The law ordered in general that the first of all ripe fruits and of liquors, or, as it is twice expressed, the first of first-fruits, should be offered in God's house. (Exodus 22:29; 23:19; 34:27) It was an act of allegiance to God as the giver of all. No exact quantity was commanded, but it was left to the spiritual and moral sense of each individual.
On the morrow after the Passover sabbath, i.e. on the 16th of Nisan, a sheaf of new corn was to be brought to the priest and waved before the altar, in acknowledgment of the gift of fruitfulness. (Leviticus 2:12; 23:5,6,10,12)
At the expiration of seven weeks from this time, i.e. at the feast of pentecost, an oblation was to be made from the new flour, which were to be waved in like manner with the Passover sheaf. (Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15,17; Numbers 28:26)
The feast of ingathering, i.e. the feast of tabernacles, in the seventh month, was itself an acknowledgment of the fruits of the harvest. (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:39) These four sorts of offerings were national. Besides them, the two following were of an individual kind.
A cake of the first dough that was baked was to be offered as a heave-offering. (Numbers 15:19,21)
The first-fruits of the land were to be brought in a basket to the holy place of God's choice, and there presented to the priest, who was to set the basket down before the altar. (26:2-11) The offerings were the perquisite of the priests. (Numbers 18:11; 18:4) Nehemiah, at the return from captivity, took pains to reorganize the offerings of first-fruits of both kinds, and to appoint places to receive them. (Nehemiah 10:35,37; 12:44) An offering of first-fruits is mentioned as an acceptable one to the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 4:42)
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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