Deuteronomy 26 Commentary

 


Moses on Mt Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1+)
Listen to Mt Nebo as you Ponder How Moses' May Have Felt
Deuteronomy by Irving Jensen- used by permission
deut
Source: Ryrie Study Bible

Deuteronomy

Dt 1:1-4:43 Dt 4:44-26:19 Dt 27:1-34:12

Moses'
First
Discourse

Moses'
Second
Discourse

Moses'
Third
Discourse

Historical Review Legal
Exposition
Prophetical
Promises

Looking Back

40 Years

Looking Up
What God
Expected of Israel
Looking Ahead
What God
Will Do for Israel
Recapitulation of Wanderings Rehearsal
of Israel's Law
Ratification
of Israel's Covenant
Historical Appendices
Remembrance of the past Commandments
for the Present
Dt 27:1-30:20
Blessing and Cursing
Dt 31:1-34:12
Death of Moses
Take Heed
Don't forget
Ten
Commands
Related
Commands
Two Choices Affecting
the Future
Moses' Parting Words
Dt 1:1-4:43
Looking Back
Dt 4:44-11:32
Exposition of Decalogue
Dt 12:1-16:17
Ceremonial Laws
Dt 16:18-20:20
Civil
Laws
Dt 21:1-26:19
Social
Laws
Dt 27:1-28:68
Ratification of Covenant
Dt 29:1-30:20
Terms of Covenant
Dt 31:1-34:12
Moses' Song, Blessing, Death

Plains of Moab

ca. 2 Months
Moses: Author

(Except Dt 34)

Deuteronomy 26:1  "Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,

POSB refers to Dt 26:1-19 as "

Laws That Require Special Confession and Obedience." 

What a person confesses matters to God. For this reason, God established two special services of confession for the Israelites. Two times a year they were to approach God with hearts filled with gratitude, making a strong confession of faith in Him. This is the subject of the present passage, a strong lesson on the importance of a true confession:

Keil on Dt 26:1-11 - 

Thanksgiving and Prayer at the Presentation of First-Fruits and Tithes

Coakley

Moses here closed off an extended exposition on specific legislation that began in chap. 12. Chapter 26 also serves as a transition to the next major section of the book, which begins in chap. 27. This chapter forms a bracket with Dt 12, the beginning of the major section of "statutes and judgments" (12:1) in the book. Deuteronomy 12:6 anticipated the bringing of special offerings after the nation possessed the promised land, and Moses closed this section (in chap. 26) with instructions regarding special tithes and offerings. (Moody Bible Commentary)

MacArthur explains that "

As the stipulation section of Deuteronomy came to an end (chaps. 5-25), Moses commanded the people to keep two rituals when they had conquered the Land and began to enjoy its produce. These two rituals were the initial firstfruits offering (Dt 26:1-11) and the first third-year special tithe (Dt 26:12-15). In both cases, there is an emphasis upon the prayer of confession to be given at the time of the rituals (Dt 26:5-10, 13-15). These special offerings were given in order to celebrate Israel's transition from a nomadic existence to a settled agrarian community, made possible by the Lord's blessing." (MacArthur Study Bible)

Then it shall be, when you enter the land - They are still on the plains of Moab on the Eastern side of the Jordan. So these instructions apply to when they enter the Promised Land and had settled down. 

which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance and you possess it and live in it - Note the emphasis on the land as a gift and as an inheritance which is an allusion to the Abrahamic Covenant (cf Ge 12:7). 

Utley on gives you as an inheritance” This is an idiom of Israel’s election (cf. Ex 6:4, 8; 15:17; 23:30; 32:13; Deut. 1:6–8; 4:38, 40; 5:31; 7:13; 8:1–10; 9:4–6; 11:8–12, 17; 26:1, 9; 32:49, 52; 34:4). The land (all land) belongs to YHWH (cf. Exod. 19:5; Lev. 25:23). If Israel is not obedient to YHWH’s covenant He will dispossess them (cf. Lev. 26:14–33; Deut. 4:25–28; Josh. 23:14–16), but still YHWH will have mercy (cf. Deut. 4:29–31; 30:1–3, 10). (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Ryrie - Vs. 26:1-11  This particular offering apparently was made only once after the first harvest in the land to remember the meager beginnings of the people and to celebrate their arrival there. There was also an annual offering of firstfruits, a pledge of the full harvest to come. See note on Lev. 23:10-14. a wandering Aramean (v. 5). A reference to Jacob, who resided for a long time in Syria (Mesopotamia; cf. Gen. 28:5) and whose family ties were for the most part with Paddan-aram. 

Deuteronomy 26:2  that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.

  • That: De 16:10 18:4 Ex 23:16,19 34:26 Lev 2:12,14 Nu 18:12,13 2Ki 4:42 2Ch 31:5 Ne 10:35-37 12:44 13:31 Pr 3:9,10 Jer 2:3 Eze 20:40 Eze 44:30 48:14 Ro 8:23 11:16 16:5 1Co 15:20,23 16:2 Jas 1:18 Rev 14:4 
  • go unto: De 12:5,6 Jos 18:1 2Ch 6:6 
  • Deuteronomy 26 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

That you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket - God has given them the land and they are now to respond by giving back to Him, this gift accompanied by a confession in Dt 26:3. This firstfruits offering was to acknowledge the goodness and bountiful supply of the land God had given to them. Note that this firstfruits offering is to be distinguished from the annual Feast of Firstfruits (Lev 23:9-14) which was celebrated at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. While some writers think this was an annual offering, more likely it was an initial offering made after the first harvest in the land. 

Coakley agrees commenting that "Apparently this was a one-time offering for the first generation, since much of the wording here would apply only to the special audience Moses was addressing on the plains of Moab." (Moody Bible Commentary)

Guzik

: Numbers 18:12 speaks of the firstfruits that must be regularly brought to the priests, but the firstfruits described here in Deuteronomy 26 seem to be a special offering of firstfruits, from the first of the harvest they gain in the Promised Land. (Commentary)

Utley “you shall take some of the first of all the produce” The exact amount for the offering of the first fruits is not specified (but it could fit in one basket, cf. vv. 3, 4). This account seems to be a one time event on the plains of Moab but it reflects a later regular harvest ritual (cf. Ex 22:29; 23:16, 19). This practice was a metaphorical way of showing God’s ownership of the entire crop. The same ownership symbolism is exemplified in (1) the firstborn; (2) tithing; (3) the Sabbath; (4) the sabbath year; and (5) the Year of Jubilee.  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name - NLT = "bring it to the designated place of worship-- the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored." They are to go to the central sanctuary with their basket of firstfruits.

NET NOTE - The place where he chooses to locate his name. This is a circumlocution for the central sanctuary, first the tabernacle and later the Jerusalem temple. See Deut 12:1–14 and especially the note on the word “you” in v. 14.  (Deuteronomy 26)

Utley - the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name” This refers to God’s choice of the location of the central sanctuary, which is a distinctly Deuteronomic emphasis (cf. Dt 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 21, 26; 14:23, 24, 25; 15:20; 16:2, 6, 7, 11, 15, 16; 17:8, 10; 18:6; 26:2; 31:11). It was originally at Gilgal, then Shechem, then Shiloh, then Mizpah, and later, after David’s conquest of Jebus, Jerusalem (cf. 2 Sa 5:6–7; 1 Chr. 11:5, 7). The purpose of a central sanctuary was tribal and religious unity. It was also to keep the Israelites away from local Ba’al shrines.  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

IVP Bible Background Commentary -  first-fruit offering in ancient Near East. The religious principle involved in offering the “first fruits” (animal, vegetable or human) to the gods is based on the promotion of fertility. From earliest times the assumption was made that the gods created life in its various forms and that they expected to receive as their due offering the first of the harvest or the first fruit of the womb. Israelite religion tempered this by allowing for the redemption of some animals and all human firstborn males (Ex 13:11–13; Num 18:14–15). The giving of the first fruits could also take on a political character. The Assyrian annals of Sennacherib (705–681 B.C.) contain his command that conquered peoples pay their first-fruit offerings of sheep, wine and dates to the gods of Assyria.

Deuteronomy 26:3  "You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, 'I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.'

  • the priest: De 19:17 Heb 7:26 10:21 13:15 1Pe 2:5 
  • which the: Ge 17:8 26:3 Ps 105:9,10 Lu 1:72,73 Heb 6:16-18 
  • Deuteronomy 26 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 1 - AFFIRMATION OF ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him - Not necessarily the high priest. This begins the rather lengthy confession (see entire confession in one paragraph).

