And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy to the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And all the tithe of the land.—That is, of the soil, or what grows on it, in contradistinction to the tithes of the land mentioned in Leviticus 27:32. The last things mentioned which cannot be dedicated to the Lord by a vow are tithes. Like the firstborn of Animals (see Leviticus 27:26), they already belong to God by another statute. A man, therefore, cannot vow to God what is not his own.Leviticus 27:30. The tithe — There were divers sorts of tithes, but this seems to be understood only of the ordinary and yearly tithes belonging to the Levites, as the very expression intimates, and the addition of the fifth part in case of the redemption thereof implies.Leviticus 27:21, and to whatever was doomed to destruction 1 Samuel 15:21; 1 Kings 20:42. Our translators have often rendered the word by "cursed," or "a curse," which in some places may convey the right sense, but it should be remembered that the terms are not identical in their compass of meaning (Deuteronomy 7:26; Joshua 6:17-18; Joshua 7:1; Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 43:28, etc. Compare Galatians 3:13).
Of man and beast - This passage does not permit human sacrifices. Man is elsewhere clearly recognized as one of the creatures which were not to be offered in sacrifice Exodus 13:13; Exodus 34:20; Numbers 18:15.
Therefore the application of the word חרם chērem to man is made exclusively in reference to one rightly doomed to death and, in that sense alone, given up to Yahweh. The man who, in a right spirit, either carries out a sentence of just doom on an offender, or who, with a single eye to duty, slays an enemy in battle, must regard himself as God's servant rendering up a life to the claim of the divine justice (compare Romans 13:4). It was in this way that Israel was required to destroy the Canaanites at Hormah (Numbers 21:2-3; compare Deuteronomy 13:12-18), and that Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord 1 Samuel 15:33. In all such instances, a moral obligation rests upon him whose office it is to take the life: he has to look upon the object of his stroke as under a ban to the Lord (compare Deuteronomy 20:4; Galatians 3:13). Therefore, there can be neither redemption nor commutation.
And it seems hardly needful to add that sacrifice, as it is represented both in the Law and in the usage of the patriarchs, is something very different from consecration under a ban, though a tiring to be sacrificed might come under the designation of חרם chērem in its wider sense. The sacrifice was always the offering up of the innocent life of a creature chosen, approved, and without spot or blemish.Deuteronomy 14:22; and in the third year, and in the sixth, they separate the poor's tithe, instead of the second tithe:''so that, properly speaking, there were but two tithes, though commonly reckoned three; the tithes of all eatables were given to the Levites every year, and a tenth part of that given by the Levites to the priests, and the second tithe was eaten by the owners; instead of which, according to the above writer, in the third and sixth years it was given to the poor, and called theirs; of this second tithe, Jarchi interprets this law, and so does Maimonides (q):
whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: is to be given to him as an acknowledgment of his being the proprietor of the land, and that all the increase of it is owing to his blessing, and therefore is given in way of gratitude to him: the former of these takes in all sorts of corn that is man's food, as wheat and barley; and the latter wine and oil, and all sorts of fruits that are eatable; for it is said to be a general rule, that whatever is for food, and is preserved (having an owner, and not being common), and grows up out of the earth, is bound to tithes (r):
it is holy unto the Lord; the first tithe was eaten by the priests and Levites only, and the other before the Lord in Jerusalem only, and that by clean persons. Something of this kind obtained among the Heathens, it may be in imitation of this, particularly among the Grecians; Pisistratus (s) tells Solon, that everyone of the Athenians gave a tenth part of his inheritance, not to me, says he, who was their governor, but for public sacrifices, and the common good, and when engaged in war, to defray the charge of it; and so, by the oracle of Apollo, the Corcyraenans were directed to send to Olympia and Delphos the tenth part of the produce of their fields (t); and by the same oracle, the island of the Syphnians, in which was a golden mine, were ordered to bring the tenth of it to the same place (u). So the Pelasgi (w) in a time of scarcity vowed the tithes of all their increase to the gods, and having obtained their wish, devoted the tenth of all their fruits and cattle to them.
(p) Hilchot Maaser Sheni, c. 1. sect. 1.((q) Hilchot Maaser, c. 1. sect. 2.((r) Misn. Masserot, c. 1. sect. 1.((s) In Laert. Vit. Solon. p. 36. (t) Pausan. Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 624. (u) Ibid. p. 628. (w) Dionys. Halicarnass. apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 4. p. 159.And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy unto the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Laws concerning tithes
A distinction is here made between the tithe on the yield of the land or of fruit trees, and that on animals. The former according to this passage may be redeemed on payment of 1 1/5th of the estimation. In Numbers 18:21-24 there is no such permission given. See McNeile (C.B.) there for comparison of the two passages. The tithe on cattle here imposed is, as he points out, a fresh demand, found nowhere else in O.T. except 2 Chronicles 31:6.Verses 30-32. - Tithes, like the cherem, are introduced as things well known. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:4). Jacob vowed the tenth to the Lord (Genesis 28:22), whence we see that the practice of the payment of tithes was not of Mosaic institution, but immemorial. The duty was, however, commanded afresh for the Israelites. "I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle" (Numbers 18:21), and of this tithe they were to pay a tenth to the priests (Numbers 18:26). Being already the Lord's, the tithe of the corn and fruits could not be vowed to the Lord, but it could be redeemed, or commuted, by the owner paying one-fifth more than the price at which it was valued. Leviticus 25:23-28.
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