Deuteronomy 26:14

Hebrew Bible

12 When you finish tithing all your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages. 13 Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten your commandments. 14 I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning, or removed any of it while ceremonially unclean, or offered any of it to the dead; I have obeyed you and have done everything you have commanded me. 15 Look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, just as you promised our ancestors—a land flowing with milk and honey.” 16 Today the Lord your God is commanding you to keep these statutes and ordinances, something you must do with all your heart and soul.

Sirach 30:18

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

16 There is no wealth better than health of body, and no gladness above joy of heart. 17 Death is better than a life of misery, and eternal sleep than chronic sickness. 18 Good things poured out upon a mouth that is closed are like offerings of food placed upon a grave. 19 Of what use to an idol is a sacrifice? For it can neither eat nor smell. So is the one punished by the Lord; 20 he sees with his eyes and groans as a eunuch groans when embracing a girl.

 Notes and References

"... one might conclude that nega­tive criticism or negative depictions of practices with respect to the dead first appears around the middle of the eighth century, perhaps responding to necromancy as a form of competition to prophecy. Objections to other practices, such as feeding the dead with the tithe of Yahweh, appear only later, in the seventh century (Deuteronomy 26:14; compare Psalm 16). If this reconstruc­tion of the development of practices regarding the dead is roughly correct, it would appear that prior to the seventh century, feeding the dead and other prac­tices of care and veneration for the dead flourished in various social strata and quarters of Israelite society. Only necromancy may have been viewed negatively, if 1 Samuel 28:3 provides historically reliable informa­tion. Prior to ca. 750, the people engaged in both necromancy and other practices (Isaiah 8:18; Deu­teronomy 26:14; compare MT Psalm 22:30 discussed below; Tobit 4:17; Sirach 30:18). The kings had their own elaborate death cult (2 Samuel 18:18; 2 Kings 9:34-37 and 21; compare 1 Samuel 20) which at least some priests tolerated (see Ezekiel 43:7-9). The prophets in the early periods did not object to necromancy ..."

Smith, Mark S. and Elizabeth M. Bloch-Smith Death and Afterlife in Ugarit and Israel (pp. 277-284) Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 108, 1988

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