New Defender's Study Bible Notes
26:2 first of all the fruit. The offering of the “firstfruits” (Leviticus 23:10-14), as well as that of the “firstlings” of the flocks (Exodus 13:11-13), were understood as expressions of thankfulness to the Lord–who owns all the cattle and all the lands–for providing one’s needs, and also a testimony of faith that these would continue to be met after the firstfruits had been offered. The principle of seeking first God’s kingdom, trusting that He will then continue to supply our material needs, is still valid (Matthew 6:31-34).
26:5 Syrian. The word translated “Syrian” is actually “Aramaean.” Jacob’s tribe, which originated in Syria when he was in the employ of Laban (see Genesis 29,30), did not become the nation of Israel as such until Jacob had first received the name “Israel,” and his children became known as “the children of Israel” when they went with him down into Egypt.
26:12 an end of tithing. The tithe of the “third year” was in addition to the annual tithes, and these were in addition to the offering of the firstfruits. See note on Leviticus 27:30. As a general principle, tithes were paid to the Levites, because they had no inheritance in the land on which they would grow their own food (Numbers 18:20-21), and must devote themselves to the service of God. The Levites in turn were to give a tithe of these tithes to the priests (Numbers 18:25-30). The tithe of the third year, however, was to be shared with “the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow” (Deuteronomy 14:29), in addition to the Levite.
26:14 any unclean use. Even after all tithes had been paid, it was vital to remember that all the rest belonged to the Lord as well. Therefore it was not to be spent on “any unclean use.” This is yet another eternal principle. Whatever we do–certainly including how we spend our money–should be “to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
26:17 avouched. Or, “affirmed.”
26:18 keep all his commandments. This chapter contains the final commandments and instructions to Israel from God through Moses. The very last commandments have to do with the offering of firstfruits and the third-year tithe.