'I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore (Heb “swore on oath.”) to our fathers to give us - The first part of their confession was an acknowledgement of God's Faithfulness to fulfill the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant to give them the promised land.  

NET NOTE on "my God" - For the MT reading “your God,” certain LXX MSS have “my God,” a contextually superior rendition followed by some English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, TEV). Perhaps the text reflects dittography of the kaf (ך) at the end of the word with the following preposition כִּי (ki).  (Deuteronomy 26)

Deuteronomy 26:4  "Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

FIRSTFRUITS PLACED
IN FRONT OF YAHWEH

Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God - The basket of firstfruits is presented to the priest at the Tabernacle and the priest places it before the altar of Jehovah. This altar would be outside the Tent of Meeting because only priests were allowed into the tabernacle. 

Kalland points out that "

Though v.10 says that the man was to place the basket before the Lord and bow down before him (in worship), this is not contradictory (or in addition) to v.4, which says that the priest was to set it down in front of the altar. Not infrequently one statement speaks as though a certain person does a thing while another statement clarifies the action by stating more precisely that another person actually performs the deed for him. (Expositor's Bible Commentary – Volume 3: Deuteronomy)

Deuteronomy 26:5  "You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, 'My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation.

  • wandering Aramean. Ge 24:4 25:20 28:5 31:20,24 Ho 12:12 
  • ready: Ge 27:41 31:40 43:1,2,12 45:7,11 Isa 51:1,2 
  • he went down: Ge 46:1-7 Ps 105:23,24 Ac 7:15 
  • few: De 7:7 Ge 46:27 Ex 1:5 
  • became: De 10:22 Ge 47:27 Ex 1:7,12 
  • Deuteronomy 26 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 2 - FEW BECOME A GREAT NATION

After the basket of firstfruits is placed before the altar, the person bringing the token offering repeats the rest of the confession (below)

You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, 'My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there (dwelt as a newcomer or resident alien - Ge 47:4), few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation - My father is Jacob, later called "Israel," who was considered the "father" of all the Israelite people. He is called a wandering Aramean (Lxx translation = "My father abandoned Syria") because (1) his early life had been nomadic and (2) he had initially fled from his home in Beersheba and passed through Paddan-aram, some 400 miles northeast of Jerusalem (cf Ge 24:4, 10, Ge 25:20), on his trek to Mesopotamia where he lived with his uncle Laban.

The fact that they became a a great, mighty and populous nation is testimony to God's faithfulness to His covenant promise to Abram in Genesis 12:2+ "I will make you a great nation" and Genesis 15:5+ "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

Utley on “few in number” In Gen. 46:27 and Ex. 1:5 it says that they were originally only 70 persons. When they left Egypt their number was as high (cf. 1:10; 10:22; Exod. 1:9) as 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 persons. The number depends on the proper interpretation of the Hebrew term “thousand.” It can mean (1) a literal 1,000; (2) a clan; or (3) a military unit (cf. Ex 12:37).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Guzik on sojourned

Israel spent some 400 years in Egypt. Yet in the course of God’s eternal plan, it was nothing more than a sojourn. We can often focus so much on our own time of trial or misery that we think that it defines our whole life; God saw Israel’s experience in Egypt as a sojourn. 

This was the major reason God had for sending Jacob and his family on their sojourn in Egypt. When they lived in Canaan, there was great risk of the family just assimilating with the wicked, pagan peoples around them. To prevent this, and to allow the nation to grow, God sent them down to Egypt, which was a very racist society, and who would not intermarry with Israel. Therefore, they could go down there few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous (Commentary)

The Hebrew word for wandering is abad which is derived from two root meanings, the more common perish (THUS NKJV = "ABOUT TO PERISH", REB = "FUGITIVE") and the less frequently used become lost. The NIDOTT comments that "In the case of Deut 26:5, it is difficult to decide between perishing or wandering." Sometimes this term is used of a lost or wandering animal (1 Sa 9:3 = lost donkey; Jer. 50:6 = lost sheep; Ezek. 34:4, 16).

NET NOTE - Though the Hebrew term אָבַד (’abad) generally means “to perish” or the like (HALOT 2–3 s.v.; BDB 1–2 s.v.; cf. KJV “a Syrian ready to perish”), a meaning “to go astray” or “to be lost” is also attested. The ambivalence in the Hebrew text is reflected in the versions where LXX Vaticanus reads ἀπέβαλεν (apebalen, “lose”) for a possibly metathesized reading found in Alexandrinus, Ambrosianus, ἀπέλαβεν (apelaben, “receive”); others attest κατέλειπεν (kateleipen, “leave, abandon”). “Wandering” seems to suit best the contrast with the sedentary life Israel would enjoy in Canaan (v. 9) and is the meaning followed by many English versions.  (Deuteronomy 26)

Utley on “Aramean” This refers to Padan-Aram or Syria (BDB 74, cf. Gen. 25:20; 28:5; 31:20, 24). Laban was from this area which included the city of Haran (cf. Gen. 31:40–42). Jacob lived there for several years and then fled from Laban.  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

NET NOTE on A wandering Aramean. This is a reference to Jacob whose mother Rebekah was an Aramean (Gen 24:10; 25:20, 26) and who himself lived in Aram for at least twenty years (Gen 31:41–42).  (Deuteronomy 26)

Holman Bible Dictionary on Aramean -  Aramean "consisted of the loose confederation of towns and settlements spread over what is now called Syria as well as in some parts of Babylon from which Jacob and Abraham came (Deuteronomy 26:5 ). The Arameans were rarely gathered into a cohesive political group; rather they lived as independent towns and tribes settled by nomads prior to 1000 B.C. Although the Arameans were quick to form alliances with each other or with other countries if threatened, once the crisis was ended they disbanded and often fought among themselves and against their former allies....Deuteronomy 26:5 contains what has become an important confession for Jews—”A wandering Aramean was my father” (RSV)—which claims Aramean lineage for Jacob and by extension for Abraham.

See the ISBE Article on Jacob subsection entitled -  III. Biography The life of a wanderer (Deuteronomy 26:5) such as Jacob was, may often be best divided on the geographical principle. Jacob's career falls into the four distinct periods: that of his residence with Isaac in Canaan, that of his residence with Laban in Aram, that of his independent life in Canaan and that of his migration to Egypt.

A WANDERING ARAMEAN - Millard, Alan R. “A WANDERING ARAMEAN.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 1980, Vol. 39 (2), pp: 153–155. ISSN: 0022–2968 The Hebrew expression arammi `obed in Deut 26:5, may carry more meaning than simply “a wandering Aramean,” particularly in light of cuneiform parallels. The word `obed here may have the nuance of “refugee.” Jacob had surreptitiously left Laban’s household in Harran and thus escaped his father-in-law’s authority; he became a fugitive, “seeking political asylum.” Subject to no authority, and owning no land himself, Jacob was a political refugee.

The Wandering Aramean Reconsidered Janzen, J. Gerald. “The Wandering Aramean Reconsidered.” Vetus Testamentum 1994, Vol. 44 (3), pp: 359–375. ISSN: 0042–4935 The worshipper at the cultic celebration of the first fruits recited concerning his ancestor Jacob, ' ramm ' b d ' b. It is usually translated My father was a wandering Aramean, but a study of the various meanings of the verb ' bad show that sociologically and economically Jacob was a nomad who had abandoned his own land for the abundance in Egypt. Therefore the saying in Deut 26:5 should read: A starving Aramean was my father

The confession continues from v3 and goes through v10. Here is the confession in its entirety to make it easier to read.

'I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.' (v3)...'My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation. 6  'And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. 7  'Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; 8  and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; 9  and He has brought us to this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10  'And now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which Thou, O LORD hast given me.'

Morris - "Aramaean." Jacob's tribe, which originated in Syria when he was in the employ of Laban (Genesis 29,30), did not become the nation of Israel as such until Jacob had first received the name "Israel," and his children became known as "the children of Israel" when they went with him down into Egypt.

