Numbers 18:20
And the LORD spoke to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them: I am your part and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
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(20) Thou shalt have no inheritance . . . —Aaron is addressed in this verse as the representative of the priesthood. He himself did not enter into the land of Canaan.

I am thy part and thine inheritance . . . —All that are admitted into the number of Christ’s royal priesthood have God for their portion and inheritance—in life, in death, and throughout eternity. (Comp. Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:5.)

Numbers 18:20. Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land — In the land of the children of Israel. You shall not have a distinct portion of land, as the other tribes shall. The reason of this law was partly because God would have them wholly devoted to his service, and therefore free from worldly encumbrances, partly because God had abundantly provided for them otherwise, by tithes, and first-fruits, and oblations, and partly that, by this means, being dispersed among the several tribes, they might have the better opportunity for teaching and watching over the people. I am thy part — I have appointed thee a liberal maintenance out of my oblations.18:20-32 As Israel was a people not to be numbered among the nations, so Levi was a tribe to be distinguished from the rest. Those who have God for their Inheritance and their Portion for ever, ought to look with holy contempt and indifference upon the possessions of this world. The Levites were to give God his dues out of their tithes, as well as the Israelites out of their increase. See, in ver. 31, the way to have comfort in all our worldly possessions, so as to bear no sin by reason of them. 1. We must be sure that what we have is got honestly and in the service of God. That meat is best eaten which is first earned; but if any will not work, neither shall he eat, 2Th 3:10. 2. We must be sure that God has his dues out of it. We have the comfort of our substance, when we have honoured the Lord with it. Ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved the best from it. We should give alms of such things as we have, that all may be holy and comfortable to us.I am thy part and thine inheritance - Compare the marginal references. 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). In their land, i.e. in the land of the children of Israel, mentioned Numbers 18:13. You shall not have a distinct and separate portion of land, as the other tribes shall. The reason of this law was, partly, because God would have them wholly devoted to and employed in his service, and therefore; free from worldly encumbrances and businesses; partly, because God had abundantly provided for them otherwise by tithes and first-fruits and oblations of all sorts; partly, because God would have their worldly comfort and happiness depend singly upon him and his service, and so would; oblige them to use more zeal and diligence in the advancement of piety, even for their own interest, which was either better or worse as true religion flourished or decayed; see Judges 17:9,10 19:18 2 Chronicles 13:9 30:22 31:4; partly, that this might be a firm bond of hearty love and affection between the people and their teachers, the Levites, who, as they performed religious services for the people, so they received their subsistence from them; and partly, that by this means being dispersed among the several tribes, they might have the better opportunity for teaching and watching over the people, which was their duty, Deu 33:10 2 Chronicles 30:22 Malachi 2:4-7.

I am thy part, i.e. I have appointed thee a liberal maintenance out of my oblations. And the Lord spake unto Aaron,.... What is said, being what concerned the tribe of Levi, at the head of which Aaron was, even concerning the maintenance of the Levites:

thou shalt have no inheritance in their land; in the land of Israel when they come to possess it, as the rest of the tribes had:

neither shalt thou have any part among them; any part of the land when it is divided by lot, as it was in the times of Joshua, when taken from the Canaanites; no tract of land was peculiarly assigned to them as were to the other tribes, as fields, nor vineyards; they had cities appointed them, and they had houses and fields devoted to the Lord which fell to them, and others they had by gift or legacy, or by purchase, as had Jeremiah the priest and Barnabas the Levite, Jeremiah 32:9 Acts 4:36; but they had no share in the distribution of the land of Canaan at the time of the division of it among the tribes; no, not even in the spoil of the cities of the land of Canaan, when they were conquered; this Maimonides (n) says they were warned not to take; and a son of Levi that took any part of the spoil was to be beaten; but the spoil of other lands, subdued by the kings of Israel, they might take, as other Israelites did: the reason of all this was, because they had a sufficient provision made for them in another way, and that they might not be entangled in worldly affairs, or spend their time in the culture of fields and vineyards, but wholly give themselves to the service of God in his house:

I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel; in things temporal, the offerings, tithes, firstfruits, &c. which were given to the Lord, being bestowed upon them; and in things spiritual, they being employed in the work and service of God, and having a peculiar nearness to him, and communion with him: so all that are made priests unto God, as all believers in Christ are, 1 Peter 2:5, have God for their portion and inheritance; God, in his persons and in all his perfections, and under every character, as the God of nature, providence, and grace, is the portion of his people; and a rich, large, and satisfying portion he is, and which is inexhaustible, and will endure for ever; he is their portion in life and at death, in time and to all eternity; see Psalm 73:26.

(n) Hilchot Shemittah Veyobel, c. 13. sect. 10, 11.

And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their {l} land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.

(l) Of Canaan.

20. The reason why the priests are to receive all these dues is that they are to possess no landed property in Canaan. Cf. Numbers 26:62, Joshua 14:3. This ordinance, however, did not exclude the assignment of certain cities, with their surrounding land, to the priests and Levites (Numbers 35:1-8, Joshua 21:1-42).Verse 20. - Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land. The priests had of necessity homes wherein to live when not on duty, but they had no territory of their own in the same sense as Jews of other tribes. I am thy part and thine inheritance. Septuagint, ἐγὼ μερίς σου καὶ κληρονομία σου. This is not to be explained away, as if it meant only that they were to live "of the altar." Just as the priests (and in a lesser sense all the Levites) were the special possession of the Lord, so the Lord was the special possession of the priests; and inasmuch as all the whole earth belonged to him, the portion of the priests was, potentially in all cases, actually for those who were capable of realizing it, infinitely more desirable than any other portion. The spiritual meaning of the promise was so clearly felt that it was constantly claimed by the devout in Israel, irrespective of their ecclesiastical status (cf. Psalm 16:5; Lamentations 3:24, &c.). 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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