Deuteronomy 26:11
And you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you, and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
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26:1-11 When God has made good his promises to us, he expects we should own it to the honour of his faithfulness. And our creature comforts are doubly sweet, when we see them flowing from the fountain of the promise. The person who offered his first-fruits, must remember and own the mean origin of that nation, of which he was a member. A Syrian ready to perish was my father. Jacob is here called a Syrian. Their nation in its infancy sojourned in Egypt as strangers, they served there as slaves. They were a poor, despised, oppressed people in Egypt; and though become rich and great, had no reason to be proud, secure, or forgetful of God. He must thankfully acknowledge God's great goodness to Israel. The comfort we have in our own enjoyments, should lead us to be thankful for our share in public peace and plenty; and with present mercies we should bless the Lord for the former mercies we remember, and the further mercies we expect and hope for. He must offer his basket of first-fruits. Whatever good thing God gives us, it is his will that we make the most comfortable use we can of it, tracing the streams to the Fountain of all consolation.A Syrian ready to perish was my father - The reference is shown by the context to be to Jacob, as the ancestor in whom particularly the family of Abraham began to develop into a nation (compare Isaiah 43:22, Isaiah 43:28, etc.). Jacob is called a Syrian (literally, Aramaean), not only because of his own long residence in Syria with Laban Genesis 29-31, as our Lord was called a Nazarene because of his residence at Nazareth Matthew 2:23, but because he there married and had his children (compare Hosea 12:12); and might be said accordingly to belong to that more than to any other land. 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). Thou shalt rejoice; i.e. either,

1. Thou shalt hereby be enabled to rejoice and take comfort in all thy enjoyments, when thou hast sanctified them by giving God his portion. Or,

2. Thou shalt feast (which is oft expressed by rejoicing) with the Levites and strangers upon the oblations which at these solemn times were offered; which exposition is confirmed by comparing Deu 16:10 11 14 15. And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing,.... In all the blessings of goodness and mercies of life, which God in his kind providence had favoured them with:

which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house; to them and their families, by which they were comfortably provided for:

thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you; by which it seems that not only a basket of firstfruits was brought and presented to the Lord, which is the perquisite of the priest, but there were others also brought, or bought with their money at Jerusalem, and a sort of a kept, which the Levite, and stranger or proselyte, of along with the owner; see Deuteronomy 12:11; though Jarchi understands it of the Levite and stranger being obliged to bring the firstfruits: the Levite, he says, is bound to the firstfruits of the plants in the midst of his cities, though he had no part in the division of the land; and the same writer says, the stranger brings the firstfruits, but does not proclaim, because he cannot say, "which he sware to our fathers", Deuteronomy 26:3; but it is said (f), if his mother was an Israelitess he might proclaim; yea, Maimonides (g) says, on account of what is said of Abraham, Genesis 17:5; who is the father of the whole world; see Romans 4:10; because mention is made of rejoicing; hence it is concluded, as Jarchi says, that the proclamation of the firstfruits was only made in the time of joy, from Pentecost unto the feast that a man gathers in his increase, and his fruits, and his wine, and his oil; though from that feast and onward he may bring, but not proclaim; to the same purpose, says the Misnah (h), from Pentecost to the feast of tabernacles a man may bring the firstfruits, and proclaim; and even from the feast of tabernacles to the dedication of the temple, he may bring, but not proclaim; the reason given in Siphri (i) is, because proclamation is only to be performed in time of joy--and the joy of the year is finished at the end of the feast of tabernacles, as in Leviticus 23:40.

(f) Misn. Biccurim, c. 1. sect. 4. (g) Maimon. Hilchot Biccurim, c. 4. sect. 3.((h) Ut supra, (f)) sect. 6. (i) Apud Maimon. Hilchot Biccurim, c. 4. sect. 6.

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine {g} house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

(g) Signifying that God does not give us goods for ourselves only, but to be used also by those who are committed to our charge.

11. and thou shalt rejoice, etc.] See Deuteronomy 12:6 f., 11 f., 17 f., Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 16:14. It is not said that the worshippers shall eat the reshîth, for that has already been given to the Deity. See introd. note.

and unto thine house, thou] With Luc. read thou and thine house.Verse 11. - And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing, etc.; i.e. with these bounties of God's providence make a feast for yourself and your household, and omit not to invite the Levite and the stranger to partake of it with you. As with the yearly tithe (Deuteronomy 14:23) and the firstlings (Deuteronomy 15:20), so with this portion of the firstfruits, a festive meal was to consummate the service. According to the Law, the firstfruits were the perquisite of the priest (Deuteronomy 18:4; Numbers 18:12, etc.); but of these a portion was to be taken for this special service, and of that a feast was to be made. אבי אבד ארמּי, "a lost (perishing) Aramaean was my father" (not the Aramaean, Laban, wanted to destroy my father, Jacob, as the Chald., Arab., Luther, and others render it). אבד signifies not only going astray, wandering, but perishing, in danger of perishing, as in Job 29:13; Proverbs 31:6, etc. Jacob is referred to, for it was he who went down to Egypt in few men. He is mentioned as the tribe-father of the nation, because the nation was directly descended from his sons, and also derived its name of Israel from him. Jacob is called in Aramaean, not only because of his long sojourn in Aramaea (Genesis 29-31), but also because he got his wives and children there (cf. Hosea 12:13); and the relatives of the patriarchs had accompanied Abraham from Chaldaea to Mesopotamia (Aram; see Genesis 11:30). מעט בּמתי, consisting of few men (בּ, the so-called beth essent., as in Deuteronomy 10:22; Exodus 6:3, etc.; vid., Ewald, 299, q.). Compare Genesis 34:30, where Jacob himself describes his family as "few in number." On the number in the family that migrated into Egypt, reckoned at seventy souls, see the explanation at Genesis 46:27. On the multiplication in Egypt into a great and strong people, see Exodus 1:7, Exodus 1:9; and on the oppression endured there, Exodus 1:11-22, and Exodus 2:23. - The guidance out of Egypt amidst great signs (Deuteronomy 26:8), as in Deuteronomy 4:34.
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