IVP Bible Background Commentary wandering Aramean - The creedal statement contained here emphasizes the nomadic character of Israel’s ancestors. The original homeland of Abraham and his family is generally identified as Paddan Aram or Aram Naharaim (see comment on Gen 11:28). The mention of Arameans in relation to Abraham and Jacob is likely a reference to scattered tribes of peoples in upper Mesopotamia who had not yet coalesced into the nation of Aram that appears in later texts. Based on other examples from cuneiform literature, the name Aram may in fact have originally been that of a region (cf. Sippar-Amnantum of the Old Babylonian period) that was later applied to people living there. For more on the Arameans see comment on Genesis 28:5.

Aramean 0761. אֲרַמִּי ʾarammiy:  A gentilic noun (with the ending iy) indicating a Syrian or Aramean. It referred to an area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (Ge 25:9–20). Bethuel, Isaac’s father-in-law, was an Aramean. Syrian refers to the same ethnic group. Laban was an Aramean as was Naaman (2 Kgs. 5:20). The origins of the Israelites were tied to them (Dt. 26:5). The Syrians and Israelites were often at war (2 Ki. 9:15). Manasseh had a concubine from among the Arameans (1 Chr. 7:14).

11v - Gen. 25:20; Gen. 28:5; Gen. 31:20; Gen. 31:24; Deut. 26:5; 2 Ki. 5:20; 2 Ki. 8:28; 2 Ki. 8:29; 2 Ki. 9:15; 1 Chr. 7:14; 2 Chr. 22:5

Related Resource:

Deuteronomy 26:6  'And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.

Related Passages - 

Deuteronomy 4:20 “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today. 

Exodus 1:11 So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. 14 and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them. 16 and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.”

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 3 - AFFLICTION IN EGYPT

And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us - See "Related Passages" above. Here treat harshly (rāʿaʿ) is translated in Lxx with kakoo which means to physically harm, mistreat, ill-treat, the same verb Stephen used in his sermon review of Israel's history when he declared "But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED (kakoo) FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS." (Acts 7:6) So the confession begins with the "bad news" of their condition before their supernatural deliverance. The addition of afflicted ('anah) expresses harsh and painful treatment/ 

THOUGHT - It is good to from time to time remember from whence God has supernaturally delivered us for we too were in dire straits without Christ. It helps us appreciate the freedom we now have in Christ and serves to keep us from misusing it by "going back to Egypt" (so to speak), whatever that means in each of our lives. 

Treated harshly (07489) רָעַע rāʿaʿ: The essential meaning of the root can be seen in its frequent juxtaposition with the root ṭôb (GOOD). Thus Moses concluded, “See I set before you today life and what is good [ṭôb], death and what is evil/bad [raʿ] (cf. Mic 3:2). Frequently they occur in the merism that one distinguishes “good and evil/bad” (2 Sam 14:17; 19:35; I Kgs 3:9; Isa 7:15; cf. here “tree of good and evil,” Gen 2:9, 17) Thus rāʿaʿ means to be bad, to do wrong. The root of the word indicates breaking, in contrast to the word tāmam ( 08552), which means to be whole. For example, tree branches that break are bad (Jer. 11:16). The word also refers to moral evil: an eye could be evil, that is, covetous (Deut. 15:9); or a person could do evil (Gen. 44:5; Prov. 4:16; Jer. 4:22). The word also refers to physical evil: God harmed or punished those who provoked Him (Zech. 8:14); and Laban would have hurt Jacob without God’s prevention (Gen. 31:7). In addition, the word expresses sadness and describes the face or heart as being bad (1 Sam. 1:8; Neh. 2:3). The causative participle signifies an evildoer (Ps. 37:1; Isa. 9:17[16]). The idiomatic phrase, to be evil in someone’s eyes, means to displease (Gen. 48:17; 2 Sam. 11:25; Jon. 4:1).

Swanson - evil-doer, i.e., one who acts morally corrupt according to a standard or guide (Job 8:20; Ps 22:17; 26:5; 27:2; 37:1, 9; 64:3; 92:12; 94:16; 119:115; Pr 17:4; 24:19; Isa 1:4; 9:16; 14:20; 31:2; Jer 20:13; 23:14) (Dictionary of Semantic Domains - Hebrew)

Ra'a - 95v - act so wickedly(1), act wickedly(1), acted wickedly(1), acted...wickedly(1), afflicted(3), badly(1), bring disaster(1), brought calamity(1), brought harm(1), damaged(1), disagreeable(1), displease*(1), displeased(2), displeased*(4), displeasing(6), distressed(2), do my harm(2), do us harm(1), do you harm(2), do evil(4), do harm(1), do...evil(1), do...harm(1), doing evil(1), done harm(2), done very wickedly(1), done wickedly(1), done wrong(1), evil(7), evildoer(2), evildoers(16), evildoing(1), grieved(1), hard(1), harm(1), harming(1), hostile(3), hurt(3), practiced evil(1), prefer*(2), sad(2), still do wickedly(1), suffer(1), suffer harm(1), treat me so badly(1), treat you worse(1), treated(1), treated us harshly(1), went hard(1), work calamity(1), worse(1). Gen. 19:7; Gen. 19:9; Gen. 21:11; Gen. 21:12; Gen. 31:7; Gen. 38:10; Gen. 43:6; Gen. 44:5; Gen. 48:17; Exod. 5:22; Exod. 5:23; Lev. 5:4; Num. 11:10; Num. 11:11; Num. 16:15; Num. 20:15; Num. 22:34; Deut. 15:9; Deut. 15:10; Deut. 26:6; Deut. 28:54; Deut. 28:56; Jos. 24:15; Jos. 24:20; Jdg. 19:23; Ruth 1:21; 1 Sam. 1:8; 1 Sam. 8:6; 1 Sam. 12:25; 1 Sam. 18:8; 1 Sam. 25:34; 1 Sam. 26:21; 2 Sam. 11:25; 2 Sam. 11:27; 2 Sam. 19:7; 2 Sam. 20:6; 1 Ki. 14:9; 1 Ki. 16:25; 1 Ki. 17:20; 2 Ki. 21:11; 1 Chr. 16:22; 1 Chr. 21:7; 1 Chr. 21:17; Neh. 2:3; Neh. 2:10; Neh. 13:8; Job 8:20; Ps. 15:4; Ps. 22:16; Ps. 26:5; Ps. 27:2; Ps. 37:1; Ps. 37:8; Ps. 37:9; Ps. 44:2; Ps. 64:2; Ps. 74:3; Ps. 92:11; Ps. 94:16; Ps. 105:15; Ps. 106:32; Ps. 119:115; Prov. 4:16; Prov. 11:15; Prov. 13:20; Prov. 17:4; Prov. 24:8; Prov. 24:18; Prov. 24:19; Isa. 1:4; Isa. 1:16; Isa. 9:17; Isa. 11:9; Isa. 14:20; Isa. 31:2; Isa. 41:23; Isa. 59:15; Isa. 65:25; Jer. 4:22; Jer. 7:26; Jer. 10:5; Jer. 13:23; Jer. 20:13; Jer. 23:14; Jer. 25:6; Jer. 25:29; Jer. 31:28; Jer. 38:9; Jer. 40:4; Dan. 11:27; Jon. 4:1; Mic. 3:4; Mic. 4:6; Zeph. 1:12; Zech. 8:14

Afflicted (Humbled) (06031'anah means to be afflicted, be bowed down, be humbled, be meek. 'Anah frequently expresses the idea God sends affliction to discipline (Dt 8:2-3, see context Dt 8:5, 1Ki 11:39; Ps 90:15 Luke 3:5). It often speaks of harsh and painful treatment (Isa 53:4, Ge16:6). 'Anah is most frequently translated in LXX by tapeinoo (as it is here in Dt 26:6). God commanded them to “afflict themselves” (“deny yourselves” Lev 16:31NIV), which is the same word used to describe the pain that the Egyptians inflicted on the Hebrews (Ex 1:11,12) and the suffering Joseph felt in prison (Ps 105:18)!

Deuteronomy 26:7  'Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;

  • we cried: Ex 2:23-25 Ex 3:1-4:31 Ex 6:5 Ps 50:15 Ps 103:1,2 116:1-4 Jer 33:2 Eph 3:20,21 
  • looked: Ex 4:31 1Sa 9:16 2Sa 16:12 Ps 102:19,20 119:132 

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 4 - CRIED OUT TO YAHWEH

Then - A marker of time, specifically of progression or sequence. "God had promised and foretold Abraham about this (cf. Ge 15:12–21+; Ex. 3:7, 9+)." (Utley Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

We cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers - Note the phrase the God of our fathers, which is an allusion to the patriarchs and by extension was surely an appeal to the promises He had made to them. It is always good to base our prayers on the promises of God if we can. Israel remembered their God and sought His help. Moses writes "Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them."  (Ex 2:23-25) Notice that God is responding based on His unconditional covenant with the patriarchs, a covenant that promised them the land of Canaan. He had already fulfilled part of the promises to make them as numerous as the stars. In His sovereignty, He raised up an evil ruler who would make them want to leave the comfort they experienced in Egypt. 

