Number 18:8-32

The Priests’ Portion

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My [h]offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment. This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, even every grain offering and every sin offering and every guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons. 10 As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you. 11 This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 12 All the [i]best of the fresh oil and all the [j]best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the Lord, I give them to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 14 Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15 [k]Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five [l]shekels in silver, according to the [m]shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord. 18 Their [n]meat shall be yours; it shall be yours like the breast of a wave offering and like the right thigh. 19 All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your [o]descendants with you.” 20 Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.

21 “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.22 The sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die. 23 Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they offer as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’”

25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. 27 Your offering shall be reckoned to you as the grain from the threshing floor or the full produce from the wine vat. 28 So you shall also present an offering to the Lord from your tithes, which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give the Lord’s offering to Aaron the priest.29 Out of all your gifts you shall present every offering due to the Lord, from all the [p]best of them, [q]the sacred part from them.’ 30 You shall say to them, ‘When you have [r]offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be reckoned to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor, and as the product of the wine vat. 31 You may eat it anywhere, you and your households, for it is your compensation in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 You will bear no sin by reason of it when you have [s]offered the [t]best of it. But you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, or you will die.’”

Some of this is repetition from Exodus, but it is worth repeating. The sacrifices were not because God needed anything, but it represented several things. First, it was an act of obedience to God, second it was an act of generosity, and third, it was provision for those who were chosen by God to take care of the holy things.

The priests and Levites had no other portion (of land), for God himself was their portion, and would provide via the sacrifices of the people. So it is in our day, our Pastors rely on God for their provision. And God provides through his children, through our tithes and offerings. Would our pastors starve if we neglected this? Surely not, for God takes care of those dedicated to serving him, but it is our honor to be used by God to provide for those who serve us daily.

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