Numbers chapter 18 summary

Numbers chapter 18 summary DEFAULT

Numbers 18 Commentary


Numbers: Journey to God's Rest-Land by Irving Jensen- used by permission

Source: Ryrie Study Bible
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS
"Wilderness Wandering"
WALKING
Numbers
WANDERING
Numbers
WAITING
Numbers
Counting &
Camping
Nu
Cleansing &
Congregation
Nu
Carping &
Complaining
Nu
12 Spies &
Death in Desert
Nu
Aaron & Levites in
Wilderness
Nu
Serpent of Brass & Story of Balaam
Nu
Second Census 7 Laws of Israel
Nu
Last Days of Moses as Leader
Nu
Sections, Sanctuaries &
Settlements
Nu
Law
& Order
Rebellion
& Disorder
New Laws
for the New Order
Old
Generation
Tragic
Transition
New
Generation
Preparation for the Journey:
Moving Out
Participation in the Journey:
Moving On
Prize at end of the Journey:
Moving In
At Sinai
Mt Sinai
To Moab
Mt Hor
At Moab
Mt Nebo
En Route to Kadesh
(Mt Sinai)
En Route to Nowhere
(Wilderness)
En Route to Canaan
(Plains of Moab)
A Few Weeks to
2 Months
38 years,
3 months, 10 days
A Few
Months
Christ in Numbers = Our "Lifted-up One"
(Nu , cp Jn )
Author: Moses

Numbers  So the LORD said to Aaron, "You and your sons and your father's household with you shall bear the guilt in connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt in connection with your priesthood.

BGT  Numbers καὶ εἶπεν κύριος πρὸς Ααρων λέγων σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου καὶ ὁ οἶκος πατριᾶς σου λήμψεσθε τὰς ἁμαρτίας τῶν ἁγίων καὶ σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου λήμψεσθε τὰς ἁμαρτίας τῆς ἱερατείας ὑμῶν

NET  Numbers The LORD said to Aaron, "You and your sons and your tribe with you must bear the iniquity of the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you must bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

NLT  Numbers Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You, your sons, and your relatives from the tribe of Levi will be held responsible for any offenses related to the sanctuary. But you and your sons alone will be held responsible for violations connected with the priesthood.

ESV  Numbers So the LORD said to Aaron, "You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood.

NIV  Numbers The LORD said to Aaron, "You, your sons and your father's family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.

KJV  Numbers And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

YLT  Numbers And Jehovah saith unto Aaron, 'Thou, and thy sons, and the house of thy father with thee, do bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou, and thy sons with thee, do bear the iniquity of your priesthood;

LXE  Numbers And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house shall bear the sins of the holy things, and thou and thy sons shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

ASV  Numbers And Jehovah said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

CSB  Numbers The LORD said to Aaron, "You, your sons, and your ancestral house will be responsible for sin against the sanctuary. You and your sons will be responsible for sin involving your priesthood.

NKJ  Numbers Then the LORD said to Aaron: "You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood.

NRS  Numbers The LORD said to Aaron: You and your sons and your ancestral house with you shall bear responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, while you and your sons alone shall bear responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood.

  • Thou: Nu ,7,13 Heb  
  • shall bear: To counterbalance the high honour conferred on Aaron and his family, and to allay the fears and abate the envy of the people, it is here declared, that the priest must bear the blame of everything which was not properly conducted in the sanctuary. Nu Nu Ex Lev Isa ,11 Eze ,19 Ac ,27 Heb 1Pe  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Aaron is Attentive to Adonai!

YAHWEH SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO AARON
SAYING GUARD THE SANCTUARY!

The KEY WORD in Numbers 18 is give or gift - 10x - Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu  See Wiersbe's practica summary which emphasizes this key word. 

God takes care of His own.
If He promised to give a rich land to the multitude of His people,
He would also give good things to the chosen servants of His house.
-- Jensen

Irving Jensen - When the Israelites would finally enter Canaan and appropriate the land and its fruit for a perpetual inheritance, there would have to be an understanding as to what lot and provision fell to those serving in the things of God’s sanctuary, since they would own no land to produce a living. What would their inheritance be? It was at this point in the experiences of the Israelites that God revealed His plans for them, as He spoke through Aaron (–24) and Moses (–32).

First, the very office of priesthood was a gift of grace. This was cited by God later in His words to Aaron: “You and your sons are to discharge your priestly duties in everything, from that which pertains to the altar to that which is inside the veil. Be sure to perform it, for the office of the priesthood is a gift which I am giving you” (Nu , Berkeley Version). The office was said to have the character of a gift, evidently because the priest’s intimate fellowship with God was a privilege accorded not for works done, but wholly by the grace of God.

Second, God gave His ministers a spirit of responsibility for the critical task to which they had been called. The priests Aaron and his sons, together with those of his father’s house (of the family of Kohathites), were bearing the iniquity of the sanctuary and of their own priesthood (Nu ). If there was atonement for any sin or defilement whatever—whether in the gifts or offerings themselves, in the people, in the priests, or in the Levites—that atonement applied only as the priests faithfully discharged their duties. The ultimate work of the priests was “that there be wrath no more upon the children of Israel” (Nu ).

Third, God gave His ministers the gift of helpers. Concerning the Levites taken from the children of Israel (chaps. 3 and 4), God said to the priests, “To you they are a gift … to do the service of the tent of meeting” (Nu ). The phrase “joined unto thee” (Nu ) indicates that the Levites were intimate helpers and were to serve the priests in their charges.

Fourth, God gave His ministers every provision for earthly needs. Since the priests and Levites would not be receiving land in Canaan from which to draw a livelihood, other than that of the Levite cities (see Nu 35), God designated that their income should be taken from the gifts and offerings brought to God in the sanctuary (Nu –32). Verse 8 identifies in general the source of income: “I have given thee the charge [keeping] of my heave-offerings,” the phrase “heave-offerings” being used here to include all the holy gifts brought to God in the offerings. This is borne out in the words of God which followed, identifying such gifts: meal offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, oil, vintage, grain, fruits, everything placed under a ban (Nu ; cf. Lev. ), and the firstborn of man and beast, the former being redeemed by money. The Levites, on the other hand, were to receive as their reward for service all the tithe of the land which the Israelites were to give to God according to the regulations described by Leviticus –33+. Of this tithe, the Levites were to return a tenth to the Lord (Nu. –32) as their offering to God.

Last, God gave the gift of Himself to His ministers. This was the greatest of all His gifts. In fact, God’s arrangement with the priests and Levites was such that they would be continually reminded of this. They were not to receive an inheritance of any portion of the land of Canaan, because their special portion was God Himself: “I am thy portion and thine inheritance among the children of Israel” (Nu ). And since it was true that in one sense God was the spiritual portion of the people as well, it must be interpreted here that there were unique blessings of fellowship with God afforded His ministers which the people could not share. The people’s immediate dependence for provision was on the soil; the priests’ and Levites’ immediate dependence was on the effective functioning of worship in God’s sanctuary (for if there were no worshipers, there would be no gifts and tithes). Stated another way, “the worship (cultus) of Him is infinitely fuller of delight, and far more productive, than the cultivation (cultus) of any soil.”

In Nu + we read "Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! “Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, must die. Are we to perish completely?”" After questioning Aaron's right to be priest (Korah's rebellion), they budding of Aaron's rod finally convinced Israel that Aaron's priesthood was valid, but they now fear going near the tabernacle because they think they will die. And in fact they are correct that they could not approach the Tent of Meeting, so here in chapter 18 God emphasizes that they do have one who can approach the Tabernacle for them. And so we see the rationale for the discussion of the Aaronic priesthood in this chapter. Yahweh was mercifully providing the people a legitimate priesthood. He was showing them grace in light of their fear of dying should they approach the Tabernacle. Aaron would be their intermediary. 

UBS Handbook has a good introduction to this chapter - It is noteworthy that Numbers 18 comes directly after Numbers 16–17, in which Aaron’s authority was contested and confirmed. As is clear from Nu , God addresses Aaron alone for the first time in this book (so Alter, page ). (It is only in this chapter and in Lev that God speaks directly to Aaron alone [so Olson, page ].) Most of the regulations in this chapter have been mentioned before (see Nu –; Nu –26). But Numbers 18 does not intend to refer back to those earlier passages. Rather, its role is to highlight Aaron’s authority after chapters 16–17, perhaps now in the hearing of the new generation of Israelites who would enter the land of Canaan one day. The priests and Levites formed the first and second line of protection around the Tent of Meeting against death by the wrath of God. So this chapter appears to respond to the people’s fearful outcry at the end of chapter 17, which may be rendered “Anyone who even comes near the Tabernacle of the LORD will die! Are we all doomed to die?” (Nu +).

UBS titles Numbers 18 - Duties and income of priests and Levites - below is the division

  • Duties of Priests and Levites (Nu –7)
  • The Share of the Priests (Nu –20)
  • The Share of the Levites (Nu –24)
  • The Levites’ Tithe (Nu –32)

Wenham says "God’s reply to the people’s frightened cries (Nu –13) is given direct to Aaron." (TOTC-Nu)

Ronald Allen has a similar comment - The lament of the people in Nu –13+ was a genuine expression of distress; grievous sins against the holy meeting place of the Lord and his people would be judged with death. It was only in the mercy of the Lord in providing a legitimate priesthood that there could be any hope for deliverance from judgment. Modern readers are not always aware that the Lord’s provision of the priesthood was an aspect of his grace. Without proper priests doing their work effectively, there would be only death among the sinning community. Psalm (SEE BELOW) points to the grace of God in providing priests for his people. The provision of the Great Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb +), is in line with this work of his grace. (EBC)

Psalm + Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called on His name; They called upon the LORD and He answered them. --  

Spurgeon - Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name. Though not ordained to the typical priesthood, Moses was a true priest, even as Melchizedek had been before him. God has ever had a priesthood beside and above that of the law. The three holy men here mentioned all stood in his courts, and saw his holiness, each one after his own order. Moses saw the Lord in flaming fire revealing each perfect law, Aaron full often watched the sacred fire devour the sin-offering, and Samuel witnessed the judgment of the Lord on Eli's house, because of the error of his way. These each one stood in the gap when the wrath of God broke forth, because his holiness had been insulted; and acting as intercessors, they screened the nation from the great and terrible God, who otherwise would in a dreadful manner have executed judgment in Jacob. Let these men, or such as these, lead us in our worship, and let us approach the Lord at the mercy-seat as they did, for he is as accessible to us as to them. They made it their life's business to call upon him in prayer, and by so doing brought down innumerable blessings upon themselves and others. Does not the Lord call us also to come up into the mount with Moses, and to enter the most holy place with Aaron? Do we not hear him call us by our name as he did Samuel? And do we not answer, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth"?

They called upon the Lord, and he answered them. Not in vain were their prayers; but being a holy God he was true to his promises, and hearkened to them from off the mercy-seat. Here is reason for praise, for answers to the petitions of some are proofs of God's readiness to hear others. These three men asked large things, they pleaded for a whole nation, and they stayed great plagues and turned away fiery wrath; who would not exercise himself in adoring so great and merciful a God? If he were unholy he would be false to his word and refuse his people's cries; this, then, is recorded for our joy and for his glory, that holy men of old were not suffered to pray in vain.

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much;
None can ever ask too much.
(Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare)

Bush summarizes the intent of chapter 18 - The recent manifestations recorded in the two preceding chapters, had operated so effectually upon the congregation as to fill them with a kind of panic consternation in view of the danger of approaching the Tabernacle, or dealing in any way with the sanctities of worship. The divine benignity designs, in the present chapter, to reassure the Israelite's confidence, and at the same time to impress Aaron himself with a deep and abiding sense of the responsibility that rested upon him in the discharge of the duties of that sacred office which had been so signally confirmed to him by the miraculous tokens of the Lord’s appointment. These indications might tend to puff him up with a conceit of his own importance, and therefore he is here reminded of the burden laid upon him and the duty required of him as a priest. The consequence would naturally be that instead of being made proud of his preferment, he would receive the honors of his office with reverence and holy awe, being made aware of the danger arising from any default in his service. When men are invested with authority, their responsibility rises in proportion. It is a law running through the whole providential economy of heaven, that to whom much has been given, from them much is required.

So the LORD said to Aaron - Only place in Numbers were God addresses Aaron by himself (also Nu , 8, 20). Most often Yahweh speaks either to Moses alone or to Moses and Aaron. In this case the subject is the responsibilities of the priesthood. UBS says "So renders well the Hebrew waw connector here (literally “And”), since the LORD is responding to the fearful cry of the Israelites in Nu – This is the first time the LORD addresses only Aaron in this book."

Currid points out that "The only other instance appears in Leviticus –11+. Both times occur at the conclusion to events in which the worship structure of Israel has been under grave threats."  (EPSC-Nu)

You and your sons and your father's household with you - He is speaking of the house and posterity of the tribe of Levi. 

Shall bear the guilt in connection with the sanctuary -  NET = "you must bear the iniquity"; NLT paraphrase = "will be held responsible for any offenses related to the sanctuary."  The point is that the Levites and Aaronic priesthood would bear the punishment for any and all the iniquity that is done in the sanctuary. They are to prevent the "laymen" Israelites from approaching the sanctuary and would have to pay the penalty if they failed to fulfill their duty. If the sanctuary should be profaned by the intrusion of strangers or the unclean, the priests and the Levites were answerable for the offense, because they would be considered negligent for letting it take place.

David Guzik - God never gives authority without accountability; the two always go together. If God gives someone headship and expects others to submit to them in His order, God also has a special accountability for that person.

Jarchi: “Upon you will I bring the punishment of the strangers that shall sin concerning the sanctified things that are delivered unto you.” 

David Stubbs - The main duties of the priests and Levites were presented in Nu. 1, 4, 3, where an important function of those priestly classes was to guard the holy places and things against encroachment by outsiders (Nu –53; , 38). Now laws are given that stipulate the chain of responsibility when such order is broken down, when there are “offenses connected with the sanctuary” (Nu ). The chain of responsibility is that the priests and Kohathites will be responsible for offenses by lay Israelites (Nu a), the priests for offenses by other priests (Nu b), and the priests and all the Levites for offenses by Levites (Nu ) (Ashley ; Milgrom ). (Brazos Commentary-Numbers)

Ronald Allen - The words of the people in Nu + were based on reality: it is a fearful thing to make an inappropriate approach to the shrine of God’s dwelling. The priests, who have their work in the precincts of his dwelling, must realize that they are there at the leave of God. But they cannot forget where they are nor be casual in what they are to do. To act foolishly, brazenly, carelessly in the holy places is to invite disaster. Their priestly ministry puts them in roles of awesome responsibility (see Exod ). (EBC)

and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt in connection with your priesthood - In other words Aaron and sons would be held responsible for any iniquities committed in the discharge of their daily functions as priests. Only Aaron and his sons were authorized to carry out the ritual duties of the priesthood.

So, with the great privileges come great responsibilities.
-- NET Note

Rabbi. Menahem said “By this admonition was signified, that the priests should not intermeddle with the service of the Levites, nor the Levites with the service of the priests.”

Bush has a good point commenting that "All this would tend to calm the apprehensions of the people, who were afraid they should die for every error committed in their approaches to the sanctuary (cf their cry in Nu –13+) , and it would serve also to extinguish any degree of envy they might cherish in respect to the priestly dignity, when they saw with how much peril its possession and exercise was attended.

NET NOTE - The responsibility for the sanctuary included obligations relating to any violation of the sanctuary. This was stated to forestall any further violations of the sanctuary. The priests were to pay for any ritual errors, primarily if any came too near. Since the priests and Levites come near all the time, they risk violating ritual laws more than any. So, with the great privileges come great responsibilities. The bottom line is that they were responsible for the sanctuary.


John Bennett - THE CHARGE OF THE TABERNACLE

It is important to distinguish between the priest and the Levite. The priest approached God and carried out the ritual of the tabernacle: the Levite served in the practical matters pertaining to the tabernacle. Not every Levite was a priest, but every priest was a Levite.

In our dispensation every believer is both a priest and a Levite, 1 Pet. We have the wonderful privilege of approaching God in worship as well as engaging in the service of the tabernacle. The functions of the priest and Levite are now united in a spiritual sense in the New Testament believer.

Notice that the Levites were to be ‘joined’ to the priest, Nu They were to act together. We need to learn the lesson that worship and service cannot be separated. But although they are joined, it is clear that the Levite was subordinate to the priest. He was ‘given’ to the priest as a gift, Nu , and the service of the Levite would be under the direction of the priest. The priestly man knew what to do in God’s house. Service must spring from communion with God. Worship precedes service. The Father is looking for worshippers first, John

Perhaps this is one reason why our service may seem ineffective at times. Could it be that our service does not flow from our worship? We must not go into God’s presence with our ideas for service: rather we should come from His presence with His ideas for service.

