Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are sons of Yahveh your God; do not cut yourselves or place a bald spot on your head on behalf of the dead,
Deuteronomy 14:2 because you are a sacred people to Yahveh your God. Yahveh has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the land.
Deuteronomy 14:3 “You must not eat any repulsive thing.
Deuteronomy 14:4 These are the animals you may eat: oxen, sheep, goats,
Deuteronomy 14:5 deer, gazelles, roe deer, wild goats, ibexes, antelopes, and mountain sheep.
Deuteronomy 14:6 You may eat any animal that has hooves divided in two and chews the cud.
Deuteronomy 14:7 However, among the ones that chew the cud or have divided hooves, you are not to eat these: camels, hares, and hyraxes, though they chew the cud, they do not have hooves – they are contaminated for you;
Deuteronomy 14:8 and pigs, though they have hooves, they do not chew the cud – they are contaminated for you. Do not eat their meat or touch their carcasses.
This passage mentions three kinds of restriction. First, the Israelites were not allowed to cut themselves. Second,they were not allowed to cut a bald spot on their heads. Third, there were certain kinds of animal they could and could not eat. The only reason listed here was that the first and second prohibition had to do with the dead. So, there must have been a religious reason for cutting oneself or placing a bald spot on one’s head – in honor of, or perhaps in fear of – the dead. There was no ancestral reason for these practices, so it is presumed to be a common practice among the pagan Canaanites. The eating restrictions may have had a similar reason – to set the Israelites apart from those around them.
God’s people are to be different from all those around them because they are uniquely his.
- Exodus 19:5-6a Now therefore, if you will really obey my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my treasured possession among all peoples, because all the land is mine; and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
Deuteronomy 26:18-19 And today Yahveh has affirmed that you are his own possession as he promised you, that you are to watch all his commands, that he will elevate you to praise, fame, and glory above all the nations he has made, and that you will be a sacred people to Yahveh your God as he promised.”
- Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are uniquely his1 enthusiastic about doing good achievements.
- 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a devoted nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Lord, we are uniquely yours. Show us how to show it.
1περιούσιος = uniquely one’s own.