Deuteronomy 18:3
And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Deuteronomy 18:3. The maw — The Hebrew word here rendered maw, or stomach, may have another signification; and some render it the breast; others take it for the part which lies under the breast.

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.For "maw" read stomach, which was regarded as one of the richest and choicest parts. As the animal slain may be considered to consist of three principal parts, head, feet, and body, a portion of each is by the regulation in question to be given to the priest, thus representing the consecration of the whole; or, as some ancient commentators think, the dedication of the words, acts, and appetites of the worshipper to God.

The text probably refers to peace-offerings, and animals killed for the sacrificial meals held in connection with the peace-offerings.

3. this shall be the priest's due from the people—All who offered sacrifices of thanksgiving or peace offerings (Le 7:31-33) were ordered to give the breast and shoulder as perquisites to the priests. Here "the two cheeks" or head and "the maw" or stomach, deemed anciently a great dainty, are specified. But whether this is a new injunction, or a repetition of the old with the supplement of more details, it is not easy to determine. A sacrifice, to wit, a sacrifice of thanksgiving, or a peace-offering, as appears from Leviticus 7:31,33, which is ofttimes called simply a sacrifice, as Exodus 18:12 Leviticus 17:5,8 Num 15:3 Deu 12:27.

The shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.

Quest. How doth this agree with other texts, in which the shoulder and the breast, and those parts only, are the priest’s due, not the cheeks and maw?

Answ.

1. Who shall tie God’s hands? what if he now makes an addition, and enlargeth the priest’s commons? Nothing more usual than for one scripture to supply what is lacking in another, and for a latter law of God to add to a former.

2. The breast may be here omitted, because it is comprehended under the shoulder, to which it is commonly joined, and with which it was waved before the Lord.

3. The Hebrew word here rendered maw or stomach, which was reckoned among dainties by the ancients, is not to my remembrance used elsewhere, and therefore it may have another signification, and some render it the breast, others take it for the uppermost part of the stomach, which lies under the breast.

And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer sacrifice,.... Not from the priests, as Jarchi observes, but from those that bring the sacrifices to the priests, particularly the peace offerings:

whether it be ox or sheep; the one of the herd, the other of the flock, creatures used in sacrifice, and takes in goats and the kids of them, rams and lambs:

and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw; the first of these designs the upper part of the arm that joins to the neck and back, and the next the two cheeks with the tongue, as both Jarchi and Aben Ezra observe, and indeed the whole head is meant; the maw, which the Septuagint interpreters call and other writers is, according to the philosopher (p), the fourth and last ventricle or stomach, and which he thus describes;"after the echinus or rough tripe is that which is called the maw, which is in size larger than the echinus, and in form longer, and has many large and smooth folds;''and , the maw of an ox, and the belly of a swine, are reckoned by the poet (q) as delicious food.

(p) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 17. (q) Aristophan. Equites, Acts 1. Sc. 3. p. 307. & Acts 4. Sc. 1. p. 355.

And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the {b} shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.

(b) The right shoulder, Nu 18:18.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. And this shall be the priests’ due, etc.] Heb. mishpaṭ, as in 1 Samuel 2:13, where render: and the priests’ due from the people.

from them that offer a sacrifice] Heb. slay, or sacrifice, a sacrifice, a comprehensive phrase including every victim offered at the Altar where alone sacrifice was valid. This precludes the various theories suggested with the view of reconciling D’s law with that of P (see next note), viz. (1) that the law refers not to animals offered at the Temple but to those slain for food at home (Deuteronomy 12:15 f.); (2) that it refers only to the eating of firstlings (Deuteronomy 12:17 f., Deuteronomy 15:20); (3) that it refers to more dues to the priests, additional to those prescribed in P.

the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw] According to 1 Samuel 2:12-17 the earlier practice had been that the priest’s servant with a three-pronged fork took what he could for his master out of the caldron in which the victim was being boiled for the worshippers; and it was regarded as a sinful innovation when the sons of Eli demanded to receive their portions while the flesh was still raw, no doubt in order that they might secure certain definite parts of the animal. This claim the law in D now legalises, naming the pieces of the victim to be given to the priest. P represents a later development, and prescribes still better pieces, the breast and the right thigh (Leviticus 7:31 ff; Leviticus 10:14 f., Numbers 18:18). For the gradual increase of the priests’ dues and of their other sources of revenue from D onwards, see Jerusalem, i. 354–366.

