|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:8-19 All believers are spiritual priests, and God has promised to take care of them. Godliness has the promise of the life that now is. And from the provision here made for the priests, the apostle shows that it is the duty of christian churches to maintain their ministers. Scandalous maintenance makes scandalous ministers. The priests were to be wholly devoted to their ministry, not diverted from it, or disturbed in it, by worldly care or business. Also, that they might be examples of living by faith, not only in God's providence, but in his ordinances. The best should be offered for the first-fruits unto the Lord. Those who think to save, by putting God off with the refuse, deceive themselves, for God is not mocked.
Verse 18. - The flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. This is on the face of it inconsistent with the direction given in Deuteronomy 15:19, 20, that the flesh of the first-lings should be eaten by the offerers in the holy place (cf. also Deuteronomy 12:17, 18). Two explanations have been proposed.
1. That the firstlings were given to the priest in the same sense as the peace offerings, i.e., only as regarded the breast and shoulder, while the rest went to the offerer. This, however, does obvious violence to the language, and is not supported by the Septuagint.
2. That as the priest was bound to consume the firstlings with his family, and could not sell them, he would be certainly disposed to invite the offerer to join him in the sacred meal. This may have been usually the case, but it was entirely within the option of the priest, and could scarcely be made the basis of a direct command, like that of Deuteronomy 15:19, still less of an indirect assumption, like that of Deuteronomy 12:17, 18, that the firstlings stood upon the same footing as free-will offerings and heave offerings. It is easier to suppose that the law was actually modified in this, as in some other particulars.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the flesh of them shall be thine,.... For him and his family to eat of, whether blemished or perfect the Jews say (l):
as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine: which were his part of the peace offerings, for him and his sons to eat of, Leviticus 7:34; and the Jews observe (m), that as the wave breast and heave shoulder of the peace offerings might be eaten in two days and one night, so might those of the firstlings.
(l) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Becorot, c. 4. sect. 2. & 5. 2.((m) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zebachim, c. 5. sect. 8.
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