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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Deuteronomy 26



Verse 1

Two liturgical enactments having a clear and close reference to the whole of the preceding legislation, form a most appropriate and significant conclusion to it, namely,

(1) the formal acknowledgment in deed and symbol of God‘s faithfulness, by presentment of a basket filled with firstfruits, and in word by recitation of the solemn formula prescribed in Deuteronomy 26:3, Deuteronomy 26:5-10; and

(2) the solemn declaration and profession on the part of each Israelite on the occasion of the third tithe Deuteronomy 26:12.

Verse 2

On the subject of firstfruits see the notes at Leviticus 23:9 ff. The firstfruits here in question are to be distinguished alike from those offered in acknowledgment of the blessings of harvest (compare Exodus 22:29) at the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost, and also from the offerings prescribed in Numbers 18:8 ff. The latter consisted of preparations from the produce of the earth, such as oil, flour, wine, etc.; while those here meant are the raw produce: the former were national and public offerings, those of this chapter were private and personal. The whole of the firstfruits belonged to the officiating priest.

Verse 5

A Syrian ready to perish was my father - The reference is shown by the context to be to Jacob, as the ancestor in whom particularly the family of Abraham began to develop into a nation (compare Isaiah 43:22, Isaiah 43:28, etc.). Jacob is called a Syrian (literally, Aramaean), not only because of his own long residence in Syria with Laban Matthew 2:23, but because he there married and had his children (compare Hosea 12:12); and might be said accordingly to belong to that more than to any other land.

Verse 12

See the marginal reference to Numbers and note. A strict fulfillment of the onerous and complicated tithe obligations was a leading part of the righteousness of the Pharisees: compare Matthew 23:23.

Verse 14

I have not eaten thereof in my mourning - When the Israelite would be unclean (compare the marginal references).

Nor given ought thereof for the dead - The reference is not so much to the superstitious custom of placing food on or in tombs as to the funeral expenses, and more especially the usual feast for the mourners (compare Jeremiah 16:7; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:4; Tobit 4:17). The dedicated things were to be employed in glad and holy feasting, not therefore for funeral banquets; for death and all associated with it was regarded as unclean.

Verses 16-19

A brief and earnest exhortation by way of conclusion to the second and longest discourse of the book.

Deuteronomy 26:17

Thou hast avouched - literally, “made to say:” so also in the next verse. The sense is: “Thou hast given occasion to the Lord to say that He is thy God,” i. e. by promising that He shall be so. Compare Exodus 24:7; Joshua 24:14-25,


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 26:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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