Deuteronomy 26

 

וְהָיָה כִּי־תָבֹוא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בָּה   26:1

Deut. 26:1  And it shall be, when you will have come in to the land that the Lord, your God, will be giving you, an inheritance, and shall have possessed it and dwelled in it,

וְלָקַחְתָּ מֵרֵאשִׁית כָּל־פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר תָּבִיא מֵאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וְשַׂמְתָּ בַטֶּנֶא   26:2

 וְהָלַכְתָּ אֶל־הַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמֹו שָׁם

Deut. 26:2  that you shall take some of the first of every fruit of the earth that you will gather from your land that the Lord, your God, will be giving you, and you shall put in a basket and go to the place where the Lord, your God, shall choose to cause His name to dwell.”

I see this basket of first fruits from the land as a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, independent of the tithe, and is meant as a one-time gesture.  So I don’t count this as a commandment.

וּבָאתָ אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו הִגַּדְתִּי הַיֹּום לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי־בָאתִי   26:3

אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ לָתֶת לָנוּ

Deut. 26:3  “And you shall come to the priest who will arise in those days and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord, your God, that I have come in to the land that the Lord had sworn to our fathers to give to us.’”

Why did Moses tell the Israelites to say to the priest “... to the Lord, your God,...?”  Why not the Lord, our God?  This seems rather strange to me, and I can’t come up with an appropriate explanation.  Substitution of the first-person pronoun with a second-person pronoun when referring to the Lord is often considered significant by bible scholars, but there seems to be no reference to this strange, possibly accidental, wording.

וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן הַטֶּנֶא מִיָּדֶךָ וְהִנִּיחֹו לִפְנֵי מִזְבַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ   26:4

Deut. 26:4  “And the priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down before the altar of the Lord, your God.”

וְעָנִיתָ וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה וַיָּגָר שָׁם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט וַיְהִי־שָׁם   26:5

  לְגֹוי גָּדֹול עָצוּם וָרָב

Deut. 26:5  “And you shall testify, and you shall say before the Lord, your God,

        ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there with less than a hundred; and he became a great nation there, strong, and numerous.’

וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ הַמִּצְרִים וַיְעַנּוּנוּ וַיִּתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ עֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה   26:6

Deut. 26:6  ‘And the Egyptians harmed us and afflicted us and set harsh bondage on us.’

וַנִּצְעַק אֶל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ וַיִּשְׁמַע יְהוָה אֶת־קֹלֵנוּ וַיַּרְא אֶת־עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת־עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת־לַחֲצֵנוּ   26:7

Deut. 26:7  ‘And we would cry out to the Lord, God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction and our labor and our distress.’

There is a first-person imperfect verb with a non-inverting vav prefix as the first word in this verse.  In all other bibles I have examined, the word is translated as And we cried.  The implication in this is that they cried out only once.  My translation carried the implication that they cried out repeatedly, which is far more reasonable.

וַיֹּוצִאֵנוּ יְהוָה מִמִּצְרַיִם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל וּבְאֹתֹות וּבְמֹפְתִים   26:8

Deut. 26:8  ‘And the Lord brought us forth from Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with great terrors, and with signs, and with wonders.’

וַיְבִאֵנוּ אֶל־הַמָּקֹום הַזֶּה וַיִּתֶּן־לָנוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ   26:9

Deut. 26:9  ‘And He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land gushing milk and honey.’

וְעַתָּה הִנֵּה הֵבֵאתִי אֶת־רֵאשִׁית פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר־נָתַתָּה לִּי יְהוָה וְהִנַּחְתֹּו לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ   26:10

וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ

Deut. 26:10   ‘And now behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land which You have given to me, O Lord.’”  “And you shall let it remain before the Lord, your God, and you shall bow down before the Lord, your God.”                                                 [Return to Rubincmds.org]

וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְכָל־הַטֹּוב אֲשֶׁר נָתַן־לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וּלְבֵיתֶךָ אַתָּה וְהַלֵּוִי וְהַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבֶּךָ   26:11

Deut. 26:11   “And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord, your God, has given you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who will be in your midst.”

