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Num 18:1 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.
Ver. 1. Shall bear the iniquity, ] i.e., The punishment of whatsoever iniquity is done in the sanctuary. Sin and punishment come under one name, as being tied together with chains of adamant: where the one dines, the other will sup; where the one is in the saddle, the other will be upon the crupper. Nemo crimen gerit in pectore qui non idem Nemesin in tergo. Sin doth as naturally draw and suck judgments to it, as the loadstone doth iron, or turpentine fire.
The iniquity of your priesthood. ] Priests then are not angels, free from sin, as that Popish expositures dreamed, and drew from Exodus 30:31-32 . Cajetan confesseth of the Popish prelates, that whereas by their places they should have been the salt of the earth, they had lost their savour, and were good for little else but looking after the rites and revenues of the Church. a John Huss complains of the priests of his age, that Multa quae illi ordinem dicunt, omnium rerum in Christianismo confusionem pariunt, b Many things that they call order, bring all into confusion. Non arbitror inter sacerdotes multos esse qui salvi fiant, I believe few of our priests will be saved, saith Chrysostom, c of those of his time. And "from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land"; saith Jeremiah. Jer 23:15
a Comment. in Matt.
b Bellum Hussiticum, p. 9.
c Hom., 3. in Act.
Num 18:3 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.
Ver. 3. And you also die. ] For your ‘other men’s sins’ which you have not prevented or prohibited. Qui non, cum potest, prohibet, iubet.
Num 18:7 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.
Ver. 7. As a service of gift. ] So our Saviour counts and calls his work a gift; "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Joh 17:4 Any employment for, and about God, is a special favour, a high honour.
Num 18:9 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.
Ver. 9. Which they shall render unto me. ] As a recompense for some trespass against me. Num 5:8 Lev 6:6
Num 18:10 In the most holy [place] shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
Ver. 10. In the most holy place, ] i.e., In the priest s’ court.
Num 18:12 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.
Ver. 12. All the best of the oil. ] Heb., The fat. God can afford the ministers the best of the best, though the most now-a-days think the worst too good for them.
Which they shall offer. ] Not appointing them how much, but leaving that to the people’s liberality. And what that was, let Philo a the Jew speak, who well knew the customs of his own nation, and tells us, that all things due to the priests were paid very freely, and most cheerfully. At haec gens debitam pecuniam lubens gaudensque depromit, saith he; This people willingly, and with rejoicing, draw out their money for the priests, not as if they gave, but received rather, adding happy forebodings and gratulations.
a Philo, De Sacerdot. Honor.
Numbers 18:13 [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.
Ver. 13. And whatsoever is first ripe. ] See what an honourable maintenance, and liberal entertainment God himself assigneth to the Levitical priesthood. And shall the ministers of the gospel be held to hard allowance? Galatians 6:6 1Co 9:7 ; 1Co 9:9 Ad tenuitatem beneficiorum necessario sequitur ignorantia sacerdotum. a
Num 18:14 Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
Ver. 14. Every thing devoted. ] Unless devoted to some particular use. Lev 27:28-29
Num 18:18 And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
Ver. 18. And the flesh of them shall be thine. ] And besides these here touched, they had other revenues of no small value, as their cities, suburbs, lands, Num 35:1-34 that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord. 2Ch 31:9
Num 18:19 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.
Ver. 19. It is a covenant of salt. ] So 2 Chronicles 13:5 ; that is, Inviolable, incorruptible; non computrescens vetustate, saith Flaccius. Pierius also tells us, that amity and friendship was symbolised by salt - Corpora enim solidiora facit, et diutissime conservat - for its consolidating and conserving property.
Num 18:21 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.
Ver. 21. For their service which they serve. ] No man did so much as shut the doors of God’s sanctuary, or kindle a fire on his altar for nought. Mal 1:10
Num 18:22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
Ver. 22. Neither must the children. ] But only God’s kinsmen, the priests and Levites, as they are called, Lev 10:3 according to some translations, or his nigh ones. So in the New Testament, others are called God’s children, God’s servants, God’s people: ministers only are called God’s men. 1 Timothy 6:11 2Ti 3:17
Num 18:31 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.
Ver. 31. For it is your reward. ] Or, wages, which you dearly earn, and may justly call for. So Luke 10:7 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 18". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany