Offering First Fruits
26 “Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you take possession of it and live in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the [a]place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His Name (Presence). 3 You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the Lord [b]my God that I have entered the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 Then the priest will take the basket from you and place it before the altar of the Lord your God. 5 And you shall say before the Lord your God, ‘My father [Jacob] was a wandering Aramean, and he [along with his family] went down to Egypt and [c]lived there [as strangers], few in number; but while there he became a great, mighty and populous nation. 6 And the Egyptians treated us badly and oppressed us, and imposed hard labor on us. 7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our fathers for help, and He heard our voice and saw our suffering and our labor and our [cruel] oppression; 8 and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror [suffered by the Egyptians] and with signs and with wonders; 9 and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land [d]flowing with milk and honey. 10 And now, look, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall place it before the Lord your God, and shall worship before the Lord your God; 11 and you and the Levite and the stranger (resident alien, foreigner) among you shall rejoice in all the good which the Lord your God has given you and your household.
12 “When you have finished [e]paying all the tithe of your produce the third year, [which is] the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan, and to the widow, so that they may eat within the gates of your cities and be satisfied. 13 You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion (the tithe) from my house and also have given it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan, and to the widow, in accordance with all that You have commanded me. I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. 14 I have not eaten from the tithe while mourning, nor have I removed any of it when I was [ceremonially] unclean [making the tithe ceremonially unclean], nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of the Lord my God; I have done everything in accordance with all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy dwelling above, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the land which You have given us, as You have sworn to our fathers, a land [of plenty] [f]flowing with milk and honey.’
16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and judgments (precepts). Therefore, you shall be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul (your entire being). 17 Today you have [openly] declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk [that is, live each and every day] in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments (precepts), and listen to His voice. 18 Today the Lord has declared that you are His people, His treasured possession, just as He promised you, and that you are to keep all His commandments; 19 and that He will set you high above all the nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor: and that you shall be a holy people [set apart and consecrated] to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.”
- Deuteronomy 26:2 Some scholars believe this refers to Jerusalem, others suggest the tabernacle. This is not to be confused with the annual offering of the first fruits.
- Deuteronomy 26:3 So with Gr; Heb your.
- Deuteronomy 26:5 Lit sojourned.
- Deuteronomy 26:9 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
- Deuteronomy 26:12 This is a reference to a benevolence offering given every three years (called the “tithe of the poor” by the ancient rabbis). This was in addition to the “Storehouse Tithe,” brought to the sanctuary and the “Pilgrimage Tithe” used for the expenses of going to Jerusalem three times each year. Together, the OT tithe amounted to a third of the total.
- Deuteronomy 26:15 See note v 9.