Thursday, February 11, 2010


Chapter 18
Summary:Moses' speech continues:
"The priests and the rest of the Levites will receive no inheritance amongst the nation of Israel. They shall eat the sacrifices made by fire to the Lord, therefore they shall have no inheritance amongst their fellow Israelites, for the Lord is their inheritance, as he has said to them. When an ox or a sheep is sacrificed, the shoulder, the maw, and the two cheeks are to be given to the priests. The first of your grain, wine, and olive oil shall also be given to the priests, for the Lord your God has chosen the Levites out of all the tribes of Israel, to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, from generation to generation forever.

"If a Levite comes to the sanctuary, no matter where he lives in the land of Israel, then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his fellow Levites do, whom stand before the Lord. He shall be given his portion of animal sacrifices and offerings, which are his right.

"When you arrive in the land which the Lord your God has given you, you shall not learn to follow after the abominations of the nations living there now. No one is to make his son or daughter pass through fire; nor is anyone to use divination; or become an observer of times, an enchanter, a witch, a charmer, a consulter with familiar spirits, a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do such things are an abomination unto the Lord, and because of these abominations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You are to be perfect with the Lord your God. For these nations you are about to possess hearken to observers of time, and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God does not permit you to do so.

"The Lord your God will bring forth a prophet amongst you, an Israelite like myself, and unto him you shall hearken. According to your wishes to the Lord your God in Mount Horeb, you begged not to directly hear the voice of the Lord your God again, nor see his great fire, lest you die. The Lord said to me that he had heard what you had spoken and said, 'I will bring forth a prophet from amongst their brethren, and he shall speak my words, speaking to them all that I shall command. Whomsoever will not hearken to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of them. However, a prophet who presumes to speaks in my name, but which I have not commanded him to, or one that speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die.'

"If you are to ask how you are to know if the prophet is speaking the word of the Lord or not, if his prophecy about fails to happen, it is not what the Lord has spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously and you shall not fear him."
Thoughts:Moses begins the chapter reminding the Israelites because the Levites are God's special tribe and are allowed to eat the animal sacrifices made by everyone else, that they are not to own property themselves. When an ox or a sheep is sacrificed to God, the animal's shoulder, stomach, and cheeks will belong to the priests. The first harvest of grain, wine, and olive oil is also to be given to the priests as well. A Levite regardless of where he lives can enter the sanctuary and dine on these animal sacrifices and offerings whenever he wishes because it's part of his "birthright".

Next up, Moses warns the Israelites yet again that when they arrive in the "promised land", they are not to follow the heathen customs of the nations living there - as those customs are "abominations". No one is to sacrifice his son or daughter by fire (apparently it's okay to use a knife to sacrifice your own child if God commands it though), nor is anyone allowed to use "divination" or to become a fortune teller, an enchanter, a witch, a charmer, a spiritual medium, a wizard, or a necromancer. Anyone who does such a thing is an "abomination" to God, and God will "drive them out" - meaning that he will demand that the Israelites stone such a person to death.

Moses claims that while the "heathen nations" seek after "diviners" and spiritual mediums, that God will bestow a prophet upon the Israelites - one that is an Israelite themselves - that they are to hearken to. Moses recalls the story from Exodus: Chapter 20 about how the Israelites begged and pleaded not to have to hear the actual voice of God again, fearing that they would die, and claims that God has instead chosen to speak to the people of Israel through prophets. God adds that anyone falsely claiming to be a prophet must die.

How are we to determine who is a prophet speaking the word of God or not, you might ask? All one has to do is make a prophecy that comes true. So therefore if I'm a bit smarter than my fellow Israelites concerning meteorology and can tell by the clouds that it's going to rain very heavily, I could make a prophecy about that and subsequently be considered the "real deal". This is a really naive way to "prove" someone's authenticity, and you would think that the all powerful "creator of the universe" could think up a better test than "let's see if what he says will happen, happens".

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