Deuteronomy 26 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Deuteronomy 26)

Verse 2

[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.

Thou shalt take — This seems to be required of each 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.

Verse 5

[5] And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:

A Syrian — So Jacob was, partly by his original, as being born of Syrian parents, as were Abraham and Rebecca, both of Chaldea or Mesopotamia, which was a part of Syria largely so called, partly by his education and conversation; and partly by his relations, his wives being such, and his children too by their mother's.

Ready to perish — Either through want and poverty; (See Genesis 28:11,20; 32:10,) or through the rage of his brother Esau, and the treachery of his father-in-law Laban.

Verse 10

[10] And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:

It — The basket of first-fruits, Deuteronomy 26:2.

Verse 11

[11] And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

Thou shalt rejoice — Thou shalt hereby enabled to take comfort in all thy employments, when thou hast sanctified them by giving God his portion. It is the will of God, that we should be chearful not only in our attendance upon his holy ordinances, but in our enjoyment of the gifts of his providence. Whatever good thing God gives us, we should make the most comfortable use of it we can, still tracing the streams to the fountain of all consolation.

Verse 12

[12] 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;

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; 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.

Verse 13

[13] Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:

Before the Lord — In thy private addresses to God; for this is to be said presently upon the distribution of these tithes, which was not done at Jerusalem, but in their own private gates or dwellings. And this is to be spoken before the Lord, that is, solemnly, seriously, and in a religious manner, with due respect to God's presence, and will, and glory.

Verse 14

[14] I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.

In my mourning — In sorrow, or grieving that I was to give away so much of my profits to the poor, but I have chearfully eaten and feasted with them, as I was obliged to do.

Unclean use — For any common use; for any other use than that which thou hast appointed, which would have been a pollution of them.

For the dead — For any funeral pomp or service; for the Jews used to send in provisions to feast with the nearest relations of the party deceased; and in that case both the guests and food were legally polluted, Numbers 19:11,14, and therefore the use of these tithes in such cases had been a double fault, both the defiling of sacred food, and the employing those provisions upon sorrowful occasions, which by God's express command were to be eaten with rejoicing.

Verse 15

[15] Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Look down — After that solemn profession of their obedience to God's commands, they are taught to pray for God's blessing whereby they are instructed how vain and ineffectual the prayers of unrighteous or disobedient persons are.

Verse 17

[17] Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:

Avouched — Or, declared, or owned.

Verse 18

[18] And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;

Avouched thee — Hath owned thee for such before all the world by eminent and glorious manifestations of his power and favour, by a solemn entering into covenant with thee, and giving peculiar laws, promises, and privileges to thee above all mankind.