Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 14:1 - 14:1

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 14:1 - 14:1

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The Israelites were not only to suffer no idolatry to rise up in their midst, but in all their walk of life to show themselves as a holy nation of the Lord; and neither to disfigure their bodies by passionate expressions of sorrow for the dead (Deu 14:1 and Deu 14:2), nor to defile themselves by unclean food (vv. 3-21). Both of these were opposed to their calling. To bring this to their mind, Moses introduces the laws which follow with the words, “ye are children to the Lord your God.” The divine sonship of Israel was founded upon its election and calling as the holy nation of Jehovah, which is regarded in the Old Testament not as generation by the Spirit of God, but simply as an adoption springing out of the free love of God, as the manifestation of paternal love on the part of Jehovah to Israel, which binds the son to obedience, reverence, and childlike trust towards a Creator and Father, who would train it up into a holy people. The laws in Deu 14:1 are simply a repetition of Lev 19:28 and Lev 21:5. לָמֵת, with reference to, or on account of, a dead person, is more expressive than לָנֶפֶשׁ (for a soul) in Lev 19:28. The reason assigned for this command in Deu 14:2 (as in Deu 7:6) is simply an emphatic elucidation of the first clause of Deu 14:1. (On the substance of the verse, see Exo 19:5-6).