DEUTERONOMY 26
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[Devarim 26 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land [ha'aretz] which Yahweh thy elohim giveth thee for an inheritance [nachalah], and possessest it, and dwellest therein;

2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit [reshit kol pri] of the earth [ha'adamah], which thou shalt bring of thy land that Yahweh thy elohim giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which Yahweh thy elohim shall choose to place his name [Shmo] there.


'...the feast of the firstfruits was not to be confined to an acknowledgment of the goodness of God in nature: it was to be associated also with the history of their divine origin as a nation in the wonders of the exodus from Egypt. They were formally to bring that history into view in their observance of the feast.

Law of Moses Ch 21


3 And thou shalt go unto the priest [kohen] that shall be in those days [yamim], and say unto him, I profess this day [declare today] unto the Yahweh thy Elohim, that I am come unto the country which Yahweh sware unto our fathers [Avoteinu] for to give us.

4 And the priest [kohen] shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar [mizbe'ach] of Yahweh thy elohim.

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

A speech was specially provided for them with which they were to address the priest on bringing the firstfruits for presentation.

6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage [avodah kashah]:

7 And when we cried unto Yahweh elohim of our fathers [Avoteinu], Yahweh heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:

8 And Yahweh brought us forth out of Egypt [Mitzrayim] with a mighty hand [yad chazakah], and with an outstretched arm [zero'a], and with great terribleness [awesomeness], and with signs [otot], and with wonders [mofetim]:

9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey [eretz zavat cholov udevash].

10 And now, behold [hinei], I have brought the firstfruits [reshit pri] of the land [ha'adamah], which thou, O Yahweh, hast given me.

(End of declaration).

And thou shalt set it before Yahweh thy elohim, and worship before Yahweh thy elohim:

The significance of the ritual was obvious. Each Israelite had individually to avow that he had no right to his inheritance; that he enjoyed it solely by God's grace; and that its fruits all really belonged to God and not to himself. In presenting his basket of firstfruits he is in fact pledged to requite God for His mercy by the total dedication of his life and service to Him. When, in fulfilment of his pledge, he duly brought his triennial offering of tithes to the Sanctuary he had to declare publicly that he had brought all that he should and withheld nothing whatever in obedience to the Lord's command and then invoke God's promised blessing upon His People and Land for his obedience as a representative of the people as a whole (Deut. 26: 12-15).

The nature of the Covenant necessitated such confessions of dependence upon God, and of readiness to serve Him, from those who enjoyed its benefits. Of the offerers in the mass Moses could say "Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God"; conversely of God he could say, "And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people". And, to remind them of the moral obligations of their calling, he added, "That thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken" (Deut. 26 : 17- 1 9)ยท

To stress that great fact the Law also arranged that each individual Israelite should come to see an objective representation of himself in the produce of the soil which he cultivated.

Law and Grace Ch 11



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

'... the modern mood of mind rebuked that would class the Egyptian deliverance among myths and legends. Natural men can see a mild beauty in making the yearly harvest an occasion of thanksgiving: but to mix up with it an explicit acknowledgment of the Mosaic miracles is nauseous to their superior wisdom. There is no true wisdom at the bottom of their intellectual aversions.

Harvests are lovely, but if we had only harvests to trust to for hope as to futurity, we should be in darkness. It is the open participation of divine power in human affairs, as authenticated in Israel's history, that gives us that "strong consolation" of which Paul speaks, and therefore furnishes a reasonable ingredient in the festal celebrations of Israel--from none of which, indeed, was it ever absent.

Law of Moses Ch 21.