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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 18

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2


Verses 1, 2:

Compare this text with Numbers 18:6-9; Numbers 18:20; Numbers 26:62.

Certain portions of some of the various offerings made by fire were allocated to the priests, see Leviticus 7:28-34; Numbers 18:11.

The principle applies to the support of those who minister full time in the Lord’s churches today, see 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.

Verses 3-5

Verses 3-5:

The officiating priest was to receive a choice portion of the sacrifices offered "by fire:"

(1) The shoulder, zeroa, "arm," or front leg.

(2) The two cheeks, lechi, "jaw-bones."

(3) The maw, qebah, "stomach," one of the stomachs of a ruminating animal in which digestion is completed.

Among the ancients, these parts were considered delicacies, the choice parts of an animal They were the portion assigned to the priests, in addition to the wave breast and heaven leg of the peace offering.

"Due," mishpat, "lawful right." That which was assigned to the priests by law, from the offerings made at the sanctuary.

In addition, the firstfruits of the harvest and vintage were to be the priests’ portion, Numbers 18:12-13. This included the first portion of the shearing of the sheep.

Though prescribed by law, these were considered free-will gifts or offerings for the priests.

Verses 6-8

Verses 6-8:

Not all the Levites were assigned to minister in the sanctuary, in the place which the Lord would choose. Many lived in the forty-eight cities assigned to them. The text provides that in the event one not assigned to the sanctuary service should choose to go to the sanctuary and serve, he was to receive the same portions of the sacrifices designated for those who were appointed to serve, along with them.

"The sale of his patrimony," denotes the price of the sale of the house inherited from his fathers, see Leviticus 25:33.

Verses 9-14

Verse 9-14:

The nations Israel was to dispossess used various means to gain the favor of their deities, and to obtain direction from them, and to know future events. God strictly forbade all such practices by Israel, see Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 19:26; Leviticus 19:31; Numbers 23:23:

(1) Human sacrifices, particularly of children to Molech, see Leviticus 20:2-5.

(2) Divination, qesem, seeking to "divine" or determine the will of a deity by various means, suqh as suggested in Ezekiel 21:21.

(3) Observer of times, one who predicts future events by signs and omens.

(4) Enchanter, nachash, "one who whispers, uses enchantments," see Genesis 44:5; Numbers 24:1.

(5) Witch, kashaph, "one who uses witchcraft or sorcery," one who attempts to cure diseases or produce some result, by means of potions and nostrums.

(6) Charmer, chabar cheber, "to join a joining, fascinate," one who deals in spells or charms.

(7) Consulter with familiar spirits, denoting one who has living within him a "Python" or "familiar spirit," whom he consults. The modern equivalent would be a spirit medium, who uses a "control" to gain information otherwise hidden.

(8) Wizard, yiddenoni, "a knowing one," or one having supernatural wisdom.

(9) Necromancer, one who calls up the dead and inquires of them concerning events past, present, or future.

All these involve demonism and the occult. God considers all dealings with the occult as abominations to Him. His children are to have no dealings with the occult in any form or fashion.

Verses 15-19

Verses 15-19:

The text is a Messianic prophecy, John 1:21; John 1:25; John 1:45; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37. Israel looked for this Prophet, but did not identify Him with Messiah. The New Testament apostles proclaimed Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy.

Israel at Horeb heard the voice of God speak from the midst of the fire, and they were terrified, Exodus 20:19. They asked for a mediator to stand between them and God. This request was’ granted, and Moses was that mediator. Today Jesus is the fulfillment of that which Moses typified: the Mediator between God and man, 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24.

Verses 20-22

Verses 20-22:

The text is a warning against hearing and heeding a prophet who prophesies falsely, either something God has not commanded him to speak, or in the name of a false god. Such was a capital crime.

Verses 21, 22: the test to determine which was the true and which was the false prophet was the fulfillment or the failure of his prediction. This deals primarily with events of the near future, but which one would not know without supernatural assistance.

When the events came to pass as the prophet said, this confirmed his claim as a prophet and God’s approval upon his prophecy. But if the events did not come to pass as the prophet said, this pointed him out as an impostor, subject to the penalty of the law, which was death.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 18". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/deuteronomy-18.html. 1985.
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