Israel, God’s Special People
1“You are the children of the Lord your God. When someone dies, you must not cut yourselves or shave your heads#14:1 shave your heads Literally, “shave between your eyes.” to show your sadness. 2This is because you are different from other people. You belong to the Lord your God. From all the people in the world, the Lord chose you to be his own special people.
Food the Israelites Are Allowed to Eat
3“Don’t eat anything that the Lord hates. 4You may eat these animals: cattle, sheep, goats, 5deer, gazelles, roe deer, wild sheep, wild goats, antelopes, and mountain sheep. 6You may eat any animal that has hooves divided into two parts and that chews the cud. 7But don’t eat camels, rabbits, or rock badgers. These animals chew the cud, but they don’t have split hooves. So these animals are not a clean food for you. 8And you must not eat pigs. Their hooves are divided, but they don’t chew the cud. So pigs are not a clean food for you. Don’t eat any meat from pigs. Don’t even touch a pig’s dead body.
9“You may eat any kind of fish that has fins and scales. 10But don’t eat anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales. It is not a clean food for you.
11“You may eat any clean bird. 12But don’t eat any of these birds: eagles, vultures, buzzards, 13red kites, falcons, any kind of kite, 14any kind of raven, 15horned owls, screech owls, sea gulls, any kind of hawk, 16little owls, great owls, white owls, 17desert owls, ospreys, cormorants, 18storks, any kind of heron, hoopoes, or bats.
19“All insects with wings are unclean, so don’t eat them. 20But you may eat any clean bird.
21“Don’t eat any animal that has died by itself. You may give the dead animal to the foreigner in your town, and he can eat it. Or you may sell the dead animal to a foreigner. But you yourselves must not eat the dead animal, because you belong to the Lord your God. You are his special people.
“Don’t cook a baby goat in its mother’s milk.
22“Every year you must be sure to save one-tenth of all the crops that grow in your fields. 23Then you must go to the place the Lord chooses to be the home for his name. You will go there to be with the Lord your God. At that place you will eat the tenth of your crops—one-tenth of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the first animals born in your herds and flocks. In this way you will always remember to respect the Lord your God. 24But that place might be too far for you to travel to. Maybe you will not be able to carry one-tenth of all the crops that the Lord has blessed you with. If that happens, 25sell that part of your crops and take the money with you to the special place the Lord has chosen. 26Use the money to buy anything you want—cattle, sheep, wine or beer or any other food. Then you and your family should eat and enjoy yourselves there in that place with the Lord your God. 27But don’t forget the Levites living in your town. Share your food with them because they don’t have a share of the land like you have.
28“At the end of every three years, you must gather one-tenth of your harvest for that year. Store this food in your towns. 29Keep this food for the Levites, because they don’t have any land of their own. Also keep this food for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. This will provide enough for them to come and eat all they want. If you do this, the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.