Utley on the LORD, the God of our fathers” This identified the God of the Patriarch’s, EL Shaddai - God Almighty (cf. Ex. 6:2-9+), with YHWH, who confronted Moses (cf. Ex 3:14+).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Related Resources

and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction (humiliation, hardship, misery) and our toil (trouble, labor, hard distressing experience) and our oppression (unreasonably burdensome, unjust and cruel exercise of power) - This is an anthropomorphic description of Yahweh (Anthropomorphic Language to describe God). As Moses says in the passage above not only did God heard and He "saw the sons of Israel and took notice ( yada became personally, intimately involved with) of them." 

Affliction 06040. עֳנִי ʿoniy: A masculine noun meaning affliction, misery. It refers to a state of oppression or extreme discomfort, physically, mentally, or spiritually: Hagar was abused and afflicted by Sarah (Gen. 16:11); Leah was not loved as was Rachel (Gen. 29:32); Jacob was abused and tricked by Laban (Gen. 31:42); Israel was under affliction by the Egyptians (Ex. 3:7, 17); childlessness was an affliction in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 1:11); political, economic, and military oppression are in the range of the word (2 Kgs. 14:26). Job’s illness was a burdensome affliction (Job 10:15; 30:16). The psalmist was under attack from those who hated him (Ps. 9:13[14]). Affliction is a disciplinary measure from God in some cases (Isa. 48:10). 

Swanson - 1. LN 22.15–22.20 misery, affliction, suffering, i.e., a state of hardship and trouble, with a focus on the experience this state by the speaker (Ge 16:11), note: for MT text in 2Sa 16:12, see 6411; 2. LN 22.21–22.28 persecute, harass, i.e., a state of causing hardship and suffering (Ps 9:14[EB 13]+); 3. LN 42.41–42.50 great effort, great pains, i.e., a state of expending much energy and labor on accomplishing a goal, even to the point of toil (1Ch 22:14+), note: BDB translates “frustration.”; 4. LN 22.15–22.20 unit: בֵּן עֳנִי (bēn ʿǒnî) the oppressed, i.e., a class of persons that experience hardship and trouble (Pr 31:5)

Oppression - The experience of oppression pervades the entire Bible, although it can be of several kinds and come from different quarters. It is often associated with physical and spiritual burdens, the violence of war or unjust social and political systems.When the people of God endure oppression at the hand of other nations, it is borne in either cruel servitude or war. The harsh oppression that profoundly marked the theology of the OT was the slavery suffered in Egypt. The Israelites were afflicted by ruthless taskmasters and threatened with infanticide; any hint of rebellion brought more irrational demands from the pharaoh (Ex 1–2, 5). This oppression at the dawn of the nation’s history also produced another key element that becomes a recurring pattern throughout the Bible: the people of God, when desperate under oppression, cry out to him for mercy and deliverance. In Egypt the   p 608  Israelites called out to the Lord, who remembered the covenant (Ex 2:23–25; Ex 3:7–9; Deut 26:6–8). (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Deuteronomy 26:8  and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;

  • the Lord: De 4:34 Dt 5:15 Ex 12:37,41,51 Ex 13:3 Ex 14:16-31 Ps 78:12-13 Ps 105:27-38 Ps 106:7-10 Isa 63:12 
  • with great: De 4:34 

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 4:34 “Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

Deuteronomy 5:15) ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. 

Deuteronomy 7:19) the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

Deuteronomy 11:2) “Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the LORD your God–His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm,

Deuteronomy 26:8) and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;

Deuteronomy 6:22 ‘Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household;

Deuteronomy 29:3   the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders.

Deuteronomy 34:11  for all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him (MOSES) to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land,

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 5 - MIGHTY HAND & OUTSTRETCHED ARM

and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror (that which causes fear) and with signs and wonders - Here they call their Deliverer and His deliverance by a mighty hand and outstretched arm a metaphorical picture of God's awesome, omnipotent power that rescued Israel from Egyptian bondage. This phrase is a repeated refrain used by Moses to describe the supernatural, miraculous deliverance of Israel from out of the hands of the most powerful nation on earth at that time. Egypt's power was no match for Yahweh's power! Terror was experienced by the pagan nations that saw God's deliverance (Ex 15:15-16+) and terror was used by God to strike fear in Israel's enemies (read Ex 23:27+). Great terror and with signs and wonders is "shorthand" for the ten plagues Yahweh sent against the nation of Egypt (cf Dt 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 11:3; 26:8; 29:2; 34:11).

"God’s deliverance of Israel becomes an occasion for fear (TERROR) to strike the nations who hear of the deliverance (Ex 15:11, 16; 23:27; 34:10; Deut 4:34; 26:8; 34:12)." (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Utley - “by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm” These are anthropomorphic idioms (Anthropomorphic Language to describe God) used to describe YHWH’s power of deliverance on behalf of Israel (cf. Dt 5:15; 6:21; 7:19; 9:29; 11:2; 26:8). In some texts the phrase is shortened to “mighty hand” (cf. Dt 3:24; 6:21; 7:8; 9:26; Josh. 4:24) or “outstretched arm” (cf. Dt 9:29; Exod. 6:6). This idiomatic terminology has a specific parallel in Egyptian texts related to the “king”.  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

In a number of places there is a reference to God’s outstretched hand. The phrase in Ex 6:6, בִּזְרֹועַ נְטוּיָה וּבִשְׁפָטִים גְּדֹלִים (“with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment”) should be distinguished from the phrase בְּיָ֤ד חֲזָקָה֙ וּבִזְרֹועַ נְטוּיָה (“by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm”) in Deut 4:34. This latter phrase also occurs in Dt 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8, and in the literature influenced by Deuteronomy (1 Ki 8:42; Ps 136:12; Jer 32:21; Ezek 20:33, 34; cf. also 2 Chron 6:32). Mighty hand may appear alone (Deut 3:24; 6:21; 7:8; 9:26; Josh 4:24), as may “outstretched arm” (Ex 6:6; Deut 9:29). Both expressions have their counterpart in Egyptian royal typology. Thus, in the Amarna texts there is reference to the Egyptian king’s “strong arm” (zuruḥ dannu; in EA 286:12; 287:27; 288:14, 34) by Abdi-hepa, king of Jerusalem. For the phrase “outstretched arm” (cf. Egyptian pḏ ḏrt, or pḏʿ, or pḏ ʿimnt) and the representations of the outstretched arm of kings and gods in Egyptian iconography, see Keel, 158–60.  (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 92)


MIGHTY HAND AND AN OUTSTRETCHED ARM Both the arm and the hand are biblical images of power. Typically such images suggest power toward a purpose, although the agent may be either divine or human. For example, the psalmist praises the Lord, whose “arm is endued with power” (Ps 89:13NIV); but elsewhere he pleads with God to “break the arm of the wicked and evil man” (Ps 10:15) who preys upon the weak. Depending on context the images of the arm or hand can represent power in action, either good or evil. Dominating all else is the epithet “outstretched arm” (nearly twenty references, e.g., Ex 6:6 and 15:16; Deut 4:34). Whenever this formulaic phrase appears, it is always in reference to the power of God. This image can apply to God’s power in creation, in the deliverance of his people or in his judgment. In Jeremiah such imagery carries the theme of God as Creator. It is “by great power and outstretched arm” (Jer 32:17) that the Lord creates the heavens and the earth; when God speaks to the nations surrounding Israel, he uses the same image to describe his creation of the earth and its creatures (Jer 27:5). In Deuteronomy the outstretched arm of God appears repeatedly as an image of God’s power to redeem Israel from slavery in Egypt. Here the image is especially vivid: God stretches forth his arm, reaching his people where they are and saving them from their distress. Such an event is a unique attestation of God’s power; nothing like it has ever been seen before (Deut 4:34). In reference to God’s deliverance of Israel, Moses describes God’s “mighty hand and outstretched arm” in a synonymous parallel “with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders” (Deut 26:8). Israel’s deliverance and all the miraculous events accompanying it are contained in the image of God’s outstretched arm. But God’s outstretched arm also functions as a picture of divine judgment. In response to Israel’s idolatry, God allows the Babylonians to take Jerusalem, proclaiming, “I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath” (Jer 21:5). The image is powerfully ironic: the very power of God that brought Israel into being is now allied with Babylon toward her defeat. (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Related Resource:

Deuteronomy 26:9  and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

  • He has: Jos 23:14 1Sa 7:12 Ps 105:44 107:7,8 Ac 26:22 
  • a land: Ex 3:8 Eze 20:6,15 

Related Passages:

Joshua 23:14 “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.

