Numbers 18:12
All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
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(12) All the best . . . —Hebrew, all the fat, as in Genesis 45:18.

The firstfruits of them . . . —The quantity is not defined. St. Jerome, in his Commentary on Ezekiel 45, mentions the fortieth part as a liberal contribution, and the sixtieth as a scanty one, according to Jewish tradition.

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.In the most holy place - Rather, "among the most holy things;" as in Numbers 4:4 : i. e. "As the most holy of things shalt thou eat it." Accordingly, only the males of the priestly families could eat of the things here specified. Nu 18:8-20. The Priests' Portion.

8-13. the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of my heave offerings—A recapitulation is made in this passage of certain perquisites specially appropriated to the maintenance of the priests. They were parts of the votive and freewill offerings, including both meat and bread, wine and oil, and the first-fruits, which formed a large and valuable item.

The best, Heb. the fat for the best: the fat of wheat is the best of it, Deu 32:14 Psalm 81:16 147:14.

The first-fruits of them; as well those which were offered in the name and behalf of the body of the people at the solemn feasts, Leviticus 23:10,17, as those which were required of particular persons, Exodus 22:29 23:19; whereof the precise quantity is not determined, but left free to the giver, as an exercise for his piety and charity, only they are enjoined to give the first and the best of them.

All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat,.... Or the "fat" (i) of them; the fat of anything being the best, see Deuteronomy 32:14,

the firstfruits of them: the oil, and wine, and wheat:

which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee; this Jarchi calls the great heave offering, the firstfruits of their harvest and vintage, which being offered to the Lord, was given to the priests: the quantity is not fixed, but left to the generosity of the people, and was a free gift; liberal men would give a fortieth part, those of a meaner spirit a fiftieth, and stubborn ones a sixtieth, and less than that was not given See Gill on Exodus 22:29; compare with this Ezekiel 45:13.

(i) "pinguedinem", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

All the {h} best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

(h) Or, fat; chiefest.

12. the best] lit. ‘the fat’ (as marg.). Cf. Deuteronomy 32:14, Psalm 81:16. This vague expression is explained by the more technical term the firstfruits, or the first (Heb. rêshîth); cf. Deuteronomy 18:4. The amount which the priest is to receive is not stated; but in later times fixed proportions were laid down by the chiefs of the Rabbinic schools.

Verse 12. - All the best. Literally, "all the fat" (cf. Genesis 45:18). Numbers 18:12The Revenues of the Priests. - These are summed up in Numbers 18:8 in these words, "I give thee the keeping of My heave-offerings in all holy gifts for a portion, as an eternal statute." The notion of משׁמרת, keeping, as in Exodus 12:6; Exodus 16:23, Exodus 16:32, is defined in the second parallel clause as משׁחה, a portion (see at Leviticus 7:35). The priests were to keep all the heave-offerings, as the portion which belonged to them, out of the sacrificial gifts that the children of Israel offered to the Lord. תּרוּמת, heave-offerings (see at Exodus 25:2, and Leviticus 2:9), is used here in the broadest sense, as including all the holy gifts (kodashim, see Leviticus 21:22) which the Israelites lifted off from their possessions and presented to the Lord (as in Numbers 5:9). Among these, for example, were, first of all, the most holy gifts in the meat-offerings, sin-offerings, and trespass-offerings (Numbers 18:9, Numbers 18:10; see at Leviticus 2:3). The burnt-offerings are not mentioned, because the whole of the flesh of these was burned upon the altar, and the skin alone fell to the portion of the priest (Leviticus 7:8). "From the fire," sc., of the altar. אשׁ, fire, is equivalent to אשּׁה ot , firing (see Leviticus 1:9). These gifts they were to eat, as most holy, in a most holy place, i.e., in the court of the tabernacle (see Leviticus 6:9, Leviticus 6:19; Leviticus 7:6), which is called "most holy" here, to lay a stronger emphasis upon the precept. In the second place, these gifts included also "the holy gifts;" viz., (a) (Numbers 18:11) the heave-offering of their gifts in all wave-offerings (tenuphoth), i.e., the wave-breast and heave-leg of the peace-offerings, and whatever else was waved in connection with the sacrifices (see at Leviticus 7:33): these might be eaten by both the male and female members of the priestly families, provided they were legally clean (Leviticus 22:3.); (b) (Numbers 18:12) the gifts of first-fruits: "all the fat (i.e., the best, as in Genesis 45:18) of oil, new wine, and corn," viz., ראשׁיתם, "the first of them," the בּכּוּרים, "the first-grown fruits" of the land, and that of all the fruit of the ground (Deuteronomy 26:2, Deuteronomy 26:10; Proverbs 3:9; Ezekiel 44:30), corn, wine, oil, honey, and tree-fruit (Deuteronomy 8:8, compared with Leviticus 19:23-24), which were offered, according to 2 Chronicles 31:5; Nehemiah 10:36, Nehemiah 10:38, Tob. 1:6, as first-fruits every year (see Mishnah, Bikkur, i. 3, 10, where the first-fruits are specified according to the productions mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8; the law prescribed nothing in relation to the quantity of the different first-fruits, but left this entirely to the offerer himself); (c) (Numbers 18:14) everything placed under a ban (see at Leviticus 27:28); and (d) (Numbers 18:15-18) the first-born of man and beast. The first-born of men and of unclean beasts were redeemed according to Numbers 3:47; Exodus 13:12-13, and Leviticus 27:6, Leviticus 27:27; but such as were fit for sacrifice were actually offered, the blood being swung against the altar, and the fat portions burned upon it, whilst the whole of the flesh fell to the portion of the priests. So far as the redemption of human beings was concerned (Numbers 18:16), they were "to redeem from the monthly child," i.e., the first-born child as soon as it was a month old.
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