|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-8 Care is taken that the priests entangle not themselves with the affairs of this life, nor enrich themselves with the wealth of this world; they have better things to mind. Care is likewise taken that they want not the comforts and conveniences of this life. The people must provide for them. He that has the benefit of solemn religious assemblies, ought to give help for the comfortable support of those that minister in such assemblies.
Verses 2, 3. - As he hath said unto them (cf. Numbers 18:20). The shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw; i.e. the front leg, the two jaw-bones, and the rough stomach of ruminants, in which the digestion is completed. These were regarded as the choice parts of the animal, and were to be given to the priests in addition to the wave breast and heave leg of the peace offerings (Leviticus 7:32, etc.; Numbers 18:11), which belonged to the firings of Jehovah, mentioned in ver. 1. To these the priest had a rightful claim; they were his due (מִשְׁפַט, mishpat, right). "This right was probably accorded to the priests as a compensation for the falling off which would take place in their incomes in consequence of the repeal of the law that every animal was to be slaughtered at the sanctuary as a sacrifice (Leviticus 17; vide Deuteronomy 12:15. sqq.)"(Keil). According to Josephus ('Antiq ,' 4:4, 4), Philo ('De Praemiis. Sacerdot.,' p. 832, Opp., tom. 2. p. 235, edit. Maugey), the Talmud, etc., this injunction relates to the slaying of animals at home for private use, and not such as were killed for sacrifice. But the use here of the sacrificial phraseology, who offer a sacrifice (זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח, who slay victims for sacrifice - a phrase nowhere found except in connection with sacrificial rites) is adverse to this; and besides, how could such an enactment be carried out? How could people, residing at a distance, convey to the priests the portions due to them every time they slaughtered an animal for domestic use? At the same time, the sacrifices here referred to do not seem to be included in the offerings by fire above mentioned; and these gifts to the priest seem to have been something over and above his ordinary dues. There is probability, therefore, in the suggestion that "the reference is to the slaughtering of oxen, sheep, or goats, which were not intended for shelamim in the more limited sense, i.e. for one of the three species of peace offerings (Leviticus 7:15, 16), but for festal meals in the broader sense, which were held in connection with the sacrificial meals prepared from the shelamim" (Keil).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore shall they have none inheritance among their brethren,.... Neither of the field, nor of the vineyard, as the above Targum, because provision was made for them otherwise, and especially because
the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them; see Gill on Numbers 18:20, which as it may be understood in a spiritual sense of their interest in God, as their covenant God, and of their enjoyment of him, and communion with him; so chiefly in a temporal sense of all those things in the sacrifices which the Lord claimed to himself, and these he gave unto them; so the same Targum interprets this of the twenty four gifts of the priesthood, enumerated Numbers 18:1.
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