Exodus 3:8  “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

Exodus 3:17 “So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’

Exodus 13:5 “It shall be when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall observe this rite in this month.

Exodus 33:3  “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.” 

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 6 - LAND OF MILK AND HONEY

and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey - So God brought they out and now was preparing to bring them into the Promised Land. Notice there is not mention of the "Wilderness Wanderings!" 

Utley a land flowing with milk and honey” This was both a physical description and the legal designation for Palestine in the Assyrian documents. God gave them a wonderfully productive and beautiful inheritance (i.e., Canaan or Palestine, cf. Dt 6:3; 11:9; 26:9; 27:3; 31:20).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Milk and honey - Exod. 3:8; Exod. 3:17; Exod. 13:5; Exod. 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13:27; Num. 14:8; Num. 16:13; Num. 16:14; Deut. 6:3; Deut. 11:9; Deut. 26:9; Deut. 26:15; Deut. 27:3; Deut. 31:20; Jos. 5:6; Jer. 11:5; Jer. 32:22; Ezek. 20:6; Ezek. 20:15

LAND FLOWING WITH MILK & HONEY “A land flowing with milk and honey,” a phrase that encapsulates the abundant goodness of the Promised Land, first appears in God’s conversation with Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3:8. It subsequently occurs fourteen times in the Pentateuch, once in Joshua and several times in Jeremiah and Ezekiel within contexts alluding to Israel’s history. A few passages, such as Deuteronomy 8:7–9 and 11:10–12, give detailed descriptions of the land’s suitability for agriculture. According to these descriptions, the land destined for settlement boasts abundant water, wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey. The phrase “land of milk and honey” uses two important agricultural products as a summary statement about the lush conditions of the land. The twelve men who spied out the land exclaimed, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!” (Num 13:27NIV). Why did milk and honey become the favored pair of items for the evocative epithet, when other options existed? Since the Bible does not itself explicate the epithet, we are left to surmise. Next to bread, milk was the most important staple in the diet of the Hebrews. A land that produced an abundance of milk had to be rich in pasturage, so by extension a picture of successful farming enters one’s imagination. Honey, valued for its sweetness rather than as a necessity of life, was rare enough to rank as a luxury. As images of desirability and abundance, therefore, these two images combine to form a picture of total satisfaction. The image of “flowing” suggests a rich fullness that surpasses all need and sets up a contrast with the arid wilderness. Perhaps they are even an example of Hebrew merism (naming opposites to cover everything between as well), suggesting the whole spectrum of food, from the necessary to the luxurious.  (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Deuteronomy 26:10  'Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.' And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;

  • I have: De 26:2 26:17 1Ch 29:14 Ro 2:1 1Pe 4:10,11 
  • And you: De 26:4 18:4 Ex 22:29 Nu 18:11-13 
  • worship: De 6:10-13 Ps 22:27,29 86:9 95:6 Pr 3:9 Isa 66:23 Rev 22:9 1Co 10:31 

CONFESSION OF FIRSTFRUITS
PART 7 - WORSHIP

Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me - The confession associated with the presentation of the firstfruits of the land ends in this passage. The is the tangible evidence that God was faithful to keep His promises. Note the emphasis again is on the fact that the land (ground) was a gift from Yahweh, given by His grace and not because they had earned it or deserved it. The natural human tendency is to forget the grace of God and His gracious gifts to us and this ritual of firstfruits was to be a "memory jogger" so that Israel maintained a proper spiritual perspective on all of life. (cf the warning in Dt 8:11-20+). 

THOUGHT - Believers do well to have a frequent "firstfruits ritual" (e.g., an "attitude of gratitude ritual" not legalistically but as the Spirit leads under grace) reminding themselves and glorifying God, "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." (Ro 11:36+) Also presentation of our bodies to God as a living sacrifice is an act of worship we would do well to practice frequently. In one sense we should do it definitively, once and for all, but in another sense it is good to repeat this presentation to the Holy One as it energizes our memory as to whose we are and who we are in Christ. (see Ro 12:1+)

And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God - In Dt 26:4 the priest takes the basket from their hand. This is not a discrepancy because in giving it to the priest they were in effect setting it down before the LORD, the priest simply functioning as the intermediary and Moses does not give us a detailed account of the actual ritual.

The fact that they have firstfruits to set down before Yahweh implies that one growing season has past. An alternative thought is that the Israelites dedicated the produce they found growing. Either way what James says holds true "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17+)

Worship (bow down, prostrate oneself - in the Hithpael stem = expresses "reflexive" action) (07812) shachah means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence, to worship. The idea is to assume a prostrate position as would in paying homage to royalty (Ge 43:28) or to God (Ge 24:26, Ps 95:6). The idea inherent in shachah is to take a bowing stance, as a position of submission to a superior, in this context Yahweh. Observe some of the uses of shachah n the Psalms as they are very instructive/convicting - Ps. 5:7; Ps. 22:27; Ps. 22:29; Ps. 29:2; Ps. 45:11; Ps. 66:4; Ps. 72:11; Ps. 81:9; Ps. 86:9; Ps. 95:6; Ps. 96:9; Ps. 97:7; Ps. 99:5; Ps. 99:9; Ps. 106:19; Ps. 132:7; Ps. 138:2.

The Septuagint translates shachah with proskuneo (pros = before + kuneo = kiss/adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. When Jesus Christ was born into this world, He was attended and worshipped by angels. (Lu 2:13f+). Proskuneo represents the most common Near Eastern act of adoration and reverence and also carries the idea of profound awe and respect. The word proskuneo literally means to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage, to prostrate oneself in homage, to do reverence to, to adore and so to worship and show respect. In the ancient Oriental (especially Persia) the mode of salutation between persons of equal rank was to kiss each other on the lips. When the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek. When one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, and as he was bowing down he would be throwing kisses toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that is intended by the Greek writers in the use of the verb proskuneo .

THOUGHT - Indeed, let all believers "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array." (Ps 29:2) Is your "array" holy (cf Ro 12:1+)? If not it is time to obey Peter's command "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) holy (hagios) yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”  (1 Peter 1:14-16+) Play and ponder the words of the great hymn Take Time to Be Holy, and then live it out and BE HOLY empowered by His Holy Word and His Holy Spirit! That's the way to really worship Yahweh, not just singing on Sunday, but living holy lives Monday through Saturday!

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Deuteronomy 26:11  and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household.

  • rejoice: De 12:7,12,18 16:11 28:47 Ps 63:3-5 100:1,2 Isa 65:14 Zec 9:17 Ac 2:46,47 Php 4:4 1Ti 6:17,18 
  • the Levite: 1Co 9:11 

REJOICING BEFORE
THE LORD

and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household - Note the motive for rejoicing are the good gifts of the LORD (Isn't this a "worship service" each of us could have every single day, for every day He gives us good gifts!) The worship in v12 is to be a time of great rejoicing. The Levites and aliens are mentioned as they both in some way were dependent on the Israelites for their "fruits." 

Deuteronomy 16:11+ And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.

Utley - Worship should be joyful! Reverence cannot be defined as silence and somberness! The rabbis later used this verse to refer to rejoicing over the giving of the Law (cf.Dt 26:14).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Guzik

When we receive from the Lord, and give back to Him, it makes us rejoice. It is the proper response of a creature to his Creator, who has supplied him with all good things. (Commentary)

IVP Bible Background Commentary sharing with Levites and aliens. Once again the “protected classes” are listed, and the command is made to share a portion of the sacrificial offering with them. In the case of Levites and aliens, neither group is allowed to own land, and thus both are economically impaired (see 1:16; 12:18; 14:29; 16:11). Their receipt of aid is balanced in the case of the Levites by their service as priests and in the case of aliens by their itinerant labor service.

