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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 26

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-19

Israel before the Lord

Deuteronomy 26:1-19

1And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and [thou] possessest it, and dwellest therein; 2That 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 [to cause his name to dwell] there. 3And 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. 4And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. 5And thou shalt speak [answer] and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian [An Aramæan] ready to perish [lost, lost, wandering about]1 was my father; and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a [in] few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: 6And the Egyptians evil-entreated 7us, and afflicted [oppressed] us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when [om. when]2 we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, [and] the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our [heavy, exhausting] labour, and our oppression: 8And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders; 9And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10And now, behold, I have brought the first-fruits [first of the fruits] of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me: and thou shalt set it [or the basket] before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: 11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing [all the good which] which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. 12When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase [in] 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 [and they eat] eat within thy gates, and be, [and are] filled: 13Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine [the] 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 [commandment] which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed 14[of, from] thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them: I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away aught thereof for any unclean use [in uncleanness (unclean condition)]3, nor given aught 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. 15Look 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. 16This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore [and thou shalt] keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 17Thou hast avouched4 the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: 18And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people [people for a possession], as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments: 19And to make [give] thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour [splendor, glory]; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.


1.Deuteronomy 26:1-11. Upon Deuteronomy 26:1 comp. Deuteronomy 17:14.Deuteronomy 26:2, partitive. (Genesis 4:4). According to Jewish tradition a part of the seven kinds of the fruits of Canaan. Deuteronomy 8:8. Schultz: Not all the first-fruits, generally, were to be delivered at the sanctuary. Keil: Only those necessary for the following purpose or end. Comp. upon Exodus 23:19, and besides Deuteronomy 18:4. טֶנֶא from טָנָא, to weave. For the rest comp. Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 12:5, (Deuteronomy 16:17). Deuteronomy 26:3. Either the priests collectively, or the one who was officiating, comp. Deuteronomy 17:12. The declaration (saying) is the explanation of the basket with the first-fruits, as a completed actual acknowledgment of the possession of the land, and as an expression of corresponding gratitude. Deuteronomy 26:4. Comp. Deuteronomy 26:10. Before the altar of burnt-offering, Exodus 27:1 sq. Deuteronomy 26:5. Comp. Deuteronomy 25:9. To the profession before men, there is joined a wider retrospective and comprehensive prayer before the Lord. Jacob (Israel) nominally and virtually the ancestor of the twelve-tribed people, (Isaiah 43:27), an Aramæan because of his long residence in Mesopotamia, whence Abraham removed, Genesis 11:31, (Deu 25:20; Deuteronomy 28:5; Deuteronomy 31:20; Deuteronomy 31:24), and because he there grew to such a family. Comp. Hosea 12:13 sq. אֹבֵד losing himself, who not only wandered about, led a nomadic life, but ran the risk of being lost. (Psalms 119:176; Jeremiah 1:6). Duro servitio primum (Genesis 31:40) deinde fame (Genesis 42:2; Genesis 43:8). J. H. Michaelis. Comp. Genesis 35:3. Keil against the accents: A lost Aramæan was my father. Luther (Vulg.). The Aramæan (Satan) would destroy my father, as if the reading was אִבֵּד. The Sept.: Συρίαν�. ב the beth essentiæ. Deuteronomy 10:22. מתי (Plurali tantum) מְתִים from מתָה to extend, i.e., the extended, grown, adult, men. מְעָט from מָעַט to rub away, small, diminish) of few men. Comp. Genesis 34:30. In himself nothing, with his own, few, and yet! Comp. Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 9:1. (Exodus 1:7; Exodus 1:9). Deuteronomy 26:6. Comp. Exodus 1:11 sq. Deuteronomy 26:7. Comp. Exodus 2:23; Exodus 4:31.Deuteronomy 26:8. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 6:21 sq. Deuteronomy 26:9. Comp. Deuteronomy 6:3. (Exodus 3:8). The offering brought by the individual private Israelite, Deuteronomy 26:10, corresponds to this bringing of the people into the land on the part of Jehovah. Comp. Deuteronomy 26:2. The setting it down either as resuming the closing remark of Deuteronomy 26:4, or implying that the offerer had taken up the basket with the first-fruits during the prayer. Deuteronomy 26:11. The solemn festal joy, Deuteronomy 12:7; Deuteronomy 12:12; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14; Deuteronomy 18:4. The first-fruits, as the firstborn and the tithes (Deuteronomy 25:19 sq.; Deuteronomy 14:23).

