1 Corinthians 9:13
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
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(13) Do ye not know.—The Apostle now turns to appeal to an argument which would have weight with them as Christians. The rights of the ministry to be supported by the Church have already been established by an appeal to ordinary life and to the Jewish law; and the statement has been made that the Apostle having that right, did not, for wise reasons, use it. There is one higher step in the argument. It was not only a principle of Jewish law which Christ might have abrogated, but it was a provision of the Jewish economy which Christ Himself formally perpetuated.

They which minister. . . .—Better, They which minister about the holy things eat from the temple, and they which serve at the altar have their share with the altar. The first part of this passage refers to the general principle that the priests who were engaged in the Temple services were supported from the various offerings which were brought there, and the second clause more definitely alludes to the particular fact that when a sacrifice was offered on the altar, the sacrificing priests, as well as the altar, had a share of the animal. (See Leviticus 6:16; Leviticus 6:26; Leviticus 7:6; Numbers 5; Numbers 18; Deuteronomy 10, 18) A suggestion that the allusion might be to the custom of the heathen priests is wholly inadmissible, for such would have no force for Christians, and would entirely destroy the sequence of the next verse.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14. Do ye not know, &c. — In further support of the justice of the claim in question, I might remind you of the provision which God made for the priests and Levites under the Mosaic law; that they which minister about holy things — As, 1st, the Levites, who perform the various servile offices relating to the temple service; live — Are supported by; the things of the temple — Have their maintenance, in a great measure, from the offerings, tithes, &c., brought thither; And, 2d, they which wait at the altar — The priests, who are chiefly employed in offering the sacrifices at the altar; are partakers with the altar — Have a portion allotted them of the sacrifices offered upon it. Even so — According to the equity of that law; hath the Lord Christ ordained — Namely, Luke 10:7-8; Matthew 10:11; that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel — Should be supported by those to whom they preach it.

9:1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.Do ye not know ... - In this verse Paul illustrates the doctrine that the ministers of religion were, entitled to a support from the fact that those who were appointed to offer sacrifice receive a maintenance in their work.

They which minister about holy things - Probably the "Levites." Their office was to render assistance to the priests, to keep guard around the tabernacle, and subsequently around the temple. It was also their duty to see that the temple was kept clean, and to prepare supplies for the sanctuary, such as oil, wine, incense, etc. They had the care of the revenues, and after the time of David were required to sing in the temple, and to play upon instruments. Numbers 3:1-36; Numbers 4:1, Numbers 4:30, Numbers 4:35, Numbers 4:42; Numbers 8:5-22; 1 Chronicles 23:3-5, 1 Chronicles 23:24, 1 Chronicles 23:27; 1 Chronicles 24:20-31.

Live of the things of the temple - Margin, "Feed;" that is, are supported in their work by the offerings of the people, and by the provisions which were made for the temple service; see Numbers 18:24-32.

And they which wait at the altar - Probably the priests who were employed in offering sacrifice.

Are partakers with the altar - That is, a part of the animal offered in sacrifice is burned as an offering to God, and a part becomes the property of the priest for his support; and thus the altar and the priest become joint participators of the sacrifice. From these offerings the priest derived their maintenance; see Numbers 18:8-19; Deuteronomy 18:1, etc. The argument of the apostle here is this: "As the ministers of religion under the Jewish dispensation were entitled to support by the authority and the law of God, that fact settles a general principle which is applicable also to the gospel, that he intends that the ministers of religion should derive their support in their work. If it was reasonable then, it is reasonable now. If God commanded it then, it is to be presumed that he intends to require it now.

13. minister about holy things—the Jewish priests and Levites. The Greek especially applies to the former, the priests offering sacrifices.

partakers with the altar—a part of the victims going to the service of the altar, and the rest being shared by the priests (Le 7:6; Nu 18:6, &c.; De 18:1, &c.).

You may understand what is the mind and will of God under the New Testament, by reflecting upon what appeareth to you to have been his mind and will under the Old Testament: God had a ministry under the Old Testament, the tribe of Levi was it; and God there ordained and appointed a livelihood for them, Numbers 18:20 Deu 10:9 18:1, so as they needed not (as other men) to labour with their hands to get bread to eat.

Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things,.... Not the priests in the temples of the Heathen deities, as the Ethiopic version suggests; but the priests in the temple at Jerusalem, who were employed in slaying the sacrifices, taking off their skins, cutting them into pieces, laying them in order with the wood upon the altar, and burning them, with other services they there performed, which were well known to the Corinthians, many of this church being Jews:

live of the things of the temple; the tithes and firstfruits, and other oblations, and presents in money or goods, thither brought; nor had they any other way of living and supporting their families; for the priests and Levites had no inheritance among the children of Israel, and therefore provision was made for them in this way:

and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar; some read it, "who sit at the altar"; but none might sit in the temple but a king of the house of David (n); the priests and Levites always stood in their ministry, some doing one thing, and some another; some slew the sacrifice, others sprinkled the blood; some took away the ashes, others laid the wood, others brought up the parts of the sacrifice when slain, skinned, and cut asunder, and laid them on the altar (o), and these partook with the altar; some parts the altar devoured, being consumed by fire upon it; but then there were other pieces which by law were reserved for the priests, and upon which they and their families lived: hence the distinction of , the food of the altar, and , "the food of man" (p); and therefore as it was but just and equitable that persons so employed should be maintained out of the revenues of the temple and altar, it is but right that Gospel ministers should be provided for with a suitable maintenance.

