Leviticus 27:30
(30) And all the tithe of the land.--That is, of the soil, or what grows on it, in contradistinction to the tithes of the land mentioned in Leviticus 27:32. The last things mentioned which cannot be dedicated to the Lord by a vow are tithes. Like the firstborn of Animals (see Leviticus 27:26), they already belong to God by another statute. A man, therefore, cannot vow to God what is not his own.

Whether of the seed of the land.--That is, what the seed when sown produced in the soil (Numbers 18:21-24; Deuteronomy 14:22-29).

Verses 30-32. - Tithes, like the cherem, are introduced as things well known. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:4). Jacob vowed the tenth to the Lord (Genesis 28:22), whence we see that the practice of the payment of tithes was not of Mosaic institution, but immemorial. The duty was, however, commanded afresh for the Israelites. "I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle" (Numbers 18:21), and of this tithe they were to pay a tenth to the priests (Numbers 18:26). Being already the Lord's, the tithe of the corn and fruits could not be vowed to the Lord, but it could be redeemed, or commuted, by the owner paying one-fifth more than the price at which it was valued.

27:26-33 Things or persons devoted, are distinguished from things or persons that were only sanctified. Devoted things were most holy to the Lord, and could neither be taken back nor applied to other purposes. Whatever productions they had the benefit, God must be honoured with the tenth of, if it could be applied. Thus they acknowledge God to be the Owner of their land, the Giver of its fruits, and themselves to be his tenants, and dependants upon him. Thus they gave him thanks for the plenty they enjoyed, and besought his favour in the continuance of it. We are taught to honour the Lord with our substance.And all the tithe of the land,.... Of which there were various sorts, the first tithe, the tithe out of the tithe, the second tithe, and the poor's tithe, which are generally reduced to three,"The first tenth part of all increase I gave to the sons of Aaron, who ministered at Jerusalem: another tenth part I sold away, and went, and spent it every year at Jerusalem:'' (Tobit 1:7)so Maimonides (p) says,"after they had separated the first tithe every year, they separate the second tithe, as it is said Deuteronomy 14:22; and in the third year, and in the sixth, they separate the poor's tithe, instead of the second tithe:''so that, properly speaking, there were but two tithes, though commonly reckoned three; the tithes of all eatables were given to the Levites every year, and a tenth part of that given by the Levites to the priests, and the second tithe was eaten by the owners; instead of which, according to the above writer, in the third and sixth years it was given to the poor, and called theirs; of this second tithe, Jarchi interprets this law, and so does Maimonides (q):

whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: is to be given to him as an acknowledgment of his being the proprietor of the land, and that all the increase of it is owing to his blessing, and therefore is given in way of gratitude to him: the former of these takes in all sorts of corn that is man's food, as wheat and barley; and the latter wine and oil, and all sorts of fruits that are eatable; for it is said to be a general rule, that whatever is for food, and is preserved (having an owner, and not being common), and grows up out of the earth, is bound to tithes (r):

it is holy unto the Lord; the first tithe was eaten by the priests and Levites only, and the other before the Lord in Jerusalem only, and that by clean persons. Something of this kind obtained among the Heathens, it may be in imitation of this, particularly among the Grecians; Pisistratus (s) tells Solon, that everyone of the Athenians gave a tenth part of his inheritance, not to me, says he, who was their governor, but for public sacrifices, and the common good, and when engaged in war, to defray the charge of it; and so, by the oracle of Apollo, the Corcyraenans were directed to send to Olympia and Delphos the tenth part of the produce of their fields (t); and by the same oracle, the island of the Syphnians, in which was a golden mine, were ordered to bring the tenth of it to the same place (u). So the Pelasgi (w) in a time of scarcity vowed the tithes of all their increase to the gods, and having obtained their wish, devoted the tenth of all their fruits and cattle to them.

(p) Hilchot Maaser Sheni, c. 1. sect. 1.((q) Hilchot Maaser, c. 1. sect. 2.((r) Misn. Masserot, c. 1. sect. 1.((s) In Laert. Vit. Solon. p. 36. (t) Pausan. Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 624. (u) Ibid. p. 628. (w) Dionys. Halicarnass. apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 4. p. 159.

Leviticus 27:29
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