Confession in offering the first-fruits. (Verse 1-11.)
The prayer after disposal of the third year’s tithe. (Verse 12-15.)
The covenant between God and the people. (Verse 16-19.)
1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.
3 And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us.
This contains the ordinance of the basket of the first-fruits. After God had led them into the land of promise they could offer the fruits of Canaan. This was intended to keep them in continual remembrance of the kindness of God in preserving them through so many difficulties and literally fulfilling the promise He had made to them. God being the author of all their blessings, the first-fruits of the land were consecrated to Him as the
author of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17)
4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.
5 And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
[Gen 12:2, Gen 17:6, Gen 18:18, Gen 46:3, 1st Kings 3:8]
6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7 And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
note the relationship between giving to the Lord and worship; if you are not regularly giving to the Lord through your local church then you are not properly and fully worshiping him.
11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
Israel had nothing to boast of as fare a nature was concerned. Their history showed that. “A wandering Aramean was my father” from this we are to understand that Jacob was so-called from his long residence in Syria with his father-in-law Laban. These verses may have been an early Israelite creed recounting God’s faithfulness to His promises. (cf. Genesis 28:1-5; 29-31
12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13 Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
This is suppose to mean the third year of the Sabbatical year in which the tenths were given to the poor (cf. Deuteronomy 14:22,27-29). Here we find put together two very important things – praising God and doing good to men. They must always go together.
14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
15 Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
16 This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17 Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
[avouched – affirmed]
18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.
Thus the people publically declared that they had taken Jehovah to be their God. God also publically declared that He had taken them to be His people by the blessings which He poured down upon them. Thus the covenant between God and His followers was made and ratified. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). While Israel regarded God’s word and kept His testimonies
they were the greatest and most respectable of all nations. But when they forsook God and His law they became the most contemptible of all nations.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-11 – When God has made good his promises to us, he expects we should own it to the honour of his faithfulness. And our creature comforts are doubly sweet, when we see them flowing from the fountain of the promise. The person who offered his first-fruits, must remember and own the mean origin of that nation, of which he was a member. A Syrian ready to perish was my father. Jacob is here called a Syrian. Their nation in its infancy sojourned in Egypt as strangers, they served there as slaves. They were a poor, despised, oppressed people in Egypt; and though become rich and great, had no reason to be proud, secure, or forgetful of God. He must thankfully acknowledge God’s great goodness to Israel. The comfort we have in our own enjoyments, should lead us to be thankful for our share in public peace and plenty; and with present mercies we should bless the Lord for the former mercies we remember, and the further mercies we expect and hope for. He must offer his basket of first-fruits. Whatever good thing God gives us, it is his will that we make the most comfortable use we can of it, tracing the streams to the Fountain of all consolation.
Verse 12-15 – How should the earth yield its increase, or, if it does, what comfort can we take in it, unless therewith our God gives us his blessing? All this represented the covenant relation between a reconciled God and every true believer, and the privileges and duties belonging to it. We must be watchful, and show that according to the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, the Lord is our God, and we are his people, waiting in his appointed way for the performance of his gracious promises.
Verse 16-19 – Moses here enforces the precepts. They are God’s laws, therefore thou shalt do them, to that end were they given thee; do them, and dispute them not; do them, and draw not back; do them, not carelessly and hypocritically, but with thy heart and soul, thy whole heart and thy whole soul. We forswear ourselves, and break the most sacred engagement, if, when we have taken the Lord to be our God, we do not make conscience of obeying his commands. We are elected to obedience, 1st Peter 1:2. chosen that we should be holy, Ephesians 1:4. purified a peculiar people, that we might not only do good works, but be zealous in them, Titus 2:14. Holiness is true honour, and the only way to everlasting honour.