Deuteronomy 14

Rules about food

1 You are people who belong to the Lord your God. When someone dies, you are sad. But do not cut your bodies. Do not cut off all the hair from the front of your head.

14:1People from other nations would cut their bodies or their hair when their friends died.

2 You are the Lord's own special people. He has chosen you to belong to him. You are much more valuable to him than any other people in the whole earth.

3 Do not eat anything that God says is unclean. 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 separate parts. 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 parts. They also bring their food back into their mouths and eat it again. God said that these were ‘clean’ animals. ‘Clean’ animals means that the Israelites could eat them.

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

9 You may eat any fish that has fins and scales. 10 But other things that live in the water do not have fins or scales. Those are not clean food for you. Do not eat them.

14:9scales on fish are hard pieces of skin that cover the body.

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

14:12-18These birds eat dirty pieces of dead animals as their food. We do not have the exact names in English for all these birds.

19 Some insects have wings but they walk on the ground. Insects like that are unclean food for you. You must not eat them. 20 But you may eat any clean insect that has wings.

21 You must not eat anything that you find dead already. You may give it to a foreign person who lives in any of your towns. He may eat it. You may give it to him or sell it to him. But you yourselves are special people who belong 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 keep safe a tenth part of all the crops that grow in your fields. You must be careful to do this every year. 23 Then take your tithe to the place that the Lord your God will choose as his special home. It will be a tenth part of your grain, your new wine, your olive oil and the firstborn animals from your cows, sheep and goats. Eat them there, at the Lord's special home. Then you will learn to respect the Lord your God always.

24 But the Lord's special place may be a long way from your home. If he has blessed you with a lot of things, they may be too heavy for you to carry all that way. 25 If that is true, you may sell your tithe. Then you may take the money carefully to the place that the Lord your God will choose. 26 When you arrive there, you can use the money to buy any food that you choose: cows, sheep, wine, beer or anything else. Then you and your family should eat it there. You should enjoy your time together at the Lord's special home. 27 Do not forget to help the Levites who live in your towns. Remember that they have not received any land as you have.

28 Every third year, take the tithe of the food that you have grown in your fields that year. Store it in your town or your village. 29 Keep this food for the Levites, who have no land of their own. It is also for the foreign people, the widows, and the children whose parents have died. These people in your town can eat as much as they want. If you do that, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.