For these nations, which you shall possess, listened to observers of times, and to diviners: but as for you, the LORD your God has not suffered you so to do.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.—More literally, As for thee, not so hath Jehovah thy God given unto thee. A prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, will Jehovah thy God raise up unto thee. Him shall ye hear. The contrast between the miserable resources of idolatrous nations in their anxiety, and the light and comfort promised to Israel and to us, in the One Mediator, is very marked here. Even Israel was better off than the heathen. As Rashi says upon the words “not so,” &c., “He hath not left thee to hearken to observers of times and enchanters; for behold He hath given Shechinah to rest upon the prophets, and Urim and Thummim.”Genesis 17:1; Job 1:1; Matthew 5:48. The sense is that Israel was to keep the worship of the true God wholly uncontaminated by idolatrous pollutions.
9-14. thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations—(See on Le 18:21; Le 19:26; Le 19:31; Le 20:4). In spite of this express command, the people of Canaan, especially the Philistines, were a constant snare and stumbling block to the Israelites, on account of their divinations and superstitious practices.Acts 14:16, but hath instructed thee better by his word and Spirit, and thereby kept thee from such courses, and will more fully instruct thee by a great Prophet, &c. Or, hath not given to thee, to wit, such persons to consult with, but hath given thee prophets to instruct thee, and will in due time give thee an eminent Prophet, as it here follows.
but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do; or, "but thou not so" (m) thou shouldest not do so, not hearken to such persons, but to the Lord thy God, and to his law and testimony; nor art thou left to the deception of such persons:
the Lord thy God hath given thee: his word and statutes, as a rule to go by, which he has not given to other nations: the Targum of Jonathan adds,"the priests shall ask by Urim and Thummim, and a true prophet shall the Lord your God give unto you;''so that they had no need to hearken to such impostors and deceivers: or, "as for thee, not so are they whom the Lord thy God giveth thee" (n); that is, the prophets whom the Lord would give unto them would not be like the diviners of the Heathens, who imposed on the people and deceived them; but would be men sent and inspired by God, and true and faithful in the discharge of their office; and to hearken to these they are encouraged by the promise of a very eminent one, like to Moses, in the next verse.For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 14. - Though the heathen whose land they were to possess sought to diviners and enchanters, Israel was not to do so; as for them (the אַתָּה at the beginning of the clause is an emphatic nominative), Jehovah their God had not suffered (נָתַן, given, granted, allowed) them to do such things. Deuteronomy 18:3-5), so the Levite also, who came from one of the towns of the land with all the desire of his soul to the place of the sanctuary, to minister there in the name of the Lord, was to eat a similar portion to all his Levitical brethren who stood there in service before the Lord. The verb גּוּר (sojourned) does not presuppose that the Levites were houseless, but simply that they had no hereditary possession in the land as the other tribes had, and merely lived like sojourners among the Israelites in the towns which were given up to them by the other tribes (see at Deuteronomy 12:12). "All his brethren the Levites" are the priests and those Levites who officiated at the sanctuary as assistants to the priests. It is assumed, therefore, that only a part of the Levites were engaged at the sanctuary, and the others lived in their towns. The apodosis follows in Deuteronomy 18:8, "part like part shall they eat," sc., the new-comer and those already there. The former was to have the same share to eat as the latter, and to be maintained from the revenues of the sanctuary. These revenues are supposed to be already apportioned by the previous laws, so that they by no means abolish the distinction between priests and Levites. We are not to think of those portions of the sacrifices and first-fruits only which fell to the lot of the priests, nor of the tithe alone, or of the property which flowed into the sanctuary through vows or free-will offerings, or in any other way, and was kept in the treasury and storehouse, but of tithes, sacrificial portions, and free-will offerings generally, which were not set apart exclusively for the priests. וגו ממכּריו לבד, "beside his sold with the fathers," i.e., independently of what he receives from the sale of his patrimony. ממכּר, the sale, then the thing sold, and the price or produce of what is sold, like מכר in Numbers 20:19. לבד is unusual without מן, and Knobel would read ממּכריו, from מכריו and מן, in consequence. האבות על stands for בּית־אבות על (see at Exodus 6:25; κατὰ τὴν πατρίαν, lxx), according to or with the fathers' houses, i.e., the produce of the property which he possesses according to his family descent, or which is with his kindred. Whether על in this passage signifies "according to the measure of," or "with," in the sense of keeping or administering, cannot be decided. As the law in Leviticus 25:33-34, simply forbids the sale of the pasture grounds belonging to the Levites, but permits the sale of their houses, a Levite who went to the sanctuary might either let his property in the Levitical town, and draw the yearly rent, or sell the house which belonged to him there. In any case, these words furnish a convincing proof that there is no foundation for the assertion that the book of Deuteronomy assumes or affirms that the Levites were absolutely without possessions.
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