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Deuteronomy 26:2

Deuteronomy 26:2

That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the
earth
This oblation of firstfruits was different front the sheaf of the firstfruits brought at barley harvest in the time of the passover, and from the two wave loaves of wheaten flour, at wheat harvest, at Pentecost; and from the cake of the first of their dough; see ( Leviticus 23:10 Leviticus 23:17 ) ( Numbers 15:21 ) . They were of one sort only, these of various kinds; though, as Jarchi observes, not all firstfruits, or the first of all sorts of fruits, were to be brought; for all were not bound to firstfruits, but the seven kinds only, called here the fruit of the earth, and are particularly mentioned in ( Deuteronomy 8:8 ) ; and their manner of observing, selecting, and gathering their firstfruits, as the same writer notes, was this;

``a man goes into his field, and sees a mature fig, he binds a rush about it for a sign, and says, lo, this is firstfruits: and so, if he sees a bunch of grapes, or a pomegranate, more mature than the rest, he does the same,''

as is observed in the Misnah F26:

which thou shalt bring of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee;
and the land being given them, and such a fruitful one as it was, they needed not to grudge bringing the firstfruits of it to the Lord. The quantity they were to bring is not fixed; this was left to their generosity; but, according to tradition, they were to bring the sixtieth part; so says Maimonides F1,

``the firstfruits have no measure (no fixed measure) from the law; but from the words of the wise men, a man ought to separate one out of sixty:''

and shalt put [it] in a basket;
for the more convenient carriage of them and for the more decent oblation and waving of them together, The rich brought their firstfruits in baskets of silver and of gold, the poor in wicker baskets of willows barked F2. The firstfruits of the seven several kinds were all put together in one basket, not into separate ones, or into as many as there were kinds; but then, as the last mentioned writer observes F3,

``they did not bring them mixed, but the barley (was put) beneath, or lowermost, and the wheat over that; and the olives above that, and the dates over them, and the pomegranates over them, and the figs uppermost in the vessel; and there was some one thing which separated between every kind, as leaves, and the like; and they put about the figs clusters of grapes without:''

and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to
place his name there;
which, as the event showed, was the city of Jerusalem; hither from all parts of the country were the firstfruits to be brought. All which may teach us, that we are to honour God with the firstfruits of our increase; that we are to be thankful in every thing, and for everything we have; and that our mercies should be acknowledged publicly in the place of public worship; and that all our sacrifices of praise should be offered in faith, which may be signified by the basket in which the firstfruits were brought, without which we cannot please God; and this being bore on the shoulder all the while, may denote reverence of God, and a sense of former state and condition, as this might put the Israelites in mind of their carrying loads in Egypt.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 Misn. Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 1.
F1 Maimon. Hilchot Biccurim, c. 2. sect. 17.
F2 Misn. Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 8.
F3 Hilchot Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 7.
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