כִּי תְכַלֶּה לַעְשֵׂר אֶת־כָּל־מַעְשַׂר תְּבוּאָתְךָ בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁלִישִׁת שְׁנַת הַמַּעֲשֵׂר וְנָתַתָּה לַלֵּוִי לַגֵּר לַיָּתֹום   26:12

 וְלָאַלְמָנָה וְאָכְלוּ בִשְׁעָרֶיךָ וְשָׂבֵעו

Deut. 26:12   “When you will have put an end to tithing all of the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of the tithe, and given it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, so they may eat within your gates and be satisfied,

וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בִּעַרְתִּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִן־הַבַּיִת וְגַם נְתַתִּיו לַלֵּוִי וְלַגֵּר לַיָּתֹום וְלָאַלְמָנָה   26:13

 כְּכָל־מִצְוָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי לֹא־עָבַרְתִּי מִמִּצְוֹתֶיךָ וְלֹא שָׁכָחְתִּי

Deut. 26:13   then you shall say before the Lord, your God, ‘I have removed the hallowed from the house and also given of it to the Levite and to the stranger, to the fatherless and the widow, according to all Your commandments that You have commanded me.  I have not turned away from Your commandments and I have not forgotten.’

Anyone who says that 10% of our income must go to the synagogue or church doesn’t know vss. 26:12 and 26:13.  The tithe of the third year is to be shared among the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow.  I presume that there may be something left over for the poor and the disabled, but that may not come from the tithe, but from the ungleaned of the field.  In modern times that part would likely be over and above the tithe.  Nevertheless, if I interpret these verses correctly, the tithe should be reduced by one third, and that portion should be given to charity.  The tithe then is only 6-2/3% of our income.

לֹא־אָכַלְתִּי בְאֹנִי מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא־בִעַרְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ בְּטָמֵא וְלֹא־נָתַתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ לְמֵת שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּקֹול יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי   26:14

עָשִׂיתִי כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנִי

Deut. 26:14   ‘I have not eaten from it in my mourning and I, being unclean, have not removed from it and I have not given from it for the dead.  I have listened to the voice of the Lord, my God; I have done according to all that You have commanded me.’

In this verse, the phrase “... I have not given from it for the dead,” probably refers to the possible state of mourning.  The verse may be interpreted to mean that the person, if a mourner, has not eaten any of the third-year tithe mentioned above (v. 26:12) or sold any of it for a coffin or a shroud.  One other implication of the wording of this verse may be that the mourner would have been in the first day of mourning, since he hints at not buying a coffin or shroud with the tithe.  Dead Jews are to be normally buried within 24 hours of their death.

הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעֹון קָדְשְׁךָ מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמְּךָ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֵת הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה לָנוּ   26:15

כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ

Deut. 26:15   ‘Look down from the habitation of Your holiness, from heaven, and bless your people, Israel, and the land that has been given to us as You had sworn to our fathers, a land gushing milk and honey.’”

הַיֹּום הַזֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְצַוְּךָ לַעֲשֹׂות אֶת־הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וְשָׁמַרְתָּ וְעָשִׂיתָ אֹותָם   26:16

בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶׁךָ

Deut. 26:16   “This day the Lord, your God, is commanding you to do these statutes and ordinances.  And you shall hear, and do them with all your heart and with all your soul.”

אֶת־יְהוָה הֶאֱמַרְתָּ הַיֹּום לִהְיֹות לְךָ לֵאלֹהִים וְלָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו וְלִשְׁמֹר חֻקָּיו וּמִצְוֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו   26:17

 וְלִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹלֹו

Deut. 26:17   “You have declared today the Lord to be your God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes and His commandments and His ordinances, and to listen to His voice.”

וַיהוָה הֶאֱמִירְךָ הַיֹּום לִהְיֹות לֹו לְעַם סְגֻלָּה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר־לָךְ וְלִשְׁמֹר כָּל־מִצְוֹתָיו   26:18

Deut. 26:18   “And today the Lord has declared you to be His people, a particular treasure, as He promised to you, and to observe all His commandments,

וּלְתִתְּךָ עֶלְיֹון עַל כָּל־הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִתְהִלָּה וּלְשֵׁם וּלְתִפְאָרֶת וְלִהְיֹתְךָ עַם־קָדֹשׁ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ   26:19

 כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר

Deut. 26:19   thus setting you highest above all the nations that He has made, in praise and in name and in glory, and making you a holy people to the Lord, your God, as He has spoken.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

555. You shall give the basket of first fruits of the land to the priest and declare

        and testify these verses to him.    V. 26:3 - 26:10

556. One in mourning, thus unclean, may not eat of the third-year tithe.    V. 26:14

557. None of the third-year tithe may be given for the dead.    V. 26:14

 

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