Deuteronomy 26:2
That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.
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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.On the subject of firstfruits see the notes at Leviticus 23:9 ff. The firstfruits here in question are to be distinguished alike from those offered in acknowledgment of the blessings of harvest (compare Exodus 22:29) at the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost, and also from the offerings prescribed in Numbers 18:8 ff. The latter consisted of preparations from the produce of the earth, such as oil, flour, wine, etc.; while those here meant are the raw produce: the former were national and public offerings, those of this chapter were private and personal. The whole of the firstfruits belonged to the officiating priest. 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; Nu 28:26; De 16:9). 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 sanctuary. This seems to be required of each particular master of a family, either upon his first settlement, or once every year at one of their three feasts, when they were obliged to go up to Jerusalem, as here they are.

Of all the fruit of the earth; either of their corn, or of the fruit of trees.

That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth,.... This oblation of firstfruits was different front the sheaf of the firstfruits brought at barley harvest in the time of the passover, and from the two wave loaves of wheaten flour, at wheat harvest, at Pentecost; and from the cake of the first of their dough; see Leviticus 23:10. They were of one sort only, these of various kinds; though, as Jarchi observes, not all firstfruits, or the first of all sorts of fruits, were to be brought; for all were not bound to firstfruits, but the seven kinds only, called here the fruit of the earth, and are particularly mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8; and their manner of observing, selecting, and gathering their firstfruits, as the same writer notes, was this;

"a man goes into his field, and sees a mature fig, he binds a rush about it for a sign, and says, lo, this is firstfruits: and so, if he sees a bunch of grapes, or a pomegranate, more mature than the rest, he does the same,''as is observed in the Misnah (z):

which thou shalt bring of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee; and the land being given them, and such a fruitful one as it was, they needed not to grudge bringing the firstfruits of it to the Lord. The quantity they were to bring is not fixed; this was left to their generosity; but, according to tradition, they were to bring the sixtieth part; so says Maimonides (a),"the firstfruits have no measure (no fixed measure) from the law; but from the words of the wise men, a man ought to separate one out of sixty:"

and shalt put it in a basket; for the more convenient carriage of them and for the more decent oblation and waving of them together, The rich brought their firstfruits in baskets of silver and of gold, the poor in wicker baskets of willows barked (b). The firstfruits of the seven several kinds were all put together in one basket, not into separate ones, or into as many as there were kinds; but then, as the last mentioned writer observes (c),"they did not bring them mixed, but the barley (was put) beneath, or lowermost, and the wheat over that; and the olives above that, and the dates over them, and the pomegranates over them, and the figs uppermost in the vessel; and there was some one thing which separated between every kind, as leaves, and the like; and they put about the figs clusters of grapes without:"

and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there; which, as the event showed, was the city of Jerusalem; hither from all parts of the country were the firstfruits to be brought. All which may teach us, that we are to honour God with the firstfruits of our increase; that we are to be thankful in every thing, and for everything we have; and that our mercies should be acknowledged publicly in the place of public worship; and that all our sacrifices of praise should be offered in faith, which may be signified by the basket in which the firstfruits were brought, without which we cannot please God; and this being bore on the shoulder all the while, may denote reverence of God, and a sense of former state and condition, as this might put the Israelites in mind of their carrying loads in Egypt.

(z) Misn. Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 1.((a) Maimon. Hilchot Biccurim, c. 2. sect. 17. (b) Misn. Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 8. (c) Hilchot Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 7.

{a} That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to {b} place his name there.

(a) By this ceremony they acknowledged that they received the land of Canaan as a free gift from God.

(b) To be called upon, served and worshipped spiritually, De 12:5.

2. of the first] Heb. of the reshîth. See introd. note; and observe that the Heb. particle for of implies that only some of the reshîth is signified.

all the fruit] Sam., LXX omit all; Deuteronomy 18:4 : of corn, wine, oil and fleece.

thou shalt bring in] Heb. tabi’; cp. tebu’ah, income, Deuteronomy 14:22; Deuteronomy 14:28, Deuteronomy 16:15, Deuteronomy 22:9.

that the Lord thy God is to give thee] Redundant after Deuteronomy 26:1. The two vv. are obviously expanded.

basket] Heb. ṭene’, only here, Deuteronomy 26:4, and Deuteronomy 28:5; Deuteronomy 28:17 (cp. Phoen. tana, ‘to erect,’ perhaps ‘present,’ hardly from nathan, ‘to give’). Baldensperger (PEFQ, 1904, 136) compares the modern ṭabaḳ, a round tray or basket.

unto the place, etc.] See on Deuteronomy 12:5.

Verse 2. - The first of all the fruit of the earth. (On the law of the firstfruits, see Numbers 18:12; Deuteronomy 18:4.) A basket; טֶנֶא, a basket of wickerwork. Deuteronomy 26:2Of the first of the fruit of the ground, which was presented from the land received from the Lord, the Israelites was to take a portion (מראשׁית with מן partitive), and bring it in a basket to the place of the sanctuary, and give it to the priest who should be there, with the words, "I have made known to-day to the Lord thy God, that I have come into the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us," upon which the priest should take the basket and put it down before the altar of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 26:1-4). From the partitive מראשׁית we cannot infer, as Schultz supposes, that the first-fruits were not to be all delivered at the sanctuary, any more than this can be inferred from Exodus 23:19 (see the explanation of this passage). All that is implied is, that, for the purpose described afterwards, it was not necessary to put all the offerings of first-fruits into a basket and set them down before the altar. טנא (Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 26:4, and Deuteronomy 28:5, Deuteronomy 28:17) is a basket of wicker-work, and not, as Knobel maintains, the Deuteronomist's word for צנצנת rof (Exodus 16:33. "The priest" is not the high priest, but the priest who had to attend to the altar-service and receive the sacrificial gifts. - The words, "I have to-day made known to the Lord thy God," refer to the practical confession which was made by the presentation of the first-fruits. The fruit was the tangible proof that they were in possession of the land, and the presentation of the first of this fruit the practical confession that they were indebted to the Lord for the land. This confession the offerer was also to embody in a prayer of thanksgiving, after the basket had been received by the priest, in which he confessed that he and his people owed their existence and welfare to the grace of God, manifested in the miraculous redemption of Israel out of the oppression of Egypt and their guidance into Canaan.
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