2.Deuteronomy 26:12-15. The making an end and all the tithes, Deuteronomy 26:12, refer to the second tithe in the third year. (Comp. Deuteronomy 14:28). The year of tithing, because the whole tithe obligations, even to the special application, was completed in each third year. Comp. Deuteronomy 14:29. Hence Deuteronomy 26:13, after such a close, an account is to be rendered, perhaps when they appeared before the Lord at the feast of tabernacles in the third year. Keil understands the saying, avowal, here as before God generally, (Genesis 27:7), a view which Deuteronomy 26:15 certainly favors. Brought a way, not as an obligation, or debt (Schultz, Keil), but as something which does not belong to me, to annul, wipe away all title to which, it is brought out from the house; spoken with emotion. Hallowed things, i.e., whatever is devoted to God, as it was to be conveyed or disposed of in the legally defined way. The whole command, to wit, whatever could generally come into account here. The individual commands are alluded to in what follows. Neither wilfully nor consciously. (שָכַח closed to the consciousness). Deuteronomy 26:14. The further conscious deduction in definite contrasts. I have not eaten thereof, in a case of sorrow, or mourning for the dead (some hold in respect to the Egyptian mourning in the offering of the first-fruits to Isis, or the like); nor in any other way as legally unclean, have I taken it out from the house, Deuteronomy 26:13); nor even (Deuteronomy 14:1) have sent from it into a friendly house of mourning. Comp. Hosea 9:4; Jeremiah 16:7 sq.; 2 Samuel 3:35. Sept.: Given from it to the dead. There is no necessity for holding with Schultz, to some “superstitious application.” As Deuteronomy 26:5 sq., unfolds into thanks, so Deuteronomy 26:15 into prayer. It may moreover rightly be urged against that exclusive assertion of the earthly sanctuary foisted upon Deut. by the critics. Comp. Isaiah 63:15. Whoever preserves the hallowed things holy, may make his claim before the holy place of the Lord. The prayer for a blessing relates to the organic whole, keeps in mind the whole people.

3.Deuteronomy 26:16-19. The prominence of the law generally as a basis upon which such a prayer rests, now and always, while it is called to-day. Deuteronomy 26:16. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:1 sq.; Deuteronomy 5:5; Deuteronomy 5:1, Deuteronomy 6:1 sq., and indeed as to what kind of fulfilling of the law, comp. Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12.Deuteronomy 26:17; Deuteronomy 26:17 intimates at the same time the covenant relation of Israel. If the Hiphil הֶאֱמַרְתָּ is retained, i.e., bring under obligation, made to say, since Israel had said that he hears and does (Deuteronomy 5:24—comp. also Deuteronomy 26:14 above) he thereby scoures Jehovah as his God. Others regard it as a strengthened form of Kal.: to promise or to accept; to extol, glorify. Gesen., Knobel, Keil: thou hast let Jehovah say, declare, promise. Comp. for the rest of the verse Deuteronomy 8:6; Deuteronomy 5:26. Deuteronomy 26:18. The same applied to God. Comp. Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Exodus 19:5. Since Jehovah requires all, as is stated, Deuteronomy 26:1 sq., He makes Israel sure as His people, according to the promise; but when Israel has shown his faithfulness to all the commands, then first follows the exaltation of Israel above all the nations, also created by God (Jehovah is also Elohim, not only the God of Israel). His faithfulness naturally produces praise, renown, and the glorification from the Lord. Comp. Jeremiah 13:11; Jeremiah 33:9; Zephaniah 3:19 sq.; Exodus 19:6. [An holy people.—This was the design and end of the divine choice in regard to Israel, as it is still of the personal choice or election of believers. Comp. Ephesians 1:4.—A. G.]


1. Two formulas of prayer, Deuteronomy 26:1 sq. and Deuteronomy 26:12 sq., enclose the perfection of Israel; it is comprehended by them in its most inward and holy aspect. The fulfilling of the law completes itself in prayer, as inversely the idea of prayer is realized only through the fulfilling of the law (Deuteronomy 26:16 sq.).

2. Prayer appears at the very summit of the life of Israel, at the same time as the most essential thing, as the very soul of all thought and deeds which only find their strength and growth here, and thence—

3. The given formulas of prayer, with which compare the Lord’s prayer, include generally reverence, and particularly praise, thanks, petition, intercession, all the elements of prayer. The personal prayer appears hence as the common (Deuteronomy 26:15).

4. In this direction, as to the first fruits (Deuteronomy 26:2) and the tithes (Deuteronomy 26:12), the service of God in Israel appears, by the way, as the worship of God, in which man gives God the honor of that with which God has first honored him. “Ye must at all times (preaches Zinzendorf), at the very front, begin with declaring to what straits your father had been reduced,—how he went down to Egypt, was a stranger there, and evilly entreated—until God at last redeemed him, made him a great people, and brought him to this wished for land.”

5. The duty of prayer is thus truly the grace of prayer, which man must yield, and whatever can hinder must be put away (Deuteronomy 26:13 sq.).

6. Prayer in truth is through God even, not so much because in its expression it brings before God the thoughts and word of God (Deuteronomy 26:5 sq.; 13 sq.), but rather because in its inmost spirit it is the consecration of the whole man to God. Otherwise all the subjective and objective relation of life (Deuteronomy 26:13), the personal as the social condition (Deuteronomy 26:14), would not be pervaded and made serviceable to the kingdom of God.

