usurping the harvest

red yellow apples on wooden basket

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usurping the harvest

Deuteronomy 23:24-25 (JDV)

Deuteronomy 23:24 “When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you want until you are full, but do not put any in your container.
Deuteronomy 23:25 When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck heads of grain with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

usurping the harvest

My first response to this is “Hey, you, get out of my vineyard, and stay away from my field! My cultural expectation is a bit different than that in the ancient near east. But I have to realize that as part of the covenant community, Israelites were probably used to a smaller personal bubble than I am.

The instruction in today’s text established limits to a person’s involvement in his neighbor’s livelihood. He could inspect, but he could not usurp the harvest.

We can enjoy the benefits of another person’s hard work, but we should be ready to compensate him or her. It is only fair to do so.

And in those cases where people don’t expect compensation, we should acknowledge their part by showing appreciation for them.

It takes an entire community to produce a harvest.

Lord, thank you for the neighbors all around us who are planting and maintaining a harvest for you. Show us how to show our appreciation for their hard work.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at -- !
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