Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. Thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth--The
Israelites in Canaan, being God's tenants-at-will, were required to
give Him tribute in the form of first-fruits and tithes. No Israelite
was at liberty to use any productions of his field until he had
presented the required offerings. The tribute began to be exigible
after the settlement in the promised land, and it was yearly repeated
at one of the great feasts
(Le 2:14; 23:10; 23:15;
Every master of a family carried it on his shoulders in a little basket
of osier, peeled willow, or palm leaves, and brought it to the
5. thou shalt say . . . A Syrian ready to perish was my father--rather,
"a wandering Syrian." The ancestors of the Hebrews were nomad
shepherds, either Syrians by birth as Abraham, or by long residence as
Jacob. When they were established as a nation in the possession of the
promised land, they were indebted to God's unmerited goodness for their
distinguished privileges, and in token of gratitude they brought this
basket of first-fruits.
11. thou shalt rejoice--feasting with friends and the Levites, who
were invited on such occasions to share in the cheerful festivities
that followed oblations
(De 12:7; 16:10-15).
12-15. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine
increase the third year--Among the Hebrews there were two tithings.
The first was appropriated to the Levites
The second, being the tenth of what remained, was brought to Jerusalem
in kind; or it was converted into money, and the owner, on arriving in
the capital, purchased sheep, bread, and oil
(De 14:22, 23).
This was done for two consecutive years. But this second tithing was
eaten at home, and the third year distributed among the poor of the
(De 14:28, 29).
13. thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the
hallowed things out of mine house--This was a solemn declaration that
nothing which should be devoted to the divine service had been secretly
reserved for personal use.
14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning--in a season of sorrow,
which brought defilement on sacred things; under a pretense of poverty,
and grudging to give any away to the poor.
neither . . . for any unclean use--that is, any common purpose,
different from what God had appointed and which would have been a
desecration of it.
nor given ought thereof for the dead--on any funeral service, or, to
an idol, which is a dead thing.