7. As the object and end of prayer is the union of my will with that of God—not my will but thine be done—so prayer manifests itself through obedience to the law, through faithfulness in covenant relations (Deuteronomy 26:16 sq.). His service is moreover our blessedness, the true honoring of God, the glory of men (Deuteronomy 26:19). “Instead of closing at its end the way of God, the law points in that respect directly to that which is new and greater.” (Schultz.)


Deuteronomy 26:1. Kohlbrugge: “We come into the land as soon as we believe; then it typifies to the believer, heaven, the everlasting and full enjoyment of all blessedness, Hebrews 4:11; Ephesians 2:5-6. It is all a free gift. It is the nature of God to give, to be good to the poor, Galatians 3:18; Galatians 3:29.” Deuteronomy 26:2 sq. The same: “Diversities of fruit. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:4 sq.; Ephesians 4:7; Philippians 1:11; Galatians 5:22; 2 Peter 1:3 sq. He gives a fruitful land, Ephesians 2:10; and there should not be any exotic fruits, Galatians 1:7-8.” Deuteronomy 26:3. Starke: “Thanksgiving and prayer are sisters which should never be separated.” Kohlbrugge: “The confession of the mouth disburdens and warms the heart, awakes a joyful faith. Thy God who has put thee into office to praise the name of God, His faithfulness and truth before the people,—thus from my confession to take occasion to comfort and encourage others, that God will not forsake the work of His hands. The priest takes the basket, as he must ever bring before the throne whatever the people offer, Jeremiah 30:21. The altar of burnt offering a figure of Christ and His cross.” Deuteronomy 26:5 sq. Baumgarten: “Israel is in himself nothing more than the receptive subject of the grace of Jehovah. This is plain for all the future in the twofold beginning of his history. First, Israel the individual man, whose loneliness in the three patriarchs is three times inferred; no violent, lawless Nimrod, but an Aramæan stranger and shepherd going through the regions of kings and nations (Psalms 105:12-13), and exposed to their assaults. As Jehovah prevented this, He alone established this beginning—for Israel, as a lost man, had no strength in himself. So also in the second beginning, where Israel became a great people, but thus given into the power of a strange and harsh king, he was lost again. In measure indeed as Israel had grown to a great mass, the grace of Jehovah became grander and more wonderful.” [Wordsworth: “We must remember our past miseries as well as our present mercies; what we were by nature as well as what we are by grace.”—A. G.] Cramer: “Alms are not given from vanity, but from faith.” Richter: “Deuteronomy 26:7 praises the omniscience of God, Deuteronomy 26:8 His power and righteousness, and Deuteronomy 26:9 His goodness and faithfulness.” Deuteronomy 26:10. Starke: “The first to God, and not to Satan. Ye young men and maidens, devote to God the bloom of your years.” Deuteronomy 26:11. Baumgarten: “With the first fruits for the priests (Numbers 18:13) they were to bring others also, free-will offerings and what was joined with them, Deuteronomy 12:0.” Deuteronomy 26:13 sq.: “Like the Pharisee, Luke 18:0, but not the same, indeed unlike.” Deuteronomy 26:14. Randglosse: “The sacrifice to God should be joyful, pure and holy.” Deuteronomy 26:15. Schultz: “If a living prayer ascends to God, a certain obedience, as well as a certain experience of grace, is necessary.” Baumgarten: “Because He who dwells in the earthly sanctuary is at the same time enthroned in the heavenly sanctuary, so He must be called upon in every house of Israel. What freedom and variety in Israel, in connection with all earnestness for the unity of the sanctuary, and the sacredness of the priesthood and its position.” Deuteronomy 26:16. Osiander: “For the fulfilling of the commands, God requires the whole man.” Deuteronomy 26:17. Starke: “Great similarity with the question in the baptismal covenant, 1 Peter 3:21.” Deuteronomy 26:19. Richter: “To be for the praise of God (Ephesians 1:0.) is the ultimate end of all the revelations and forms of the kingdom of God.” V. Gerlach: “In the first fruits there is a continuous homage and acknowledgment with reference to all earthly possessions. The second tithe changed every Israelitish home into a sanctuary.”


[1][Deuteronomy 26:5. Literally, perishing was my father. The rendering adopted by our version is not only most nearly literal, but best agrees with the history referred to.—A. G.].

[2][Deuteronomy 26:7. The word when is not in the original, and should have been in italics.—A. G.].

[3][Deuteronomy 26:14. Schroeder’s rendering is the most literal and obvious, and gives a better sense than others proposed, or adopted.—A. G.].

[4][Deuteronomy 26:17. Literally, caused to say—caused him to say.—A. G.].

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 26". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/deuteronomy-26.html. 1857-84.
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