daiyah in this verse

is not only different from that in Leviticus, but means also a

different animal, properly enough translated vulture.

See Clarke on Le 11:14.

Verse 21. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.]

Mr. Calmet thinks that this precept refers to the paschal lamb

only, which was not to be offered to God till it was weaned from

its mother; but See Clarke on Ex 23:19.

Verse 22. Thou shalt truly tithe] Meaning the second tithe

which themselves were to eat, De 14:23,

for there was a first tithe that was given to the Levites, out of

which they paid a tenth part to the priests, Nu 18:24-28;

Ne 10:37, 38. Then of that which remained, the owners separated a

second tithe, which they ate before the Lord the first and second

year; and in the third year it was given to the Levites and to the

poor, De 14:28, 29.

In the fourth and fifth years it was eaten again by the owners, and

in the sixth year was given to the poor. The seventh year was a

Sabbath to the land, and then all things were common, Ex 23:10, 11,

where see the notes, See Clarke on Ex 23:11,

and see Ainsworth on this verse.

Verse 26. Or for strong drink] What the sikera or strong drink

of the Hebrews was, See Clarke on Le 10:9. This one verse

sufficiently shows that the Mosaic law made ample provision for

the comfort and happiness of the people.

Verse 29. And the Levite (because he hath no part nor

inheritance] And hence much of his support depended on the mere

freewill-offerings of the people. God chose to make his ministers

thus dependent on the people, that they might be induced (among

other motives) to labour for their spiritual profiting, that the

people, thus blessed under their ministry, might feel it their

duty and privilege to support and render them comfortable.

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