|Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God. |
|And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. |
This law handed down to the ancient Israelites required that landowners leave any grain that dropped to the ground during harvest; they were forbidden to pick their fields clean. They were not allowed to even collect the stalks growing on the edges of their fields.
The leftovers belonged to the poor, especially widows, orphans, and needy foreigners. In this way, an agricultural society could provide a safety net for the poor. Because their land really belongs to God, the practice of gleaning served to remind landowners that they were stewards of God's property, sharing with those less fortunate.
What an important reminder during times of economic stress as we reflect on the One who really owns and provides all we have and enables us to share with those who have less.