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Monday, April 15th, 2024
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 26

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 2

That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.

Thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit. The Israelites in Canaan being God's tenants-at-will, the entire produce of the land was His; and as holding of Him, they were required to give Him tribute in the form of first-fruits and tithes. No Israelite was at liberty to use any productions of his fields until he had presented the first-fruits and tithes. No Israelite was at liberty to use any productions of his fields until he had presented the required offering.

The terms of the law (Deuteronomy 26:1) seem to restrict the obligation to Canaan proper; but the duty was considered equally binding on those who resided on the east of Jordan. The tribute began to be exigible after the settlement in the promised land; and as an annual fee simple to the feudal Sovereign, from whom its tenure was held, the presentation of the season's produce was yearly repeated at one of the great feasts-the first-fruits of barley at the Passover (Leviticus 2:14; Leviticus 23:10), of wheat at Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 16:9), and those of other fruits as they ripened. Every master of a family carried it on his shoulders in a little basket of osier, peeled willow, or palm leaves, and brought it to the sanctuary.

Verses 3-4

And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 5

And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:

Thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, [ wª`aaniytaa (H6030)] - thou shalt answer and say. This is the literal translation, which is also the most proper; for it is followed by the response of the person who brings the offering to the priest's presentation, decribed in the preceding verses. The act of presentation was accompanied by a formal expression of devout acknowledgment.

A Syrian ready to perish was my father, [ 'Aramiy (H761) 'obeed (H6)] - a wandering Syrian. Aram (Syria) was a very extensive region, which comprehended a great many smaller provinces-as Aram Damesk (2 Samuel 8:5), Aram Naharayim (i:e., Mesopotamia), and Padan-aram (plain of Syria); hence, Bethuel is called a Syrian (Genesis 25:20).

The ancestors of the Hebrews were nomad shepherds, either Syrians by birth, as Abraham, or by long residence, as Jacob; and when, out of deep degradation and prolonged persecution, they were led through a succession of marvelous experiences, until they were established as a nation in the possession of the promised land, it was to God's unmerited goodness they were indebted for their distinguished privileges; and in token of gratitude they brought this basket of first-fruits.

Verses 6-10

And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

Thou shalt rejoice - either taking the comfortable use of the possessions which God had given them, or rather, as the context indicates, feasting with their friends and the Levites, who were invited on such occasions to share in the cheerful festivities that followed oblations (Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 16:10-15).

Verse 12

When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;

When thou hast made an end of tithing ... the third year - (see the notes at Deuteronomy 12:17; Deuteronomy 14:22; Deuteronomy 14:28.) Among the Hebrews there were two tithings. The first was appropriated to the Levites (Numbers 18:21); the second, being the tenth of what remained, was brought to Jerusalem in kind; or if that was found inconvenient, it was converted into money, and the owner, on arriving in the capital, purchased sheep, bread, and oil, which afforded a feast to his family and the Levites (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). This was done for two years together. But this second tithing was eaten at home; and lest the poor-law provisions during the harvest (Deuteronomy 24:10) should not be sufficient, it was distributed among the poor, "the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow" of the place, at discretion.

Verse 13

Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:

Thou shalt say before the Lord thy God. This was a solemn and conscientious declaration that nothing which should be devoted to the divine service had been secretly reserved for personal use.

Verse 14

I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.

I have not eaten thereof in my mourning - in a season of sorrow, which brought defilement upon sacred things; according to a second class of commentators-`I have not eaten thereof, under a pretence of poverty, and grudging to give any away to the poor;' according to a third class, the words expressed a repudiation of an idolatrous custom of the Egyptians, who, in offering their first-fruits to Isis, invoked that deity in mournful strains.

Neither ... for any unclean use - i:e., any common purpose, different from what God had appointed, and which would have been a desecration of it.

Nor given ought thereof for the dead - on any funeral service, or, as some refer the words, to an idol, which is a dead thing-a lifeless image, or a hero deified after his decease.

Verse 15

Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Look down from thy holy habitation ... and bless thy people Israel. In this passage God prescribes to the Israelites a form of glorying in their obedience to the Mosaic law, and of pleading upon that obedience for covenant blessings. Would He have directed them to glory in their observance of that law, if, in fact, the sincerest among them had not observed it? Yet, doubtless, that was the case, if its demands were the same as those of the law of nature. But the things enumerated in this form of glorying were only external performances, and it may be easily believed that many would truly boast of having done them all, who were strangers notwithstanding to charity flowing from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned (see Erskine, 'On the Nature of the Sinai Covenant;' see also Grave's 'Lectures on the Pentateuch,' 2:, p. 24).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/deuteronomy-26.html. 1871-8.
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