Deuteronomy 14

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Read Deuteronomy 14

Clean and Unclean Food

14 You are the children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat,the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a divided hoof you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the hyrax. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a divided hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. 10 But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.

11 You may eat any clean bird. 12 But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 13 the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon,14 any kind of raven, 15 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 16 the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, 17 the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, 18 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

19 All flying insects are unclean to you; do not eat them. 20 But any winged creature that is clean you may eat.

21 Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to the foreigner residing in any of your towns, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to any other foreigner. But you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.


22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lordyour God always. 24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), 25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. 26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice. 27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Go Deeper

There are quite a few dos and don’ts in this chapter, but God’s wisdom is always for the benefit of those committed to it. His purposes in the law were to set His people apart from the pagan practices of the day, as well as protect their bodies from disease. God always knows the big picture.

Remember feelings of exasperation when you argued with your parents about doing something and their reply was, “I say no and mean no because you’re mine.” As we got older, we understood that they were right. The first verse of Deuteronomy 14 speaks a similar and significant “why” into the rest of the dos and don’ts of the chapter: “You are the children of the Lord your God.”

Verses 1-21 are God’s commands over animals, fish, and birds. Remember that hunting and fishing were necessary for all peoples until the last 100+ years of our world’s history. Even today, people still depend on food provision through hunting and fishing. Some love the connection to God’s creation in this, as well as the food it provides. Either way, there are required skills, knowledge, and laws for these necessary activities. Deuteronomy 14:2 gave the Israelites four reasons to follow God’s laws in living and acquiring food: They were the children of God, a holy people of God, chosen by God, and treasured by God. When we accept and follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, these four truths are ours to claim as well.

Verses 22-28 close the chapter with specific instructions on tithing. One tenth of the best produce and animals were to be set aside to honor God at the temple. Whether the temple was near or far, special provision was made in the law to honor God in this way. The discipline of the gift is mentioned in verse 23 saying, “so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.” The Israelites were also told to store up tithes over a three year period to help the local Levites as well as the poor in their area. The message for us could not be more clear: Giving generously is an integral part of our faith that will move our hearts toward honoring God with all He has given us. Once giving becomes a joy for us, and the ripple effect will greatly aid the church and its ministries. 

Finally, God makes this promise in the last half of Deuteronomy 14:29: “…so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Praise be to God who has chosen us! May we be faithful to give back what He has so generously given us.


  1. What does it mean to you to be a child of God?
  2. What did Christ mean when He said, “I have come to fulfill the law”?
  3. Why is generosity such an important part of our walk with Christ?

Did You Know?

The concept of tithing (giving 10%) isn’t discussed in the New Testament, but the principle of giving generously and cheerfully is scattered throughout it. Read the Apostle Paul’s instructions to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

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3 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 14”

  1. God had established a specific order over all things, even though it may seem contrary to human understanding, we can rest assured it was purposeful, and obedience in these practical ways would lead to a life of holiness. V23 gives the “why” of God’s instructions, “so you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.” At times we seem to separate the spiritual and physical parts of our lives, but God takes into account all of our habits and asks we put him first in every decision, including what we eat, how we spend our money, and how we care for one another. Stop and think about these 3 areas and decide if faith in Christ is made visible by our choices. The lyrics and message of this song challenged me.

  2. God chose Israel but He also chose you and me. We are His chosen people But you are a chosen generation… His own special people (1 Peter 2:9). We were reconciled through Christ through the cross. He made the way for us to come together both Jews and Gentiles. We are to be unified in and through Jesus. The do’s and don’ts of what we are reading is for our learning. It is fascinating to study more about the culture that this took place in as well. God wanted healthy people to serve Him and giving people. Eph 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. We have Holy Spirit to lead us in this battle of today. We are to be healthy, giving, and loving people that speak to others about Jesus so that all to come to know Him and not be lost.
    Thank You God for the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf. Thank You that He was willing to unify us. Thank You for showing me people through Your love goggles and how I can speak more of You into their lives. God thank You for wisdom and understanding for this day. Thank You for Love overflowing and praise always on my lips for You!! in Jesus name amen

  3. Markese Antwon Spain

    • What does it mean to you to be a child of God?

    I am chosen by God to be his child. That is the equivalent to having a surname, and how we represent the family name. We don’t act or do the things that others do. We honor our name.

    • What did Christ mean when He said, “I have come to fulfill the law”?

    The law showed us that we fall short of God’s glory. It was a reminder of how we should live. An atonement had to be paid for all of the sins of God’s people. This was the shedding of innocent blood. Jesus came and gave his life as the highest Atonement. He was human, and blameless before God. Yet he took on the sins of all people as if they were his own. Because he was innocent, he fulfilled the law. His death and shame was not for his own sins, but for the sins of everyone else. That tore the veil, the separation between us and the holy of holys. Now, his blood covers us and we can come before God in prayer, in the name of Jesus.

    • Why is generosity such an important part of our walk with Christ?

    It represents gratitude for the gift God has given us by making the earth. Everything is his, and his design. We make an income by the resources he has provided. The ability of our hands, the elements that reside in the earth. We give back to him with our tithes. The Levites did not work and God provided for them with the tithes of his people. That tithes was also used to feed and care for the poor. Generosity also teaches us not to hold onto material gains. It also teaches discipline, budgeting and prioritizing.

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