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Deuteronomy 26:5-15

Context
26:5 Then you must affirm before the Lord your God, “A wandering 1  Aramean 2  was my ancestor, 3  and he went down to Egypt and lived there as a foreigner with a household few in number, 4  but there he became a great, powerful, and numerous people. 26:6 But the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed us, forcing us to do burdensome labor. 26:7 So we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and he 5  heard us and saw our humiliation, toil, and oppression. 26:8 Therefore the Lord brought us out of Egypt with tremendous strength and power, 6  as well as with great awe-inspiring signs and wonders. 26:9 Then he brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 26:10 So now, look! I have brought the first of the ground’s produce that you, Lord, have given me.” Then you must set it down before the Lord your God and worship before him. 7  26:11 You will celebrate all the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family, 8  along with the Levites and the resident foreigners among you.

Presentation of the Third-year Tithe

26:12 When you finish tithing all 9  your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows 10  so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages. 11  26:13 Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering 12  from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me. 13  I have not violated or forgotten your commandments. 26:14 I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning, or removed any of it while ceremonially unclean, or offered any of it to the dead; 14  I have obeyed you 15  and have done everything you have commanded me. 26:15 Look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, just as you promised our ancestors – a land flowing with milk and honey.”

1 tn Though the Hebrew term אָבַד (’avad) 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.

2 sn 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).

3 tn Heb “father.”

4 tn Heb “sojourned there few in number.” The words “with a household” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarity.

5 tn Heb “the Lord.” See note on “he” in 26:2.

6 tn Heb “by a powerful hand and an extended arm.” These are anthropomorphisms designed to convey God’s tremendously great power in rescuing Israel from their Egyptian bondage. They are preserved literally in many English versions (cf. KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).

7 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” See note on “he” in 26:2.

8 tn Or “household” (so NASB, NIV, NLT); Heb “house” (so KJV, NRSV).

9 tn Heb includes “the tithes of.” This has not been included in the translation to avoid redundancy.

10 tn The terms “Levite, resident foreigner, orphan, and widow” are collective singulars in the Hebrew text (also in v. 13).

11 tn Heb “gates.”

12 tn 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.

13 tn Heb “according to all your commandment that you commanded me.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

14 sn These practices suggest overtones of pagan ritual, all of which the confessor denies having undertaken. In Canaan they were connected with fertility practices associated with harvest time. See E. H. Merrill, Deuteronomy (NAC), 335-36.

15 tn Heb “the Lord my God.” See note on “he” in 26:2.



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