Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Chapter 26
Summary:Moses' speech continues:
"When you arrive in the land which the Lord your God has given you for an inheritance, after you possess the land you shall take the first of all the fruit you grow in the land, put it in a basket, and bring it to the sanctuary which the Lord your God will choose. You shall give this basket to the priest on duty and say to him that you profess this day that you have come into the country which the Lord promised to our forefathers. The priest shall then take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.

"You shall then say before the Lord your God, 'My father* was a Syrian about to perish, and although he traveled to Egypt with a few, he became a nation there - great, mighty, and populous. The Egyptians mistreated and enslaved us, and when we cried to the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard us, and gazed upon our affliction and oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness - with signs and wonders. He has now brought us into this place, and has given us this land - a land that flows with milk and honey. Now I bring the first crops of the land, which youm O Lord, have given me.' You shall then set it before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. You shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord has given you and feast with your household, the Levites, and the strangers that are amongst you.

"When you have set aside a tithe of your crops in the third year - which is the 'Year of Tithing' - and have given it to the Levites, the stranger, the orphaned, and the widowed, that they may eat in your community, and be fed until they are full; then you shall say before the Lord your God, 'I have brought the sacred offering out of my house, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the orphan, the widow, according to all your commandments that you've commanded me. I have not broken your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I haven't eaten any of the sacred offering while I was in mourning, nor have I taken any portion of it for any unclean use, nor have I have I given any of it to the dead, but I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that he has commanded me. Look down upon us from your holy habitation from heaven, and bless the people of Israel, and the land that you have given us, that you had promised to our forefathers, a land that flows with milk and honey.'

"This day the Lord your God has commanded you to obey these statutes and judgments - therefore you shall keep and obey them with all your heart, and with all your soul. You have proclaimed the Lord this day to be your god, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his judgment, and to hearken to his voice. The Lord has also proclaimed this day that you are to be his special people, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all of his commandments; to make you high above all the other nations which he has made, in praise, in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people unto the Lord your God, as he has spoken."
Notes:1.) Meaning in the use of forefather.
Thoughts:Moses begins the chapter by commanding the Israelites to bring the first of their crops down to the sanctuary in a basket. He tells the Israelites that the basket is to be given to the priest on duty, who is to place the basket before the altar, and then gives them a long rambling speech to recite before God in the sanctuary. The speech basically states how the Israelites grew into a great nation in Egypt, and that the Egyptians mistreated and enslaved them, which I find rather disturbing in light of how the Israelites treat people of other cultures. Afterward, the food in the basket is to be dined upon by the person's entire household, as well as the Levites and foreigners in town.

Next Moses declares the tithes (which are basically a religious tax upon a person's crops) of every third year to be the "Year of Tithing", and the tithes of this year are to be given to feed the Levites, foreigners, the orphaned, and the widowed. Again, Moses gives the Israelites another long winded speech to recite to God which basically states that the person hasn't eaten any portion of the crops for the tithe, used them for anything 'unclean', or given any to the dead(!)

Moses once again tells the Israelites that they are to obey all of God's laws and commandments, and that they are to "walk in his ways". Moses claims that God in return has deemed the Israelites his "special people" (the KJV uses the phrase "peculiar people") that God views as better than any other nation of people on the earth. Anytime you place a higher value upon a single race or culture above all others you create elitism which encourages and breeds racism, intolerance, bigotry, and it devalues of all human life. When you place a higher value upon someone's race or birthplace than their moral character you can no longer judge fairly. Yet the bible is littered with instances of these types of elitism:Again, the bible deals with absolutes and presumes that judgment upon groups of people should be based upon their ancestry and/or birthplace.

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