The remainder of the chapter deals with God’s provision for both priest and Levite, Nu – Neither would have an inheritance in the land. Their function took priority over everything else. They must be free to serve the Lord without distraction. But although they had no inheritance, the priest and Levite had something better. The tithe or tenth of each offering was to be the portion of priest and Levite, v. The tenth represents what is best and what was for God in the offering. God in effect is sharing His portion with the priest and Levite. As we understand priesthood and Levite service aright we will find that we are privileged to share in the very portion of God—adequate compensation for the lack of inheritance here! (Day by Day)


Wiersbe's practical summary of Numbers 18 - The emphasis in this chapter is on GIFTS. (See Key Word above)

  • God gives helpers (Nu ) to assist us in our work, and we must accept them and be grateful for them. Some of the Levites had rebelled against Moses and Aaron, but God still gave them the privilege of serving Him and helping the priests
  • God gives us work to do (Nu ). If we are in the will of God, our work is a divine vocation, and we must do it for His glory (Eph , Mt ).
  • God gives us what we need (Nu ff.). He fed the priests from the sacrifices brought to the altar and also from the tithes (Nu ). His action reminds us that “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke ; 1 Cor. ; 1 Tim. ).
  • God gives us Himself (Nu ). The priests and Levites were assigned places to live in Israel, but they did not have property from which they could get income (Josh. ). They had to trust God to meet their needs. But when God is your inheritance, what more do you need? (See Ps. –6.) (With the Word Bible Commentary)

Ronald Allen in his excellent overview comments that "the modern reader comes to chapters 18–19 with a sense of foreboding; what, we may wonder, is in these chapters for me? The answer to that question is fivefold:

1. The reader of Scripture needs to have general knowledge about the major institutions of the biblical period just for Scripture to make sense.

2. Our understanding of the true worship of God begins with the sense that He controls and directs true worship; who the priests are and how they function are first His concerns. This means that worship is not a game where we may make up the rules as we play.

3. A general knowledge of the work of the priests in the Hebrew Bible gives many insights to the modern reader as to the interests of God in our own worship. Often we think of worship in terms of what we like and appreciate. (ED: "the preaching is good but they need better music!")This misses the mark; worship is principally for God’s pleasure.

4. A general knowledge of the work of priests in the time of Hebrew worship gives the Christian reader significant insights into the priestly work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Hebrews has an intense priestly orientation in its presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ, priest of God in the manner of Melchizedek.

5. In contrast with the highly regulated, highly structured patterns demanded of the priests of the Hebrew economy, the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ today has a direct access to God through the Savior that is nearly unbelievable. We are all priests; we can come near the presence of the Lord without an intermediary. Yet our privilege as believer-priests can only really be appreciated against the background of priests in the biblical period.”

Thus it is not just for arcane, antiquarian reasons that we come to this chapter and the one following. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)


Rod Mattoon - PRINCIPLES ON RESPONSIBILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY— Nu

Aaron and his sons would bear the iniquity of the sanctuary and priesthood. They were accountable and responsible for the neglect or failure to comply with sacred duties. As leaders, they were responsible and accountable. By the way, if you are a pastor or leader in the church, you are responsible and accountable to your people and to the Lord.

  • James —My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
  • Hebrews —Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

The believer is accountable for his life.

  • Romans —So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

The word "account" is from the word logos which refers to "what is said, thought, or the motives of a person." We will give an account for our words, so be careful what you say.

  • Matthew —But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

We will give an account for our work, abilities, opportunities, and knowledge.

  • Luke —But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Our accountability to the Lord should motivate us to live godly lives and be responsible Christians.

  • 1 Peter —Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. [6] For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Suffering the consequences of our actions tends to develop responsibility.

Numbers  "But bring with you also your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you, while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony.

BGT  Numbers καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου φυλὴν Λευι δῆμον τοῦ πατρός σου προσαγάγου πρὸς σεαυτόν καὶ προστεθήτωσάν σοι καὶ λειτουργείτωσάν σοι καὶ σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου μετὰ σοῦ ἀπέναντι τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου

NET  Numbers "Bring with you your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may join with you and minister to you while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony.

NLT  Numbers "Bring your relatives of the tribe of Levi-- your ancestral tribe-- to assist you and your sons as you perform the sacred duties in front of the Tabernacle of the Covenant.

ESV  Numbers And with you bring your brothers also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may join you and minister to you while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony.

NIV  Numbers Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony.

KJV  Numbers And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.

YLT  Numbers and also thy brethren, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring near with thee, and they are joined unto thee, and serve thee, even thou and thy sons with thee, before the tent of the testimony.

LXE  Numbers And take to thyself thy brethren the tribe of Levi, the family of thy father, and let them be joined to thee, and let them minister to thee; and thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.

ASV  Numbers And thy brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou near with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall be before the tent of the testimony.

CSB  Numbers But also bring your relatives with you from the tribe of Levi, your ancestral tribe, so they may join you and assist you and your sons in front of the tent of the testimony.

NKJ  Numbers "Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness.

NRS  Numbers So bring with you also your brothers of the tribe of Levi, your ancestral tribe, in order that they may be joined to you, and serve you while you and your sons with you are in front of the tent of the covenant.

  • joined: There is a fine paranomasia in the original.  Levi is desired from {lawah,} to join, couple, associate; hence Moses says, the Levites {yillawoo,} "shall be joined," or associated, with the priests:  they shall conjointly perform the sacred office, but the priests shall be principal, the Levites their associates or assistants. Nu Ge  
  • serve: Nu Nu ,22 
  • but thou: Nu 1Ch ,40 2Ch Eze  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers +  “Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve (sharath) him. 7 “They shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8“ They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 “You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. 10 “So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death.” 

Numbers ; 22+  “I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the sons of Israel, to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary.” () Then after that the Levites went in to perform their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and before his sons; just as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them. 

YAHWEH GIVES AARONITES
THE LEVITES TO SERVE THEM

But bring with you also your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve (sharath) you - Comparing with the related passages above, this declaration is a reiteration of the fact that the tribe of Levi was a gift to Aaron and his sons to aid him in his priestly work in the Tent of Meeting. The Hebrew verb (sharath) is translated in the Lxx with leitourgeo which means to render special formal service. 

 Bush explains joined with you is the Hebrew "yillâvu, from the root lâvâh, signifying to join, to couple, to associate. From this root comes the name Levi, the reason of which was assigned by his mother at his birth, Ge. , “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me.” And the term here employed displays a peculiar paranomasia, or play upon words, equivalent to “may be Levited,” i. e. adjoined to or associated with the priests. They shall conjointly perform the sacred office, but the priests shall be principal, the Levites their associates or assistants.

NET NOTE on may be joined - The verb forms a wordplay on the name Levi, and makes an allusion to the naming of the tribe Levi by Leah in the book of Genesis. There Leah hoped that with the birth of Levi her husband would be attached to (joined to) her (Ge ). Here, with the selection of the tribe to serve in the sanctuary, there is the wordplay again showing that the Levites will be attached to Aaron and the priests. The verb is יִלָּווּ (yillavu), which forms a nice wordplay with Levi (לֵוִי). The tribe will now be attached to the sanctuary. The verb is the imperfect with a vav (ו) that shows volitive sequence after the imperative, here indicating a purpose clause.

May be joined ()(lavah) means to join (be joined), to accompany. The idea is attaching oneself to someone or something. It is used in Isaiah of strangers (sojourners, aliens, foreigners) who join to "house of Jacob" (Isa ) or join "to the LORD" (Isa , Isa , similar in Jer ), "all those who allied with" the Jews (Esther ), "many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day (Millennium in Zech ). "Many will join with them in hypocrisy" (Da ). Of Israel's enemies "Assyria also has joined with them (other enemies of Israel)." (Ps ). First use in Ge "She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi." 

Lxx translates lavahin Numbers with the verb prostithemi = added to, be brought (Gives us our word "prosthesis" - in a sense the Levites were like a "prosthesis" [see picture] to the priests!)

TWOT - Used once in the Qal (Eccl. ); the remaining usages are in the Niphal. lāwâ refers to the joining of an item or person to someone or something else. Most significant theologically is its usage to refer to foreigners who join themselves to God's people as converts. In general usage it refers to the way in which hedonistic pleasures "stay with" a man (Eccles. ); also it is used for joining in a military alliance (Psalm [H 9]), the conjugal joining of husband to wife (Genesis ), and the joining of the Levites with Aaron for service at the tabernacle (Numbers ). As a term referring to conversion it describes those who, impressed by God's work in restoring his people, will join themselves to the Hebrews in the worship and service of God, i.e. will be spiritually converted (Isaiah ). Others will join themselves to God as a result of some divine judgment (cf. Esther ). Such Gentile converts are assured that they will not be separated from God's Covenant (Isaiah ). Someday God's repentant people will (re)join themselves to a true covenant relationship to God (Jeremiah ). This usage of lāwâ to reflect religious dedication supports the notion that the name "Levi" expressed the religious dedication of the tribe of that name to the Lord's service." 

Baker says this same word has another distinct meaning - A verb meaning to borrow, to lend. It has the sense of to ask for something as well as to lend something according to context (Dt. ), especially money that is loaned out (Ex. [24]) or borrowed (Neh. ). The wicked person borrows but does not pay back (Ps. ); the righteous person both gives and lends to help others (Ps. ;  Ps ). Lending to the poor is like giving to the Lord (Pr ). Borrowing can lead to enslavement (Pr ). God's judgments will encompass both borrower and lender (Isa. ). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – OT).

Lavah - 22 verses - Ge. ; Ex ; Nu ; Nu ; Dt. ; Dt. ; Neh. ; Est. ; Ps. ; Ps. ; Ps. ; Ps. ; Pr. ; Pr ; Eccl. ; Isa. ; Isa. ; Isa. ; Isa. ; Jer. ; Da ; Zech  

While you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony-  Hebrew “Before the tent of the testimony.” Before the Most Holy Place in which the ark stood. The common priests, but not the Levites, ministered before, i. e. on the outside of, but not within, this inner room, which was separated from the outer by a veil. Only the high priest was allowed into the Holy of holies (Lev ). The Levites were to assist and serve Aaron and his sons in killing the sacrifices, taking the blood, and giving it to the priests for sprinkling, and in general performing all the more menial tasks around the Tabernacle and its court. The warning was that only the appointed (Aaronic) priests could serve at the altar and in the Holy Place (or they would die - Nu ).

Levites joined to Priests brings to mind the idea of harmony, unity (something the Levites did not exhibit under Korah's rebellion!) and reminds me that today in the NT we have that same picture of harmony and a sense of being joined together because we are in the body of Christ

Colossian +  and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

Ephesians + but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the Head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


Mattoon - The tribe of Levi will levi (join) with you. Levites were to assist Aaron in the work of the Lord. They were a team that was to be united in doing God's work with each one in his place. The same truth holds for the church.

Romans —So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Galatians —There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians —And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Ephesians —From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Christians are to be in harmony and united!'

Numbers  "And they shall thus attend to your obligation and the obligation of all the tent, but they shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die.

BGT  Numbers καὶ φυλάξονται τὰς φυλακάς σου καὶ τὰς φυλακὰς τῆς σκηνῆς πλὴν πρὸς τὰ σκεύη τὰ ἅγια καὶ πρὸς τὸ θυσιαστήριον οὐ προσελεύσονται καὶ οὐκ ἀποθανοῦνται καὶ οὗτοι καὶ ὑμεῖς

NET  Numbers They must be responsible to care for you and to care for the entire tabernacle. However, they must not come near the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die.

NLT  Numbers But as the Levites go about all their assigned duties at the Tabernacle, they must be careful not to go near any of the sacred objects or the altar. If they do, both you and they will die.

ESV  Numbers They shall keep guard over you and over the whole tent, but shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary or to the altar lest they, and you, die.

NIV  Numbers They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die.

KJV  Numbers And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.

YLT  Numbers 'And they have kept thy charge, and the charge of all the tent; only, unto the vessels of the sanctuary and unto the altar they do not come near, and they die not, either they or you;

LXE  Numbers And they shall keep thy charges, and the charges of the tabernacle; only they shall not approach the holy vessels and the altar, so both they and you shall not die.

ASV  Numbers And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the Tent: only they shall not come nigh unto the vessels of the sanctuary and unto the altar, that they die not, neither they, nor ye.

CSB  Numbers They are to perform duties for you and for the whole tent. They must not come near the sanctuary equipment or the altar; otherwise, both they and you will die.

NKJ  Numbers "They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die-- they and you also.

NRS  Numbers They shall perform duties for you and for the whole tent. But they must not approach either the utensils of the sanctuary or the altar, otherwise both they and you will die.

  • but they shall not come near: Nu ,31,36 Nu ,20  
  • both they and you will die: Nu  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Numbers +  “When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they will not touch the holy objects and die. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry. 

Numbers +  But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; 20 but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die.”

LEVITES RESTRICTIONS
PRIESTS RESPONSIBILITIES

And they (LEVITES) shall thus attend to your obligation and the obligation of all the tent - (see similar charge to the Levites in Nu , 8)  NET = "They must be responsible to care for you and to care for the entire tabernacle" They refers to the Levites given to Aaron to assist him and his sons in the sanctuary. But the assistance had limitations. The Levites were not to usurp the role of the priests (as Korah had sought to do in Nu 17).  Obligation is the Hebrew noun mishmereth (used in Nu , 4, 5, 8) and is translated in the Lxx with a verb phulasso (to guard, watch, observe) and a noun phulake (a watch, guard).

This same word mishmereth was issued in Nu + "the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep (shamar) charge (mishmereth) of the tabernacle of the testimony.” Note a similar instruction is given to Aaron and sons in Nu but there the subject to be watched over is not the whole tabernacle complex but the sanctuary (qodesh) the holy place and the altar. 

Obligation ()(mishmereth from shamar= to watch, guard, protect, observe, keep) a guard, watch, charge, function, duty. There are two main meanings - (1) an obligation or service to be performed (2) having to do with something that is to be kept or preserved (the Passover lamb = "you shall keep it" Ex , manna = "to be kept" Ex ; ashes of red heifer = "shall keep" = Nu ) In several instances, it is used of a guard post (Isa. ; Hab. ). The idea of obedience (i.e., keeping the commandments) is often depicted, which leads to a translation of charge (Gen. ; Deut. ; Zech. ) or duty (Nu ; ; 2 Chr. ).

Gilbrant - A feminine noun, mishmereth is derived from the Hebrew verb, shāmar (HED #), "to observe," "to guard," "to keep." The most basic meaning of this noun is "keeping" or "something kept." Mishmereth can mean many different things depending on its context. Many times it is used with shāmar (Lev. ; Num ), "he shall keep my charge," sometimes with hāyāh (HED #; Exo. ), "you shall keep," and often with the preposition le (HED #; Exo. ), "to keep." Many of the usages describe certain duties to God. Some of the usages depict a guard, either to keep in or to keep out. The last category of meanings consists of things that are to be held in trust. Many of these occurrences are linked with the remembrance of God's activities.

Mishmereth is used to describe duties, or obligations, impressed by Yahweh. This noun can occur with a variety of different nouns in lists. In Gen. , commandment (mitswāh), statute (chōq,), law (tôrāh, HED4) are found with mishmereth (charge). But, the noun can also denote "the charge of the commandment of the Lord," (Josh. ), or even the rites of purification (Neh. ). So, obeying every charge (like obeying every law, statute or commandment) is a prerequisite for a covenant relationship. It is the observation of the laws, the stipulations of the Covenant, through righteous treatment of all humans and God that allows the Covenant to stand. It is also used for a more specialized duty. While describing the different duties in the Tabernacle, this word is used, "And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent" (Num. ).

Mishmereth is used in a military context (just as shāmar), to describe guard duties or guard posts (Isa. ; Hab. ). In 2 Ki. ff, mishmereth describes the commands the captains of the hundreds received from Jehoiada when he installed Jehoash as king of Judah. This same word is translated "bodyguard," in 2 Sam. , to describe the guard that David put on his ten concubines after returning to his house.

Finally, mishmereth can describe something held in trust, usually for safekeeping. Several of the occurrences refer to items that were to be kept in the Ark of the Covenant: the manna (Exo. , 34) and Aaron's rod (Num. ). The objects kept were items which confirmed that the Covenant was in place. The passover lamb was "kept" until the fourteenth day (Exo. ). Mishmereth can also refer to the safekeeping of persons, "For he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard" (1 Sam. ). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Mishmereth - 68 versse - allegiance(1), charge(27), duties(15), duty(2), guard post(2), guard*(1), guards(2), keep(1), keep*(1), kept(5), obligation(4), obligations(4), offices(1), posts(1), safe(1), service(2), service divisions(1), watch(4), worship(1).  Gen. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Deut. ; Jos. ; 1 Sam. ; 2 Sam. ; 1 Ki. ; 2 Ki. ; 2 Ki. ; 2 Ki. ; 1 Chr. ; 1 Chr. ; 1 Chr. ; 1 Chr. ; 1 Chr. ; 1 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; 2 Chr. ; Neh. ; Neh. ; Neh. ; Neh. ; Isa. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Hab. ; Zech. ; Mal.

