Deuteronomy 26


First-fruits must be offered to God, 1, 2.

The form of confession to be used on the occasion, 3-11.

The third year's tithe to be given to the Levites and the poor,


and the form of confession to be used on this occasion, 13-15.

The Israelites are to take Jehovah for their God, and to keep

his testimonies, 16, 17.

And Jehovah is to take them for his people, and make them high

above all the nations of the earth, 18, 19.


Verse 2. Thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit, &c.]

This was intended to keep them in continual remembrance of the

kindness of God, in preserving them through so many difficulties

and literally fulfilling the promises he had made to them. God

being the author of all their blessings, the first-fruits of the

land were consecrated to him, as the author of every good and

perfect gift.

Verse 5. A Syrian ready to perish was my father] This passage

has been variously understood, both by the ancient versions and by

modern commentators. The Vulgate renders it thus: Syrus

persequebatur patrem meum, "A Syrian persecuted my father." The

Septuagint thus: συριαναπεβαλενοπατηρμου, "My father abandoned

Syria." The Targum thus: Laban

arammaah bea leobada yath abba, "Laban the Syrian endeavoured to

destroy my father." The Syriac: "My father was led out of Syria

into Egypt." The Arabic: "Surely, Laban the Syrian had almost

destroyed my father." The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel: "Our

father Jacob went at first into Syria of Mesopotamia, and Laban

sought to destroy him."

Father Houbigant dissents from all, and renders the original

thus: Fames urgebat patrem meum, qui in AEgyptum descendit,

"Famine oppressed my father, who went down into Egypt." This

interpretation Houbigant gives the text, by taking the yod from

the word arammi, which signifies an Aramite or Syrian, and

joining it to yeabud, the future for the perfect, which

is common enough in Hebrew, and which may signify constrained; and

seeking for the meaning of aram in the Arabic [Arabic]

arama, which signifies famine, dearth, &c., he thus makes out his

version, and this version he defends at large in his notes. It is

pretty evident, from the text, that by a Syrian we are to

understand Jacob, so called from his long residence in Syria with

his father-in-law Laban. And his being ready to perish may

signify the hard usage and severe labour he had in Laban's

service, by which, as his health was much impaired, so his life

might have often been in imminent danger.

Verse 8. With a mighty hand, &c.] See Clarke on De 4:34.

Verse 11. Thou shalt rejoice] God intends that his followers

shall be happy; that they shall eat their bread with gladness and

singleness of heart, praising him. Those who eat their meat

grudgingly, under the pretence of their unworthiness, &c., profane

God's bounties and shall have no thanks for their voluntary


Thou, and the Levite, and the stranger] They were to take care

to share God's bounties among all those who were dependent on

them. The Levite has no inheritance, let him rejoice with thee.

The stranger has no home, let him feel thee to be his friend and

his father.

Verse 12. The third year, which is the year of tithing] This

is supposed to mean the third year of the seventh or Sabbatical

year, in which the tenths were to be given to the poor. See the

law, De 14:28. But from the letter in both these places it

would appear that the tithe was for the Levites, and that this

tithe was drawn only once in three years.

Verse 14. I have not-given aught thereof for the dead] That

is, I have not consecrated any of it to an idol which was

generally a dead man whom superstition and ignorance had deified.

From 1Co 10:27, 28, we learn that it was customary to offer that

flesh to idols which was afterwards sold publicly in the shambles;

probably the blood was poured out before the idol in imitation of

the sacrifices offered to the true God. Perhaps the text here

alludes to a similar custom.

Verse 17. Thou hast avouched the Lord] The people

avouch-publicly declare, that they have taken Jehovah to be their


Verse 18. And the Lord hath avouched] Publicly declared, by

the blessings he pours down upon them, that he has taken them to

be his peculiar people. Thus the covenant is made and ratified

between God and his followers.

Verse 19. Make thee high above all nations] It is written,

Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any

people, Pr 14:34. While Israel regarded God's word and kept his

testimonies, they were the greatest and most respectable of all

nations; but when they forsook God and his law, they became the

most contemptible. O Britain, even more highly favoured than

ancient Israel! learn wisdom by what they have suffered. It is

not thy fleets nor thine armies, howsoever excellent and well

appointed, that can ultimately exalt and secure thy permanence

among the nations. It is righteousness alone. Become

irreligious, neglect God's ordinances, profane his Sabbath,

despise his word, persecute his followers, and thou art lost. But

fear, love, and serve him, and thy enemies shall be found liars,

thou shalt defeat their projects, and trample on their high


THE form of confession when bringing the first-fruits, related

De 26:4-10, is both affecting and edifying. Even when brought

into a state of affluence and rest, they were commanded to

remember and publicly acknowledge their former degradation and

wretchedness, that they might be ever kept humble and dependent;

and they must bring their offering as a public acknowledgment to

God that it was by his mercy their state was changed, and by his

bounty their comforts were continued. If a man rise from poverty

to affluence, and forget his former state, he becomes proud,

insolent, and oppressive. If a Christian convert forget his

former state, the rock whence he was hewn, and the hole of the pit

whence he was digged, he soon becomes careless, unthankful, and

unholy. The case of the ten lepers that were cleansed, of whom

only one returned to give God thanks, is an awful lesson. How

many are continually living on the bounty of God, who feel no

gratitude for his mercies! Reader, Is this thy state? If so, then

expect the just God to curse thy blessings.

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