Deuteronomy Chapter 26  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Deuteronomy 26
Deu 26:1(top)
Deu 26:2

“you are to take of the first of all the fruit of the ground.” From reading the whole chapter we see that the person was to take the firstfruit of his tithe to the Tabernacle/Temple after he had distributed the tithe in his city and had given it to the disadvantaged; the widow, orphan, foreigner, and Levite (see commentary on Deut. 26:13).

Deu 26:3(top)
Deu 26:4(top)
Deu 26:5

“A wandering Syrian was my father.” The “Syrians” were more properly called “Arameans,” and “father” refers to “ancestor.” In this case, the ancestor is Jacob, who was a shepherd and thus wandered the land. Jacob was the one who went down to Egypt with his family. The reference to being a “Syrian” is unclear, but may be due to the many years he spent there and the fact that the two women he married, Rachel and Leah, and their female slaves that he had children by, were all Syrian. The word “wandering” is translated from the Hebrew word primarily meaning “lost,” but it is possible that in this context it refers to Jacob’s old age and ailing state, that he was ailing and close to death. Jacob was an old man of 130 when he went to Egypt (Gen. 47:9), and died not long after he got there (Gen. 45:28; 46:30). Thus, for example, Young’s Literal Translation reads, “a perishing Aramaen is my father.”

Deu 26:6(top)
Deu 26:7(top)
Deu 26:8(top)
Deu 26:9(top)
Deu 26:10

“that you, O Yahweh, have given me.” When the ground produces a crop of any kind, we should always recognize the blessing of God in making that possible. Without God’s blessing humanity would starve to death. We live in a fallen world and between direct demonic activity to thwart our work, bad weather, disease, and animals and insects that would eat what we are trying to grow, no crop would ever come to harvest. God’s blessing and holding off evil is why human effort to grow a crop is at all fruitful, and people should recognize that.

“bow down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. It is the same Hebrew word as “worship.” [For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20].

Deu 26:11(top)
Deu 26:12

“within your gates.” That is, inside your cities. The disadvantaged were not to be badly treated and kept out of the city as if they were lepers or something deplorable. They were to be pitied and helped.

Deu 26:13

“in the presence of Yahweh.” This is somewhat confusing because at first reading it seems the person has traveled with his tithe to where the Tabernacle or Temple is (Deut. 26:2), and thus where the ark of the covenant, the High Priest, and Yahweh were, but yet he had to distribute his tithe to the people that were in his city (Deut. 26:12). A closer reading reveals that before traveling to the place where the Tabernacle/Temple was with the firstfruit of his tithe, the man had distributed all of the tithe except the firstfruit to the disadvantaged people in his city. Then he traveled to where the Tabernacle/Temple was with the firstfruit of his tithe and set that before Yahweh. That is why when he got to where the Tabernacle/Temple was he could say that he had already given the tithe to the disadvantaged.

“the holy portion.” The “holy portion” is the tithe. The man is saying that he has not kept any of what he was supposed to tithe, but has given it all to Yahweh by giving it to the disadvantaged.

“commandments.” The Hebrew text is singular, “command,” but it is a collective singular and thus translated “commandments.”

Deu 26:14

“nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean.” If an unclean person touched any food, that food would then be unclean also, and the unclean person would then eat it (or get rid of it some other way) while he or she was unclean. An unscrupulous person could “accidentally” touch some of the tithe while they were unclean and then the unclean food would have to be eaten instead of being given to the disadvantaged.

“nor given any of it for the dead.” It was customary for family and friends to gather and have a funeral meal together after burying someone who had died. It could happen that someone who wanted to save his own food could use the excuse that the people at the funeral meal had been disadvantaged by the sudden loss, and so he could use the food that was supposed to be given to the widows, orphans, etc., and feed it to those gathered for the funeral.

“I have listened to the voice of Yahweh my God.” In this context, the word “listened” also has the meaning “obeyed.” The man listened to and obeyed the commands of Yahweh, which is certainly the wise way to live.

Deu 26:15

“Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people.” This is a short but heartfelt and powerful prayer. People should regularly pray for God to bless the land they live on and the people of the land.

Deu 26:16(top)
Deu 26:17

“Today you have declared Yahweh to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways.” The wording of Deuteronomy 26:17-19 show that what has now happened that day in the camp of Israel is that the people have renewed their covenant with God. The disobedient and grumbling generation that came out of Egypt had died off, and God was now dealing with a new generation that would soon be under Joshua’s leadership because Moses would die this month. In this renewal of the covenant God made at Sinai (Exod. 24), God restates that He will bless the people and set Israel above the nations, and Israel will be a treasured possession to Him; and the people of Israel restated that they will listen to and obey the Law, the words of Yahweh. That Israel renewed their covenant with God that day explains the “today” language in this chapter and the next (cp. Deut. 27:9), and is said to be a cutting of a covenant in Deuteronomy 29:1.

“and listen to his voice.” The word “listen” also means “obey,” the Hebrew word has both meanings. The people of Israel declared that they would listen to God and obey Him, and believers today should do the same.

Deu 26:18(top)
Deu 26:19

“and in name.” The word “name” refers to reputation and fame. If Israel will obey the commands of God, He will bless them in such a way that everyone else will see it and thus hopefully be drawn to Him too.

“as he has spoken.” Some versions have “as he has promised,” because generally when God says something about what He will do in the future, His statement has the force of a promise because He never lies. However, what He says is often conditional depending on how the other party involved acts. In this case we see that God intended to elevate Israel, but she behaved so wickedly that for most of history He abandoned those plans.


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