But they (Levite helpers) shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die -  Notice that if the Levite helpers came near the holy things, not only would they die but so would the priests. In other words the priests (Aaron and sons) were held responsible to ensure that the Levites kept their distance from the furnishings of the sanctuary

THOUGHT Come near is a key word in this chapter being mentioned 4x - (Nu , Nu , Nu , Nu ). The verb qarab is used 3x and the cognate qareb once. Three of the uses of qarab are rendered in the Lxx with the Greek verb proserchomai which means to come facing toward, to approach and figuratively to worship. And so we see that while qarab is repeatedly used in a warning not to draw near to the holy place of Yahweh lest they die because of their unholiness, because of the sacrifice of our Great High Priest's who offered Himself once for all time on the "brazen altar" of the Cross, all who are now safe in Him by grace through faith are not warned to stand clear, but to stand close, to draw near and worship Him in spirit and in truth. What a great salvation our Savior has wrought for us!

Hebrews + - Therefore let us draw near with confidence (BOLD ASSURANCE) to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews + - Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (OUR MEDIATOR CHRIST JESUS), since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews + - Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Wiersbe - It was dangerous to disobey even in the matter of how they dressed (Ex. , 42–43) or if they washed regularly (–21). God held Aaron and his sons responsible for offenses committed against the sanctuary and the priesthood. (Be Counted)

David Guzik - The Levites were not allowed to do what the priests did. In the same way, the New Testament says we are all different “parts” of the body, each with particular gifts and callings (1 Corinthians –7).

Bush adds that "Aaron is here commanded to make a strict discrimination between the priestly and the Levitical orders; the Levites having nothing to do but to be keepers and carriers of the Tabernacle and its utensils. Upon any movement of the camp, they were not allowed so much as to handle or touch (ED: OR EVEN SEE) the ark, altar, table, or candlestick (Nu +), but only to take them from the priests when they had packed them. The priests, on the other hand, were to use the Levites as ministers, and by their constant care and admonitions were to prevent all others from incurring the divine displeasure, on account of profane intrusions into so holy a function.

Allen comments "The Levites were joined (see above) to the priests as their assistants. But the Levites were never to be regarded as “priests in training.” They had a serious “career ceiling” in their vocation. The sanctity of the Holy Place is not to be underestimated.

Come near(Draw near) ()(qarab) means to come near or approach. It is a verb which basically indicates coming physically closer.  In most of the uses personal involvement is suggested so that the idea is not simply being close to something (someone) but being actively and personally involved with it (him). "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." (Ex +). Thus it was is used of approaching God (Ex. ; Dt. ; , 27; Isa. ; 1Sa. ). See "THOUGHT" on qarab. 

Sanctuary (most holy, holy things, sanctuary) () see note on qodesh The Lxx renders qodesh with hagios indicating those things set apart from common use and for uses related to Yahweh. This is the name of God's people in the NT and the purpose is the same - set apart from the corrupt dying world and unto the use of our Holy God. Does my behavior substantiate this "definition"? Uses in Numbers 18 -  Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; 


Rod Mattoon - THE PRINCIPLES ON CONFORMITY— Nu

God made it clear that He wanted His instructions followed. The Levites were to care for the Tabernacle, but not minister before the Lord in the Holy Place. That was the responsibility of Aaron's priestly family.

The Bible stresses repeatedly that our allegiance is to the Almighty; we are to submit to the Scriptures; we are to be in compliance and conform to the commands of Christ. We are to obey. This is where our greatest battles lie. Our flesh wants to conform to the crowd.

Exodus —Thou shah not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Romans —And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God wants us to obey. Obedience brings great reward and blessings.

Numbers "They shall be joined with you and attend to the obligations of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; but an outsider may not come near you.

BGT  Numbers καὶ προστεθήσονται πρὸς σὲ καὶ φυλάξονται τὰς φυλακὰς τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου κατὰ πάσας τὰς λειτουργίας τῆς σκηνῆς καὶ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὐ προσελεύσεται πρὸς σέ

NET  Numbers They must join with you, and they will be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent, but no unauthorized person may approach you.

NLT  Numbers The Levites must join you in fulfilling their responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the Tabernacle, but no unauthorized person may assist you.

ESV  Numbers They shall join you and keep guard over the tent of meeting for all the service of the tent, and no outsider shall come near you.

NIV  Numbers They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the Tent of Meeting--all the work at the Tent--and no one else may come near where you are.

KJV  Numbers And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.

YLT  Numbers and they have been joined unto thee, and have kept the charge of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; and a stranger doth not come near unto you;

LXE  Numbers And they shall be joined to thee, and shall keep the charges of the tabernacle of witness, in all the services of the tabernacle; and a stranger shall not approach to thee.

ASV  Numbers And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the Tent: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.

CSB  Numbers They are to join you and guard the tent of meeting, doing all the work at the tent, but no unauthorized person may come near you.

NKJ  Numbers "They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you.

NRS  Numbers They are attached to you in order to perform the duties of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; no outsider shall approach you.

  • outsider : Nu Nu 1Sa 2Sa ,7
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

They shall be joined with you and attend to the obligations of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent - NET = "They must join with you, and they will be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting" Yahweh is still referring to the Levites.

Bush writes on joined with "Heb. nilvu (see above on lavah; Lxx = prostithemi = added to, be brought), that is, shall be adjoined Levitically—the same term with that previously used in a similar connection. A Levite was an adjunct. They were to be considered as an appended portion of that general body of men who were devoted to the special service of God in the work of the sanctuary."

but an outsider may not come near you - NLT = "but no unauthorized person may assist you" NET = "no unauthorized person may approach you" - So this refers not just to aliens (non-native Israelites) but also to Israelites. Anyone who was not a Levite was an "outsider." Read the following fearful cry from the congregation who now understood the serious holy nature of the holy tabernacle precincts. 

Nu + Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! 13 “Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, must die. Are we to perish completely?”

Outsider (stranger) () see discussion below on zur

Numbers  "So you shall attend to the obligations of the sanctuary and the obligations of the altar, so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel.

BGT  Numbers καὶ φυλάξεσθε τὰς φυλακὰς τῶν ἁγίων καὶ τὰς φυλακὰς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ οὐκ ἔσται θυμὸς ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ

NET  Numbers You will be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the care of the altar, so that there will be no more wrath on the Israelites.

NLT  Numbers "You yourselves must perform the sacred duties inside the sanctuary and at the altar. If you follow these instructions, the LORD's anger will never again blaze against the people of Israel.

ESV  Numbers And you shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel.

NIV  Numbers "You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.

KJV  Numbers And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.

YLT  Numbers and ye have kept the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar, and there is no more wrath against the sons of Israel.

LXE  Numbers And ye shall keep the charges of the holy things, and the charges of the altar, and so there shall not be anger among the children of Israel.

ASV  Numbers And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar; that there be wrath no more upon the children of Israel.

CSB  Numbers "You are to guard the sanctuary and the altar so that wrath may not fall on the Israelites again.

NKJ  Numbers "And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel.

NRS  Numbers You yourselves shall perform the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, so that wrath may never again come upon the Israelites.

  • And ye: Nu Ex Lev 1Ch ,23,33 1Ti 1Ti  
  • no wrath: Nu Jer Zec  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

AARONIC PRIESTS TO
WATCH OVER THE SANCTUARY

So you shall attend to the obligations of the sanctuary and the obligations of the altar - NLT= "You will be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the care of the altar," CSB = "You are to guard the sanctuary and the altar" This refers to the first room of the Tabernacle, the holy place, that contained the Candlestick, the Table, and the Shew-bread.

A similar instruction had been given in Nu - "Now their duties involved the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, and the utensils of the sanctuary with which they minister, and the screen, and all the service concerning them; 32and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest was the chief of the leaders of Levi, and had the oversight of those who perform the duties of the sanctuary. 

To attend to the obligation "was to exercise continual care night and day that all things were kept pure and uncorrupted, and administered strictly according to the divine will." (Bush)

Sanctuary (holy) () see note on qodesh

so that - Term of purpose.

there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel - We have just seen an example of Yahweh's wrath breaking out in Nu

Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!”

Yahweh's wrath is mentioned in the book of Numbers in these passages - Nu  Nu  Nu  Nu 

Stubbs writes "The assignment of responsibility serves two purposes in this context. It first reassures all the Israelites that their fear expressed in –13 will not come to pass. They can approach the tabernacle to worship and offer sacrifices without fear of death. It also reminds the priests and Levites that their election and call to service is not an election to privilege and power, but rather to an important service that has grave responsibilities attached to it." (Ibid)

Bush writes "That by constant care and vigilance all occasions of wrath might be precluded."

THOUGHT Are we not grateful we live after the Cross, after our Lord Jesus Christ came as the Lamb of God (Jn +) and bore the wrath of God that we justly deserved for our manifold sins (1 Peter +, 2 Cor +). Amazing grace indeed! But now as His priests, we need to apply these passages on the seriousness of guarding God's holiness lest "wrath" break out. Of course, for believers this would be in the form of divine discipline (Hebrews +) remembering that "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."  (Hebrews +). 

UBS Handbook - The purpose of the regulations for the priests and the Levites is to prevent another punishment of the people of Israel at large on account of the sin or violation of certain individuals or groups among them. If there are violations involving the sanctuary and its holy objects, God will punish his people again

Matthew Henry - “The preventing of sin is the preventing of wrath; and the mischief sin has done, should be a warning to us for the future, to watch against it both in ourselves and others.”

Related Passages o the wrath of God

Nu  But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the testimony.”

Nu  Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the LORD, the plague has begun!”

FSB - Approaching the sacred space of the tabernacle improperly brought judgment (Lev ; Num ). In Lev 10, Aaron’s sons offered incense improperly and were struck dead (Lev ). In Num 16, Korah and the men with him offered incense when challenging the authority of Moses and Aaron. They were also struck dead (Nu ). This statement is likely a reminder of those tragic examples of divine wrath aroused by not following proper procedures related to sacred space.

Numbers  "Behold, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from among the sons of Israel; they are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD, to perform the service for the tent of meeting.

BGT  Numbers καὶ ἐγὼ εἴληφα τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ὑμῶν τοὺς Λευίτας ἐκ μέσου τῶν υἱῶν Ισραηλ δόμα δεδομένον κυρίῳ λειτουργεῖν τὰς λειτουργίας τῆς σκηνῆς τοῦ μαρτυρίου

NET  Numbers I myself have chosen your brothers the Levites from among the Israelites. They are given to you as a gift from the LORD, to perform the duties of the tent of meeting.

NLT  Numbers I myself have chosen your fellow Levites from among the Israelites to be your special assistants. They are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD for service in the Tabernacle.

ESV  Numbers And behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel. They are a gift to you, given to the LORD, to do the service of the tent of meeting.

NIV  Numbers I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the Tent of Meeting.

KJV  Numbers And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

YLT  Numbers 'And I, lo, I have taken your brethren the Levites from the midst of the sons of Israel; to you a gift they are given by Jehovah, to do the service of the tent of meeting;

LXE  Numbers And I have taken your brethren the Levites out of the midst of the children of Israel, a present given to the Lord, to minister in the services of the tabernacle of witness.

ASV  Numbers And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are a gift, given unto Jehovah, to do the service of the tent of meeting.

CSB  Numbers Look, I have selected your fellow Levites from the Israelites as a gift for you, assigned by the LORD to work at the tent of meeting.

NKJ  Numbers "Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the LORD, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

NRS  Numbers It is I who now take your brother Levites from among the Israelites; they are now yours as a gift, dedicated to the LORD, to perform the service of the tent of meeting.

  • I: Ge Ex Isa Eze ,20 
  • I have: Nu ,45 
  • a gift: Nu Nu
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Numbers , 41, 45+  “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine.() “You shall take the Levites for Me, I am the LORD, instead of all the firstborn among the sons of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the cattle of the sons of Israel.” () “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the sons of Israel and the cattle of the Levites. And the Levites shall be Mine; I am the LORD.

YAHWEH'S GIFT TO
THE PRIESTS

Behold, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from among the sons of Israel - This truth is repeated from Nu , 41, 45 (see passages above), Nu , 16, The Levites were Yahweh's personal possession, but here He gives them to the Aaronic priests. 

Bush on fellow Levites (KJV - your brethren the Levites) The Levites are here called (in KJV) “brethren,” that the priests might not be prompted to despise or disparage them by reason of the lesser duty in which they served. On the contrary, they were required to treat them with kindness and brotherly affection. Though directly assigned to you as servitors and assistants, yet let it not be overlooked that this gift is to redound ultimately to the Lord, to Whom you (Aaronic priests) are yourselves given as ministers.

they are a gift to you , dedicated (given) to the LORD, to perform the service for the tent of meeting - Yahweh is speaking to Aaron but the you is plural referring to all the Aaronic priests. Notice in the Related Passages above the Levites were initially the possession of Yahweh.  The LORD gives the Levites to the priests to assist them by serving on the perimeter of the sanctuary. 

Wiersbe - The priesthood was God’s gift to Israel, for without priests the people couldn’t approach God. The Levites were God’s gift to the priests, relieving them of menial tasks so they could devote themselves fully to serving God and the people. The seven men appointed in Acts 6+, usually called deacons, had a similar relationship to the apostles. There’s nothing demeaning about serving tables, but the apostles had more important work to do. (Be Counted)

Numbers + “You shall thus give (repetition of nathannathan = "wholly give") the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel.

Comment - That the Levites are subsidiary to the priests is made quite clear by the wording of this verse. The Hebrew for this expression is the repetition "given given" (netûnìm netûnìm), an idiom for totality. Compare the conduct of the Levites in Jdg & Jdg describing the tragic despicable events that occurred very early in the year period of Judges after Joshua and the elders had died. 

Numbers +  “I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the sons of Israel, to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary.” 

Bush commentsTo make an atonement. Heb. lekappër, to make atonement. The insertion of the particle “an” is superfluous, as the word expresses a continuous function. It confirms the interpretation suggested above, v. 12, that the making atonement by the act of sacrificing was not the province of the Levites, but of the priests. They were to serve as a kind of perpetual medium of atonement. That there be no plague, etc. Chaldee “No death.” That is, that the people may be secured from the stroke of divine judgments by everything being done in exact accordance with the prescribed order, all others except the proper commissioned persons being excluded from officiating in and about the Tabernacle. This plainly teaches that the surest preservation against disastrous visitations is a strict compliance with the divine injunctions. Germane to this is the case of Phineas, Nu , 8, 13, who, in slaying the offenders “stayed the plague,” and is thereupon said to have “made an atonement for the children of Israel.” The danger incurred by the infraction of this command is impressively taught, Lev. , 1 Chr 

Numbers  "But you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

BGT  Numbers καὶ σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου μετὰ σοῦ διατηρήσετε τὴν ἱερατείαν ὑμῶν κατὰ πάντα τρόπον τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τὸ ἔνδοθεν τοῦ καταπετάσματος καὶ λειτουργήσετε τὰς λειτουργίας δόμα τῆς ἱερατείας ὑμῶν καὶ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς ὁ προσπορευόμενος ἀποθανεῖται

NET  Numbers But you and your sons with you are responsible for your priestly duties, for everything at the altar and within the curtain. And you must serve. I give you the priesthood as a gift for service; but the unauthorized person who approaches must be put to death."

NLT  Numbers But you and your sons, the priests, must personally handle all the priestly rituals associated with the altar and with everything behind the inner curtain. I am giving you the priesthood as your special privilege of service. Any unauthorized person who comes too near the sanctuary will be put to death."

ESV  Numbers And you and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

NIV  Numbers But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death."

KJV  Numbers Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

YLT  Numbers and thou, and thy sons with thee, do keep your priesthood, for everything of the altar, and within the vail, and ye have served; a service of gift I make your priesthood; and the stranger who is coming near is put to death.'

LXE  Numbers And thou and thy sons after thee shall keep up your priestly ministration, according to the whole manner of the altar, and that which is within the veil; and ye shall minister in the services as the office of your priesthood; and the stranger that comes near shall die.

ASV  Numbers And thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priesthood for everything of the altar, and for that within the veil; and ye shall serve: I give you the priesthood as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

CSB  Numbers But you and your sons will carry out your priestly responsibilities for everything concerning the altar and for what is inside the veil, and you will do that work. I am giving you the work of the priesthood as a gift, but an unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary will be put to death."

NKJ  Numbers "Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

NRS  Numbers But you and your sons with you shall diligently perform your priestly duties in all that concerns the altar and the area behind the curtain. I give your priesthood as a gift; any outsider who approaches shall be put to death.

