Religious Practices

You are the children of the Lord your God. So when someone dies, don’t ⌞mourn⌟ by cutting yourselves or shaving bald spots on your head. You are people who are holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the people who live on earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his own special possession.

Never eat anything that is disgusting to the Lord. Here are the ⌞kinds of⌟ animals you may eat: oxen, sheep, goats, deer, gazelles, fallow deer,[a] wild goats, mountain goats, antelope, and mountain sheep. You may eat all animals that have completely divided hoofs and that also chew their cud. But some animals chew their cud, while others have completely divided hoofs. You may not eat these ⌞kinds of⌟ animals. They include camels, rabbits, and rock badgers. (Although they chew their cud, they don’t have divided hoofs. They are unclean [b] for you.) Also, you may not eat pigs. (Although their hoofs are divided, they don’t chew their cud.) Never eat their meat or touch their dead bodies.

Here’s what you may eat of every creature that lives in the water: You may eat any creature that has fins and scales. 10 But never eat anything that doesn’t have fins and scales. It is unclean for you.

11 You may eat any clean bird. 12 But here are the birds that you should never eat: eagles, bearded vultures, black vultures, 13 buzzards, all types of kites, 14 all types of crows, 15 ostriches, nighthawks, seagulls, all types of falcons, 16 little owls, great owls, barn owls, 17 pelicans, ospreys, cormorants, 18 storks, all types of herons, hoopoes, and bats.

19 Every swarming, winged insect is also unclean for you. They must never be eaten. 20 However, you may eat any ⌞other kind of⌟ flying creature that is clean.

21 Never eat any creature that dies naturally. You may give it to the foreigners who live in your cities, and they may eat it. You may also sell it to foreigners who are visiting. But you are people who are holy to the Lord your God.

Never cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.

Giving God One-Tenth of Everything

22 Every year be sure to save a tenth of the crops harvested from whatever you plant in your fields. 23 Eat the tenth of your grain, new wine, and olive oil, and eat the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats in the presence of the Lord your God in the place he will choose to put his name. Then you will learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live.

24 But the place the Lord your God will choose to put his name may be too far away. He may bless you with so much that you can’t carry a tenth of your income that far. 25 If so, exchange the tenth part of your income for silver. Take the silver with you, and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. 26 Use the silver to buy whatever you want: cattle, sheep, goats, wine, liquor—whatever you choose. Then you and your family will eat and enjoy yourselves there in the presence of the Lord your God. 27 Never forget to take care of the Levites who live in your cities. They have no land of their own as you have.

28 At the end of every third year bring a tenth of that year’s crop, and store it in your cities. 29 Foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your cities may come to eat all they want. The Levites may also come because they have no land of their own as you have. Then the Lord your God will bless you in whatever work you do.


  1. 14:5 A specific species of deer.
  2. 14:7 “Unclean   ” refers to anything that is not presentable to God.