|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:12-15 How should the earth yield its increase, or, if it does, what comfort can we take in it, unless therewith our God gives us his blessing? All this represented the covenant relation between a reconciled God and every true believer, and the privileges and duties belonging to it. We must be watchful, and show that according to the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, the Lord is our God, and we are his people, waiting in his appointed way for the performance of his gracious promises.
Verse 14. - In my mourning; i.e. while ceremonially unclean (cf. Leviticus 7:20; Leviticus 21:1, etc.). Neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use; rather, Neither have I removed ought of it being unclean; i.e. he had not only not eaten of it, but he had not removed any part of it from his house (ver. 13) while he was ceremonially unclean, in which state it was unlawful to touch what was hallowed (Leviticus 22:23). Nor given ought thereof for the dead; i.e. on account of the dead; he had not sent any part of it to where there was one dead, according to the custom for friends and relations to send to a house of mourning provisions for the mourners (2 Samuel 3:35; Jeremiah 16:7; Hosea 9:4; Tobit 4:17). Or the reference may be here to the expenses incurred by the death of one for whose funeral the individual had to provide. This view is adopted by Dr. Thomson, who, remarking on this passage, says, "This was the strongest possible protestation that he had dealt faithfully in the matter of tithing and consecrated things and in charities to the poor. He had not allowed himself to divert anything to other uses, not even by the most pressing and unforeseen emergencies. It is here assumed, or rather implied, that times of mourning for the dead were expensive, and also that the stern law of custom obliged the bereaved to defray those expenses, however onerous.... The temptation, therefore, to devote a part of the tithes, hallowed things, and charities to defray these enormous, unforeseen, and providential expenses would be very urgent, and he who stood faithful at such times might safely be trusted on all other occasions" ('Land and the Book,' 1:149). The LXX. rendering, τῷ τεθνήκοτι, "to the dead," has led some to suppose that the reference here is to the placing of articles of food in the tomb along with the corpse; but though this custom prevailed among the Jews in later times, as well as among other peoples, there is no ground for supposing it to be referred to here. As all connected with a dead body was held to be unclean, as well as the body itself, a house of mourning with its inhabitants was held to he unclean, and into it, therefore, nothing that had been hallowed might be lawfully carried.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I have not eaten thereof in my mourning,.... When in grief and sorrow on account of any afflictive circumstance, for these were to be eaten with joy, Deuteronomy 16:11; and especially of the loss of relations by death, when holy things were not to be eaten by such persons; see Leviticus 10:19; and particularly tithes, though it is said (n),"What is doubtful of tithing (whether it has been tithed or no) might be eaten by a mourner;''and a man was reckoned such an one until his dead was buried. So Maimonides (o) observes,"a mourner may not eat holy things, as it is written, Deuteronomy 26:14; he is one whose relation is dead, when he is obliged to mourn; for he is called by the law a mourner as long as the dead lies upon the face of the earth (above ground), or as long as he is not yet buried he is called a mourner; and so likewise on the day of burial:"
neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use; or common use, or any other use than it was designed for, and devoted to; or for any unclean person, who by the law might not eat thereof; or, as Jarchi interprets it, that he had not removed it, or taken it away from being eaten, on account of any unclean person, because I am unclean and he pure, or he pure and I:unclean:
nor given ought thereof for the dead; for the necessities of the dead, as Aben Ezra; more particularly Jarchi, to make for him a coffin and grave clothes; and so the Targum of Jonathan interprets it of grave clothes for the dead; though that of Jerusalem of clothes for those that are polluted by the dead. It may have respect also to the parentalia, or funeral feasts made at the interment of the dead; though Aben Ezra says, there are some that say it was for idolatry, and so the person here speaking denies that he had made use of any of the holy things in honour of idols, of dead men deified; and some are of opinion that all the above things may have some respect to idolatrous practices (p):
but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me; observed his word, and kept close to it, and not swerved from it, but acted according to it in all things before referred to.
(n) Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 2.((o) Maimon. in Misn. Pesachim, c. 8. sect. 6. (p) Vid. Patrick in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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