The Holy and the Profane
1 You are children#tn Heb “sons” (so NASB); TEV, NLT “people.” of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave your forehead bald#sn Do not cut yourselves or shave your forehead bald. These were pagan practices associated with mourning the dead; they were not be imitated by God’s people (though they frequently were; cf. 1 Kgs 18:28; Jer 16:6; 41:5; 47:5; Hos 7:14 [LXX]; Mic 5:1). For other warnings against such practices see Lev 21:5; Jer 16:5. for the sake of the dead. 2 For you are a people holy#tn Or “set apart.” to the Lord your God. He#tn Heb “The Lord.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy. has chosen you to be his people, prized#tn Or “treasured.” The Hebrew term סְגֻלָּה (sÿgullah) describes Israel as God’s choice people, those whom he elected and who are most precious to him (cf. Exod 19:4-6; Deut 14:2; 26:18; 1 Chr 29:3; Ps 135:4; Eccl 2:8 Mal 3:17). See E. Carpenter, NIDOTTE 3:224.sn The Hebrew term translated “select” (and the whole verse) is reminiscent of the classic covenant text (Exod 19:4-6) which describes Israel’s entry into covenant relationship with the Lord. Israel must resist paganism and its trappings precisely because she is a holy people elected by the Lord from among the nations to be his instrument of world redemption (cf. Deut 7:6; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). above all others on the face of the earth. 3 You must not eat any forbidden#tn The Hebrew word תּוֹעֵבָה (to’evah, “forbidden; abhorrent”) describes anything detestable to the Lord because of its innate evil or inconsistency with his own nature and character. See note on the word “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25. Cf. KJV “abominable”; NIV “detestable”; NRSV “abhorrent.” thing. 4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the ibex,#tn The Hebrew term אַיָּל (’ayyal) may refer to a type of deer (cf. Arabic ’ayyal). Cf. NAB “the red deer.” the gazelle,#tn The Hebrew term צְבִי (tsÿvi) is sometimes rendered “roebuck” (so KJV). the deer,#tn The Hebrew term יַחְמוּר (yakhmur) may refer to a “fallow deer”; cf. Arabic yahmur (“deer”). Cf. NAB, NIV, NCV “roe deer”; NEB, NRSV, NLT “roebuck.” the wild goat, the antelope,#tn The Hebrew term דִּישֹׁן (dishon) is a hapax legomenon. Its referent is uncertain but the animal is likely a variety of antelope (cf. NEB “white-rumped deer”; NIV, NRSV, NLT “ibex”). the wild oryx,#tn The Hebrew term תְּאוֹ (tÿ’o; a variant is תּוֹא, to’) could also refer to another species of antelope. Cf. NEB “long-horned antelope”; NIV, NRSV “antelope.” and the mountain sheep.#tn The Hebrew term זֶמֶר (zemer) is another hapax legomenon with the possible meaning “wild sheep.” Cf. KJV, ASV “chamois”; NEB “rock-goat”; NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “mountain sheep.” 6 You may eat any animal that has hooves divided into two parts and that chews the cud.#tn The Hebrew text includes “among the animals.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons. 7 However, you may not eat the following animals among those that chew the cud or those that have divided hooves: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger.#tn The Hebrew term שָׁפָן (shafan) may refer to the “coney” (cf. KJV, NIV) or hyrax (“rock badger,” cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT). (Although they chew the cud, they do not have divided hooves and are therefore ritually impure to you). 8 Also the pig is ritually impure to you; though it has divided hooves,#tc The MT lacks (probably by haplography) the phrase וְשֹׁסַע שֶׁסַע פַּרְסָה (vÿshosa’ shesa’ parsah, “and is clovenfooted,” i.e., “has parted hooves”), a phrase found in the otherwise exact parallel in Lev 11:7. The LXX and Smr attest the longer reading here. The meaning is, however, clear without it. it does not chew the cud. You may not eat their meat or even touch their remains. 9 These you may eat from among water creatures: anything with fins and scales you may eat, 10 but whatever does not have fins and scales you may not eat; it is ritually impure to you. 11 All ritually clean birds you may eat. 12 These are the ones you may not eat: the eagle,#tn NEB “the griffon-vulture.” the vulture,#tn The Hebrew term פֶּרֶס (peres) describes a large vulture otherwise known as the ossifrage (cf. KJV). This largest of the vultures takes its name from its habit of dropping skeletal remains from a great height so as to break the bones apart. the black vulture,#tn The Hebrew term עָזְנִיָּה (’ozniyyah) may describe the black vulture (so NIV) or it may refer to the osprey (so NAB, NRSV, NLT), an eagle-like