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In this chapter the directions concerning the presentation of offerings connected with the social and religious life of the people are laid down.
1. The land which the Lord thy God giveth thee The people are often reminded that this possession is not one gained by their own valour. It is Jehovah’s gift to them. They are to keep this ever in mind; the promised land is from him, and the bountiful gifts which it is to furnish are from him.
2. First of all the fruit The presentation of firstfruits was virtually an acknowledgment that all earthly possessions belonged to God. Comp. on this verse Leviticus 23:10-14.
5. A Syrian ready to perish Rather, a wandering Syrian. Jacob is here referred to. He is called an Aramaean, or Syrian. For in Aramaea he lived for a long period. Here he served Laban. Here he married his wives. Here most of his children were born.
8. And the Lord brought us forth On the deliverance from Egypt, see Exodus 12:13.
With signs, and with wonders Comp. Deuteronomy 4:34.
10. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God With this formula, which so impressively recalled Jehovah’s dealings with them as a people, and their reasons for thanksgiving, the basket, with its gifts, was to be set before the altar.
12. Tithing all the tithes The presentation of tithes was to be accompanied with thanksgiving and prayer. In the third year the second tithe was to be employed in festal meals for the poor. Comp. Deuteronomy 14:28. “Since the second tithe did not extend to both flocks and herds it was thrown together with the vegetable portion of the first tithe once in three years. Of this the Levites received their usual share, leaving the entire second tithe for the poor.” CURTISS’S Levitical Priests, p. 54.
13. The hallowed things Any thing that was set apart to be bestowed in accordance with the law to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow. “Every consecrated present bore the brief appellation, ‘Sacred thing.’” EWALD’S Antiquities of Israel, p. 75.
14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning While mourning for the dead the person would be in a condition of legal uncleanness.
Neither have I taken away aught thereof for any unclean use Better, in uncleanness. That is, when I was in a condition of legal uncleanness.
Nor given aught thereof for the dead This, says Keil, most probably refers to the custom of sending provisions into a house of mourning, to prepare meals for the mourners. See 2 Samuel 3:35; Jeremiah 16:7. There is a custom in the East at the present day of sending large quantities of food cooked in a particular manner to the friends of the deceased in his name. See The Land and the Book, first edition, vol. i, p. 150. “No doubt Deuteronomy 26:12-14, offers a difficulty; but it cannot fairly be said to be greater than the town tax, school tax, and internal revenue tax would offer to a Greenlander who started with the outrageous blunder that each law belonged to an independent, not to a co-ordinate code.” Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1882, p. 321.
16. The Lord… hath commanded thee, etc. Moses concludes this discourse with an earnest admonition to the people. Deuteronomy 26:16-19.
17. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God We think the meaning is equivalent to this, Thou hast promised Jehovah this day that he shall be thy God, and that thou wilt walk in his ways.
18. And the Lord hath avouched thee this day And Jehovah hath promised you this day that you shall be his peculiar people.
19. A holy people The purpose of the divine choice of Israel was, that a nation set apart for his service might be an example to the other nations. If Israel had become and remained a holy people what an influence its religion, its literature, its character might have exerted!
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30