(n) Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, c. 8. sect. 1.((o) Misn. Yoma, c. 2. sect. 3. Tamid. c. 3. sect. 1.((p) Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in Menachot, c. 3. sect 1.

{9} Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the {l} things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are {m} partakers with the altar?

(9) Last of all he brings forth the express law concerning the nourishing of the Levites, which privilege nonetheless he will not use.

(l) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, for those things that are offered in the temple.

(m) Are partakers with the altar in dividing the sacrifice.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14. An additional proof of the above right on the part of the teachers, drawn now from the sphere of the Israelitish theocracy, namely, from the example of the priests and the corresponding command of Christ Himself. Then, in 1 Corinthians 9:15, ἐγὼ δὲτούτων repeats the contrast to this.

The first of the two parallel halves of 1 Corinthians 9:13,[1447] which together describe the ἱερατεύειν (Luke 1:7), characterizes the priests generally: οἱ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζ., who do the holy things, i.e. whose work is to perform divine service; the second clause again is more specific: “who are constantly busied at the altar of sacrifice” (προσεδρ. and ΠΑΡΕΔΡ., of an official, and especially of a priestly, assidere, Diod. Sic. i. 40; Josephus, cont. Ap. i. 7; Lucian, Asin. 5; Kypke, II. p. 213). As regards τὰ ἱερά, res sacrae, i.e. what belongs to the divine cultus, comp 3Ma 3:21 (according to the true reading); Demosth. 1300. 6; and often elsewhere in the classics. They eat from the sanctuary, inasmuch as they have their support from what is brought into the temple (sacrifices, shewbread, first-fruits, etc.); they have their share with the altar of sacrifice, inasmuch as they take to themselves their part of the offerings which belong to the altar. See Numbers 18:8 ff. Beza puts it well: “altaris esse socios in dividenda victima.” It is incorrect to explain the first clause as referring to the Levites and the second to the priests (so Chrysostom, Theophylact, Vitringa, Wolf), for the Levites were not τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι, but only ἹΕΡΌΔΟΥΛΟΙ (3 Esdr. 1:3), and therefore, in respect of their occupations, are no fitting analogues to the preachers of the gospel; see rather Romans 15:16; Php 2:17. On this ground we must refuse even to include the Levites here (against de Wette, Osiander, Maier, al[1449]). Rückert understands both clauses to refer to the Jewish and heathen cultus and its ministers. But in the mind of the apostle, looking at things from the theocratic point of view of his nation, the ἱερόν and the ΘΥΣΙΑΣΤ. are simply ΚΑΤʼ ἘΞΟΧΉΝ, those of Israel (Romans 9:4); and how could he otherwise have said οὕτω καὶ Κ.Τ.Λ[1450], 1 Corinthians 9:14, seeing that the heathen priestly institute was by no means of divine appointment? For these reasons we cannot even say, with Ewald, that the words refer primarily indeed to Numbers 18, but are couched in such a general form as to apply also to the priests in the heathen temples. The mention of τῷ θυσιαστηρ. is especially opposed to this interpretation, since for Paul there can be but the one altar; comp 1 Corinthians 10:18.

οὕτω καὶ ὁ Κύριος κ.τ.λ[1452]] so, i.e. in accordance with the relation of things stated in 1 Corinthians 9:13, hath the Lord also, etc. Ὁ Κύριος is Christ; the allusion is to such sayings of His as Matthew 10:10, Luke 10:8, here referred to as handed down by living tradition. By the καί, again, the command of Christ is linked to the foregoing relations under the O. T. economy, with which it corresponds (comp Chrysostom). The order of the words is enough of itself to show that the reference is not to God, for in that case we must have had: οὕτω καὶ τοῖς τὸ εὐαγγ. καταγγ. ὁ Κύριος διέταξε.

For examples of the idiom ΖῆΝ ἘΚ, see Kypke.

[1447] The paraphrastic description of the priests from their employments serves to make the representation uniform with that in ver. 14. The double designation, however, brings out the analogy with the Christian teachers in a more clear and telling way for the purposes of the argument. The holy thing at which they labour is the gospel (Romans 15:16), and the offering which they present is the faith of their converts (Php 2:17), and, consequently, those converts themselves (Rom. l.c.).

