Deuteronomy 26 NASB

14 I have not eaten of it [h]while mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of the Lord my God; I have done according to all that You have commanded me.

What exactly does it mean to offer the tithe to the dead?


The Cambridge Bible Commentary addresses this and offers three possible explanations:

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.


Matthew 23:29 seems to be touching on an established praxis of spending money on building "tombs for the prophets and decorating the graves of the righteous".

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous."

This praxis could probably be of ancient origin.

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