Deuteronomy 14 NASB

[21]"You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.

After listing clean and unclean animals,Moses instructs the Jews to sell unclean carcasses to foreigners for their consumption

Does this actually absolve the foreigners from the restrictions pertaining to unclean animals?

5 Answers 5


The laws of the Old Covenant only pertain to those who entered into the covenant and agreed to keep them.

For example, in Exodus 24:3, it is written,

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahveh, and all the judgments, and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahveh has said, we will do.”

In addition, in Exodus 24:7, it is written,

7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that Yahveh has said, we will do and be obedient.”

Since only the nation of Israel agreed to keep the Law of Moses, only they are held accountable for keeping them, e.g., not eating unclean animals.

  • 2
    I always have to do a double-take when a gentile tells me s\he's glad to no longer be under the law :)
    – Ruminator
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 1:49

Hebrew has different words translated foreigner. Because Deut. 14:21 uses the word נֵכָֽר it doesn't appear to imply a foreigner required to keep the law (See this words use in Exodus 12:43; Deut. 23:20; 29:22; 31:16; 32:12}. The Jewish convert, not a descendent of Jacob, required to keep the law is described by the Hebrew term גֵּ֗ר (Exodus 12:48,49). Note: KJV translates this second word stranger.

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Chart from Logos Bible Software 8 showing the BHS Hebrew words that HCSV translated foreigner by occurances.


The word for alien in Hebrew, "ger", means sojourner, and the alien within the walls is taken to refer to those who have chosen to join the children of Israel but are not native-born. It is clear from multiple statements in the Torah that the same laws apply to both. The injunction against unclean meats declares them "tamai", an abomination or disgusting. To eat them was to become unclean. Hence, it was only to be eaten in case of extremity, where the alternative was starvation. Therefore, it may not be sold to an "alien within your gates", as that would imply that it was voluntary on the part of the alien, and/or profiteering on the part of the native-born. It could be given as a means of providing food for those who did not have their own land, and who therefore could be quite hungry. Better would be to provide them real food. So, one can sell it to the foreigner, who is not under any of the strictures of the covenant, thereby making some profit and not participating in the uncleanness of an adopted "brother".


It has already been explained that the Torah speaks directly only to those "under the law":

[Rom 3:19a CSB] 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are subject to the law...

However, if a foreigner was living in Israel then they would be required to observe the same Torah:

[Lev 24:22 KJV] 22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I [am] the LORD your God.

[Num 15:16, 29 KJV] 16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. ... 29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, [both for] him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.


Acts of the Apostles Chapter 15 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

  • Not all the laws given Israelite is done away by the messiah.
    – Andrews
    Commented May 7, 2022 at 11:24
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