And the flesh of them shall be yours, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are yours.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And the flesh of them shall be thine . . . —In Deuteronomy 12:17-18, the firstlings of the herd and of the flock are directed to be eaten by the owners in the place which the Lord should choose. Either the law as prescribed in Numbers was subsequently modified, or the second clause of this verse explains and qualifies the preceding clause, and assigns only the wave breast and the right shoulder (or, rather, leg) to the priests. (Comp. Leviticus 10:14-15.)The flesh; all the flesh of them, and not only some parts, as in other sacrifices.
as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine: which were his part of the peace offerings, for him and his sons to eat of, Leviticus 7:34; and the Jews observe (m), that as the wave breast and heave shoulder of the peace offerings might be eaten in two days and one night, so might those of the firstlings.And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. the flesh of them shall be thine] Aaron is to receive the whole of their flesh, as he had received the breast and thigh of the peace-offering.Verse 18. - The flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. This is on the face of it inconsistent with the direction given in Deuteronomy 15:19, 20, that the flesh of the first-lings should be eaten by the offerers in the holy place (cf. also Deuteronomy 12:17, 18). Two explanations have been proposed.
1. That the firstlings were given to the priest in the same sense as the peace offerings, i.e., only as regarded the breast and shoulder, while the rest went to the offerer. This, however, does obvious violence to the language, and is not supported by the Septuagint.
2. That as the priest was bound to consume the firstlings with his family, and could not sell them, he would be certainly disposed to invite the offerer to join him in the sacred meal. This may have been usually the case, but it was entirely within the option of the priest, and could scarcely be made the basis of a direct command, like that of Deuteronomy 15:19, still less of an indirect assumption, like that of Deuteronomy 12:17, 18, that the firstlings stood upon the same footing as free-will offerings and heave offerings. It is easier to suppose that the law was actually modified in this, as in some other particulars. 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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