Numbers 18:19
All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, have I given you, and your sons and your daughters with you, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD to you and to your seed with you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) It is a covenant of salt.i.e., an indissoluble covenant. (See Leviticus 2:13, and Note; also 2Chronicles 13:5.) Hence the phrases used by the Greeks to denote the breach of a covenant, “Where is the salt?” and “They overstepped the salt.” (Comp. Pliny, H. N., xxxi. 41; Cic., De Div., ii. 16; Virgil, Ecl., viii. 82.)

Numbers 18:19. A covenant of salt — A durable and perpetual covenant; so called here, and 2 Chronicles 13:5, either because salt is of singular use to preserve things from corruption, and was an emblem of friendship; or because it was ratified on their part by salt, which is therefore called the salt of the covenant, for which the priests were obliged to take care that it should never be lacking from any meal-offering, Leviticus 2:13. And this privilege conferred upon the priests is called a covenant, because it was given them conditionally, upon condition of their service and care about the worship of God.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.A covenant of salt - Compare the marginal reference. covenants were ordinarily cemented in the East by the rites of hospitality; of which salt was the obvious token, entering as it does into every article of diet. It indicates perpetuity: compare Leviticus 2:13 note. 19. it is a covenant of salt—that is, a perpetual ordinance. This figurative form of expression was evidently founded on the conservative property of salt, which keeps meat from corruption; and hence it became an emblem of inviolability and permanence. It is a common phrase among Oriental people, who consider the eating of salt a pledge of fidelity, binding them in a covenant of friendship. Hence the partaking of the altar meats, which were appropriated to the priests on condition of their services and of which salt formed a necessary accompaniment, was naturally called "a covenant of salt" (Le 2:13). A covenant of salt, i.e. a durable and perpetual covenant; so called here and 2 Chronicles 13:5, either because salt is a sign of incorruption, as being of singular use to preserve things from corruption; or because it is confirmed and ratified on their part by salt, which is therefore called

the salt of the covenant, for which the priests were obliged to take care that it should never be lacking from any meat-offering, Leviticus 2:13. And this promise or privilege conferred upon the priests is called a

covenant because it is given them conditionally, upon condition of their service, and care about the worship of God, and sacrifices, which were commonly accompanied with meat-offerings, and therefore with salt. All the heave offerings of the holy things,.... All before mentioned, and whatsoever comes under that name:

which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord; either by his commandment, or of their own freewill:

have I given thee, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: so providing for their maintenance by an irrepealable law as long as their priesthood lasted, even until the Messiah should come:

it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee, and thy seed with thee: an incorruptible, inviolable, durable covenant, which should last for ever, even until the Gospel dispensation or world to come should take place; and it would remain ever before the Lord in his sight, who would take care it should never be made void, but stand fast with Aaron and his posterity as long as his priesthood endured.

All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant {k} of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

(k) That is, sure, stable and incorruptible.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. a covenant of salt] In primitive days the eating of salt, or of the smallest portion of food belonging to another man, constituted a sacred bond of friendship. So the expression denotes ‘a covenant which cannot be broken.’ On the Hebrew ideas of a covenant see the writer’s Exodus, pp. 150–4.Verse 19. - All the heave offerings of the holy things. Those, viz., enumerated from verse 9. It is a covenant of salt for ever. Septuagint, διαθήκη ἀλὸς αἰωνίου (cf. 2 Chronicles 13:5). Salt was the natural emblem of that which is incorruptible; wherefore a binding alliance was (and still is) made by eating bread and salt together, and salt was always added to the sacrifices of the Lord (Leviticus 2:13; Mark 9:49). The 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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