Deuteronomy 18:3"This shall be the right of the priests on the part of the people, on the part of those who slaughter slain-offerings, whether ox or sheep; he (the offerer) shall give the priest the shoulder, the cheek, and the stomach." הזּרע, the shoulder, i.e., the front leg; see Numbers 6:19. הקּבה, the rough stomach, τὸ ἤνιστρον (lxx), i.e., the fourth stomach of ruminant animals, in which the digestion of the food is completed; Lat. omasus or abomasus, though the Vulgate has ventriculus here. On the choice of these three pieces in particular, Mnster and Fagius observe that "the sheep possesses three principal parts, the head, the feet, and the trunk; and of each of these some portion was to be given to the priest who officiated" "Of each of these three principal parts of the animal," says Schultz, "some valuable piece was to be presented: the shoulder at least, and the stomach, which was regarded as particularly fat, are seen at once to have been especially good." That this arrangement is not at variance with the command in Leviticus 7:32., to give the wave-breast and heave-leg of the peace-offerings to the Lord for the priests, but simply enjoins a further gift to the priests on the part of the people, in addition to those portions which were to be given to the Lord for His servants, is sufficiently evident from the context, since the heave-leg and wave-breast belonged to the firings of Jehovah mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:1, which the priests had received as an inheritance from the Lord, that is to say, to the tenuphoth of the children of Israel, which the priests might eat with their sons and daughters, though only with such members of their house as were levitically clean (Numbers 18:11); and also from the words of the present command, viz., that the portions mentioned were to be a right of the priests on the part of the people, on the part of those who slaughtered slain-offerings, i.e., to be paid to the priest as a right that was due to him on the part of the people. משׁפּט was what the priest could justly claim. 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; vid., Deuteronomy 12:15.).

The only thing that admits of dispute is, whether this gift was to be presented from every animal that was slaughtered at home for private use, or only from those which were slaughtered for sacrificial meals, and therefore at the place of the sanctuary. Against the former view, for which appeal is made to Philo, Josephus (Ant. iv. 4, 4), and the Talmud, we may adduce not only "the difficulty of carrying out such a plan" (was every Israelite who slaughtered an ox, a sheep, or a goat to carry the pieces mentioned to the priests' town, which might be many miles away, or were the priests to appoint persons to collect them?), but the general use of the words זבח זבח. The noun זבח always signifies either slaughtering for a sacrificial meal or a slain sacrifice, and the verb זבח is never applied to ordinary slaughtering (for which שׁחט is the verb used), except in Deuteronomy 12:15 and Deuteronomy 12:21 in connection with the repeal of the law that every slaughtering was to be a שׁלמים זבח (Leviticus 17:5); and there the use of the word זבח, instead of שׁחט, may be accounted for from the allusion to this particular law. At the same time, the Jewish tradition is probably right, when it understands by the הזּבח זבחי in this verse, κατ' ̓͂ ́ ̓́ ̔́ (Josephus), or ἔξω τοῦ βωμοῦ θυομένοις ἕνεκα κρεωφαγίας (Philo), or, as in the Mishnah Chol. (x. 1), refers the gift prescribed in this passage to the חולין, profana, and not to the מוקדשׁרן, consecrata, that is to say, places it in the same category with the first-fruits, the tithe of tithes, and other less holy gifts, which might be consumed outside the court of the temple and the holy city (compare Reland, Antiqq. ss. P. ii. c. 4, 11, with P. ii. c. 8, 10). In all probability, 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. For it is evident that the meals held by the people at the annual feasts when they had to appear before the Lord were not all shelamim meals, but that other festal meals were held in connection with these, in which the priests and Levites were to share, from the laws laid down with reference to the so-called second tithe, which could not only be turned into money by those who lived at a great distance from the sanctuary, such money to be applied to the purchase of the things required for the sacrificial meals at the place of the sanctuary, but which might also be appropriated every third year to the preparation of love-feasts for the poor in the different towns of the land (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). For in this case the animals were not slaughtered or sacrificed as shelamim, at all events not in the latter instance, because the slaughtering did not take place at the sanctuary. If therefore we restrict the gift prescribed here to the slaughtering of oxen and sheep or goats for such sacrificial meals in the wider sense, not only are the difficulties connected with the execution of this command removed, but also the objection, which arises out of the general use of the expression זבח זבח, to the application of this expression to every slaughtering that took place for domestic use. And beside this, the passage in 1 Samuel 2:13-16, to which Calvin calls attention, furnishes a historical proof that the priests could claim a portion of the flesh of the slain-offerings in addition to the heave-leg and wave-breast, since it is there charged as a sin on the part of the sons of Eli, not only that they took out of the cauldrons as much of the flesh which was boiling as they could take up with three-pronged forks, but that before the fat was burned upon the altar they asked for the pieces which belonged to the priest, to be given to them not cooked, but raw. From this Michaelis has drawn the correct conclusion, that even at that time the priests had a right to claim that, in addition to the portions of the sacrifices appointed by Moses in Leviticus 7:34, a further portion of the thank-offerings should be given to them; though he does not regard the passage as referring to the law before us, since he supposes this to relate to every slaughtered animal which was not placed upon the altar.

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