Alien - stranger, foreigner, i.e., one who is of a different geographical or cultural group, often with less rights than the reference group (Ge 15:13) Vine adds that they word means "client, stranger. A "client” was not simply a foreigner (nakri) or a stranger (zar). He was a permanent resident, once a citizen of another land, who had moved into his new residence. Frequently he left his homeland under some distress, as when Moses fled to Midian (Exod. 2:22). Whether the reason for his journey was to escape some difficulty or merely to seek a new place to dwell, he was one who sought acceptance and refuge. Consequently he might also call himself a toshab, a settler. Neither the settler nor the “client” could possess land. In the land of Canaan the possession of land was limited to members or descendants of the original tribal members. Only they were full citizens who enjoyed all the rights of citizenry, which meant sharing fully in the inheritance of the gods and forefathers—the feudal privileges and responsibilities (cf. Ezek. 47:22).

In Israel a ger, like a priest, could possess no land and enjoyed the special privileges of the third tithe. Every third year the tithe of the harvest was to be deposited at the city gate with the elders and distributed among “the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates …” (Deut. 14:29). In the eschaton such “clients” were to be treated as full citizens: “And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it [the land] by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel” (Ezek. 47:22). Under the Mosaic law aliens were not slaves but were usually in the service of some Israelite whose protection they enjoyed (Deut. 24:14). This, however, was not always the case. Sometimes a “client” was rich and an Israelite would be in his service (Lev. 25:47).

The ger was to be treated (except for feudal privileges and responsibilities) as an Israelite, being responsible to and protected by the law: “Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him” (Deut. 1:16); “ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you” (Lev. 18:26); “ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 24:22). The ger also enjoyed the Sabbath rest (Lev. 25:6) and divine protection (Deut. 10:18). God commanded Israel to love the “client” as himself (Lev. 19:34).

The ger could also be circumcised (Exod. 12:48) and enjoy all the privileges of the true religion: the Passover (Exod. 12:48–49), the Atonement feast (Lev. 16:29), presenting offerings (Lev. 17:8), and all the feasts (Deut. 16:11). He was also obligated to keep the purity laws (Lev. 17:15).

Israel is told that God is the true owner of all the land and its people are but “clients” owing Him feudal obedience (Lev. 19:34; Deut. 10:19). They are admonished to treat the client with justice, righteousness, and love because like Abraham (Gen. 23:4) they were “clients” in Egypt (Exod. 22:21). In legal cases the “client” could appeal directly to God the great feudal Lord (Lev. 24:22).

Rejoice (08055samah A verb meaning to rejoice; to be joyful, to be glad; to gloat. It describes a state and agitation of rejoicing, of being happy: of people (1 Sam. 11:9); of tribes of Israel (Deut. 33:18); of God rejoicing in His works (Ps. 104:31); of people rejoicing in the Lord Himself (Deut. 12:12; Ps. 32:11). It takes on the sense of making others rejoice, to be glad in its intensive stem (Jer. 20:15); making people rejoice the heart of others (Ps. 19:8). Wine can gladden the hearts of persons (Eccl. 10:19). God gladdens His people with His presence (Isa. 56:7); but also their enemies when He judges Israel (Ps. 89:42). Although the word is used of all rejoicing, it is found most often in Psalms and describes religious and spiritual rejoicing (Ps. 5:11; 9:2; 14:7; 16:9; 19:8, etc.; but also 1 Sam. 2:1; Deut. 12:7; Joel 2:23, etc.). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament) See also: Joy (gladness, pleasure, delight) (08057simchah; Joyful (glad, rejoice, rejoicing) (08056sameach

Deuteronomy 26:12  "When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

  • tithe: Lev 27:30 Nu 18:24 
  • the third: De 14:22-29 
  • give it: De 12:17-19 16:14 Pr 14:21 Php 4:18,19

Related Passages:

Dt 12:19+Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. 

Numbers 18:21-24+ “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. 22 “The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die. 23 “Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 “For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’” 

TITHE IN THE
THIRD YEAR

When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied - The tithe was required of Israel every year, but on every third year, the tithe was not brought to the sanctuary but kept at home and used to feed the Levites and the poor. Note the verb be satisfied which means the Israelites were not to scrimp and give less, so they could keep more (this is always then fleshly temptation for all of us!) The poor and needy were to be filled to the brim so to speak. Obedience to this command brought blessing from the LORD (Dt 14:29).

Deuteronomy 14:28-29+ “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. 29 “The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Utley“in the third year” This refers to the “poor tithe,” administered locally by the tither, but attested to at the central sanctuary (cf. Dt 26:13).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Eugene Merrill notes that "it is not entirely clear what was meant by the “third year” tithe. Most likely, what normally went to the Lord at the central sanctuary (Deut 14:22–27) was to go to the needy, including the levites, every third year (Deut 14:28–29). One would still be giving to God by giving to his people (cf. Matt 10:42; 25:40), so the significance of the tithe as tribute was in no wise diminished." This understanding is reinforced by the reference to the tithe here as “the sacred portion” (v. 13; Heb. haqqōdeš, “the holy thing”), a term that suggests its exclusive ownership by the Lord (cf. Lev 5:15–16; 19:24; 27:28). Furthermore, the offerer was to say, “I have removed from my house the sacred portion,” the verb (bāʿar) referring here in this cultic context to the presentation to the Lord of consecrated things that belong to him. The literal meaning is “to exterminate,” that is, to totally separate what is God’s from one’s house so that it might (as here) be given to others (NAC-Dt)

In the third year - A major aspect of Israelite legal tradition involves making provision for groups classified as weak or poor: widows, orphans and the resident alien (see Ex 22:22; Dt 10:18–19; 24:17–21). Thus the tithe from the third year (not an additional tithe in that year) is to be set aside and used to support the vulnerable of society. Concern for the needy is evident in Mesopotamian legal collections as early as the mid-third millennium, but this generally addresses protection of rights and guarantee of justice in the courts rather than financial provision. (IVP Bible Background Commentary)

To the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow. Because they lack either land or the protection of a household, it becomes the obligation of the nation to provide food and legal protection to these vulnerable people (see 1:16). In this case, the form of support which they are to receive is the tithe in the third year. However, it may be presumed that additional provision was made throughout the year, every year, for them (see Ruth 2:2–18). (IVP Bible Background Commentary)


SPECIAL TOPIC: TITHES IN THE MOSAIC LEGISLATION

A. Scripture References:

    For Priests and Central Sanctuary   For Local Levites    For Local Poor
      1. Lev. 27:30–32+
      2. Deut. 12:6–7, 11, 17+
                                                                 Deut. 12:12+
      3. Deut. 14:22–26+
                                                                 Deut. 14:27+              Deut. 14:28–29+
      4.                                                                                          Deut. 26:12–15+
      5. Num. 18:21–24+
                                                           Nu 18:25–29+
                                                       (Levites must tithe
                                              of their tithe to central shrine)
                                                                                                   Num. 18:21–29+
      6.                                            Neh. 10:37, 38                      Neh. 12:44
      7. Mal. 3:8, 9+

B. Examples of tithing predate Mosaic legislation
      1. Genesis 14:20, Abraham to Melchizedek (Heb. 7:2–9)
      2. Genesis 28:22, Jacob to YHWH

C.Tithes of Israel were used to support the central sanctuary, but every third year the national tithes were directed exclusively to the local poor.

Deuteronomy 26:13  "You shall say before the LORD your God, 'I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.

  • Levite: De 26:12 14:29 24:19-21 Job 31:16-20 
  • I have not: Ps 18:21-24 26:1-3,6 Ac 24:16 2Co 1:12 11:31 1Th 2:10 1Jn 3:17-22 
  • forgotten: Ps 119:93,139,141,153,176 Pr 3:1 

ANOTHER CONFESSION
PART 1 - GIVEN TO THE NEEDY

You shall say before the LORD your God, 'I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow - Sacred portion or set apart portion because it is set apart to Yahweh (cf. Lev 27:30). First the Israelite is to make a "positive confession" (see "negative" in following passage). 

Sacred (holy) (06944qodesh kodhesh) is a masculine noun which means set apart, distinct, unique. Qodesh describes that which has been consecrated or set apart for sacred use and was not to be used for common or profane tasks. If it were used for profane things, in simple terms, it became "not holy."