  • But you : Nu  
  • within: Lev , Heb  
  • service: Nu 1Sa Joh Ro ,16 Eph Heb  
  • outsider: Nu  
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AARONIC PRIESTS'
DUTIES

But you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the (brazen) altar (on the outside in the courtyard of the Tabernacle complex) and inside the veil - This verse summarizes the work of the priests (that is, Aaron and his sons) at the altar and within the Tabernacle (including both the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, the latter of course being accessible only by the high priest and only once per year - Lev +).

Bush - "Keep or preserve it to yourselves, discharging its functions, and allow no other person to invade it. This you are to do with a twofold reference to the altar of burnt offerings, where the sacrifices are to be performed, the blood sprinkled, etc.; and also to all that is to be done, whether within the outer or the inner vail, as, for instance, burning incense, putting on the shew-bread, and lighting the lamps." (Bush)

and you are to perform service - NET = "And you must serve." Matthew Henry - “Not, ‘Ye shall rule;’ it was never intended that they should lord it over God’s heritage, but ‘Ye shall serve God and the congregation.’ Note, The priesthood is a service. ‘If any desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.’ Ministers must remember that they are ministers, that is, servants; of whom it is required that they be humble, diligent, and faithful.”

I am giving you the priesthood as a bestowed service - NLT = "I am giving you the priesthood as your special privilege of service" "That is, a service freely given you, and to be regarded as a favor and a privilege, imparting at the same time a corresponding duty and service. The priest’s office, viewed as a “gift,” was a privilege, and as a “service,” a work, according to the language of the apostle, 1 Tim. , “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”" (Bush)

Bestowed()(mattanah from mattan = a gift) means something bestowed as a gift and could refer to "compensation or for support (Gen. ; Esth. ; Ezek. , 17); as offerings, gifts, to the Lord (Ex. ; Lev. ; Num. ; Ps. ). Persons in Israel gave as they were able (Dt. ). The Levites were called the Lord's gift to the priesthood (Num. , 7). This word has the sense of a bribe in the wisdom literature (Prov. ; Eccl. ). (Baker - Complete Word Study Dictionary – OT).

Gilbrant - Used both literally and figuratively in idiomatic expressions, mattānāh is a feminine Hebrew noun which means "gift," "present." It is derived from nathan, "to give." It first occurs in Gen. This describes the wisdom Abraham used in dividing his estate among all of his sons, not just to Isaac, his heir. "While he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east" (NIV).

In a way symbolic of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, the sons of Aaron were to "bear the guilt of the gifts the Israelites consecrate" (Exo. ). The types of gifts given to the Lord through the ministry of the priests are described in various texts (see Lev. ; Num. ).

In a statement directed to Aaron, the Lord said, "I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the Tent of Meeting" (Num. , NIV). Aaron and his sons were reminded always to thank Him for the service the Levites would render as fellow ministers. In perhaps an even more significant reminder, God said to Aaron, "I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift" (v. 8). The holy priesthood was a gift of God; it could not be bought, earned or attained by any human effort. In addition, this was a stern warning to any other tribe of Israel or individual who would aspire to the role of a priest.

In several passages, the word mattānāh is understood to mean "a bribe." For example, Prov. says, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live" (cf. Ecc. ).

In a passage repeated by the Apostle Paul in Eph. , the psalmist writes, "When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men" (Ps. , NIV). The NT passage reads, " you gave gifts to men." In both texts, the ascent of the Messiah, having triumphed over death, hell and the grave, is in view. Both describe the totality of the victory of the Lord. The variation between the Testaments has been explained in a number of ways. Perhaps it may simply be stated as follows: that Jesus, the victorious champion, gave back to his Church that which He had received, namely, the spoils of the defeated foe, i.e., the souls of men. (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Mattanah - 17x in 17v - bestowed(1), bribe(1), bribes(1), gift(3), gifts(10), give(1). Gen. ; Exod. ; Lev. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Deut. ; 2 Chr. ; Est. ; Ps. ; Prov. ; Eccl. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek.

but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death - This refers to native Israelites who are not of the seed of Aaron as well as aliens. The text does not say they were to put them to death, the implication being that Yahweh would bring about their demise, much like He did with Nadab and Abihu in Lev +.   

This passage makes it sound like no one could bring an offering to the Tabernacle, but that is clearly not the case. The issue is how did they come to the altar? Did they come with humility, sorrow for sin, etc or did they come with an attitude like the men with censers in Numbers 17? 

Outsider (stranger) ()(zur) is a verb which means to be a stranger. Things described as strange (in this sense the verb seems to be used as an adjective) - fire, gods (Dt , Ps ), waters (2Ki  = water in foreign lands), children ("illegitimate" - NAS, "alien" - ESV) Zur frequently refers to a layman (anyone not a priest. Lxx == allogenes = another race, alien, foreign, stranger) could not eat the meat apportioned to the priests (Ex , KJV = "stranger", cp Ex  , Lev , 12, 13, Nu , , ,  all translated by Lxx with allogenes).

David Stubbs has some excellent application to us in the New Testament writing "The great responsibility attached to priestly leadership within the people of God is not limited to ancient Israel. The admonition of James concerning leadership within the people of God is similar: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (Jas. +). The task of priestly leaders to keep out those who would approach the holy things of God unworthily also resonates with Paul’s description of church leaders as “stewards of God’s mysteries” (1 Cor. ). His instructions about church discipline and the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor –34) highlight that such stewardship involves discernment and discipline within the people of God—for their own good: “Examine yourselves.… For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (–30). " (Brazos Commentary - Numbers)

Warren Wiersbe has a slightly different application of Numbers - Everything rises or falls with leadership, and Aaron was the leader of the priestly family. He was accountable to God for what happened at the sanctuary. God doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands (Acts +), but He does dwell in our bodies by His Holy Spirit 1 Cor. –20+) and among His people in the local assembly (1 Cor ff). We must be careful how we treat our bodies and what we do to the church of Jesus Christ. “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Cor NIV). (Be Counted) 

Numbers  Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, "Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment.

BGT  Numbers καὶ ἐλάλησεν κύριος πρὸς Ααρων καὶ ἐγὼ ἰδοὺ δέδωκα ὑμῖν τὴν διατήρησιν τῶν ἀπαρχῶν ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἡγιασμένων μοι παρὰ τῶν υἱῶν Ισραηλ σοὶ δέδωκα αὐτὰ εἰς γέρας καὶ τοῖς υἱοῖς σου μετὰ σέ νόμιμον αἰώνιον

NET  Numbers The LORD spoke to Aaron, "See, I have given you the responsibility for my raised offerings; I have given all the holy things of the Israelites to you as your priestly portion and to your sons as a perpetual ordinance.

NLT  Numbers The LORD gave these further instructions to Aaron: "I myself have put you in charge of all the holy offerings that are brought to me by the people of Israel. I have given all these consecrated offerings to you and your sons as your permanent share.

ESV  Numbers Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, "Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due.

NIV  Numbers Then the LORD said to Aaron, "I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion and regular share.

KJV  Numbers And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.

YLT  Numbers And Jehovah speaketh unto Aaron: 'And I, lo, I have given to thee the charge of My heave-offerings, of all the hallowed things of the sons of Israel -- to thee I have given them for the anointing, and to thy sons, by a statute age-during.

LXE  Numbers And the Lord said to Aaron, And, behold, I have given you the charge of the first-fruits of all things consecrated to me by the children of Israel; and I have given them to thee as an honour, and to thy sons after thee for a perpetual ordinance.

ASV  Numbers And Jehovah spake unto Aaron, And I, behold, I have given thee the charge of my heave-offerings, even all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, as a portion for ever.

CSB  Numbers Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, "Look, I have put you in charge of the contributions brought to Me. As for all the holy offerings of the Israelites, I have given them to you and your sons as a portion and a permanent statute.

NKJ  Numbers And the LORD spoke to Aaron: "Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever.

NRS  Numbers The LORD spoke to Aaron: I have given you charge of the offerings made to me, all the holy gifts of the Israelites; I have given them to you and your sons as a priestly portion due you in perpetuity.

  • charge: Nu Lev ,18,20,26 , ,15 De ,11  
  • by reason: Ex ,29 ,15 Lev Isa Heb 1Jn ,27 
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YAHWEH GIVES 
PROVISIONS TO PRIESTS

Clyde Woods summarizes Lev writing that "This paragraph treats five types of priestly revenues: (1) the portions of grain, sin, and guilt offerings not burned on the altar (vv. 9, 10); (2) the designated portions of the fellowship offerings (v. 11); (3) firstfruits (vv. 12–13); (4) devoted things (v. 14); and (5) firstlings, or, as required, their redemption fees (vv. 15–18). Introductory and concluding statements (vv. 8, 19–20) frame the list which, while not totally exhaustive, effectively summarizes priestly support." (Leviticus- Numbers)

Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, "Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings - NLT = "I myself have put you in charge of all the holy offerings that are brought to me by the people of Israel"

Offerings (heave offering) ()(terumah from rum = to be high or exalted, depicts something being lifted up as one would do in an offering) is a feminine noun that means offering, the first use referring to the contributions from the sons of Israel to God for the building of the Tabernacle (Ex ). Terumah describes a number of different offerings - contribution of materials for building (Ex ; ); an animal for sacrifice (Ex. ; Nu ); the thigh part of the animal to the priest (Lev ); a shekel as a contribution to the LORD (Ex  - the purpose of the offering being to atone); gold for the priests (Nu ); land for the priests (Ezek. , 7); the offering of war booty (Nu ) and materials for an idol (Isa )! In one instance, this word is used to describe a ruler who "takes bribes" ("demands contributions" - HCSB) (Pr. ). Translated allotment(15), contribution(20), contributions(10), heave offering(4), offered by lifting(2), offering(20), offerings(4), who takes bribes(1). 

All uses in Numbers - Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ;

Even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment NKJ = "as an ordinance forever." Holy gifts would be gifts set apart by the Israelites for God alone. God shares these with those who are close to Him! (That's a thought worth pondering!). God's holy gifts are perpetual which is surely a shadow pointing toward God's gift of Christ, a "Gift" we will experience and enjoy eternally as our perpetual allotment.

THOUGHT The sons in the OT reminds me of the blessing of believers as sons in the NT John writing "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." (1 John +) To which Paul adds "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Ro +) " For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal +)

NIVSB - The priests were to be supported in their work of ministry (Lev ). 

Perpetual allotment - only 3 times in the entire Bible, all in Numbers 18 - Nu , 11, 19

Holy  (sanctuary) () see note on qodesh The Lxx renders qodesh with  hagiazo in perfect tense indicating the place permanently set apart from common use and for worship of Yahweh.

Perpetual () see olam

Allotment (due, ordinance, portion)() see notes below on choq/hoq

Numbers  "This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, even every grain offering and every sin offering and every guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons.

BGT  Numbers καὶ τοῦτο ἔστω ὑμῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ἡγιασμένων ἁγίων τῶν καρπωμάτων ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν δώρων αὐτῶν καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν θυσιασμάτων αὐτῶν καὶ ἀπὸ πάσης πλημμελείας αὐτῶν καὶ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὅσα ἀποδιδόασίν μοι ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων σοὶ ἔσται καὶ τοῖς υἱοῖς σου

NET  Numbers Of all the most holy offerings reserved from the fire this will be yours: Every offering of theirs, whether from every grain offering or from every purification offering or from every reparation offering which they bring to me, will be most holy for you and for your sons.

NLT  Numbers You are allotted the portion of the most holy offerings that is not burned on the fire. This portion of all the most holy offerings-- including the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings-- will be most holy, and it belongs to you and your sons.

ESV  Numbers This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering of theirs and every sin offering of theirs and every guilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons.

NIV  Numbers You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons.

KJV  Numbers This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.

YLT  Numbers This is thine of the most holy things, from the fire: all their offering, to all their present, and to all their sin-offering, and to all their guilt-offering, which they give back to Me, is most holy to thee, and to thy sons;

LXE  Numbers And let this be to you from all the holy things that are consecrated to me, even the burnt-offerings, from all their gifts, and from all their sacrifices, and from every trespass-offering of theirs, and from all their sin-offerings, whatever things they give to me of all their holy things, they shall be thine and thy sons'.

ASV  Numbers This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, even every meal-offering of theirs, and every sin-offering of theirs, and every trespass-offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.

CSB  Numbers A portion of the holiest offerings kept from the fire will be yours; every one of their offerings that they give Me, whether the grain offering, sin offering, or restitution offering will be most holy for you and your sons.

NKJ  Numbers "This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons.

NRS  Numbers This shall be yours from the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs that they render to me as a most holy thing, whether grain offering, sin offering, or guilt offering, shall belong to you and your sons.

  • every offering: Lev ,3 ,13 
  • every sin: Lev ,27 ,26  
  • every guilt: Lev ,6 ,7  
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OFFERING PORTIONS TO
BE EATEN ONLY BY PRIESTS

This shall be yours (Aaronic priests) from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire - Most holy is qodes (holy thing) and qadosh (holy) thus literally "holy holy things."  NLT = "the most holy offerings that is not burned on the fire." For most sacrificial offerings only a portion was burned (Lev + where "memorial portion" = a representative portion that was burned) and what was not burned was Yahweh's gift to the priests and was specifically called the most holy gifts. Note that there is a distinction between "most holy gifts"  (Nu ) and "holy gifts." (Nu ), the former being given only for the priests themselves and the latter for the priests and their families. 

Every offering (qorban/korban;Lxx = doron =  stresses gratuitous, voluntary nature-see below) of theirs, even every grain offering  (minchah; Lev +; Lev +; Lev +) and every sin offering (chattat/chattath - Lev , 26+) and every guilt (trespass) offering (asham -  Lev. 2; Lev +; Lev +), which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons - Notice that these most holy portions are reserved for the priests (not their families). Not mentioned here is the compensation from the burnt offering ('olah) which was the hide of the burnt animal (Lev +)

Offering (of theirs) ()(qorban/korban from qarab signifies coming into near, intimate proximity of another [in Leviticus into intimate proximity with Jehovah!] Does this root verb not help us discern the picture of "offering?") is a masculine noun which means that which is brought near (the altar), thus referring to an offering. Thus qorban/korban was a general term used for all Israelite sacrifices, offerings, or oblations. It is used in a variety of offerings in Leviticus. Uses in Numbers - Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu

It is worthy of note that the word Doron is usually used of offerings to God (in NT) except in Eph + where it used of God's "offering" to us!!! Hallelujah!

Holy(gifts) () see note on qodesh The Lxx renders qodesh with hagios indicating those things set apart from common use and for uses related to Yahweh.

Numbers  "As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

BGT  Numbers ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ τῶν ἁγίων φάγεσθε αὐτά πᾶν ἀρσενικὸν φάγεται αὐτά σὺ καὶ οἱ υἱοί σου ἅγια ἔσται σοι

NET  Numbers You are to eat it as a most holy offering; every male may eat it. It will be holy to you.

NLT  Numbers You must eat it as a most holy offering. All the males may eat of it, and you must treat it as most holy.

ESV  Numbers In a most holy place shall you eat it. Every male may eat it; it is holy to you.

NIV  Numbers Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy.

KJV  Numbers In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.

YLT  Numbers in the holy of holies thou dost eat it; every male doth eat it; holy it is to thee.

LXE  Numbers In the most holy place shall ye eat them; every male shall eat them, thou and thy sons: they shall be holy to thee.

ASV  Numbers As the most holy things shalt thou eat thereof; every male shall eat thereof: it shall be holy unto thee.

CSB  Numbers You are to eat it as a most holy offering. Every male may eat it; it is to be holy to you.

NKJ  Numbers "In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you.

NRS  Numbers As a most holy thing you shall eat it; every male may eat it; it shall be holy to you.

  • In the: Ex ,32 Lev ,26,29 ,17  
  • every male: Lev ,29  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

HOLY MEALS IN A HOLY PLACE IN THE COURT OF THE TENT OF MEETING

As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you - The NAS is not the best translation for the Hebrew is more accurately rendered "In a most holy place shall you eat it" (ESV) Note these most holy gifts are only for the males. And as noted above, these were to be consumed only by the Aaronic priests (not even their families) and the were to be consumed in a holy place. In Leviticus + we read "What is left of it Aaron and his sons are to eat. It shall be eaten as unleavened cakes in a holy place; they are to eat it in the court of the tent of meeting."

Holy (gifts)Holy (to you) ()(qodesh) is a masculine noun which means set apart, distinct, unique. Qodesh describes that which has been consecrated or set apart for sacred use and was not to be used for common or profane tasks. If it were used for profane things, in simple terms, it became "not holy." It is fitting that the first OT use of qodesh was in God's instruction to Moses - "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex ). NET Note on Ex  "What made a mountain or other place holy was the fact that God chose that place to reveal himself or to reside among his people. Because God was in this place, the ground was different – it was holy." The Lxx renders qodesh with hagios indicating those things set apart from common use and for uses related to Yahweh. This is the name of God's people in the NT and the purpose is the same - set apart from the corrupt dying world and unto the use of our Holy God. Does my behavior substantiate this "definition"?

