When you have made an end of tithing all the tithes of your increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within your gates, and be filled;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 26:12-15. DECLARATION OF THE TITHE.
(12) When thou hast made an end.—The time fixed for making the confession prescribed in Deuteronomy 26:13-15, according to Jewish usage, was the Passover-eve of the fourth year, i.e., the first feast after the completion of the year of tithing. It would seem that something was still to be gathered from the trees after the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus there would still be some produce untithed at that feast in any given year. But the tithe of the third year must be separated to the very last item before the Passover of the fourth.
The third year, which is the year of tithing.—See Deuteronomy 14:28-29. In the third and sixth years, the second tithe, which in other years was eaten by the owners (in kind or value) at Jerusalem, was given to the poor, and was called the poor’s tithe. In Talmudical language, the Ma’aser ani took the place of Ma’aser shêni in these years.
Thus the words “and hast given it unto the Levite,” are applied to the first tithe, which was never omitted, and which is prescribed by Numbers 18. The words that follow, “the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow,” are interpreted of the poor’s tithe. The prescribed confession is not to be made until all the tithe has been given, both first and second, i.e., the annual tithe to the Levites, and the second, which was in these years devoted to the poor.
That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.—The quantity with which they were to be satisfied was duly prescribed by the Jewish scribes!
(13) Thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away.—Literally, I have consumed, or burned out. It is the same strong word used so frequently in this book for “putting away” evil, and from which the name Taberah, “burning,” is derived. It is taken by Jewish commentators to include everything that could possibly be required as holy under any law, whether tithe, or firstfruit of trees not yet made common, or anything that from any cause had not been brought to Jerusalem during the three previous years.
I . . . have given . . . unto the Levite (the first tithe), and unto the stranger. . . . (the poor’s tithe).—Rashi.
According to all thy commandments—i.e., “giving everything in its due order” (Rashi). The following words are also taken to refer to the details of the law respecting these matters.
(14) I have not eaten thereof in my mourning.—“When I was clean and they were unclean, or when they were clean and I was unclean” (Rashi). The tomb or presence of a dead body made both persons and things unclean (Numbers 19).
Neither have I taken away.—Literally, consumed any of them in uncleanness.
Nor given ought thereof for (or to) the dead.—Rashi explains, “to provide for him a coffin or grave-clothes.” Another explanation, which is certainly possible, is, “I have not made any offering to an idol from them.” “They joined themselves to Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead” (Psalm 106:28).
I have hearkened . . . and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.—A claim which might be truly made as to outward observances and requirements. I am therefore the more disposed to take the confession in these verses in its most literal sense, and to limit it to the particular things with which it was connected—the tithes and offerings.
(15) Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven.—A phrase like this occurs frequently in Solomon’s prayer; but there is a difference there in the Hebrew, which is less beautiful than in this place. The exact phrase is found in 2Chronicles 30:27. And in 2Chronicles 36:15, we have “His dwelling-place” applied to Jerusalem and the Temple. This suggests that the thought here may be twofold. Look down from the dwelling-place of Thy holiness here below, and not only thence, but from thine own dwelling-place in heaven.
And bless thy people Israel, and the land (literally, the ground) which thou hast given us.—“We have done what Thou hast decreed for us. Do Thou that which it rests with Thee to do” (Rashi).Deuteronomy 26:12. The third year, which was the year of tithing — Hebrews of that tithe; that is, of the tithe for the poor, commanded to be paid every third year, and instead of being carried to the place of the sanctuary, there to be eaten with joy before the Lord, was to be spent at home in entertaining their poor neighbours, and the Levites who lived in or near the place of the owner: see Deuteronomy 14:27-29; where this tithe is enjoined. Of the other yearly tithes, see on Deuteronomy 14:22-23.Matthew 23:23.
the tithes, See Poole on "Deu 14:28". The year of tithing, Heb. the year of that tithe; so called, either,
1. Because these tithes were gathered only in that year. Or rather,
2. Because then only they were so bestowed or used; and whereas these second tithes for two years together were eaten only by the owners and Levites, and that in Jerusalem, in the third year they were eaten also by the strangers, fatherless, and widows, and that in their own dwellings. The LXX. join these words with the following, and for shemath, the year, read shenith, the second, and take vau for redundant, as sometimes it is, and read the place thus, The second tithe thou shalt give to the Levite, &c.
the third year, which is the year of tithing; that is, the third from every seventh, when the land lay fallow. Every year a tithe was paid to the Levites; and besides that a second tithe, which was carried to Jerusalem and eaten there; and every third year it was eaten at home, in their towns and cities in the country instead of it, with the Levite, poor and stranger, and was called the poor's tithe; and hence the Targum of Jonathan here calls this year the year of the poor's tithe, as was also the sixth year, and was reckoned not complete till the passover in the following year, as the Jewish writers (l) say:
and hath given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow; that is, the poor's tithe of the third year, which these were to eat of with the owner, Deuteronomy 14:28; though the Jews commonly distinguish the Levite from the rest, and suppose that both first and second tithes are meant, the one to be given to the former, and the other to the latter; so the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi:
that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled: for this was a considerable entertainment, a sort of a feast, a full meal, however; hence it is concluded, as Jarchi says, that they did not give less of corn to a poor man than half a kab of wheat, which was above three pints.When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. in the third year … the year of tithing] See on Deuteronomy 14:28; the two phrases are in apposition. For the latter LXX reads the second tithing (τὸ δεύτερον ἐπιδέκατον), a reading which even after the vocalic changes which it involves in the Heb. results in an impossible construction. It is due to an attempt to accommodate D’s arrangement for the third year’s tithe to the later practice.
then thou shalt give it] Rather, and thou hast given it; the apodosis does not commence till the next v.
Levite, etc.] See on Deuteronomy 14:29.
12–15. The Triennial Distribution of Tithes
When the tithe of the third year is complete and given to the local poor then the giver shall attest before God that it has all been given and that he has not broken any of the relevant laws, and shall pray for a blessing on Israel. The apodosis of the sentence does not begin till Deuteronomy 26:13. For the contents see on Deuteronomy 14:28 f. and Add. Note there.Verses 12-15. - On the occasion of presenting the tithes, a special service was also to be made. The tithe here referred to is the vegetable or predial tithe, which, at the end of each third year, as here prescribed, was to be converted into a gift to the poor and needy. This, properly the second tithe (LXX., τὸ δεύτερον ἐπιδέκατον), but usually called the third tithe (Tobit 1:7, 8; Josephus, 'Antiq.,' 4:8, 22), is quite distinct from the Levitical tithe prescribed in Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21-32; and it is a mistake to suppose that the law here was designed to contravene or supersede that in the earlier books (see Kitto, 'Bibl. Cycl.,' 3:1010). As this tithe completed the triennial series of tithes which the Israelites had to offer, it was fitting that in presenting it a solemn declaration should be made by the offerer to the effect that he had honorably and conscientiously discharged all the obligations in this respect which the Law laid upon him. Verse 12. - The third year, which is the year of tithing. As each week ended with a Sabbath, so a sabbatical year ended each cycle or week of years; and as on it no tithes were levied, "the year of tithing" here specified would be the third and the sixth years in each septennial period. 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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