NET NOTE - Heb “the sacred thing.” The term הַקֹּדֶשׁ (haqqodesh) likely refers to an offering normally set apart for the LORD but, as a third-year tithe, given on this occasion to people in need. Sometimes this is translated as “the sacred portion” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV), but that could sound to a modern reader as if a part of the house were being removed and given away.  (Deuteronomy 26)

According to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments -To forget is just one step away from transgression! The declaration of this affirmation would itself serve as a good memory jogger! 

Deuteronomy 26:14  'I have not eaten of it while mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of the LORD my God; I have done according to all that You have commanded me.

  • eaten: De 16:11 Lev 7:20 21:1,11 Ho 9:4 Mal 2:13 
  • the dead: Ps 106:28 Eze 24:17 

Related Passages:

Psalm 106:28 They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, And ate sacrifices offered to the dead. 

ANOTHER CONFESSION
PART 2 - OBEDIENCE AFFIRMED

I have not eaten of it while mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor offered any of it to the dead - NLT =  I have not eaten any of it while in mourning; I have not handled it while I was ceremonially unclean; and I have not offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God and have done everything you commanded me."

Here each Israelite makes three statements of denial (a "negative confession" so to speak), all of which relate to maintenance of purity because even some of the mourning rites were pagan (and impure). Note this is not referring to the Israelite eating unclean food but speaks of the fact that he himself is not unclean, as he would be by partaking in any of these activities.

Utley - “while mourning” Some mourning rites were pagan in origin. This Hebrew word is associated with idolatry (BDB 19, cf. Hos. 9:4 and Jer. 16:5–7), which includes some of these local pagan customs. Many scholars believe all of the procedures mentioned in v. 14 relate to local Canaanite annual worship practices.  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Merrill on mourning - The noun translated “mourning” (ʾōneh) is derived not from the verb ʾāwan (“be strong, mighty”) but from ʾānâ (“mourn”). It occurs only one other time in Hos 9:4 in the context of pagan rituals in which grain and wine were consumed and offered as sacrifices (Hos 9:1–5). Israelite mourning, to the contrary, was to include fasting as Ezek 24:15–24 makes clear. Ordinary mourning occasioned by death was not in view here, however, for the offerer was to disclaim having made any offering to the dead. This no doubt is to be understood in terms of Canaanite ritual in which deities such as Baal who had been consigned to the Netherworld were sustained by food offerings until they could revive and return to their procreative function on the earth. (NAC-Dt)

I have not eaten of it while mourning This threefold litany of ritual purity and obedience, similar in form to Job’s “oath of clearance” (Job 31:), maintains that the offerer has not contaminated the sacred meal by being in an impure state. For example, persons who had come in contact with the dead were considered unclean (Lev 5:2). Hittite ritual for the preparation of the king’s food and meal offerings for the gods included meticulous attention to physical cleanliness as well as the exclusion of ritually impure animals (dogs and pigs) and ritually unclean persons. The Deuteronomic statute may also be tied to ritual meals associated with the ancestor cult or with Canaanite or Mesopotamian fertility rituals (see women mourning for Dumuzi/ Tammuz in Ezek 8:14). (IVP Bible Background Commentary)

Offered any of it to the dead - In this case the assurance is given that the sacrificial meal has not been contaminated by unclean persons or polluting actions, such as giving a portion as an offering to the dead (aka pagan ancestral worship practices). This might include food provided for the spirit of a dead person, to strengthen it for its journey to Sheol (as seen in Tobit 4:17) or to learn something of the future (Deut 18:11). In addition, an association between eating “sacrifices offered to the dead” and the worship of the Canaanite god Baal is made in Psalm 106:28. Either purpose would place reliance on powers other than Yahweh, and both were therefore condemned by the biblical writer as polluting and leading to destruction.

I have listened to the voice of the LORD my God; I have done according to all that You have commanded me - This would be an addendum to the Israelites "positive confession" in verse 14. With his lips the individual who makes the tithe offering is affirming that he has "heard and heeded" God's Word and God's commands as declared to them by Moses, God's intermediary.

Guzik

The prayer described here shows that the giving was done with the right kind of heart. God not only wants us to give, but to give with the right heart.  (Commentary)

Deuteronomy 26:15  'Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.'

  • Look down: De 26:7 1Ki 8:27,43 Ps 102:19,20 Isa 57:15 61:1 63:15 66:1,2 Zec 2:13 Mt 6:9 Ac 7:49 
  • bless : Ps 28:9 51:18 90:17 115:12-15 137:5,6 Jer 31:23 
  • as you swore: Heb 6:13-18 

ANOTHER CONFESSION
PART 3 - LOOK & BLESS

Related Passages:

Hebrews 6:13-18+  For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey - Look down and bless are both bold commands, not suggesting they could force Yahweh to "obey" but simply reflecting their confidence that this was Yahweh's heart and predisposition to His children when they obey Him. That premise is still true today beloved intercessor. 

Utley - This describes YHWH in transcendent terms (cf. 4:36; 1 Kgs. 8:27–30; Isa. 66:1). He remained in heaven. He sent an angel to lead His people (cf. Ex 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2). One must balance God’s holy otherness (transcendence) and His present intimate love (immanence).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Merrill notes that God's "transcendence did not nullify his interest in and involvement with his covenant nation. He had made solemn promises to their fathers to give them the land of Canaan, one that flowed with milk and honey, not because of fructifying forces attributed to nature gods but because of his providential grace (cf. Deut 11:8–12)." (Ibid)

As You swore to our fathers - Once again they base their prayer on the immutable promises Yahweh made to the patriarchs. This reminds me of John's instructions for "efficacious" prayer...

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will (THIS IS THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS THE HEAVEN'S GATES!), He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.  (1 Jn 5:14-15+).

Deuteronomy 26:16  "This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.

  • This day: De 4:1-6 6:1 11:1,8 12:1,32 Mt 28:20 
  • be careful to do: De 6:5,17 8:2 13:3,4 Joh 14:15,21-24 1Jn 5:2,3 

OBEDIENCE IS THE KEY
TO GOD'S BLESSINGS

Moses now interrupts the confession of the Israelites with his exhortation to the people.

This day -The Hebrew expression hayyom, "today," or hayyom hazzeh, "this day," occurs over 70 times in Deuteronomy. It stresses the continual immediacy of God's revelation, of His presence, and of the resulting call to respond. His word is not just a word spoken in the past but is always "living and powerful" (Heb. 4:12), providing present assurance and demanding present obedience. This is always the case when God's revelation is heard.

Utley explains that "This is a summary conclusion and commitment (i.e., ratification) to the specific laws of chapters 12–26. This covenant affirmation was to be repeated by each new generation, individually."  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

The LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances (see special topic Terms for God's Revelation) - This refers to all the commands Moses has given in the the preceding chapters (especially Dt 12-26). 

You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul - This instruction needed to be tattooed on their hearts (and our hearts)! It was necessary to be careful because the tendency of the fallen flesh is first to forget and then to forsake the commandments and do your own thing (we all understand this spiritual dynamic all too well!) The phrase speaks of the obedience not being an external, legalistic obedience but an obedience motivated and empowered by an internal desire to be pleasing to Yahweh. Such a heart has been advocated in Deut 10:16+ ("circumcise then your heart..") and promised in Deut 30:6+ ("The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants...).

Be careful is shamar which means to keep, watch, preserve, to guard, to be careful, to watch over, to watch carefully over, to be on one’s guard. It is one of the key words in the book of Deuteronomy - 

Deut. 2:4; Deut. 4:2; Deut. 4:6; Deut. 4:9; Deut. 4:15; Deut. 4:23; Deut. 4:40; Deut. 5:1; Deut. 5:10; Deut. 5:12; Deut. 5:29; Deut. 6:2; Deut. 6:3; Deut. 6:12; Deut. 6:17; Deut. 6:25; Deut. 7:8; Deut. 7:9; Deut. 7:11; Deut. 7:12; Deut. 8:1; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:6; Deut. 8:11; Deut. 10:13; Deut. 11:1; Deut. 11:8; Deut. 11:16; Deut. 11:22; Deut. 11:32; Deut. 12:1; Deut. 12:13; Deut. 12:19; Deut. 12:28; Deut. 12:30; Deut. 12:32; Deut. 13:4; Deut. 13:18; Deut. 15:9; Deut. 16:1; Deut. 16:12; Deut. 17:10; Deut. 19:9; Deut. 23:9; Deut. 23:23; Deut. 24:8; Deut. 26:16; Deut. 26:17; Deut. 26:18; Deut. 27:1; Deut. 28:1; Deut. 28:9; Deut. 28:45; Deut. 28:58; Deut. 29:9; Deut. 30:10; Deut. 30:16; Deut. 31:12; Deut. 33:9

Deuteronomy 26:17  "You have today declared the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice.