Numbers  "This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.

BGT  Numbers καὶ τοῦτο ἔσται ὑμῖν ἀπαρχὴ δομάτων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐπιθεμάτων τῶν υἱῶν Ισραηλ σοὶ δέδωκα αὐτὰ καὶ τοῖς υἱοῖς σου καὶ ταῖς θυγατράσιν σου μετὰ σοῦ νόμιμον αἰώνιον πᾶς καθαρὸς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου ἔδεται αὐτά

NET  Numbers "And this is yours: the raised offering of their gift, along with all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual ordinance. Everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

NLT  Numbers "All the sacred offerings and special offerings presented to me when the Israelites lift them up before the altar also belong to you. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters as your permanent share. Any member of your family who is ceremonially clean may eat of these offerings.

ESV  Numbers This also is yours: the contribution of their gift, all the wave offerings of the people of Israel. I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

NIV  Numbers "This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.

KJV  Numbers And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.

YLT  Numbers 'And this is thine: the heave-offering of their gift, to all the wave-offerings of the sons of Israel, to thee I have given them, and to thy sons, and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute age-during; every clean one in thy house doth eat it;

LXE  Numbers And this shall be to you of the first-fruits of their gifts, of all the wave-offerings of the children of Israel; to thee have I given them and to thy sons and thy daughters with thee, a perpetual ordinance; every clean person in thy house shall eat them.

ASV  Numbers And this is thine: the heave-offering of their gift, even all the wave-offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, as a portion for ever; every one that is clean in thy house shall eat thereof.

CSB  Numbers "The contribution of their gifts also belongs to you. I have given all the Israelites' presentation offerings to you and to your sons and daughters as a permanent statute. Every ceremonially clean person in your house may eat it.

NKJ  Numbers "This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

NRS  Numbers This also is yours: I have given to you, together with your sons and daughters, as a perpetual due, whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the elevation offerings of the Israelites; everyone who is clean in your house may eat them.

  • wave offerings: Nu Ex ,28 Lev , 
  • to you: Lev De  
  • everyone: Lev ,3, 
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PROVISION FOR
PRIESTS' FAMILIES

This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment - NLT = "All the sacred offerings and special offerings presented to me when the Israelites lift them up before the altar also belong to you." 

Offering () see notes above on terumah from rum = to be high or exalted, depicts something being lifted up as one would do in an offering. Note that terumah is a key word in Numbers 18 occuring 8 times - Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ;

Perpetual () see olam

Allotment (due, ordinance, portion)() see notes below on choq/hoq

Wave offering ()(tenupah from nuph = to move to and fro, to wave, to sprinkle) is a feminine noun which means swinging, waving, then wave offering. Tenuphah implies the side to side motion involved in waving and thus is usually a reference to a "wave offering" but twice is translated simply as "offering" (Ex , 29). Halladay says it is "an offering waved toward the altar & away fm. it in consecration." All uses in Numbers - Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ;

Andrew Bowling adds this note on wave offering -  This noun has two cultic usages: first, as a general term applied to a variety of gifts and offerings and, secondly, as a specific term for those parts of the offerings which are designated for the officiating priest. As a general term it is applied to such diverse things as gold (Exodus ), the "bronze of the wave offering" (Exodus ; literal translation), the sheaf of the firstfruits (Leviticus ), the two loaves offered on the Day of Pentecost (Leviticus ), the male lamb of the trespass offering for cleansing of lepers (Leviticus , 21), and, finally, the entire tribe of Levi (Numbers ). The verb nûp alone describes the offering of the cereal offering (ASV meal offering") of jealousy (Numbers ). In some cases a ritual act of waving is clearly alluded to as when Moses waved the wave offering in Aaron's hands (Leviticus ). In other cases the literal waving is impossible, as in the "waving" of the Levites. In such cases the significance of waving is lost and the terms mean offering" and to offer" respectively. If these terms have a characteristic, specific usage, it occurs in repeated references to the "breast of the wave offering" together with the "thigh of the heave offering" as the priest's portion of the peace offering (Leviticus ; Leviticus ; Numbers ; Note: The second ram of Aaron's dedication ritual—Exodus ; Leviticus , —with its wave breast and heave thigh is also a peace offering since it, like the peace offering, was eaten by the offerers). These portions are so characteristically the priest's that they serve as the standard to which other priest's portions are compared (Numbers ). However, even in this usage, the terminology is not exact since the term "wave offering" once includes both the breast and the thigh (Leviticus ) and the things burned as the "offering by fire" (cf. Leviticus ) and the right thigh may be included in the term wave offering" (Exodus ; Leviticus ). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) 

Related Resource:

Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it - Wenham says "as long as they are ‘clean’, i.e. not suffering from skin diseases, bodily discharges or contact with the dead (cf. ; Lev. –21; –9)." (TOTC-Nu)

NIVSB - Provisions for cleansing were stated in Lev –8.

Clean(adjective) (pure) ()(tahormeans pure, clean, purified, genuine, unalloyed (God's Word in Ps ). "It is applied concretely to substances that are genuine or unadulterated as well as describing an unstained condition of a spiritual or ceremonial nature… Clean most frequently describes the purity maintained by avoiding contact with other human beings, abstaining from eating animals, and using things that are declared ceremonially clean. Conversely, cleansing results if ritual procedures symbolizing the removal of contamination are observed." (Vine) The idea of tahor is the identification and distinction of those things (utensils, places, people) that were culturally pure, capable of being used in, or taking part in the religious rituals of Israel. The Lord decreed that Israel must mark off the clean from the unclean (Lev. ; ; Job ). While clean things were considered normal, unclean things were considered polluted, but could be restored to purity (Lev ). However some things, especially certain animals were permanently unclean (Lev. , 26, ). The deeper sense of tahor was in God's desire that His people be morally pure ("Your eyes are too pure to approve evil" = Hab ), and so after his sin with Bathsheba, David asked God to create in him a clean heart. (Ps ).

The Septuagint uses the adjective katharos which describes that which is clean and free of adulterating matter 

Numbers  "All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the LORD, I give them to you.

BGT  Numbers πᾶσα ἀπαρχὴ ἐλαίου καὶ πᾶσα ἀπαρχὴ οἴνου καὶ σίτου ἀπαρχὴ αὐτῶν ὅσα ἂν δῶσι τῷ κυρίῳ σοὶ δέδωκα αὐτά

NET  Numbers "All the best of the olive oil and all the best of the wine and of the wheat, the first fruits of these things that they give to the LORD, I have given to you.

NLT  Numbers "I also give you the harvest gifts brought by the people as offerings to the LORD-- the best of the olive oil, new wine, and grain.

ESV  Numbers All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the LORD, I give to you.

NIV  Numbers "I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the firstfruits of their harvest.

KJV  Numbers All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

YLT  Numbers all the best of the oil, and all the best of the new wine, and wheat -- their first -fruits which they give to Jehovah -- to thee I have given them.

LXE  Numbers Every first-offering of oil, and every first-offering of wine, their first-fruits of corn, whatsoever they may give to the Lord, to thee have I given them.

ASV  Numbers All the best of the oil, and all the best of the vintage, and of the grain, the first-fruits of them which they give unto Jehovah, to thee have I given them.

CSB  Numbers I am giving you all the best of the fresh olive oil, new wine, and grain, which the Israelites give to the LORD as their firstfruits.

NKJ  Numbers "All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the LORD, I have given them to you.

NRS  Numbers All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the choice produce that they give to the LORD, I have given to you.

  • best of the: Heb. fat, Nu  
  • the first fruits: Nu Ex Lev ,20 De De Ne
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE PRIESTS RECEIVE
THE CREME OF THE CROP

All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the LORD, I give them to you - The Hebrew word for best (heleb - used Nu , 29, 30, 32) refers to fat, the covering of the interior of the body, which was considered the best part of an animal  and was God's portion in offerings (1 Sa ,16), not to be eaten by men. In the present context it clearly refers to the best agricultural products of the land. So the phrase the "fat of the land" was the best part of the land (Ge )

God gives His best to His priests!
Today we are His priests! 
(1 Pe +)

First-fruits () (reshith) means  (1) The beginning or the first step in a course of action (as in Ps , Pr , Mic ) or as used here in numbers (2) The chief thing as the principal aspect or component of something and so as here refers to the first products of a harvest and so may be translated as "firstfruits" (e.g., Lev. ; Nu ; Deut. ). Uses in the Pentateuch -  Gen. ; Gen. ; Gen. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Deut. ; Deut. ; Deut. ; Deut. ; Deut. ; Deut.

Reshith is translated with aparche the first of any crop or offspring of livestock, consecrated before the rest could be used and in Mosaic ceremonial law was a technical term for the first portion of grain and fruit harvests and flocks offered to God. 

Numbers  "The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.

BGT  Numbers τὰ πρωτογενήματα πάντα ὅσα ἐν τῇ γῇ αὐτῶν ὅσα ἂν ἐνέγκωσιν κυρίῳ σοὶ ἔσται πᾶς καθαρὸς ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου ἔδεται αὐτά

NET  Numbers And whatever first ripe fruit in their land they bring to the LORD will be yours; everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

NLT  Numbers All the first crops of their land that the people present to the LORD belong to you. Any member of your family who is ceremonially clean may eat this food.

ESV  Numbers The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

NIV  Numbers All the land's firstfruits that they bring to the LORD will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.

KJV  Numbers And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.

YLT  Numbers 'The first-fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring in to Jehovah, are thine; every clean one in thy house doth eat it;

LXE  Numbers All the first-fruits that are in their land, whatsoever they shall offer to the Lord, shall be thine: every clean person in thy house shall eat them.

ASV  Numbers The first-ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring unto Jehovah, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thy house shall eat thereof.

CSB  Numbers The firstfruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, belong to you. Every clean person in your house may eat them.

NKJ  Numbers "Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.

NRS  Numbers The first fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours; everyone who is clean in your house may eat of it.

  • whatsoever: Ex Jer Ho Mic  
  • every one: Nu  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it - First ripe fruits is one Hebrew word (bikkuriym) a plural noun that refers to the first products of grain and food, a portion of which were to be given to Yahweh as a thank offering but here Yahweh assigns to the priests for their support. So in contrast to the restrictions to the priests (Nu ), these provisions are for everyone in the priests household. The only condition is that the person partaking must be clean. 

Wiersbe explains why they had to be "clean" - whoever in the priestly family ate of the sacrifices given to God had to be ceremonially clean and treat the food with reverence, because it had been sanctified by being presented to God. (Be Counted)

Clean(adjective) (pure) () see notes above on tahor in the Septuagint katharos. 

Related Resource:

Numbers  "Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

BGT  Numbers πᾶν ἀνατεθεματισμένον ἐν υἱοῖς Ισραηλ σοὶ ἔσται

NET  Numbers "Everything devoted in Israel will be yours.

NLT  Numbers "Everything in Israel that is specially set apart for the LORD also belongs to you.

ESV  Numbers Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

NIV  Numbers "Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours.

KJV  Numbers Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.

YLT  Numbers every devoted thing in Israel is thine,

LXE  Numbers Every devoted thing among the children of Israel shall be thine.

ASV  Numbers Everything devoted in Israel shall be thine.

CSB  Numbers "Everything in Israel that is permanently dedicated to the LORD belongs to you.

NKJ  Numbers "Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

NRS  Numbers Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours.

DEVOTED THINGS
GIVEN TO THE PRIESTS

Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours - The NLT is a relatively good paraphrase " "Everything in Israel that is specially set apart for the LORD (ED: THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE MEANING OF THE HEBREW WORD herem) also belongs to you." The Septuagint translated devoted (herem) with anathematizo which means in essence calling on God to punish if what is solemnly spoken is not true or carried out. As Leon Wood says (of herem) "Whatever is devoted to the Lord, whether man, animal, or property, is considered most holy by God and is therefore not to be sold or redeemed by substituting something else. According to Numbers and Ezekiel , all such objects are to be given to the priests for the support of the religious ceremonies." (TWOT) 

Leviticus + ‘Nevertheless, anything which a man sets apart to the LORD out of all that he has, of man or animal or of the fields of his own property, shall not be sold or redeemed. Anything devoted (herem) to destruction is most holy to the LORD.

Devoted ()(herem) conveys the basic of  the exclusion of an object from the use or abuse of man and its irrevocable surrender to God. In other words it is it is something devoted unto divine service, and is under a ban (forbidding to use for something else). It is interesting that the word “harem,” meaning the special quarters for Muslim wives, comes from it. 

NET NOTE on devoted - The “ban” (חֵרֶם, kherem) in Hebrew describes that which is exclusively the LORD’s, either for his sanctuary use, or for his destruction. It seems to refer to an individual’s devoting something freely to God.

Numbers  "Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

BGT  Numbers καὶ πᾶν διανοῖγον μήτραν ἀπὸ πάσης σαρκός ἃ προσφέρουσιν κυρίῳ ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἕως κτήνους σοὶ ἔσται ἀλλ᾽ ἢ λύτροις λυτρωθήσεται τὰ πρωτότοκα τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ τὰ πρωτότοκα τῶν κτηνῶν τῶν ἀκαθάρτων λυτρώσῃ

NET  Numbers The firstborn of every womb which they present to the LORD, whether human or animal, will be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn sons you must redeem, and the firstborn males of unclean animals you must redeem.

NLT  Numbers "The firstborn of every mother, whether human or animal, that is offered to the LORD will be yours. But you must always redeem your firstborn sons and the firstborn of ceremonially unclean animals.

ESV  Numbers Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

NIV  Numbers The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.

KJV  Numbers Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.

YLT  Numbers every one opening a womb of all flesh which they bring near to Jehovah, among man and among beast, is thine; only, thou dost certainly ransom the first-born of man, and the firstling of the unclean beast thou dost ransom.

LXE  Numbers And every thing that opens the womb of all flesh, whatsoever they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be thine: only the first-born of men shall be surely redeemed, and thou shalt redeem the first-born of unclean cattle.

ASV  Numbers Everything that openeth the womb, of all flesh which they offer unto Jehovah, both of man and beast shall be thine: nevertheless the first-born of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.

CSB  Numbers The firstborn of every living thing, man or animal, presented to the LORD belongs to you. But you must certainly redeem the firstborn of man, and redeem the firstborn of an unclean animal.

NKJ  Numbers "Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

NRS  Numbers The first issue of the womb of all creatures, human and animal, which is offered to the LORD, shall be yours; but the firstborn of human beings you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

  • Every first issue: Nu Ex ,12 Lev  
  • the firstborn: Ex Lev  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Nu  “Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine.

REDEMPTION OF 
THE FIRSTBORN

Numbers deal with this category of offerings that are given to the priests. 

Every first issue of the womb (literally "the splitter of the womb") of all flesh whether man or animal, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours - In other words this describes the first one to "split" or separate from the mother's womb (cf Nu ) and so it refers to the firstborn. Yahweh decrees the firstborn belong to the Aaronic priests. 

Nevertheless (Hebrew particle introduces a strong contrast) the firstborn of man you (Aaronic priests) shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem - (Compare Numbers –51) The GNT has "you must accept payment to buy back every first-born child" which emphasizes that  it is the Israelite who presents his firstborn child who pays, not the priest. They were to redeem the firstborn of men and of unclean animals by payment of a price described in verse Note that Redeem is repeated for emphasis of this point. The Hebrew word padah is translated in the first use in the Lxx with lutrosis which means providing a ransom. The second use of redeem is translated with lutroo meaning to free by paying a ransom. The unclean animals were those that were ritually impure, such as donkeys. 

UBS Handbook notes that "Firstborn sons belong to God but are not acceptable for sacrifice because their life is sacred, while the firstborn males of unclean animals are not acceptable because unclean animals cannot be used in the cult." 

Firstborn ()(bekor means an offspring who came first in the order of birth (animals Ge ) or persons (Ge ). The firstborn of clean animals were sacrificed to the Lord (Dt. , 17), but the firstborn males of unclean animals could be redeemed (Nu ). The Septuagint (Lxx) translates bekor with Greek word prototokos. 

Redeem()(padah) has the basic meaning to achieve the transfer of ownership from one to another through payment of a price or an equivalent substitute. Padah is used to depict God's act of redeeming; He redeemed His people with a mighty hand from Pharaoh and the slavery they were under in Egypt (Dt. ; Mic. ). Egypt was literally the house of slavery and became the symbol of slavery and oppression from which Israel was delivered (Dt. ; ).

