Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
Deut. 14:22, 27-29
22. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
22. Decimando decimabis omnem proventum seminis tui, quod egressum fuerit ex agro annuatim.
27. And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
27. Levitam autem qui intra portas tuas habitaverit non derelinques: quia non est ei pars et haereditas tecum.
28. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
28. Tertio autem anno proferes omnes decimas proventus tui anno ipso, et repones intra portas tuas.
29. And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
29. Venietque Levita (quia non est ei portio et haereditas tecum,) et peregrinus, et pupillus, atque vidua, qui sunt intra portas: et comedent, et saturabuntur, ut benedicat tibi Jehova Deus tuus in omni opere manus tuae quod feceris.
22. Thou shalt truly tithe. He repeats in general terms the law before enacted, whereby he claims for God the tithe of all the fruit. He does not, however, immediately declare to whom they are to be paid, but inserts some provisions respecting other offerings, which I have elsewhere explained. But when, soon afterwards, in verse 27, he recommends the Levites to them, he shews what is the proper use to which they are to be applied. He signifies that it would be cruel to defraud the Levites of them, 217 and that they would be wicked and unjust if they were grudgingly to pay them the tithes, which were theirs by hereditary right, since their tribe possessed no inheritance in land.
28. At the end of three years. Those are mistaken, in my opinion, who think that another kind of tithe is here referred to. It is rather a correction or interpretation of the Law, lest the priests and Levites alone should consume all the tithes, without applying a part to the relief of the poor, of strangers, and widows. In order to make this clearer, we must first observe, that not every third year is here prescribed, 218 but that the years are counted from the Sabbatical year; for we shall elsewhere see that on every seventh year the land was to rest, so that there was no sowing nor reaping. After two harvests, therefore, the tithes of the third year were not the entire property of the Levites, but were shared also by the poor, the orphans, and widows, and strangers. This may easily be seen by calculating the years; for otherwise the third year would have often fallen on the Sabbatical one, in which all agriculture was at a stand-still. Now, this was a most equitable arrangement, that the priests and Levites having been well provided for during two years, should admit their poor brethren and strangers to a share. Some part was thus withdrawn from their abundance, lest they should give themselves up to luxurious habits; and thus it was brought about that not more than a twelfth portion every year should remain to them. In sum, there was one peculiar year in every seven in which the Levites did not alone receive the tithes for their own proper use, but shared them with the orphans, and widows, and strangers, and the rest of the poor. “They shall eat (He says) and be satisfied,” who would otherwise have to suffer hunger, “that the Lord may bless thee,” (verse 29;) by which promise He encourages them to be liberal.
“S’ils soustrayent et desrobbent a leurs freres ce qui est assigne pour leur nouristure:” if they withheld and stole from their brethren what was assigned them for their maintenance. — Fr.
“Que l’annec troisieme ne se prend pas d’une suite continuelle.” — Fr.