Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:19 - 15:19

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Deuteronomy 15:19 - 15:19


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Application of the first-born of Cattle. - From the laws respecting the poor and slaves, to which the instructions concerning the tithes (Deu 14:22-29) had given occasion, Moses returns to appropriation of the first-born of the herd and flock to sacrificial meals, which he had already touched upon in Deu 12:6, Deu 12:17, and Deu 14:23, and concludes by an explanation upon this point. The command, which the Lord had given when first they came out of Egypt (Exo 13:2, Exo 13:12), that all the first-born of the herd and flock should be sanctified to Him, is repeated here by Moses, with the express injunction that they were not to work with the first-born of cattle (by yoking them to the plough or waggon), and not to shear the first-born of sheep; that is to say, they were not to use the first-born animals which were sanctified to the Lord for their own earthly purposes, but to offer them year by year as sacrifices to the Lord, and consume them in sacrificial meals. To this he adds (Deu 15:21, Deu 15:22) that further provision, that first-born animals, which were blind or lame, or had any other bad fault, were not to be offered in sacrifice to the Lord, but, like ordinary animals used for food, could be eaten in all the towns of the land. Although the first part of this law was involved in the general laws as to the kind of animal that could be offered in sacrifice (Lev 22:19.), it was by no means unimportant to point out distinctly their applicability to the first-born, and add some instructions with regard to the way in which they were to be applied. (On Deu 15:22 and Deu 15:23, see Deu 12:15 and Deu 12:16.)