NET NOTE  on shall surely redeem - The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense of the verb “to redeem” in order to stress the point—they were to be redeemed. N. H. Snaith suggests that the verb means to get by payment what was not originally yours, whereas the other root גָאַל (ga’al) means to get back what was originally yours (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], ).

Unclean()(tame) describes that which is (ceremonially) defiled or impure, ritually impure and unfit for use or consumption. It describes that which is not cleansed in a ceremonial sense and that which must be abstained from according to the Levitical law, lest impurity be contracted. 

Numbers  "As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

BGT  Numbers καὶ ἡ λύτρωσις αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ μηνιαίου ἡ συντίμησις πέντε σίκλων κατὰ τὸν σίκλον τὸν ἅγιον εἴκοσι ὄβολοί εἰσιν

NET  Numbers And those that must be redeemed you are to redeem when they are a month old, according to your estimation, for five shekels of silver according to the sanctuary shekel (which is twenty gerahs).

NLT  Numbers Redeem them when they are one month old. The redemption price is five pieces of silver (as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs).

ESV  Numbers And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

NIV  Numbers When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.

KJV  Numbers And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

YLT  Numbers 'And their ransomed ones from a son of a month, thou dost ransom with thy valuation, of silver, five shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary, twenty gerahs it is.

LXE  Numbers And the redemption of them shall be from a month old; their valuation of five shekels-- it is twenty oboli according to the holy shekel.

ASV  Numbers And those that are to be redeemed of them from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary (the same is twenty gerahs).

CSB  Numbers You will pay the redemption price for a month-old male according to your assessment: five shekels of silver by the standard sanctuary shekel, which is 20 gerahs.

NKJ  Numbers "And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

NRS  Numbers Their redemption price, reckoned from one month of age, you shall fix at five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary (that is, twenty gerahs).

  • according: Nu Lev  
  • which is: Ex Lev Eze  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

SETTING THE PRICE
OF REDEMPTION

As to their redemption price (see above on padah), from a month old you shall redeem (padah) them, by your valuation ("according to your estimation" - NET), five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs - NLT = "as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs." GNT = "Children shall be bought back at the age of one month for the fixed price of five pieces of silver.…”

NIVSB shekel. A unit of weight, not a coin (Ge ). according to the shekel of the sanctuary. In keeping with the standard weights used at the tabernacle. They may have differed slightly from those used in the marketplace.

Wenham - The redemption fee for first-born children is fixed at five shekels, that is about six months’ pay (TOTC-Nu)

Gilbrant on shekel - The shekel was the common unit of weight throughout Canaan and Mesopotamia, but it apparently varied somewhat in weight according to the place and time. There is now evidence that suggests there were three kinds of shekels in use in Israel. The temple shekel weighed about ten grams, the standard shekel weighed about eleven and one-half grams and the royal shekel weighed about thirteen grams (TWOT).

Related Resource:

  • What was the sanctuary shekel? | GotQuestions.org- Excerpt - Scholars are uncertain what exactly a shekel was, but here is one calculation of its value: the sanctuary shekel was defined as 20 gerahs. A gerah has been traditionally measured as 1/50 of an ounce, or gram. The sanctuary shekel would then equal of an ounce of gold (20 times 1/50 of an ounce), or 12 grams. Based on a price of USD per gram, the approximate value of a sanctuary shekel would be $, in today’s market. An important distinction is that the standard shekel and the sanctuary shekel were two different weights. This is the reason the shekel in Exodus  is defined as a particular kind of shekel called “the shekel of the sanctuary.” This shekel was defined by weights kept in the tabernacle as the standard. (Click for full explanation)

you shall redeem Redemption of the firstborn is one of the rites which are still practised among the Jews.  According to Leo of Modena, it is performed in the following mannerWhen the child is thirty days old, the father sends for one of the descendants of Aaron:  several persons being assembled on the occasion, the father brings a cup, containing several pieces of gold and silver coin.  The priest then takes the child into his arms, and addressing himself to the mother, he says, "Is this thy son?"  Mother.  "Yes."  Priest.  "Hast thou never had another child, male or female, a miscarriage, or untimely birth?" Mother.  "No."  Priest.  "This being the case, this child, as firstborn, belongs to me."  Then turning to the father, he says, "If it be thy desire to have this child, thou must redeem it."  Father.  "I present thee with this gold and silver for this purpose."  Priest.  "Thou dost wish, therefore, to redeem this child?"  Father.  "I do wish so to do."  The priest then turning himself to the assembly, says, "Very well:  this child, as first-born, is mine; as it is written in Bemidbar, (ch. ,) Thou shalt redeem the first-born of a month old for five shekels; but I shall content myself with this in exchange."  He then takes two gold crowns, or thereabouts, and returns the child to his parents.

Numbers  "But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the LORD.

BGT  Numbers πλὴν πρωτότοκα μόσχων καὶ πρωτότοκα προβάτων καὶ πρωτότοκα αἰγῶν οὐ λυτρώσῃ ἅγιά ἐστιν καὶ τὸ αἷμα αὐτῶν προσχεεῖς πρὸς τὸ θυσιαστήριον καὶ τὸ στέαρ ἀνοίσεις κάρπωμα εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας κυρίῳ

NET  Numbers But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow or a sheep or a goat; they are holy. You must splash their blood on the altar and burn their fat for an offering made by fire for a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

NLT  Numbers "However, you may not redeem the firstborn of cattle, sheep, or goats. They are holy and have been set apart for the LORD. Sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

ESV  Numbers But the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall burn their fat as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

NIV  Numbers "But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

KJV  Numbers But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.

YLT  Numbers 'Only, the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou dost not ransom, holy they are: their blood thou dost sprinkle on the altar, and of their fat thou makest perfume, a fire-offering of sweet fragrance to Jehovah,

LXE  Numbers But thou shalt not redeem the first-born of calves and the first-born of sheep and the first-born of goats; they are holy: and thou shalt pour their blood upon the altar, and thou shalt offer the fat as a burnt-offering for a smell of sweet savour to the Lord.

ASV  Numbers But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savor unto Jehovah.

CSB  Numbers "However, you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep, or a goat; they are holy. You are to sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as a fire offering for a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

NKJ  Numbers "But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD.

NRS  Numbers But the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall dash their blood on the altar, and shall turn their fat into smoke as an offering by fire for a pleasing odor to the LORD;

  • the firstling: De  
  • thou shalt: Ex Lev  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

But (another strong contrast) the firstborn (bekor) of an ox (mature male bovine) or the firstborn (bekor)of a sheep or the firstborn (bekor)of a goat (female goat, kid that was milked and eaten), you shall not redeem (padah); they are holy (qodesh). - “But you must not accept payment to buy back any firstborn [male] calf, sheep, or goat.” (UBS) The idea inherent in they are holy is that they belong completely to Yahweh. God had prior claim on the firstborn of these animals. 

You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar (mizbeah) and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the LORD - This describes the sacrifice to Yahweh of the 3 animals above. The priests would throw blood on the brazen altar after killing the animal (See see Lev , 11; , 8). The fat (heleb - translated "best" in Nu +) belonged to the LORD and thus was burned completely and was not to be eaten (Lev , 17).

Sprinkle(scatter, throw) ()(zaraq)  means to sprinkle, to toss, to throw, to scatter in abundance, to be sprinkled and most of the OT uses (see below) refer to the priest's actions in carrying out the rituals of the sacrifices and offerings. The priests were to sprinkle blood on the altar in the burnt offering (Lev ,11, Lev , 2Ki ), the peace offering (Lev , 8, 13, Lev , , 2Ki ), the guilt (trespass) offering (Lev ). 

Offer up in smoke ()(qatarfrom qetoreth = smoke, odor of burning sacrifice, incense) means to produce smoke, to cause to rise up in smoke, smoke, turn into fragrance by fire (esp as act of worship), burn (incense, sacrifice) (upon), (altar for) incense, kindle, offer (incense, a sacrifice). Often smoke is made by burning incense, but every major offering may also be associated with this word (Ex. ; Lev. ; ; ; ; ).

Offering by fire ()(ishsheh from esh = a fire) means an offering made by fire. It refers to any offering or portion of an offering that is wholly or partially consumed by fire -- burnt offering (Lev , 13); the cereal/grain offering (Lev ); peace offering (Lev ); the guilt offering (Lev ); the consecration offering (Lev ) Clearly this offering stresses the death of the sacrifice. Notice all uses except Josh  and 1Sa  are in the Pentateuch. All of these offerings were the Lord’s (Nu ), and the phrase “to the Lord” is explicitly stated most of the time.  The first use is in Ex  in Yahweh’s instruction to Moses regarding the ordination of priests "And you shall offer up in smoke the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the LORD: it is a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD." The phrase "soothing aroma" is usually associated with the offerings by fire, this phrase signifying that Jehovah had accepted the offerer's offering. Other uses in Numbers - Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ;

Soothing(sweet) ()(nihoah from nuach = to rest) means a quieting, soothing, tranquilizing. In 20 of the 43 uses of nichoach, this noun (usually with the sense of an adjective) is used with the phrase "burnt offering." Almost all uses describe the odor of a sacrifice as pleasing or acceptable to God. The Septuagint translates soothing with euodia and aroma with osme.

Soothing aroma - phrase 42x - Gen. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Exod. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Lev. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Num. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek. ; Ezek.

Dr S Lewis Johnson has an interesting comment on the original Hebrew of "soothing aroma" - In the Hebrew text, it is literally an odor of rest, and the word translated “rest” in that literal expression is the one from which the name Noah comes. That was his name: “rest giver” or “rest” was his name. So the idea is that as a result of our Lord smelling the sweet savor of the sacrifice he has an odor of rest. And because it is an odor of rest, His claims are met in the sacrifice and He, therefore, rests. This stresses the fact that the animal completely satisfies God and in the antitype is a (beautiful) reference to our Lord Jesus’ finished work. When he said, “It is finished,” it was then that in the whole Godhead there was an odor of rest. It’s a beautiful expression - an odor of rest and is referred in the New Testament in Ephesians , “An odor of a sweet smell to the Lord.” (Hebrews )

THE NEW TESTAMENT PARALLEL - Ephesians + "and Walk in love (present imperative - command calling for this to be our lifestyle), just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant (sweet) aroma.."

Comment: What is Paul commanding, a natural or a supernatural lifestyle? Clearly the latter. And so this begs the question of how we can possibly obey this command! Of course, God's commandments always include His enablements. His enablement is His Spirit Who alone can give us the "desire" and the "power" for this quality of conduct (See Php NLT-note; see our part in Php note, also only possible as the Spirit enables us)! Agape speaks of a "death to self" type of love if you will, a love that is sacrificial, a love that gives expecting nothing in return. We can only walk this supernatural walk as we are obeying the command to be continually filled with the Spirit of Christ (Eph +) and the command to "Walk by the Spirit" (Gal +). When we do that, we are empowered by the indwelling Spirit to walk in love like Christ, and like Him (and because of Him) our life gives off a wonderfully fragrant aroma, a soothing aroma, to our Father and to those we encounter (cp 2 Cor where God "manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him [Christ] in every place" and goes on to explain "we are a fragrance of Christ to God (The Father) among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.") That we as fallen sinful men and women can now live in such a way that our life is a soothing aroma to the Father should cause us all to cry out like Paul "Who is adequate for these things?" (2Cor ) Only the Redeemer is adequate but because of His redemption, we are now in Christ, and have the incredible privilege of daily living as "sweet savor" sacrifices to the Living and Holy God. Does this truth not overwhelm us and humble us and motivate us to daily present ourselves to Him as "living and holy sacrifice acceptable (pleasing) to Him?" (Ro +; cp Ro +) O, the breadth and length and height and depth of God's amazing, redeeming, transforming grace! Thank You Jesus. Amen!

Numbers  "Their meat shall be yours; it shall be yours like the breast of a wave offering and like the right thigh.

BGT  Numbers καὶ τὰ κρέα ἔσται σοί καθὰ καὶ τὸ στηθύνιον τοῦ ἐπιθέματος καὶ κατὰ τὸν βραχίονα τὸν δεξιὸν σοὶ ἔσται

NET  Numbers And their meat will be yours, just as the breast and the right hip of the raised offering is yours.

NLT  Numbers The meat of these animals will be yours, just like the breast and right thigh that are presented by lifting them up as a special offering before the altar.

ESV  Numbers But their flesh shall be yours, as the breast that is waved and as the right thigh are yours.

NIV  Numbers Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours.

KJV  Numbers And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.

YLT  Numbers and their flesh is thine, as the breast of the wave-offering, and as the right leg, it is thine;

LXE  Numbers And the flesh shall be thine, as also the breast of the wave-offering and as the right shoulder, it shall be thine.

ASV  Numbers And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave-breast and as the right thigh, it shall be thine.

CSB  Numbers But their meat belongs to you. It belongs to you like the breast of the presentation offering and the right thigh.

NKJ  Numbers "And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours.

NRS  Numbers but their flesh shall be yours, just as the breast that is elevated and as the right thigh are yours.

Their meat shall be yours - The priest could eat all the meat from the sacrifice of the firstborn animals except for the fat. 

 it shall be yours like the breast of a wave offering and like the right thigh - As described in Exodus and reiterated in Leviticus.

Exodus +  “Then you shall take the breast of Aaron’s ram of ordination, and wave it as a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be your portion. 27 “You shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering which was waved and which was offered from the ram of ordination, from the one which was for Aaron and from the one which was for his sons. 28 “It shall be for Aaron and his sons as their portion forever from the sons of Israel, for it is a heave offering; and it shall be a heave offering from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, even their heave offering to the LORD. 

Leviticus  The priest shall offer up the fat in smoke on the altar, but the breast shall belong to Aaron and his sons. 32‘You shall give the right thigh to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33‘The one among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat, the right thigh shall be his as his portion. 34‘For I have taken the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due forever from the sons of Israel. 

UBS  - They could eat this meat just as they could eat the breast and the right rear shank of a peace offering.

Wave offering () see note above on tenupah

Numbers  "All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you."

BGT  Numbers πᾶν ἀφαίρεμα τῶν ἁγίων ὅσα ἂν ἀφέλωσιν οἱ υἱοὶ Ισραηλ κυρίῳ σοὶ δέδωκα καὶ τοῖς υἱοῖς σου καὶ ταῖς θυγατράσιν σου μετὰ σοῦ νόμιμον αἰώνιον διαθήκη ἁλὸς αἰωνίου ἐστὶν ἔναντι κυρίου σοὶ καὶ τῷ σπέρματί σου μετὰ σέ

NET  Numbers All the raised offerings of the holy things that the Israelites offer to the LORD, I have given to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual ordinance. It is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD for you and for your descendants with you."

NLT  Numbers Yes, I am giving you all these holy offerings that the people of Israel bring to the LORD. They are for you and your sons and daughters, to be eaten as your permanent share. This is an eternal and unbreakable covenant between the LORD and you, and it also applies to your descendants."

ESV  Numbers All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the LORD I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. It is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD for you and for your offspring with you."

NIV  Numbers Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring."

KJV  Numbers 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 of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

YLT  Numbers all the heave-offerings of the holy things which the sons of Israel lift up to Jehovah I have given to thee and to thy sons, and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute age-during, a covenant of salt, age-during it is before Jehovah, to thee and to thy seed with thee.'

LXE  Numbers Every special offering of the holy things, whatsoever the children of Israel shall specially offer to the Lord, I have given to thee and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, a perpetual ordinance: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord, for thee and thy seed after thee.

ASV  Numbers All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto Jehovah, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, as a portion for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before Jehovah unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

CSB  Numbers "I give to you and to your sons and daughters all the holy contributions that the Israelites present to the LORD as a permanent statute. It is a permanent covenant of salt before the LORD for you as well as your offspring."

NKJ  Numbers "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you."

NRS  Numbers All the holy offerings that the Israelites present to the LORD I have given to you, together with your sons and daughters, as a perpetual due; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD for you and your descendants as well.

  • the offerings: Nu ,11 Nu Nu ,41 Lev De 2Ch  
  • covenant of salt: Lev 2Ch  
  • Numbers 18 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Numbers Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment.

Numbers  “This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it.

Leviticus +   ‘Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. 

2 Chronicles  “Do you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?

COVENANT
OF SALT

All the (heave or raised) offerings (terumah from rum) of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer (rum - raise or lift up high) to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters (all your descendants, both male and female) with you, as a perpetual (olam) allotment - Notice how Yahweh ends up His direct discourse to Aaron regarding their provisions with words almost identical to those in Nu , which may function as an inclusio which bookends (so to speak) the LORD's provisions for the priesthood. In a sense, this verse also summarizes Numbers Given is the Hebrew verb nathan translated in Lxx by didomi which is in the perfect tense indicating a past completed act with enduring (in this case "perpetual") results or effects. God is faithful to His promises to His people.

