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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Deuteronomy 18

 

 

Introduction

Deuteronomy 12-26, 28. A code of laws (Deuteronomy 1-26) followed by promises to the obedient and threats of punishment for the rest (Deuteronomy 28): see Introd., p. 231. The great Deuteronomic law of one sanctuary is taught or implied in Deuteronomy 12:1 to Deuteronomy 19:13 and hardly in any other part of Dt. This section may, therefore, represent essentially the original Deuteronomic code (see Introd.).


Verses 1-5

Deuteronomy 18:1-5. The Priests, the Levites to be Supported by Altar Gifts.—The Jerusalem priests are intended. Deuteronomy 18:3 f. Contrast the later laws of Leviticus 7:34, Numbers 18:18; Numbers 18:12 (all P).


Verses 6-8

Deuteronomy 18:6-8. The Levites (i.e. the disestablished local priests, see Deuteronomy 10:9*) are on coming to Jerusalem to be accorded the status and emoluments of the priests of the central sanctuary. Contrast 2 Kings 23:9; perhaps the indiscriminate application of this law was found impracticable.

Deuteronomy 18:8. beside . . . patrimony: read and render (with Steuernagel) "except those who acted as heathen priests and practised necromancy." The change in the Heb. is insignificant; the MT is bad Heb. and gives no suitable sense.


Verses 9-22

Deuteronomy 18:9-22. Concerning the Prophet.—The Israelites are to consult Yahweh through His accredited messenger the prophet, and not through diviners who seek oracles by heathen methods. There is no parallel law in JE because about 800 B.C. and earlier the religious community was simple and undifferentiated: nor in P, where the priest is everything. For the several technical terms in Deuteronomy 18:10 f. (all denoting diviners of various kinds), see EBi. 1117, 2895, and especially later and longer articles on "Divination" and "Magic" in International Standard Bible Encyclopædia.

Deuteronomy 18:10. maketh . . . fire, etc.: read (with Geiger) "that burneth . . . in the fire" (transposing two consonants). The reference is to child-sacrifice (common among the Phœnicians, etc.) practised as a means of obtaining an oracle.

Deuteronomy 18:15-18. Contains no primary reference to the Messiah, though the words naturally suggest to Christian readers the Great Prophet (Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37).

Deuteronomy 18:15 a. prophet: i.e. a succession of prophets.

Deuteronomy 18:18. The true prophet utters what comes to pass. Yet the false prophet may do the same (Deuteronomy 13:2*). The Heb. prophet is, however, one who speaks as Yahweh directs (the Heb. word means one inspired, lit. one made to bubble up), though his message may have reference to the future, especially in an ethical sense.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 18:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/deuteronomy-18.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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