Deuteronomy 14

Moses tells the Israelites which food to eat

1 You belong to the Lord your God. You are like his own family. You weep for people who have died. But you must not cut yourselves. And you must not cut the hair from the front of your head.

14:1People from other countries would cut their bodies or their hair when their friends died. This showed that they felt sad. Israelites must not do these things.

2 You are special people because you are the family of the Lord your God. The Lord has chosen you from all the other people on the earth. You are his special people and he loves you.

3 Do not eat anything that God hates. 4 You may eat the meat of these animals: cows, sheep, goats, 5 deer, wild goats, mountain goats, antelopes and wild sheep. 6 You may eat any animal with feet that have two halves. They must also bring their food back into their mouths and eat it again.

14:6All the animals in verses 4 and 5 have feet that grow in two halves. They also bring their food back into their mouths and eat it again. God said that these were ‘clean’ animals. ‘Clean’ animals means animals that the Israelites could eat.

7 But you must not eat these animals: camels, rabbits and rock badgers. They eat their food a second time, but they do not have feet in two halves. For this reason they are not good food for you. 8 You may not eat pigs, either. They have feet in two halves but they do not eat their food a second time. You must not eat any of these animals. You must not even touch their dead bodies.

9 You can eat any fish that has fins and pieces of hard skin on its body. 10 But there are things that live in the water that do not have fins or hard skin like that. Those are not good food for you. Do not eat them.

11 You can eat any clean bird. 12-18 But these birds you must not eat: eagles, vultures, crows, owls, hawks, falcons, buzzards, ostriches, sea-gulls, storks, herons, pelicans, cormorants, hoopoes and bats.

14:12-18These birds all eat dirty pieces of dead animals as their food. God wanted his people to eat good, clean food. So they must not eat any of these birds.

19 Some insects have wings and they also move on the ground. Insects like that are not good food for you. You must not eat them. 20 But you can eat any clean insect that has wings.

21 You must not eat anything that you find dead already. You can give it to a foreign person in any of your towns. He can eat it. Or you can sell it to him. But you are special people. You are special to the Lord your God.

You must not cook a young goat in the milk from its mother.

Regular gifts to the Lord

22 You must put away in a special place, a tenth part of all the food that grows in your fields. You must be careful to do this every year. 23 Then take it to that special place that the Lord your God will choose for himself. Eat this tenth part of the food that you grow in your fields, there. Also, you can eat your young animals that are born first. Eat them in front of the Lord your God. Learn to thank him always for everything. 24 But that special place may be too far from your home. Your regular gifts of food may be too heavy to carry, if you have grown a lot of food. (And the special place may be too far away.) 25 If that is true, you can sell your regular gifts for money. Take the money with you to the place that the Lord your God will choose. 26 Then you can use the money to buy whatever you choose: cows, sheep, wine or beer. You can buy anything that you like. And you and your family should eat there in front of the Lord your God and be happy together. 27 Always remember the Levites who live in your towns. Remember them because they have no land.

28 Every third year, store in your towns, a tenth part of the food that you have grown in your fields. 29 This food is for the Levites, who have no land. It is also for the foreign people and the children who have no fathers. It is also for the women whose husbands have died. They can eat until they have had enough. If you do that, the Lord your God will be with you in all your work.