Offerings (heave offering) () see notes above on terumah from rum = to be high or exalted, depicts something being lifted up as one would do in an offering) Note that terumah is a key word in Numbers 18 occuring 8 times - Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ; Nu ;

Holy(most holy, holy things, sanctuary) () see note on qodesh The Lxx renders qodesh with hagios indicating those things set apart from common use and for uses related to Yahweh. Today the "holy gift" we should offer up to God is ourselves, Paul writing "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable (pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Ro +)

Perpetual () see olam

Allotment (due, ordinance, portion)()(choq/hoq from chaqaq = to cut in or engrave in stone - hew a tomb in rock Is , draw picture on a brick Eze  or a wall Eze ) is a masculine noun that means regulation, law, ordinance, decree, custom. The primary sense of hoq is an expectation or mandate prescribed by decree or custom. In the present context choq/hoq designates "privilege" or "due." The Egyptian priests had a right which exempted them from selling their land (Ge ). The Aaronic priest's share in the sacrifice was a perpetual right (Ex ; Lev ), established by God's decree. The Septuagint translates choq with nomimos which means in agreement with law or pertaining to being conformable to law

It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you." UBS = "These privileges apply forever. In my eyes they are as irrevocable as a covenant that is affirmed by eating salt together." There was a Near Eastern custom of establishing a bond of friendship through the eating of salt. It was said that once you had eaten a man’s salt, you were his friend for life. Salt was included in all of the offerings in [Lev , ] since salt was emblematic of permanence or loyalty to the covenant. Each grain offering must include salt. Salt was an important part of the offering, because it spoke of purity, of preservation, and of expense. Salt, as a preservative, will arrest the normal operations of the flesh - it is the nature of flesh to spoil, but salt cured meats will stay good.  

Wenham - The binding and permanent nature of these obligations is underlined by calling them a covenant of salt, that is to say, this covenant is indestructible, like salt (19; cf. 2 Chr. ; Exod. ; f.; f.; Lev. –27, 6). (TOTC-Nu)

NET NOTE on salt - 

Sours: https://www.preceptaustin.org/numberscommentary

Numbers Chapter 18 deals with the duties and responsibilities of priests.

In Numbers chapter 18, the Lord implicitly said to Aaron that he, his sons, and all his family will be held fully responsible for any offenses that are connected in conjunction with the sanctuary. Aaron was also told to bring his people of his tribe, the Levites, to help him and his sons oversee the ministry of the tent of the covenant and its laws.

The Lord did warn they are to stay away from the altar. If they breach the altar, they would die and so would Aaron. The Lord also noted that being allowed to become a priest of the altar was a gift. No one else was to breach the altar or else they would face the possibility of immediate death.

The Lord offers to Aaron a portion of the offerings that are to be sacrificed at the altar. His family was to share in the gifts and offerings to God as payment for his role in caring for the altar.

The Lord does note that Aaron must takes steps to be sure all firstborn sons are to be redeemed as well as the firstborn of unclean animals. This process is done within the first month of their birth. A monetary fee is then set by the Lord.

The holy animals, the goat and the cow, do not have to be redeemed, according to God’s guidelines in Numbers chapter Aaron is then told he will not have any inheritance of land. The Lord states that He will act as the share of Aaron&#;s inheritance.

Furthermore, God instructs those who do make offerings to the Lord to offer only the best things as they would be the most worthy.

1 And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father&#;s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

2 And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.

3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.

4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.

5 And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.

6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest&#;s office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest&#;s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.

8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.

9 This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.

10 In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.

11 And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.

12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

13 And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.

14 Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.

15 Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.

16 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.

18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.

19 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 of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.

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

21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.

23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.

24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.

27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.

28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD&#;S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.

30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.

31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.

32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

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Numbers 18 Bible Commentary

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Chapter Contents

The charge of the priests and Levites. () The priests' portion. () The Levites' portion. ()

Commentary on Numbers

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The people complained of their difficulty and peril in drawing near to God. God here gives them to understand, that the priests should come near for them. Aaron would see reason not to be proud of his preferment, when he considered the great care and charge upon him. Be not high-minded, but fear. The greater the trust of work and power that is committed to us, the greater danger there is of betraying that trust. This is a good reason why we should neither envy others' honours, nor desire high places.

Commentary on Numbers

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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.

Commentary on Numbers

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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 2 Thessalonians 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.

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Numbers Chapter 18

Bible Commentaries

Verses

The Priests to Receive a Tithe of the Tithes For Their Service at the Sanctuary and the Altar And The Remainder To Go To The Levites (Numbers ).

The tithe was therefore to go to the Levites who were to ensure that one tenth of the tithe, and the very best of the tithe, went in turn to the priests.

Analysis.

a The Levites to set aside a tithe of their tithe for the priests (Numbers )

b The contribution to be reckoned as though it were the corn of the threshing-floor and the fullness of the winepress as provided by the Levites (Numbers ).

c The contribution to be offered to Yahweh and given to Aaron the priest (Numbers ).

c The contribution offered to Yahweh to be from the best, the most hallowed parts (Numbers ).

b The remainder to be accounted to the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor and the increase of the winepress (Numbers ).

a Once they have tithed it the Levites may eat their own tithe in every place which is clean (Numbers ).

The Levites To Set Aside a Tithe of Their Tithe for the Priests (Numbers ).

Numbers

‘And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,’

Again we have the emphasis that these were Yahweh’s words to Moses. Note the change from Aaron in verses 1 and 8. It was not fitting that Aaron tell the Levites what he himself was to receive. Such niceties confirm that we are here dealing with the actual situation and not some later invention.

Numbers

What is more you shall speak to the Levites, and say to them, ‘When you take of the children of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall offer up a contribution offering (heave-offering) of it for Yahweh, a tithe of the tithe.’ ”

On receiving the tithes from the people the Levites were to offer one tenth of the tithe to Yahweh for the priests, as their contribution to the ministry of the priests. It would be a tithe of the tithe.

Numbers

And your heave-offering shall be reckoned to you, as though it were the grain of the threshing-floor, and as the fullness of the winepress.”

And as the Levites would not have much to offer that they grew themselves, this tithe to the priests would count as though it came from the grain of their threshing-floor and from the fullness of their winepresses, being their contribution to the ministry of the priests.

Numbers

Thus you also shall offer a heave-offering to Yahweh of all your tithes, which you receive of the children of Israel; and of them you (ye) shall give Yahweh’s heave-offering to Aaron the priest.”

In that way the Levites would be making a contribution offering to Yahweh of tithes, in the same way as the other tribes made a contribution offering to Yahweh of tithes. They would make it out of their own tithe inheritance that they received from Yahweh.

Numbers

Out of all your gifts you shall offer every contribution offering (heave-offering) of Yahweh, of all the best of it, even the hallowed part of it out of it.”

Out of all the gifts that they received they were to make their contribution offering to Yahweh, and for this purpose they were to choose the choicest and the best. That was to form the ‘hallowed part’. That which was made holy to Yahweh and set apart for the priests.

Numbers

Therefore you shall say to them, When you make a contribution of (heave) the best of it from it, then it shall be reckoned to the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as the increase of the winepress.”

And that is why Moses could tell the Levites that when they did give the best to Yahweh from their tithes it would be treated as though they had grown it themselves, as though they had grown the grain and threshed it, as though they had grown the grapes and pressed them.

Numbers

And you (ye) shall eat it in every place, you (ye) and your households. For it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting.”

But the remainder of the tithe they could eat ‘in every place’. That did not have to be brought before Yahweh nor eaten in the precincts of the Tent of meeting. It would need to be in a clean place, but it could be in any of their tents, and later their towns. It was their reward for their service in the Tent of meeting.

Numbers

And you (ye) shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it. And you (ye) shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, that you die not.”

Thus once they had given to the priests the tithe of the tithe, as their contribution offering to Yahweh, they would be free from blame for their use of the remainder of them. By partaking of them and utilising them as they wished they would not be profaning them. This provision was very necessary. Otherwise it could have been argued that as the Levites’ share of the tithe was ‘given to Yahweh’ it had to be treated as ‘most holy’ and therefore not to be eaten outside the Sanctuary precincts.

Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Numbers 18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/numbershtml.
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18 numbers summary chapter

Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Numbers 18

Chapter 18

Aaron being now fully established in the priesthood abundantly to his own satisfaction, and to the satisfaction of the people (which was the good that God brought out of the evil opposition made to him), in this chapter God gives him full instructions concerning his office or rather repeats those which he had before given him. He tells him,

  • I. What must be his work and the care and charge committed to him, and what assistance he should have the Levites in that work (v. ).
  • II. What should be his and the Levites' wages for this work.
    • 1. The perquisites or fees peculiar to the priests (v. ).
    • 2. The settled maintenance of the Levites (v. ).
  • III. The portion which must be paid to the priests out of the Levites' maintenance (v. ). Thus every one knew what he had to do, and what he had to live upon.

Num

The coherence of this chapter with that foregoing is very observable.

  • I. The people, in the close of that chapter, had complained of the difficulty and peril that there were in drawing near to God, which put them under some dreadful apprehensions that the tabernacle in the midst of them, which they hoped would have been their joy and glory, would rather be their terror and ruin. Now, in answer to this complaint, God here gives them to understand by Aaron that the priests should come near for them as their representatives; so that, though the people were obliged to keep their distance, yet that should not at all redound to their disgrace or prejudice, but their comfortable communion with God should be kept up by the interposition of the priests.
  • II. A great deal of honour God had now lately put upon Aaron; his rod had budded and blossomed, when the rods of the rest of the princes remained dry, and destitute both of fruit and ornament. Now lest Aaron should be puffed up with the abundance of the favours that were done him, and the miracles that were wrought for the support of him in his high station, God comes to him to remind him of the burden that was laid upon him, and the duty required from him as a priest. He would see reason not to be proud of his preferment, but to receive the honours of his office with reverence and holy trembling, when he considered how great was the charge committed to him, and how hard it would be for him to give a good account of it. Be nothigh-minded, but fear.
    • 1. God tells him of the danger that attended his dignity, v. 1.
      • (1.) That both the priests and Levites (thou, and thy sons, and thy father's house) should bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; that is, if the sanctuary were profaned by the intrusion of strangers, or persons in their uncleanness, the blame should lie upon the Levites and priests, who ought to have kept them off. Though the sinner that thrust in presumptuously should die in his iniquity, yet his blood should be required at the hands of the watchmen. Or it may be taken more generally: "If any of the duties or offices of the sanctuary be neglected, if any service be not done in its season or not according to the law, if any thing be lost or misplaced in the removal of the sanctuary, you shall be accountable for it, and answer it at your peril."
      • (2.) That the priests should themselves bear the iniquity of the priesthood; that is, if they either neglected any part of their work or permitted any other persons to invade their office, and take their work out of their hands, they should bear the blame of it. Note, The greater the trust is of work and power that is committed to us the greater is our danger of contracting guilt, by falsifying and betraying that trust. This is a good reason why we should neither be envious at others' honours nor ambitious ourselves of high places, because great dignity exposes us to great iniquity. Those that are entrusted with the charge of the sanctuary will have a great deal to answer for. Who would covet the care of souls who considers the account that must be given of that care?
    • 2. He tells him of the duty that attended his dignity.
      • (1.) That he and his sons must ministerbefore the tabernacle of witness (v. 2); that is (as bishop Patrick explains it), before the mostholy place, in which the ark was, on the outside of the veil of that tabernacle, but within the door of the tabernacle, of the congregation. They were to attend the golden altar, the table, and candlestick, which no Levite might approach to. You shall serve,v. 7. Not, "You shall rule" (it was never intended that they should lord it over God's heritage), but "You shall serve God and the congregation." Note, The priesthood is a service. If any desire the office of a bishop hedesires a good work. Ministers must remember that they are ministers, that is, servants, of whom it is required that they be humble, diligent, and faithful.
      • (2.) That the Levites must assist him and his sons, and minister to them in all the service of the tabernacle (v. ), though they must by no means come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary, nor at the altar meddle with the great services of burning the fat and sprinkling the blood. Aaron's family was very small, and, as it increased, the rest of the families of Israel would increase likewise, so that the hands of the priests neither were now nor were likely to be sufficient for all the service of the tabernacle; therefore (says God) the Levites shall be joined to thee,v. 2, and again v. 4, where there seems to be an allusion to the name of Levi, which signifies joined. Many of the Levites had of late set themselves against Aaron, but henceforward God promises that they should be heartily joined to him in interest and affection, and should no more contest with him. It was a good sign to Aaron that God owned him when he inclined the hearts of those concerned to own him too. The Levites are said to be given as a gift to the priests, v. 6. Note, We are to value it as a great gift of the divine bounty to have those joined to us that will be helpful and serviceable to us in the service of God.
      • (3.) That both priests and Levites must carefully watch against the profanation of sacred things. The Levites must keep the charge of the tabernacle, that no stranger (that is, none who upon any account was forbidden to come) might come nigh (v. 4), and that upon pain of death, v. 7. And the priests must keep the charge of the sanctuary (v. 5), must instruct the people, and admonish them concerning the due distance they were to keep, and not suffer them to break the bounds set them, as Korah's company had done, that there be no wrath any moreupon the children of Israel. Note, The preventing of sin is the preventing of wrath; and the mischief sin has done should be a warning to us for the future to watch against it both in ourselves and others.

Num

The priest's service is called a warfare; and who goes a warfare at his own charges? As they were well employed, so they were well provided for, and well paid. None shall serve God for nought. All believers are spiritual priests, and God has promised to take care of them; they shall dwell in the land, and verily they shall be fed, and shall not want any good thing. Godliness has the promise of the life that now is. And from this plentiful provision here made for the priests the apostle infers that it is the duty of Christian churches to maintain their ministers; those that served at the altar lived upon the altar. So those that preach the gospel should live upon thegospel, and live comfortably, 1 Co. , Scandalous maintenance makes scandalous ministers. Now observe,

  • 1. That much of the provision that was made for them arose out of the sacrifices which they themselves were employed to offer. They had the skins of almost all the sacrifices, which they might sell, and they had a considerable share out of the meat-offerings, sin-offerings, etc. Those that had the charge of the offerings had the benefit, v. 8. Note, God's work is its own wages, and his service carries its recompence along with it. Even in keeping God's commandments there is great reward. The present pleasures of religion are part of its pay.
  • 2. That they had not only a good table kept for them, but money likewise in their pockets for the redemption of the first-born, and those firstlings of cattle which might not be offered in sacrifice. Thus their maintenance was such as left them altogether disentangledfrom the affairs of this life; they had no grounds to occupy, no land to till, no vineyards to dress, no cattle to tend, no visible estate to take care of, and yet had a more plentiful income than any other families whatsoever. Thus God ordered it that they might be the more entirely addicted to their ministry, and not diverted from it, nor disturbed in it, by any worldly care or business (the ministry requires a whole man); and that they might be examples of living by faith, not only in God's providence, but in his ordinance. They lived from hand to mouth, that they might learn to take no thought for the morrow; sufficient for the day would be the provision thereof: and they had no estates to leave their children, that they might by faith leave their children, that they might by faith leave them to the care of that God who had fed them all their lives long.
  • 3. Of the provision that was made for their tables some is said to be most holy (v. 9, 10), which was to be eaten by the priests themselves, and in the court of the tabernacle only; but other perquisites were less holy, of which their families might eat, at their own houses, provided they were clean, v. See Lev. , etc.
  • 4. It is commanded that the best of the oil, and the best of thewine and wheat, should be offered for the first-fruits unto the Lord, which the priest were to have, v. Note, We must always serve and honour God with the best we have, for he is the best, and best deserves it; he is the first, and therefore must have the first ripe. Those that think to save charges by putting God off with the refuse do but deceive themselves, for God is notmocked.
  • 5. All this is given to the priests by reason of the anointing,v. 8. It was not for the sake of their personal merits above other Israelites that they had these tributes paid to them, be it known unto them; but purely for the sake of the office to which they were anointed. Thus all the comforts that are given to the Lord's people are given them by reason of the anointing which they have received. It is said to be given them by an ordinance for ever (v. 8), and it is a covenant of salt for ever,v. As long as the priesthood should continue this should continue to be the maintenance of it, that this lamp might not go out for want of oil to keep it burning. Thus provision is made that a gospel ministry should continue till Christ comes, by an ordinance for ever. Lo, I am with you (that is their maintenance and support) always, even to the end ofthe world. Thanks be to the Redeemer, it is the word which he has commanded to a thousandgenerations.

Num

Here is a further account of the provision that was made both for the Levites and for the priests, out of the country.

