First-fruits

(re’shith, bikkurim; aparche. Septuagint translates re’shith by aparche, but for bikkurim it uses the word protogennemata; compare Philo 22 33):



The beautiful ceremony of the offering of the re’shith in the House of God is described in De 26:1-11, and is enlarged upon in the Talmud (Bikkurim 3 2). According to the Talmud (Terumoth 4 3) a sixtieth part of the first-fruits in a prepared form was the minimum that could be offered; the more generous brought a fortieth part, and even a thirtieth. The fruits of newly planted trees were not to be gathered during the first three years; the fruits of the fourth year were consecrated to Yahweh, and from the fifth year the fruits belonged to the owner of the trees (Le 19:23-25). According to Mishna, `Orlah i.10, even the shells of nuts and pomegranates could not be used during the first three years as coloring matter or for the lighting of fires. It is held by some scholars that the institution of the tithe (see TITHE) is a later development from the first-fruits.