[1449] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1450] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1452] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14. After the personal “aside” of 1 Corinthians 9:11 f., Paul returns to his main proof, deriving a further reason for the disputed ἐξουσία from the Temple service. “Do you not know”—you men of knowledge (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16)—ὅτι οἱ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐργαζόμενοι ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ ἐσθίουσιν; “that those employed in the sacred offices eat what comes from the sacred place (the Temple)?”—“qui sacris operantur, ex sacrario edunt” (Cv[1326]): see the rules ad hoc in Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7:38 and Numbers 18:8-19. For ἐργάζομαι (of business, employment), cf. 1 Corinthians 4:12, Acts 18:3, etc.—“Those that are assiduous at the altar,” qui altari assident (Bz[1327])—i.e., the priests engaged in the higher ritual functions—are distinguished from other Temple ministers; the position of Paul and his colleagues is analogous to that of these chief dignitaries.—παρεδρεύω, to have one’s seat beside; cf. εὐπάρεδρον, 1 Corinthians 7:35. P. argues by analogy from the Jewish priest to the Christian minister in respect of the claim to maintenance; we cannot infer from this an identity of function, any more than in the previous comparison with “the threshing ox”.—τ. θυσιαστηρίῳ συνμερίζονται, “have their portion with the altar,” i.e., share with it in the sacrifices—“altaris esse socios in dividendo victimas” (Bz[1328]); parts of these were consumed in the altar-fire, and parts reserved for the priests (Leviticus 10:12-15). Some refer the first half of 1 Corinthians 9:13 to Gentile and the last to Israelite practice; but “with the Ap., τὸ ἱερὸν is only the sanctuary of the God of Israel, τὸ θυσιαστήριον only the altar on which sacrifice is made to Him” (Hf[1329]): cf. Acts 22:17, etc., and the Gospels passim, as to ἱερόν; 1 Corinthians 10:18, as to θυσιαστήριον; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, for the use in this Ep. of O.T. analogies.—“So also (in accordance with this precedent) did the Lord appoint for those that preach the good tidings to live of the good tidings.”—ἐκ τ εὐαγγ in 1 Corinthians 9:14 matches ἐκ τ ἱεροῦ, 1 Corinthians 9:13; τοῖςκαταγγέλλουσιν, τοῖςἐργαζομένοις: cf. ἱερουργοῦντα τ. εὐαγγ τ. Θεοῦ, Romans 15:16.—For the “ordinance” of “the Lord” (sc. Jesus), see parls.; the allusion speaks for detailed knowledge of the sayings of Jesus, on the part of writer and readers; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Corinthians 11:23 ff., and notes.—διατάσσω, act[1330], as in 1 Corinthians 7:17, 1 Corinthians 11:34; mid[1331] in 1 Corinthians 16:1.—ζῇν ἐκ, of source of livelihood (ex quo quod evangelium prœdicant, Bz[1332]), in cl[1333] Gr[1334] often ζῇν ἀπὸ (see parls.). For καταγγέλλω, see note on 1 Corinthians 2:1[1326] Calvin’s In Nov. Testamentum Commentarii.

[1327] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1328] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1329] J. C. K. von Hofmann’s Die heilige Schrift N.T. untersucht, ii. 2 (2te Auflage, 1874).

[1330] active voice.

[1331] middle voice.

[1332] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[1333] classical.

[1334] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

13. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things] Fifth argument. The Jewish priests are maintained by the sacrifices of the worshippers. See Leviticus 6:17; Numbers 5:8-10, and especially Numbers 18:8-20. So also Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 18:1. This was an argument of which in dealing with Jews it would not have been well to lose sight. Whether an Apostle or not St Paul was at least occupied with sacred things, and so had a claim to live, or rather eat, the literal translation (see margin feed) by means of the work he was doing.

partakers with the altar] The sacrifices were apportioned out according to rule. Part was consumed on the altar; part was given to the priest; part was consumed by the worshipper. See passages cited in the last note.

1 Corinthians 9:13. Τὰ ιἑρὰ) sacred things.—ἐκ τοῦ ιἑροῦ, of the temple)—θυσιαστηρίῳ, at the altar) If the Mass were a sacrifice, Paul would have undoubtedly accommodated to it the apodosis in the following verse.

Verse 13. - They which minister about holy things. Jewish priests. He adds his two final arguments - since the right which he is pleading has its own intrinsic importance - before proceeding to the example which he set in order to prevail on the strong to give up their rights and their liberty, when need was, for the sake of the weak. Live; literally, eat, or feed. The Zealots used this excuse for themselves when they broke open the temple stores in the siege of Jerusalem (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 5:13, § 6). Of the things of the temple. They shared in the victims offered (see Numbers 18:8-13; Deuteronomy 18:1). Partakers with the altar. Only certain portions of certain victims were allowed them. 1 Corinthians 9:13Minister (ἐργαζόμενοι)

Lit, work or perform. Never in classical Greek of being engaged in sacred rites.

Wait (παρεδρεύοντες)

Etymologically akin to πάρεδρος sitting beside. See on 1 Corinthians 7:35. Only here in the New Testament.

Altar (θυσιαστηρίῳ)

See on Acts 17:23.

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