  • I. They must have no inheritance in the land; only cities to dwell in were afterwards allowed them, but no ground to occupy: Thou shalt not have any part among them,v. It is repeated again v. 23, and again v. 24, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance, either by purchase or descent. God would have them comfortably provided for, but would not have their families over-rich, lest they should think themselves above that work which their wages supposed and obliged them constantly to attend upon. As Israel was a peculiar people, and not to be numbered among the nations, so Levi was a peculiar tribe, and not to be settled as the rest of the tribes, but in all respects distinguished from them. A good reason is given why they must have no inheritance in the land, for, says God, I am thy part, and thy inheritance. Note, Those that have God for their inheritance and their portion for ever ought to look with a holy contempt and indifference upon the inheritances of this world, and not covet their portion in it. "The Lord is my portion, therefore will I hope in him, and not depend upon any thing I have on this earth," Lam. The Levites shall have no inheritance, and yet they shall live very comfortably and plentifully-to teach us that Providence has various ways of supporting those that live in a dependence upon it; the fowls reap not, and yet are fed, the lilies spin not, and yet are clothed, the Levites have no inheritance in Israel, and yet live better than any other tribe. The repetition of that caution, that no Israelite should approach the tabernacle, comes in suitable, though somewhat abruptly, v. It seems set in opposition to that order concerning the priests and Levites that they should have no inheritance in Israel, to show how God dispenses his favours variously. The Levites have the honour of attending the tabernacle, which is denied the Israelites; but then the Israelites have the honour of inheritances in Canaan, which is denied the Levites; thus each is kept from either envying or despising the other, and both have reason to rejoice in their lot. The Israelites must not come nigh the tabernacle, but then the Levites must have no inheritance in the land; if ministers expect that people should keep in their sphere, and not intermeddle with sacred offices, let them keep in theirs, and not entangle themselves in secular affairs.
  • II. But they must both have tithes of the land. Besides the first-fruits which were appropriated to the priests, which, the Jews say, were to be a fiftieth part, or at least a sixtieth, the tithe also was appropriated.
    • 1. The Levites had the tithes of the people's increase (v. 21): I have given (whose the whole is) all the tenths in Israel, of all the productions of the land, to the children of Levi, to be divided among them in just proportions, for their service which they serve. The Levites were the smallest tribe of the twelve, and yet, besides all other advantages, they had a tenth part of the yearly profits, without the trouble and expense of ploughing and sowing; such care did God take of those that were devoted to his service; not only that they might be well maintained, but that they might be honoured with a national acknowledgment of the good services they did to the public, and owned as God's agents and receivers; for that which was a heave-offering, or an offering lifted heavenward unto the Lord, was by him consigned to the Levites.
    • 2. The priests had the tenths of the Levites' tithes settled upon them. The order for this Moses is directed to give to the Levites, whom God would have to pay it with cheerfulness, rather than the priests to demand it with authority: Speak to the Levites that it be offered by them, rather than levied upon them. Now observe,
      • (1.) The Levites were to give God his dues out of their tithes, as well as the Israelites out of their increase. They were God's tenants, and rent was expected from them, nor were they exempted by their office. Thus now, ministers must be charitable out of what they receive; and the more freely they have received the more freely they must give, and be examples of liberality. You shall offer a heave-offering to the Lord,v. Those that are employed to assist the devotions of others must be sure to pay their own, as a heave-offering to the Lord. Prayers and praises lifted up to God, or rather the heart lifted up in them, are now our heave-offerings. This (says God) shall be reckoned to you as though it were the corn of thethreshing-floor; that is, though it was not the fruit of their ground, nor of their own labour, as the tithes of other Israelites were, yet being of such as they had it should be accepted, to the sanctifying of all the rest.
      • (2.) This was to be given to Aaron the priest (v. 28), and to his successors the high priests, to be divided and disposed of in such proportions as they should think fit among the inferior priests. Most of the profits of the priests' office, which were appointed in the former part of the chapter, arising from the sacrifices, those priests had the benefit of who constantly attended at the altar; but, forasmuch as there were many priests employed in the country to teach and rule, those tithes taken by the Levites, it is probable, were directed by the high priest for their maintenance. It is the probable conjecture of the learned bishop Patrick that the tenth of this last tenth was reserved for the high priest himself, to support his state and dignity; for otherwise we read not of any peculiar provision made for him.
      • (3.) When the Levites had thus paid the tenth of their income, as a heave-offering to the Lord, they had themselves the comfortable enjoyment of the other nine parts (v. 30): "When you have thus heaved the best from it (for still God's part must be the best) then you shall eat the rest, not as a holy thing, but with the same freedom that the other Israelites eat their part with, in everyplace, you and your households,"v. See here what is the way to have the comfort of all our worldly possessions so as to bear no sin by reason of them, as it follows, v.
        • [1.] We must be sure that what we have be got honestly and in the service of God. It is your reward for yourservice; that meat is the best eating that is first earned; but, if any will not work, neither shall heeat,2 Th. And that seems to be spoken of as having a particular comfort and satisfaction in it which is the reward of faithful service done in the tabernacle of the congregation.
        • [2.] We must be sure that God has his dues out of it. Then we have the comfort of our substance when we have honoured the Lord with it. The you shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you haveheaved the best from it. This intimates that we must never feed ourselves without fear, lest our table become a snare, and we bear sin by reason of it; and that therefore we are concerned to give alms of such things as we have, that all may be clean and comfortable to us.

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Numbers Chapter 18

Numbers 18

New International Version

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary,(A) and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood.Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister(B) before the tent of the covenant law.They are to be responsible to you(C) and are to perform all the duties of the tent,(D) but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar. Otherwise both they and you will die.(E)They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting—all the work at the tent—and no one else may come near where you are.(F)

“You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar,(G) so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you,(H) dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting.(I)But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain.(J) I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift.(K) Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.(L)

Offerings for Priests and Levites

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion,(M) your perpetual share.(N)You are to have the part of the most holy offerings(O) that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain(P) or sin(Q) or guilt offerings,(R) that part belongs to you and your sons.10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it.(S) You must regard it as holy.(T)

11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings(U) of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share.(V) Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean(W) may eat it.

12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain(X) they give the Lord(Y) as the firstfruits of their harvest.(Z)13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the Lord will be yours.(AA) Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.(AB)

14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord(AC) is yours.15 The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours.(AD) But you must redeem(AE) every firstborn(AF) son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.(AG)16 When they are a month old,(AH) you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels(AI) of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel,(AJ) which weighs twenty gerahs.(AK)

17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow, a sheep or a goat; they are holy.(AL) Splash their blood(AM) against the altar and burn their fat(AN) as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.(AO)18 Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering(AP) and the right thigh are yours.(AQ)19 Whatever is set aside from the holy(AR) offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt(AS) before the Lord for both you and your offspring.”

20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them;(AT) I am your share and your inheritance(AU) among the Israelites.

21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes(AV) in Israel as their inheritance(AW) in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.(AX)22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the tent of meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.(AY)23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the tent of meeting and bear the responsibility for any offenses they commit against it. This is a lasting ordinance(AZ) for the generations to come.(BA) They will receive no inheritance(BB) among the Israelites.(BC)24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord.(BD) That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

25 The Lord said to Moses,26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you(BE) as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.(BF)27 Your offering will be reckoned(BG) to you as grain from the threshing floor(BH) or juice from the winepress.(BI)28 In this way you also will present an offering to the Lord from all the tithes(BJ) you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the Lord’s portion to Aaron the priest.29 You must present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’

30 “Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress.(BK)31 You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the tent of meeting.(BL)32 By presenting the best part(BM) of it you will not be guilty in this matter;(BN) then you will not defile the holy offerings(BO) of the Israelites, and you will not die.’”

Sours: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers%&version=NIV

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Numbers 18 &#; Laws Pertaining to Priests and Levites

A. Responsibilities of the priests and the Levites.

1. (1) The priests are accountable for the sanctuary and the priesthood.

Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood.

a. You and your sons and your father’s house: The priests &#; that is, Aaron, his sons, and their descendants &#; shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and the priesthood. They were accountable to God.

b. You shall bear the iniquity: This is the other side of Aaron’s prerogative as the chosen priest of God, as demonstrated with the budding of the rod in Numbers Moses had authority from God; but he also had accountability.

i. God never gives authority without accountability; the two always go together. If God gives someone headship and expects others to submit to them in His order, God also has a special accountability for that person.

2. () The Levites are God’s chosen helpers for the priests in their ministry at the altar and tabernacle.

“Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness. They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die; they and you also. They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you. And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the LORD, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

a. Bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi: Aaron himself was of the tribe of Levi. While only he and his descendants were given the priesthood, the whole tribe of Levi had a special calling to help Aaron and the priests.

b. That they may be joined with you and serve you: The Levites were the support people for the ministry of the priests. They didn’t have the prominent position but were important for their behind-the-scenes service.

c. They shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar: The Levites were not allowed to do what the priests did. In the same way, the New Testament says we are all different “parts” of the body, each with particular gifts and callings (1 Corinthians ).

B. The privileges of the priests and the Levites.

1. () The firstborn and the devoted portions belong to the priest.

And the LORD spoke to Aaron: “Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever. This shall be yours of the most holy things reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering and every sin offering and every trespass offering which they render to Me, shall be most holy for you and your sons. In a most holy place you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you. This also is yours: the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel; I have given them to you, and your sons and daughters with you, as an ordinance forever. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the LORD, I have given them to you. Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. And those redeemed of the devoted things you shall redeem when one month old, according to your valuation, for five shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstborn of a cow, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. And their flesh shall be yours, just as the wave breast and the right thigh are yours. All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you.” Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”

a. Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings: The heave offerings were brought to God as part of the peace offering (Exodus , Leviticus ), a Nazirite’s consecration offering (Numbers ), and for thanksgiving (Numbers ). In the heave offering, a choice portion of the animal (the breast or the thigh) was heaved or waved before the LORD.

i. Afterwards, that choice portion of the meat was for the priest and his family and was considered holy &#; so it had to be eaten in the holy place.

b. Every offering of theirs: The priest also received portions from the grain offering and sin offering and trespass offering; gifts of oil, wine, and grain, and ripe fruit from the firstfruits offerings were also to be given to the priests. This was how the priesthood was supported in Israel.

c. Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh: When the firstborn was brought to the tabernacle, either to be given or redeemed with money, it also belonged to the priest.

d. I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever: All of these belonged to the priests, and it was vitally important the children of Israel fulfill their obligation to bring these things &#; God calls it a covenant of salt forever.

i. Salt speaks of purity, of preservation, and of expense. So, a covenant of salt is a pure covenant (salt stays a pure chemical compound), a covenant of salt is an enduring covenant (salt makes things preserve and endure), and a covenant of salt is a valuable covenant (salt was expensive).

ii. Spurgeon on the covenant of salt: “By which was meant that it was an unchangeable, incorruptible covenant, which would endure as salt makes a thing to endure, so that it is not liable to putrefy or corrupt.”

iii. According to custom, a bond of friendship was established through the eating of salt. It was said that once you had eaten a man’s salt, you were his friend for life.

e. You shall have no inheritance in their land: While the priests had the right to receive much, he also was deprived of inheritance in their land; they had no permanent portion of land given to them, because God said I am your portion and your inheritance.

i. What a precious place, to say “the LORD is my portion!” O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot (Psalm ). My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm ). I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm ).

ii. When God is our portion, He is our inheritance &#; our hope, who we trust for our future. We are satisfied in Him. Since we are all a royal priesthood (1 Peter ), we all have the LORD for our portion.

2. () Tithes given to the Levites.

“Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’”

a. I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel: God commanded the tithes (a giving of ten percent of one’s income) be given to the Levites for their support. The tithes belong to God (He says I have given, so they are His to give), but He gives them to the Levites.

i. When an Israelite was not giving their tithe, they were not robbing the Levite &#; though the money ended up with them. They were robbing God (Malachi ), because God received the tithe from the giver, and He gave it to the Levite.

ii. Some today think the tithe, since it went to support the Levites (who were, in a sense, government workers in ancient Israel), is covered by government taxes of today, and that free-will giving mentioned in the Old Testament answers to the New Testament emphasis on giving. We can say that the New Testament nowhere specifically commands tithing, but it certainly does speak of it in a positive light if it is done with a right heart (Luke ).

iii. It is also important to understand that tithing is not a principle dependent on the Mosaic law; as Hebrews explains, tithing was practiced and honored by God before the law of Moses.

iv. What the New Testament does speak with great clarity on is the principle of giving; that giving should be regular, planned, proportional, and private (1 Corinthians ); that it must be generous, freely given, and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9).

v. Since the New Testament doesn’t emphasize tithing, one might not be strict on it for Christians (though some Christians do argue against tithing on the basis of self-interest); but since giving is to be proportional, we should be giving some percentage &#; and ten percent is a good benchmark &#; and starting place! For some to give ten percent is nowhere near enough; for others, at their present time, five percent may be a massive step of faith.

vi. If our question is, “How little can I give and still be pleasing to God?” our heart isn’t in the right place at all. We should have the attitude of some early Christians, who essentially said: “We’re not under the tithe &#; we can give more!” Giving and financial management is a spiritual issue, not just a financial one (Luke ).

b. In return for the work which they perform: The tithes were also given by God as pay to the Levites, not as gifts. Because the Levites had dedicated themselves to the service of God, the people of God, and the things of God, it was right they be supported by God &#; through the tithes of the children of Israel.

i. In return for the work which they perform means the Levites had the “right” to expect to be supported through the tithe. Paul presents the same principle for ministers of the gospel in the New Testament (1 Corinthians ); yet also shows that when it is better for the gospel, the right should be willingly laid down for God’s glory (1 Corinthians ).

ii. However, once every three years, the tithe was collected and distributed not only to the Levites, but also to the poor and needy among Israel (Deuteronomy ).

c. The Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity: This shows that the Levites also had a special responsibility. If they were to be supported through the tithe, they had to do the job, and do it with diligence.

i. There are probably few things worse than one supported through the gifts of God’s people who is lazy at his job; if a man is robbing his employer by laziness, how much more a minister of the gospel.

d. Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance: Just as with the priests, it was a trade-off. The Levites did not have the best of both worlds; they did not have a personal inheritance of land as the other tribes did.

i. Those who are supported through the giving of God’s people should expect that they would not have the best of both worlds; they will not be wealthy in this life, though they should be comfortable. It is wrong for the congregation to keep the pastor “humble” through poverty, and just as wrong for the pastor to be using the gifts of God’s people to live above God’s people.

3. () The Levites tithe to the priests.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe. And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress. Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the LORD from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the LORD’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest. Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the LORD, from all the best of them, the consecrated part of them.’ Therefore you shall say to them: ‘When you have lifted up the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress. You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting. And you shall bear no sin because of it, when you have lifted up the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy gifts of the children of Israel, lest you die.’”

a. A tenth of the tithe: The Levites themselves were not exempt from tithing. They were also to give a tenth (and the best of them given as the tenth) due to the LORD, and the LORD gave it to the priests.

i. It was important for the Levites to learn how to be givers also; just because they were supported through the giving of God’s people, it did not mean they didn’t need to give. We all need to learn how to be givers, because God is a giver, and we are being transformed into the image of Jesus.

b. Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the LORD: We are not told if the priests were to tithe from what they received; presumably they did not &#; because what belonged to the priests was considered holy, and not to be used by others outside the priestly families.

i. This chapter clearly shows that the obligation of the Israelite to give was far more than just the tithe (the giving of ten percent); the Israelite also had to give firstfruits (Numbers ) of all their produce and the firstborn (Numbers ) of their flocks and herds, portions of each that went to the priests and/or Levites.

ii. Firstborn and firstfruits were “risky” giving; your land might not yield much more produce, and your cow or ewe might not give birth again &#; yet the first still belonged to God, and was given to the priests. God promised to bless this giving of the firstfruits and firstborn in faith: Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs )

iii. This wasn’t the end of Israel’s required giving; they were also told to leave a portion of their fields unharvested so the poor could eat from those portions (Leviticus ), a Passover sacrifice was required from each family every year (Exodus ), sometimes a temple tax was required (Nehemiah ), or a special tribute (Numbers ).

iv. It is hard to estimate exactly how much the firstfruits and firstborn obligations amounted to; it would differ from family to family. But the actual required giving of Israel was far more than ten percent (the tithe).

v. Some say that Deuteronomy speaks of another ten percent given (sometimes called the “festival tithe”), but in context Deuteronomy 12 is only speaking of where to bring the tithe, not commanding an additional one to be brought; others have said Deuteronomy speaks of another tithe (sometimes called the “poor tithe”) to be brought every three years, but since it speaks of the tithe, and since it also goes to the Levite and not just to the poor, it is best to understand that this is not an additional tithe, but a command that once every three years the tithe also be available to the poor, not just to the Levite.

vi. Besides the required giving, Israel was asked to give free-will offerings: This chapter speaks of willingly given sacrifices, of which the heave offering went to the priests (Numbers ).

vii. This wasn’t the end of Israel’s voluntary giving; they also were asked to give for special projects (like the building of the tabernacle, Exodus ), and free-will giving to the poor.

© David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Sours: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/numbers/


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