03 September 2014

EJ&T: Numbers 18 - Priests and money

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Every male descendant of Aaron may eat the most holy meat offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings in the holy place.
  2. It's not entirely clear, however, who in the priests' families gets to eat the meat, sin, and trespass offerings. "Every male" as it says in verse 10 or "everyone that is clean," both male and female, as it says in verse 11.

    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. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. Numbers 18:9-10

  3. Every clean descendant of Aaron, both male and female, may eat heave offerings and wave offerings.
  4. 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. Numbers 18:11

  5. The clean descendants of Aaron get all the best oil, wine, wheat, and first fruits.
  6. 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. 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. Numbers 18:12-13

  7. Every firstborn human and animal belongs to Aaron's male descendants.
  8. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine. 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. Numbers 18:14-15a

    There seems to be some confusion about this, though. In Exodus 13 and 34, firstborn humans and animals belong to God not to the priests. (See Commandment #22.)

  9. Firstling cows, sheep, and goats can't be redeemed. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat for a sweet savor unto the Lord.
  10. 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. Numbers 18:17

  11. The descendants of Aaron get the wave breasts and heave shoulders. It is a statute forever and a covenant of salt.
  12. And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine. 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. Numbers 18:18-19

  13. The descendants of Aaron can't own land.
  14. 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. Numbers 18:20

    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. 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. Numbers 18:23-24

  15. The descendants of Levi (the priests) get one tenth of everything everyone else possesses.
  16. 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. Numbers 18:21

    And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Numbers 18:25-31

  17. If you're not a Levite, stay away from the tabernacle or you will bear sin and die.
  18. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. Numbers 18:22

  19. If you pollute the holy things, you will die.
  20. Neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. Numbers 18:32

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