Deuteronomy 26:14
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 listened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that you have commanded me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 26:14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning — This is thought by Spencer to have respect to some idolatrous custom then in use: such as that of the Egyptians, who, when they offered the first-fruits of the earth, were wont to invoke Isis with doleful lamentations. But, as the Israelites were not allowed to eat of things consecrated to God, when they were in a state of mourning, (Hosea 9:4,) this may probably be all that is here intended. Or the declaration may mean, I have not done it in sorrow, grieving that I was to give away so much of my profits to the poor, but I have cheerfully eaten and feasted with them, as I was commanded to do. For any unclean use — As some of the old idolaters were wont to do, who separated part of the first-fruits for magical, and sometimes impure uses; or for any common use; for any other use than that which thou hast appointed; which would have been a pollution of them. Nor given aught thereof for the dead — Or, to the dead; that is, says Spencer, to dead idols, such as the Gentiles worshipped, who offered their first-fruits to them, as if they had been the authors of their increase. But the expression, for the dead, more probably means for any funeral pomp or service, for, it seems, the Jews were wont to send in provisions to feast with the nearest relations of the party deceased; and in that case, both the guests and food were legally polluted, Numbers 19:11-14; and, therefore, to have used these tithes in such a way would have been a double fault, both a defiling of sacred food, and the employing of those provisions on sorrowful occasions, which, by God’s express command, were to be eaten with rejoicing.26:12-15 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.I have not eaten thereof in my mourning - When the Israelite would be unclean (compare the marginal references).

Nor given ought thereof for the dead - The reference is not so much to the superstitious custom of placing food on or in tombs as to the funeral expenses, and more especially the usual feast for the mourners (compare Jeremiah 16:7; Ezekiel 24:17; Hosea 9:4; Tobit 4:17). The dedicated things were to be employed in glad and holy feasting, not therefore for funeral banquets; for death and all associated with it was regarded as unclean.

14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning—in a season of sorrow, which brought defilement on sacred things; under a pretense of poverty, and grudging to give any away to the poor.

neither … for any unclean use—that is, any common purpose, different from what God had appointed and which would have been a desecration of it.

nor given ought thereof for the dead—on any funeral service, or, to an idol, which is a dead thing.

In my mourning, i.e. either,

1. In my funeral solemnities for the dead. But this falls in with the last branch. Or,

2. In my distress or poverty, or upon pretence of my own want, in which case men are tempted and inclined to fall upon sacred or forbidden things. Or,

3. In sorrow, or grieving that I was to give away so much of my profits to the poor, but I have cheerfully eaten and feasted with them, as I was obliged to do. For though it be taken for granted by some learned expositors, from Deu 14:28,29, that the owner was not to eat any part of the third year’s tithe, but to give it all away to the stranger and fatherless, &c., the contrary seems to me more probable from that very place, where it is said, thou shalt lay it up within thy gates, and then it follows, that the Levite, stranger, &c. shall come, to wit, to thy gates, and shall eat, to wit, there, as is expressed Deu 26:12, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; which implies that these tithes, or some part of them, were eaten in the owner’s gates or dwelling, with holy rejoicing and feasting, wherein it is most probable the owner had his share, though it be not there expressed, because it was evident in itself from the foregoing passage, Deu 14:23, &c., where the owner is allowed and commanded to eat those tithes together with the Levites. And howsoever some think the third year’s tithes, Deu 14:28, were not the same with those Deu 14:23, yet it cannot with any colour of reason be thought that those tithes which were to be eaten, not only by the Levites, but also by the strangers, Deu 14:29, were more sacred than those that were to be eaten by none but the Levites and the owners, Deu 14:23,27, or that the owner might eat of the one, and not of the other. For any unclean use, i.e. for any common use; the words common and unclean being oft indifferently used one for the other, or for any other use than that which thou hast appointed, which would have been a pollution of them.

For the dead, i.e. for any funeral pomp, or service, or feast; for the Jews used to send in provisions to feast with the nearest relations of the party deceased, of which see Jeremiah 16:7 Ezekiel 24:17 Hosea 9:4; and in that case both the guests and food were legally polluted, Numbers 19:11,14, and therefore the use of these tithes in such cases had been a double fault, both the defiling of sacred food, and the employing of those provisions upon sorrowful occasions, which by God’s express command were to be eaten with rejoicing, Deu 14:26 26:11. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning,.... When in grief and sorrow on account of any afflictive circumstance, for these were to be eaten with joy, Deuteronomy 16:11; and especially of the loss of relations by death, when holy things were not to be eaten by such persons; see Leviticus 10:19; and particularly tithes, though it is said (n),"What is doubtful of tithing (whether it has been tithed or no) might be eaten by a mourner;''and a man was reckoned such an one until his dead was buried. So Maimonides (o) observes,"a mourner may not eat holy things, as it is written, Deuteronomy 26:14; he is one whose relation is dead, when he is obliged to mourn; for he is called by the law a mourner as long as the dead lies upon the face of the earth (above ground), or as long as he is not yet buried he is called a mourner; and so likewise on the day of burial:"

neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use; or common use, or any other use than it was designed for, and devoted to; or for any unclean person, who by the law might not eat thereof; or, as Jarchi interprets it, that he had not removed it, or taken it away from being eaten, on account of any unclean person, because I am unclean and he pure, or he pure and I:unclean:

nor given ought thereof for the dead; for the necessities of the dead, as Aben Ezra; more particularly Jarchi, to make for him a coffin and grave clothes; and so the Targum of Jonathan interprets it of grave clothes for the dead; though that of Jerusalem of clothes for those that are polluted by the dead. It may have respect also to the parentalia, or funeral feasts made at the interment of the dead; though Aben Ezra says, there are some that say it was for idolatry, and so the person here speaking denies that he had made use of any of the holy things in honour of idols, of dead men deified; and some are of opinion that all the above things may have some respect to idolatrous practices (p):

but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me; observed his word, and kept close to it, and not swerved from it, but acted according to it in all things before referred to.

(n) Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 2.((o) Maimon. in Misn. Pesachim, c. 8. sect. 6. (p) Vid. Patrick in loc.

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 {m} according to all that thou hast commanded me.

(m) As far as my sinful nature would allow: or else as David and Paul say, there is not one just, Ps 14:3, Ro 3:10.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning] Heb. ‘awen, sorrow; so in Hosea 9:4, the bread of sorrows is unclean. If the mourner, unclean by contact with the dead, ate part of the tithe, he defiled it all.

neither have I put away thereof, being unclean] Same vb. as in Deuteronomy 26:13. While separating this tithe to its charitable ends, a ritual act, he has to take care to be ritually clean.

nor given thereof for the dead] or to the dead. The reference is obscure; either the custom of contributing to a mourning feast (2 Samuel 3:35, Jeremiah 16:7 f., Ezekiel 24:17); or that of offering food at the grave as if for consumption by the dead (Tob 4:17, Sir 30:18); or of sacrificing to the spirits of the dead, as is annually done by the Arabs, minshan el mawât, ‘for the sake of the dead,’ as the chief of the ‘Adwan once explained to the present writer.

I have hearkened, etc.] Cp. Deuteronomy 15:5; I have done, etc., cp. Deuteronomy 5:32, etc.Verse 14. - In my mourning; i.e. while ceremonially unclean (cf. Leviticus 7:20; Leviticus 21:1, etc.). Neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use; rather, Neither have I removed ought of it being unclean; i.e. he had not only not eaten of it, but he had not removed any part of it from his house (ver. 13) while he was ceremonially unclean, in which state it was unlawful to touch what was hallowed (Leviticus 22:23). Nor given ought thereof for the dead; i.e. on account of the dead; he had not sent any part of it to where there was one dead, according to the custom for friends and relations to send to a house of mourning provisions for the mourners (2 Samuel 3:35; Jeremiah 16:7; Hosea 9:4; Tobit 4:17). Or the reference may be here to the expenses incurred by the death of one for whose funeral the individual had to provide. This view is adopted by Dr. Thomson, who, remarking on this passage, says, "This was the strongest possible protestation that he had dealt faithfully in the matter of tithing and consecrated things and in charities to the poor. He had not allowed himself to divert anything to other uses, not even by the most pressing and unforeseen emergencies. It is here assumed, or rather implied, that times of mourning for the dead were expensive, and also that the stern law of custom obliged the bereaved to defray those expenses, however onerous.... The temptation, therefore, to devote a part of the tithes, hallowed things, and charities to defray these enormous, unforeseen, and providential expenses would be very urgent, and he who stood faithful at such times might safely be trusted on all other occasions" ('Land and the Book,' 1:149). The LXX. rendering, τῷ τεθνήκοτι, "to the dead," has led some to suppose that the reference here is to the placing of articles of food in the tomb along with the corpse; but though this custom prevailed among the Jews in later times, as well as among other peoples, there is no ground for supposing it to be referred to here. As all connected with a dead body was held to be unclean, as well as the body itself, a house of mourning with its inhabitants was held to he unclean, and into it, therefore, nothing that had been hallowed might be lawfully carried. אבי אבד ארמּי, "a lost (perishing) Aramaean was my father" (not the Aramaean, Laban, wanted to destroy my father, Jacob, as the Chald., Arab., Luther, and others render it). אבד signifies not only going astray, wandering, but perishing, in danger of perishing, as in Job 29:13; Proverbs 31:6, etc. Jacob is referred to, for it was he who went down to Egypt in few men. He is mentioned as the tribe-father of the nation, because the nation was directly descended from his sons, and also derived its name of Israel from him. Jacob is called in Aramaean, not only because of his long sojourn in Aramaea (Genesis 29-31), but also because he got his wives and children there (cf. Hosea 12:13); and the relatives of the patriarchs had accompanied Abraham from Chaldaea to Mesopotamia (Aram; see Genesis 11:30). מעט בּמתי, consisting of few men (בּ, the so-called beth essent., as in Deuteronomy 10:22; Exodus 6:3, etc.; vid., Ewald, 299, q.). Compare Genesis 34:30, where Jacob himself describes his family as "few in number." On the number in the family that migrated into Egypt, reckoned at seventy souls, see the explanation at Genesis 46:27. On the multiplication in Egypt into a great and strong people, see Exodus 1:7, Exodus 1:9; and on the oppression endured there, Exodus 1:11-22, and Exodus 2:23. - The guidance out of Egypt amidst great signs (Deuteronomy 26:8), as in Deuteronomy 4:34.
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