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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(See FIRSTBORN.) The whole land's produce was consecrated to God by the consecration of the first-fruits (Romans 11:16); just as the whole nation by that of the firstborn. At the Passover, on the morrow after the sabbath, a sheaf of green barley (which is earlier than wheat), of the first fruits of the crop, was waved before the Lord. At Pentecost, 50 days later, two loaves of wheaten bread (Leviticus 23). The feast of tabernacles, on the 15th day of the seventh month, was itself an acknowledgment of the fruits of the harvest. Besides these national offerings the law required that the first of all ripe fruits and liquors should be offered by individuals (Exodus 22:29). A cake of the first dough baked was to be a heave offering (Numbers 15:19; Numbers 15:21). The first-fruits of the oil, wine, and wheat were to be offered to Jehovah, for the benefit of the priests as His representatives (Numbers 18:11-13).

The Talmud fixed on the 60th as the least to be given of the produce, a 30th or 40th as a liberal offering. The individual presentation of the first-fruits in a basket took place at the temple or tabernacle. The offerer said: "I profess this day unto the Lord thy God that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers to give us." The priest took the basket and set it down before the altar of the Lord. The offerer added: "A Syrian (Jacob) ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt," etc. (Deuteronomy 26). The Talmud adds that companies of 24 used to assemble at evening m a central station, and pass the night in the open air; the leader in the morning summoned them, "Let us arise and go up to mount Zion, the house of the Lord our God." On the road to Jerusalem they recited Psalm 122; Psalm 150. Each party was preceded by a piper and a sacrificial bullock with horns gilt and crowned with olive.

The priests met them, and the Levites singing Psalm 30. Each presented his basket, reciting the formula in Deuteronomy 26. King Agrippa, it is stated, once carried his basket as others. The offerings were either bichurim , raw produce, "first-fruits," or tirumot , "offerings," prepared produce. Times of apostasy brought a neglect of this duty; the restoration of the offering of both kinds was a leading point in the reformation under Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:5; 2 Chronicles 31:11), and under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:35; Nehemiah 10:37; Nehemiah 12:44). The prophets insist on this duty (Ezekiel 20:40; Ezekiel 44:30; Ezekiel 48:14; Malachi 3:8). Fruit trees were to be regarded as uncircumcised, i.e. profane, for three years. The produce of the fourth was devoted to God, and only in the fifth year the produce became the owner's (Leviticus 19:23-25).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Firstfruits'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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