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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



DEUTERONOMY 26

 

CHAPTER XXVI.

 

Ver. 1.  It.  The land where Moses was speaking, which had been already conquered, was no less under the obligation of paying the first-fruits, &c. than Chanaan, and the parts of Syria which were promised to the Israelites.  H. --- All the products of the earth seem to have been liable to be offered, (Mat. xxiii. 23,) in proportion as they ripened, at the feasts of the Passover and of Pentecost, (C.) and of tabernacles.  M. --- Yet we find no mention here of the therumah, or offering, of which the Rabbins speak so much, as distinct at least from the first-fruits, which were heaved both by the priest and the offerer towards heaven and earth, on the right and left hand.  Each (C.) landholder, (H.) and even the king himself, was bound to bring his own basket to the temple, and to recite the words here prescribed.  The wheat and barley were first winnowed, and the grapes and olives made into wine and oil.  Before the offering was made to the Lord, no one was allowed to taste any of the produce.  Lev. xxiii. 10.  Num. xviii. 12. &c.  Whether legumes were to be tithed, seems a matter of dispute.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  The Syrian.  Laban.  See Gen. xxvii.  Ch. --- Heb. "My father was a Syrian, poor, (or ready to perish) and he went down," &c.  The ancestors of Jacob had, in effect, come from beyond the Euphrates, and he had dwelt in Mesopotamia for twenty years.  But the translation of the Sept. seems preferable, "My father abandoned (apebalen) Syria."  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Terror.  Sept. "with surprising visions," (Heb.) or "with astonishing prodigies," &c.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  God, with profound humility, acknowledging that all comes from him, (H.) and praying for a continuance of his fatherly protection.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Feast.  The Jews could not yet be required with propriety to raise themselves to delights purely spiritual.  C. xii. 7.  Strabo (x.) observes, that the Greeks and barbarians accompanied their sacrifices with feasting and music, which served to take off their thoughts from worldly concerns, and gave them a sort of foretaste of the divinity. C.

 

Ver. 12.  Third.  It has been remarked (C. xiv. 28. and Lev. xxvii. 30,) that the Jews gave two tithes every year, the second was for feasts at Jerusalem, or on the third year at home, if there was not also a third tithe due on that year.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Taken.  Heb. "burnt."  C. --- I have brought all that was due, (T.) so that no more can be found in my house than what the fire would have spared, if it had been thrown into it.

 

Ver. 14.  Mourning.  It was then unlawful to taste what was set apart for the Lord, and even to touch a thing, at that time, would render it unclean.  Osee ix. 4.  Others explain it thus: I have not eaten, how much soever I was distressed; or, I eat it with a cheerful heart.  But these interpretations seem unnatural.  Spencer (Rit. ii. 24,) thinks rather that the Jews thus disclaim having given any worship to Isis, whom the Egyptians invoked after the harvest, with mournful cries.  Diod. Sic. i.  About the same season of the year, lamentations were also made for the death of Adonis, (Marcel. xxii.) and for that of Osiris.  Firminus. --- The PhÅ“nicians mourned in like manner for the desolate appearance of the earth, after the fruits were collected.  The Egyptians thought that Isis had discovered fruits and corn, and therefore offered the first-fruits to her.  But the Jews are here taught to refer all such favours to God alone, and they testify that they have taken no part in the superstitious rites of other nations, nor spent any thing in funerals.  Heb. "upon the dead;" Osiris, &c. here styled uncleanness, by way of contempt.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  This day.  In this last solemn harangue of Moses, the covenant between God and his people was ratified.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  To his own praise.  Heb. Sept. &c. "higher...in praise, reputation, and glory."  H.

 

 








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