Deuteronomy 18:2
Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
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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.Better, "there shall not be to the priests, the Levites, yea the whole tribe of Levi, any inheritance, etc."

And his inheritance - i. e., God's inheritance, that which in making a grant to His people of the promised land with its earthly blessings He had reserved for Himself; more particularly the sacrifices and the holy gifts, such as tithes and first-fruits. These were God's portion of the substance of Israel; and as the Levites were His portion of the persons of Israel, it was fitting that the Levites should be sustained from these. On the principle here laid down, compare 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.


De 18:1-8. The Lord Is the Priests' and the Levites' Inheritance.

1. The priests the Levites … shall eat the offerings—As the tribe of Levi had no inheritance allotted them like the other tribes but were wholly consecrated to the priestly office, their maintenance was to arise from tithes, first-fruits, and certain portions of the oblations presented on the altar, which God having by express appointment reserved to Himself made over, after being offered, to His ministers.

i.e. The Lord’s part and right, as was now said.

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.

Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
2. As in Deuteronomy 10:9 : read with Heb. he, his, him for they, their, them and see introd. to this law.

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). Deuteronomy 18:2The Rights of the Priests and Levites. - With reference to these, Moses repeats verbatim from Numbers 18:20, Numbers 18:23-24, the essential part of the rule laid down in Numbers 18:"The priests the Levites, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel." "All the tribe of Levi" includes the priests and Levites. They were to eat the "firings of Jehovah and His inheritance," as described in detail in Numbers 18. The inheritance of Jehovah consisted of the holy gifts as well as the sacrifices, i.e., the tithes, firstlings, and first-fruits. Moses felt it to be superfluous to enumerate these gifts one by one from the previous laws, and also to describe the mode of their application, or define how much belonged to the priests and how much to the Levites. However true it may be that the author assigns all these gifts to the Levites generally, the conclusion drawn from this, viz., that he was not acquainted with any distinction between priests and Levites, but placed the Levites entirely on a par with the priests, is quite a false one. For, apart from the evident distinction between the priests and Levites in Deuteronomy 18:1, where there would be no meaning in the clause, "all the tribe of Levi," if the Levites were identical with the priests, the distinction is recognised and asserted as clearly as possible in what follows, when a portion of the slain-offerings is allotted to the priests in Deuteronomy 18:3-5, whilst in Deuteronomy 18:6-8 the Levite is allowed to join in eating the altar gifts, if he come to the place of the sanctuary and perform service there. The repetition in Deuteronomy 18:2 is an emphatic confirmation: "As He hath said unto them:" as in Deuteronomy 10:9.
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