  • declared: De 5:2,3 Ex 15:2 20:19 24:7 2Ch 34:31 Isa 12:2 44:5 Zec 13:9 Ac 27:23 Ro 6:13 1Co 6:19,20 2Co 8:5 
  • and: De 10:12,13 13:4,5 30:16 Jos 22:5 1Ki 2:3,4 
  • keep: Ps 147:19,20 
  • listen: De 13:18 15:5 

ISRAEL'S AFFIRMATION
OF COVENANT LOYALTY

You have today declared the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice - In light of their declaration it follows that they would walk, keep and listen to the LORD their God. 

Utley on declared - This is a rare Hebrew term (Hiphil stem, used only here in v. 17 and in v. 18. The worshiper declared his obedience and allegiance to YHWH and YHWH declared back to the worshiper his election and call to be His unique people (i.e., covenant).  (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

Deuteronomy 26:18  "The LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments;

  • The LORD has today: De 7:6 Dt 14:2 Dt 28:9 Ex 6:7 Ex 19:5,6 Jer 31:32-34 Eze 36:25-27 Tit 2:14 
  • keep: Ps 119:6 Ro 16:26 

Related Passage: BELIEVERS AS GOD'S "TREASURED POSSESSION"

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession (KJV = peculiar), zealous for good deeds. 

Exodus 19:5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

Deuteronomy 7:6  “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 

Deuteronomy 14:2   “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 

ISRAEL YAHWEH'S
TREASURED POSSESSION

The LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments - Yes they are Yahweh's treasured possession but note the last phrase that you should keep all His commandments. The clear implication is that this great title would become tarnished (so to speak) if they failed to keep all His commandments! 

Treasured possession (05459segullah  is related to an Akkadian cognate, sikiltu, means "private possessions." Segullah refers to a treasured possession, that which is valued personal property, that which is owned by someone and in which the owner has special affection or holds special value (Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17). Segullah most frequently occurs in reference to something God chooses, here referring to Israel, who God choose from all the nations of the world (Ex 19:5, Dt 7:6, 14:2). Segullah speaks of personal wealth in 1Chr 29:3, Eccl 2:8. NET Note - Segullah is a technical term referring to all the recipients of God's redemptive grace, especially Israel. The LORD says here that he will not forget even one individual in the day of judgment and reward.  (Deuteronomy 26)

NIDOTTE - סְגֻלָּה (segullâ), nom. personal possession, treasure; crown jewel (#6035).

ANE Ugar. sglt, treasure (?) (UT, 1735); Akk. sug/kullu, herd; sikiltu, possession.

OT 1. In a profane, secular sense the word refers to one’s personal possessions (1 Chron 29:3), in this case, David’s presentation of his own gold and silver to the temple of his God (cf. 27:25–31; cf. also Eccl 2:8).
2. In the theological usage of the term its most important referent is Israel, whom God makes into his סְגֻלָּה (Exod 19:5), his own unique possession. Although all nations are his, Israel will become the “crown jewel” among all the nations. Her unique quality lies in her position/function/character as his kingdom of priests and a holy nation (set aside unto him; see also Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4).
In Malachi the nom. refers to the community that has a heart to fear the Lord (Mal 3:17). They are the Lord’s and have a glorious future, unlike the complacent and rebellious (3:18–4:1).

P-B The LXX translates it as λαὸς περιούσιος in Exod 19:5.

NT In Titus 2:14 in the NT the same word is used to refer to God’s new people through Christ. 1 Pet 2:9 quotes Exod 19:5, using περιποίησις, which means the same thing—a special possession, “a people belonging to God.”

Septuagint uses periousios which means of one's own possession, one's own and here qualifies peoplePeriousios describes the property one owned as a rich and distinctive possession, a possession which is of very special status. Titus 2:14 is the only NT use of periousios where Paul figuratively describes God's redeemed people as Christ's costly possession and His distinctive treasure. Believers are those that belong in a special sense to Christ. What an incredible word picture of blood bought, heaven bound sinners who are now the Savior's saints!

Marvin Vincent - Periousios is from a participle meaning to be over and above: hence periousía = abundance, plenty. Periousios also means possessed over and above, that is, specially selected for one’s own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution. Hence correctly represented by peculiar, derived from peculium, a private purse, a special acquisition of a member of a family distinct from the property administered for the good of the whole family. Accordingly the sense is given in Ep 1:14, (see note) where believers are said to have been sealed with a view to redemption of possession ("with a view to the redemption of God's own possession"), or redemption which will give possession, thus = acquisition. So 1Pe 2:9 (Click note ) where Christians are styled a people for acquisition, to be acquired by God as His peculiar possession.". (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament: Vol. 4, Page 346) (Bolding added)

Wuest puts it plainly = Christians are the private possession of God.

THOUGHT - Do my thoughts, words and deeds over the last 24 hours support Wuest's description of "Who I am" and "Whose I am"?

Here are the other three Septuagint uses of periousios

Ex 19:5+ "Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession [periousios] among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine" (NAS)

Dt 7:6+ "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession [periousios] out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth." (NAS)

Dt 14:2+ "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar [periousios] people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (King James Version)

This passage also recalls Peter's words in 1 Peter 2:9+

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, (peripoiesis - also used in Eph 1:14+ = "the redemption of God’s own possession") so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Deuteronomy 26:19  and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken."

  • high above: De 4:7-8 Dt 28:1 Ps 148:14 Isa 62:12 66:20,21 Jer 13:11 33:9 Eze 16:12-14 Zep 3:19 1Pe 2:5 Rev 1:5,6 
  • an holy: De 7:6 28:9 Ex 19:6 1Pe 2:9 

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 4:7-8 “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? 8“Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 

Deuteronomy 28:1 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

GOD'S PROMISE OF
STELLAR STATUS

And that He will set you high above all nations which He has made - This incredible promise is couple with the last phrase in the previous passage that you should keep all His commandments. It was neither automatic nor guaranteed. This wonderful promise from Yahweh hinged on Israel's obedience to Yahweh.

NET NOTE on and that - Heb “so that.” Verses 18–19 are one sentence in the Hebrew text, but the NET translation divides it into three sentences for stylistic reasons. The first clause in verse 19 gives a result of the preceding clause. When Israel keeps God’s law, God will bless them with fame and honor (cf. NAB “he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory”; NLT “And if you do, he will make you greater than any other nation”).  (Deuteronomy 26)

Utley “He will set you high above the nations” This is repeated in Dt 28:1, 13, but note the tragedy of Jer. 13:11 and Jer 7:23–26! The NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 1035, also sees this verse as Israel’s obligation to reflect YHWH’s praiseworthiness to the world! Therefore, this is a “Great Commission” verse! Israel had a “missionary” task (e.g., Jer. 3:17; Jer 4:2; Jer 12:14–17; Jer 16:19; Jer 33:9)!   (Deuteronomy 26 Commentary)

For praise, fame, and honor (Hebrew = “for praise and for a name and for glory.”) - NLT = "Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown." The purpose of Israel being lifted above all the nations of the world. 

Merrill - The net result of covenant obedience was to be Israel’s exaltation above all nations, an exaltation that would render them “praise, fame and honor” (v. 19). This collocation of words (tĕhillâ, šēm, tipʾeret) forms a cliché to express renown of the highest form (cf. Jer 13:11 and 33:9, where the first two words are reversed). It is true that Israel’s selection as a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation” carried with it a heavy responsibility. Their faithful discharge of that responsibility would, however, result in the greatest privilege and honor. (ibid)

And that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken - This is the ultimate goal for Israel, to be a holy people, a people set apart from the profane godless world and unto the true God of this world. They would be His instrument with which He could bless the world and ultimately through whom would come the Messiah, the Savior of the world. So I agree with Utley's comment that this passage is Israel's "GREAT COMMISSION VERSE," the OT version of Mt 28:19-20+