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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 26

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations

Introduction

DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 26

The compression, thanksgiving, and rejoicing before the Lord of him who offereth first-fruits, Deuteronomy 26:1-11; as also of the three years’ tithes, Deuteronomy 26:12-15.

The covenant between God and his people ratified, Deuteronomy 26:16-19.

Verse 2

This seems to be required of each particular master of a family, either upon his first settlement, or once every year at one of their three feasts, when they were obliged to go up to Jerusalem, as here they are.

Of all the fruit of the earth; either of their corn, or of the fruit of trees.

Verse 3

Unto the priest, i.e. to any of the priests, who shall be appointed in God’s stead to receive these oblations and acknowledgements.

Verse 5

Jacob was a

Syrian, partly, by his original, as being born of Syrian parents, as were Abraham and Rebekah, both of Chaldea or Mesopotamia, which was a part of Syria largely so called, as is confessed by Strabo, b. 16. and by Pliny, b. 5. c. 12; partly, by his education and conversation, for which reason Christ is called a Nazarene, and a Capernaite; and partly, by his relations, his wives being such, and his children too by their mothers. Ready to perish; either through want and poverty; see Genesis 28:11,Genesis 28:20; Genesis 32:10; or through the rage of his brother Esau, and the treachery and cruelty of his father-in-law Laban.

Verse 10

Thou shalt set, to wit, mediately, by the priest, who was to set it there, Deuteronomy 26:4. Set it, i.e. the basket of first-fruits, Deuteronomy 26:2.

Verse 11

Thou shalt rejoice; i.e. either,

1. Thou shalt hereby be enabled to rejoice and take comfort in all thy enjoyments, when thou hast sanctified them by giving God his portion. Or,

2. Thou shalt feast (which is oft expressed by rejoicing) with the Levites and strangers upon the oblations which at these solemn times were offered; which exposition is confirmed by comparing Deuteronomy 16:10-11,Deuteronomy 16:14-15.

Verse 12

Of

the tithes, See Poole on "Deuteronomy 14:28". The year of tithing, Heb. the year of that tithe; so called, either,

1. Because these tithes were gathered only in that year. Or rather,

2. Because then only they were so bestowed or used; and whereas these second tithes for two years together were eaten only by the owners and Levites, and that in Jerusalem, in the third year they were eaten also by the strangers, fatherless, and widows, and that in their own dwellings. The LXX. join these words with the following, and for shemath, the year, read shenith, the second, and take vau for redundant, as sometimes it is, and read the place thus, The second tithe thou shalt give to the Levite, &c.

Verse 13

Before the Lord, i.e. either before the tabernacle or temple; or rather, in thy private and domestic addresses to God; for this is to be said presently upon the distribution of these tithes, which was not done at Jerusalem, but

in their own private gates or dwellings; except we will suppose that after he had given away these tithes at home he should go up to Jerusalem merely to make this acknowledgment, which seems improbable. And this is to be spoken before the Lord, i.e. solemnly, seriously, and in a religious manner, with due respect to God’s presence and will and glory, which is a sufficient ground for that phrase. I have brought away, or, separated, or, removed, to wit, from my own proper and private fruits. The hallowed things, i.e. the tithes which have been sanctified and set apart for these uses.

Verse 14

In my mourning, i.e. either,

1. In my funeral solemnities for the dead. But this falls in with the last branch. Or,

2. In my distress or poverty, or upon pretence of my own want, in which case men are tempted and inclined to fall upon sacred or forbidden things. Or,

3. In sorrow, or grieving that I was to give away so much of my profits to the poor, but I have cheerfully eaten and feasted with them, as I was obliged to do. For though it be taken for granted by some learned expositors, from Deuteronomy 14:28,Deuteronomy 14:29, that the owner was not to eat any part of the third year’s tithe, but to give it all away to the stranger and fatherless, &c., the contrary seems to me more probable from that very place, where it is said, thou shalt lay it up within thy gates, and then it follows, that the Levite, stranger, &c. shall come, to wit, to thy gates, and shall eat, to wit, there, as is expressed Deuteronomy 26:12, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; which implies that these tithes, or some part of them, were eaten in the owner’s gates or dwelling, with holy rejoicing and feasting, wherein it is most probable the owner had his share, though it be not there expressed, because it was evident in itself from the foregoing passage, Deuteronomy 14:23, &c., where the owner is allowed and commanded to eat those tithes together with the Levites. And howsoever some think the third year’s tithes, Deuteronomy 14:28, were not the same with those Deuteronomy 14:23, yet it cannot with any colour of reason be thought that those tithes which were to be eaten, not only by the Levites, but also by the strangers, Deuteronomy 14:29, were more sacred than those that were to be eaten by none but the Levites and the owners, Deuteronomy 14:23,Deuteronomy 14:27, or that the owner might eat of the one, and not of the other. For any unclean use, i.e. for any common use; the words common and unclean being oft indifferently used one for the other, or for any other use than that which thou hast appointed, which would have been a pollution of them.

For the dead, i.e. for any funeral pomp, or service, or feast; for the Jews used to send in provisions to feast with the nearest relations of the party deceased, of which see Jeremiah 16:7; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:4; and in that case both the guests and food were legally polluted, Numbers 19:11,Numbers 19:14, and therefore the use of these tithes in such cases had been a double fault, both the defiling of sacred food, and the employing of those provisions upon sorrowful occasions, which by God’s express command were to be eaten with rejoicing, Deuteronomy 14:26; Deuteronomy 26:11.

Verse 15

After that solemn profession of their obedience to God’s commands, they are taught to pray for God’s blessing upon their land, whereby they are instructed how vain and ineffectual the prayers of unrighteous or disobedient persons are.

Verse 17

Avouched, or declared, or professed, or owned. This day, i.e. at this time, in this wilderness, where thou hast accepted and ratified God’s covenant.

Verse 18

Hath owned thee for such before all the world by eminent and glorious communications and manifestations of his power and grace and favour in time and for thee, by a solemn entering into covenant with thee, and giving peculiar laws, promises, and privileges to thee above all mankind. That thou shouldest keep all his commandments; which is here mentioned as an act of God’s, because though this be man’s duty, yet it is the work of’ God’s grace, that he will vouchsafe to give us such commands, that he doth require and will accept of our obedience to them, and that we have any power or will to obey them, Ezekiel 36:26,Ezekiel 36:27.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 26". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/deuteronomy-26.html. 1685.
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