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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.
Better, "there shall not be to the priests, the Levites, yea the whole tribe of Levi, any inheritance, etc."
And his inheritance - i. e., God's inheritance, that which in making a grant to His people of the promised land with its earthly blessings He had reserved for Himself; more particularly the sacrifices and the holy gifts, such as tithes and first-fruits. These were God's portion of the substance of Israel; and as the Levites were His portion of the persons of Israel, it was fitting that the Levites should be sustained from these. On the principle here laid down, compare 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.
2Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
3And 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.
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.
4The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
5For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.
6And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose;
These verses presuppose that part of the Levites only will be in residence and officiating at the place of the sanctuary, the others of course dwelling at their own homes in the Levitical cities, or "sojourning" elsewhere; compare the marginal references. But if any Levite out of love for the service of the sanctuary chose to resort to it when he might reside in his own home, he was to have his share in the maintenance which was provided for those ministering in the order of their course.
7Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD.
8They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.
Beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony - The Levites had indeed "no part nor inheritance with Israel," but they might individually possess property, and in fact often did so (compare 1 Kings 2:26; Jeremiah 32:7; Acts 4:36). The Levite who desired to settle at the place of the sanctuary would probably sell his patrimony when quitting his former home. The text directs that he should, notwithstanding any such private resources, duly enjoy his share of the perquisites provided for the ministers at the sanctuary, and as he was "waiting at the altar" should be "partaker with the altar" 1 Corinthians 9:13.
9When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
To pass through the fire - i. e., to Moloch; compare the Leviticus 20:2 note.
That useth divination - Compare Numbers 23:23 note.
Observer of times ... enchanter - Compare Leviticus 19:26 note.
Witch - Rather "sorcerer," compare the Exodus 7:11 note.
11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
A charmer - i. e., one who fascinates and subdues noxious animals or men, such as the famous serpent-charmers of the East Psalm 58:4-5.
A consulter with familiar spirits ... a wizard - Compare Leviticus 19:31 note.
Recromancer - literally, "one who interrogates the dead." The purpose of the text is obviously to group together all the known words belonging to the practices in question. Compare 2 Chronicles 33:6.
12For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
13Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
Perfect - As in Genesis 17:1; Job 1:1; Matthew 5:48. The sense is that Israel was to keep the worship of the true God wholly uncontaminated by idolatrous pollutions.
14For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
15The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
The ancient fathers of the Church and the generality of modern commentators have regarded our Lord as the prophet promised in these verses. It is evident from the New Testament alone that the Messianic was the accredited interpretation among the Jews at the beginning of the Christian era (compare the marginal references, and John 4:25); nor can our Lord Himself, when He declares that Moses "wrote of Him" John 5:45-47, be supposed to have any other words more directly in view than these, the only words in which Moses, speaking in his own person, gives any prediction of the kind. But the verses seem to have a further, no less evident if subsidiary, reference to a prophetical order which should stand from time to time, as Moses had done, between God and the people; which should make known God's will to the latter; which should by its presence render it unnecessary either that God should address the people directly, as at Sinai (Deuteronomy 18:16; compare Deuteronomy 5:25 ff), or that the people themselves in lack of counsel should resort to the superstitions of the pagan.
In fact, in the words before us, Moses gives promise both of a prophetic order, and of the Messiah in particular as its chief; of a line of prophets culminating in one eminent individual. And in proportion as we see in our Lord the characteristics of the prophet most perfectly exhibited, so must we regard the promise of Moses as in Him most completely accomplished.
16According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
20But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
Compare the marginal references.
21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
And if thou say in thine heart, How ... - The passage evidently assumes such an occasion for consulting the prophet as was usual among the pagan, e. g., an impending battle or other such crisis (compare 1 Kings 22:11), in which his veracity would soon be put to the test. Failure of a prediction is set forth as a sure note of its being "presumptuous." But from Deuteronomy 13:2 ff we see that the fulfillment of a prediction would not decisively accredit him who uttered it: for the prophet or dreamer of dreams who endeavoured on the strength of miracles to seduce to idolatry was to be rejected and punished. Nothing therefore contrary to the revealed truth of God was to be accepted under any circumstances.
22When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.