Deuteronomy 26

Presentation of the First Fruits

Heb “and it will come to pass that.”
you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you occupy it and live in it,
2you must take the first of all the ground’s produce you harvest from the land the Lord your God is giving you, place it in a basket, and go to the place where he
Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.
chooses to locate his name.
The place where he chooses to locate his name. This is a circumlocution for the central sanctuary, first the tabernacle and later the Jerusalem temple. See Deut 12:1–14 and especially the note on the word “you” in v. 14.
3You must go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “I declare today to the Lord your
For the MT reading “your God,” certain LXX mss have “my God,” a contextually superior rendition followed by some English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, TEV). Perhaps the text reflects dittography of the kaf (כ) at the end of the word with the following preposition כִּי (ki).
God that I have come into the land that the Lord
The Syriac adds “your God” to complete the usual formula.
Heb “swore on oath.”
to our ancestors
Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 7, 15).
to give us.”
4The priest will then take the basket from you
Heb “your hand.”
and set it before the altar of the Lord your God.
5Then you must affirm before the Lord your God, “A wandering
Though the Hebrew term אָבַד (’avad) generally means “to perish” or the like (HALOT 2-3 s.v.; BDB 1-2 s.v.; cf. KJV “a Syrian ready to perish”), a meaning “to go astray” or “to be lost” is also attested. The ambivalence in the Hebrew text is reflected in the versions where LXX Vaticanus reads ἀπέβαλεν (apebalen, “lose”) for a possibly metathesized reading found in Alexandrinus, Ambrosianus, ἀπέλαβεν (apelaben, “receive”); others attest κατέλειπεν (kateleipen, “leave, abandon”). “Wandering” seems to suit best the contrast with the sedentary life Israel would enjoy in Canaan (v. 9) and is the meaning followed by many English versions.
A wandering Aramean. This is a reference to Jacob whose mother Rebekah was an Aramean (Gen 24:10; 25:20, 26) and who himself lived in Aram for at least twenty years (Gen 31:41–42).
was my ancestor,
Heb “father.”
and he went down to Egypt and lived there as a foreigner with a household few in number,
Heb “sojourned there few in number.” The words “with a household” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarity.
but there he became a great, powerful, and numerous people.
6But the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed us, forcing us to do burdensome labor. 7So we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and he
Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 26:2.
heard us and saw our humiliation, toil, and oppression.
8Therefore the Lord brought us out of Egypt with tremendous strength and power,
Heb “by a powerful hand and an extended arm.” These are anthropomorphisms designed to convey God’s tremendously great power in rescuing Israel from their Egyptian bondage. They are preserved literally in many English versions (cf. KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).
as well as with great awe-inspiring signs and wonders.
9Then he brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10So now, look! I have brought the first of the ground’s produce that you, Lord, have given me.” Then you must set it down before the Lord your God and worship before him.
Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 26:2.
11You will celebrate all the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family,
Or “household” (so NASB, NIV, NLT); Heb “house” (so KJV, NRSV).
along with the Levites and the resident foreigners among you.

Presentation of the Third-year Tithe

12 When you finish tithing all
Heb includes “the tithes of.” This has not been included in the translation to avoid redundancy.
your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows
The terms “Levite, resident foreigner, orphan, and widow” are collective singulars in the Hebrew text (also in v. 13).
so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages.
Heb “gates.”
13Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering
Heb “the sacred thing.” The term הַקֹּדֶשׁ (haqqodesh) likely refers to an offering normally set apart for the Lord but, as a third-year tithe, given on this occasion to people in need. Sometimes this is translated as “the sacred portion” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV), but that could sound to a modern reader as if a part of the house were being removed and given away.
from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me.
Heb “according to all your commandment that you commanded me.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.
I have not violated or forgotten your commandments.
14I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning, or removed any of it while ceremonially unclean, or offered any of it to the dead;
These practices suggest overtones of pagan ritual, all of which the confessor denies having undertaken. In Canaan they were connected with fertility practices associated with harvest time. See E. H. Merrill, Deuteronomy (NAC), 335–36.
I have obeyed you
Heb “the Lord my God.” See note on “he” in 26:2.
and have done everything you have commanded me.
15Look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, just as you promised our ancestors – a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Narrative Interlude

16 Today the Lord your God is commanding you to keep these statutes and ordinances, something you must do with all your heart and soul.
Or “mind and being”; cf. NCV “with your whole being”; TEV “obey them faithfully with all your heart.”
17Today you have declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey him. 18And today the Lord has declared you to be his special people (as he already promised you) so you may keep all his commandments. 19Then
Heb “so that.” Verses 18–19 are one sentence in the Hebrew text, but the translation divides it into three sentences for stylistic reasons. The first clause in verse 19 gives a result of the preceding clause. When Israel keeps God’s law, God will bless them with fame and honor (cf. NAB “he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory”; NLT “And if you do, he will make you greater than any other nation”).
he will elevate you above all the nations he has made and you will receive praise, fame, and honor.
Heb “for praise and for a name and for glory.”
You will
Heb “and to be.” A new sentence was started here for stylistic reasons.
be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he has said.

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