bird subsisting mainly on fish. 13 the kite, the black kite, the dayyah#tn The Hebrew term is דַּיָּה (dayyah). This, with the previous two terms (רָאָה [ra’ah] and אַיָּה [’ayyah]), is probably a kite of some species but otherwise impossible to specify. after its species, 14 every raven after its species, 15 the ostrich,#tn Or “owl.” The Hebrew term בַּת הַיַּעֲנָה (bat hayya’anah) is sometimes taken as “ostrich” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT), but may refer instead to some species of owl (cf. KJV “owl”; NEB “desert-owl”; NIV “horned owl”). the owl,#tn The Hebrew term תַּחְמָס (takhmas) is either a type of owl (cf. NEB “short-eared owl”; NIV “screech owl”) or possibly the nighthawk (so NRSV, NLT). the seagull, the falcon#tn The Hebrew term נֵץ (nets) may refer to the falcon or perhaps the hawk (so NEB, NIV). after its species, 16 the little owl, the long-eared owl, the white owl,#tn The Hebrew term תִּנְשֶׁמֶת (tinshemet) may refer to a species of owl (cf. ASV “horned owl”; NASB, NIV, NLT “white owl”) or perhaps even to the swan (so KJV); cf. NRSV “water hen.” 17 the jackdaw,#tn The Hebrew term קָאַת (qa’at) may also refer to a type of owl (NAB, NIV, NRSV “desert owl”) or perhaps the pelican (so KJV, NASB, NLT). the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, the heron after its species, the hoopoe, the bat, 19 and any winged thing on the ground are impure to you – they may not be eaten.#tc The MT reads the Niphal (passive) for expected Qal (“you [plural] must not eat”); cf. Smr, LXX. However, the harder reading should stand. 20 You may eat any clean bird. 21 You may not eat any corpse, though you may give it to the resident foreigner who is living in your villages#tn Heb “gates” (also in vv. 27, 28, 29). and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. You are a people holy to the Lord your God. Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.#sn Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. This strange prohibition – one whose rationale is unclear but probably related to pagan ritual – may seem out of place here but actually is not for the following reasons: (1) the passage as a whole opens with a prohibition against heathen mourning rites (i.e., death, vv. 1-2) and closes with what appear to be birth and infancy rites. (2) In the other two places where the stipulation occurs (Exod 23:19 and Exod 34:26) it similarly concludes major sections. (3) Whatever the practice signified it clearly was abhorrent to the Lord and fittingly concludes the topic of various breaches of purity and holiness as represented by the ingestion of unclean animals (vv. 3-21). See C. M. Carmichael, “On Separating Life and Death: An Explanation of Some Biblical Laws,” HTR 69 (1976): 1-7; J. Milgrom, “You Shall Not Boil a Kid In Its Mother’s Milk,” BRev 1 (1985): 48-55; R. J. Ratner and B. Zuckerman, “In Rereading the ‘Kid in Milk’ Inscriptions,” BRev 1 (1985): 56-58; and M. Haran, “Seething a Kid in its Mother’s Milk,” JJS 30 (1979): 23-35.
The Offering of Tribute
22 You must be certain to tithe#tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive absolute for emphasis, indicated in the translation by the words “be certain.” all the produce of your seed that comes from the field year after year. 23 In the presence of the Lord your God you must eat from the tithe of your grain, your new wine,#tn This refers to wine in the early stages of fermentation. In its later stages it becomes wine (יַיִן, yayin) in its mature sense. your olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the place he chooses to locate his name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. 24 When he#tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “He” in 14:2. blesses you, if the#tn The Hebrew text includes “way is so far from you that you are unable to carry it because the.” These words have not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons, because they are redundant. place where he chooses to locate his name is distant, 25 you may convert the tithe into money, secure the money,#tn Heb “bind the silver in your hand.” and travel to the place the Lord your God chooses for himself. 26 Then you may spend the money however you wish for cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and enjoy it. 27 As for the Levites in your villages, you must not ignore them, for they have no allotment or inheritance along with you. 28 At the end of every three years you must bring all the tithe of your produce, in that very year, and you must store it up in your villages. 29 Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work you do.