The Lord Is the Priests' and the Levites'
1. The priests the Levites … shall eat the
offerings—As the tribe of Levi had no inheritance allotted
them like the other tribes but were wholly consecrated to the priestly
office, their maintenance was to arise from tithes, first-fruits, and
certain portions of the oblations presented on the altar, which God
having by express appointment reserved to Himself made over, after
being offered, to His ministers.
3. this shall be the priest's due from the
people—All who offered sacrifices of thanksgiving or peace
offerings (Le 7:31-33) were ordered to give the breast and
shoulder as perquisites to the priests. Here "the two cheeks" or head
and "the maw" or stomach, deemed anciently a great dainty, are
specified. But whether this is a new injunction, or a repetition of the
old with the supplement of more details, it is not easy to
6-8. if a Levite … come with all the desire
of his mind—It appears that the Levites served in rotation
from the earliest times; but, from their great numbers, it was only at
infrequent intervals they could be called into actual service. Should
any Levite, however, under the influence of eminent piety, resolve to
devote himself wholly and continually to the sacred duties of the
sanctuary, he was allowed to realize his ardent wishes; and as he was
admitted to a share of the work, so also to a share of the
remuneration. Though he might have private property, that was to form
no ground for withholding or even diminishing his claim to maintenance
like the other ministering priests. The reason or principle of the
enactment is obvious (1Co 9:13). At
the same time, while every facility was afforded for the admission of
such a zealous and self-denying officer, this admission was to be in an
orderly manner: he was to minister "as all his brethren"—that is,
a Gershonite with Gershonites; a Merarite with Merarites; so that there
might be no derangement of the established courses.
De 18:9-14. The
Abominations of the Nations Are to Be Avoided.
9-14. thou shalt not learn to do after the
abominations of those nations—(See on Le
18:21; Le 19:26; Le
19:31; Le 20:4). In spite of this express
command, the people of Canaan, especially the Philistines, were a
constant snare and stumbling block to the Israelites, on account of
their divinations and superstitious practices.
De 18:15-19. Christ the
Prophet Is to Be Heard.
15-19. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a
prophet—The insertion of this promise, in connection with the
preceding prohibition, might warrant the application (which some make
of it) to that order of true prophets whom God commissioned in unbroken
succession to instruct, to direct, and warn His people; and in this
view the purport of it is, "There is no need to consult with diviners
and soothsayers, as I shall afford you the benefit of divinely
appointed prophets, for judging of whose credentials a sure criterion
is given" (De 18:20-22). But the prophet here promised was
pre-eminently the Messiah, for He alone was "like unto Moses" (see on
De 34:10) "in His mediatorial character; in the
peculiar excellence of His ministry; in the number, variety, and
magnitude of His miracles; in His close and familiar communion with
God; and in His being the author of a new dispensation of religion."
This prediction was fulfilled fifteen hundred years afterwards and was
expressly applied to Jesus Christ by Peter (Ac 3:22, 23), and by Stephen (Ac 7:37).
19. whosoever will not hearken unto my words which
he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him—The
direful consequences of unbelief in Christ, and disregard of His
mission, the Jewish people have been experiencing during eighteen