Deuteronomy 18


The priests and Levites to have no inheritance, 1, 2.

What is the priest's due, 3-5.

Of the Levites that come from any of the other cities, 6-8.

The Israelites must not copy the abominations of the former

inhabitants, 9.

None to cause his son or daughter to pass through the fire, or

use any kind of divination or enchantment, as the former

inhabitants did, 10-14.

The great prophet which God promised to raise up, 15-19.

Of false prophets, 20;

and how to discern them, 21, 22.


Verse 1. The priests the Levites-shall have no part] That is,

says Rab. Maimon, they shall have no part in the spoils taken from

an enemy.

Verse 2. The Lord is their inheritance] He is the portion of

their souls; and as to their bodies, they shall live by the

offerings of the Lord made by fire, i. e., the meat-offering, the

sin-offering, and the trespass-offering; and whatever was the

Lord's right, in these or other offerings, he gave to the priests.

Verse 3. Offer a sacrifice] zobechey hazzebach.

The word zebach is used to signify, not only an animal

sacrificed to the Lord, but also one killed for common use. See

Ge 46:1; Pr 17:1; Eze 39:17. And in this latter sense it

probably should be understood here; and, consequently, the command

in this verse relates to what the people were to allow the priests

and Levites from the animals slain for common use. The parts to be

given to the priests were, 1. The shoulder, probably cut off from

the beast with the skin on; so Maimonides. 2. The two cheeks,

which may include the whole head. 3. The maw-the whole of those

intestines which are commonly used for food.

Verse 4. The first-fruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of

thine oil, &c.] All these firstfruits and firstlings were the

Lord's portion, and these he gave to the priests.

Verse 8. The sale of his patrimony.] So we find that, though

the Levites might have no part of the land by lot, yet they were

permitted to make purchases of houses, goods, and cattle, yea, of

fields also. See the case of Abiathar, 1Ki 2:26, and of

Jeremiah, Jer 32:7, 8.

Verse 10. To pass through the fire] Probably in the way of

consecration to Molech, or some other deity. It is not likely

that their being burnt to death is here intended.

See Clarke on Le 18:21.

Divination] kosem kesamim, one who endeavours to

find out futurity by auguries, using lots, &c.

Observer of times] meonen, one who pretends to

foretell future events by present occurrences, and who predicts

great political or physical changes from the aspects of the

planets, eclipses, motion of the clouds, &c., &c.

See Clarke on Ge 41:8.

Enchanter] menachesh, from nichesh, to view

attentively; one who inspected the entrails of beasts, observed

the flight of birds, &c., &c., and drew auguries thence. Some

think divination by serpents is meant, which was common among the


A witch] mechashsheph, probably those who by means of

drugs, herbs, perfumes, &c., pretended to bring certain celestial

influences to their aid. See the note on "Le 19:26".

Verse 11. A charmer] chober chaber, one who uses

spells; a peculiar conjunction, as the term implies, of words, or

things, tying knots, &c., for the purposes of divination. This

was a custom among the heathen, as we learn from the following


Necte TRIBUS NODIS ternos, Amarylli, colores:

Necte, Amarylli, modo; et Veneris, dic, vincula necto.

Virg. Ecl. viii., ver. 77.

"Knit with three KNOTS the fillets, knit them straight;

Then say, these KNOTS to love I consecrate."


A consulter with familiar spirits] shoel ob, a

Pythoness, one who inquires by the means of one spirit to get

oracular answers from another of a superior order.

See Clarke on Le 19:31.

A wizard] yiddeoni, a wise one, a knowing one. Wizard

was formerly considered as the masculine of witch, both practising

divination by similar means. See Clarke on Ex 22:13,

and See Clarke on Le 19:31.

Or a necromancer.] doresh el hammethim, one who

seeks from or inquires of the dead. Such as the witch at Endor,

who professed to evoke the dead, in order to get them to disclose

the secrets of the spiritual world.

Verse 15. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet]

Instead of diviners, observers of times, &c., God here promises to

give them an infallible guide, who should tell them all things

that make for their peace, so that his declarations should

completely answer the end of all the knowledge that was pretended

to be gained by the persons already specified.

Like unto me] Viz., a prophet, a legislator, a king, a

mediator, and the head or chief of the people of God. This was

the very person of whom Moses was the type, and who should

accomplish all the great purposes of the Divine Being. Such a

prophet as had never before appeared, and who should have no equal

till the consummation of the world.

This prophet is the Lord Jesus, who was in the bosom of the

Father, and who came to declare him to mankind. Every word spoken

by him is a living infallible oracle from God himself; and must be

received and obeyed as such, on pain of the eternal displeasure of

the Almighty. See De 18:19, and Ac 3:22, 23; and see the

conclusion of this chapter. See Clarke on De 18:22.

Verse 22. If the thing follow not] It is worthy of remark that

the prophets in general predicted those things which were shortly

to come to pass, that the people might have the fullest proof of

their Divine mission, and of the existence of God's providence in

the administration of the affairs of men.

THE promise contained in the 15th and 18th verses of this

chapter has long been considered of the first importance in the

controversies between the Christians and Jews. "Christ," says

Ainsworth, "was to be a man, and of the stock of the Jews, by

promise, because the people could not endure to hear the voice of

GOD, De 18:16. And as in respect of his prophecy, so of the

priesthood: for every high priest is taken from among men,

Heb 5:1; and also of his kingdom, as in De 17:15:

From among thy brethren shalt thou set a king over thee like

unto me.

"1. Christ alone was like unto Moses as a PROPHET; for it is

written, There arose not a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom

the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the

Lord sent him to do, De 34:10-12. This therefore cannot be

understood of the ordinary prophets which were raised up in

Israel, but of Christ only, as the apostles expound it Ac 2:22-26.

2. Christ was like unto Moses in respect to his office of mediation

between God and his people, De 5:5; 1Ti 2:5; but greater than

Moses as being the mediator of a better covenant, (or testament,)

which was established upon better promises, Heb 8:6. 3. Christ

was like unto Moses in excellency; for as Moses excelled all the

prophets in speaking to God mouth to mouth, Nu 12:6-8, so Christ

excelled him and all men in that being in the bosom of the Father,

he hath come down from heaven and declared God unto us,

Joh 1:18; 3:13.

4. Christ was like to Moses in faithfulness, but therein also

excelling; for Moses was faithful in God's house as a servant, but

Christ as the son over his own house, Heb 3:2, 5, 6. 5. Christ

was like to Moses in signs and wonders, wherein he also excelled

Moses, as the history of the Gospel shows; for he was a prophet

mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, Lu 24:19.

A man approved of God among them, by miracles, signs, and wonders,

which God did by him in the midst of them, Ac 2:22. For he did

among them the works which no other man did, Joh 15:24.

Unto him, that is, not unto the diviners, wizards, or any such

like, but unto him, and him only; as Him thou shalt serve,

De 6:13,

is expounded, Him only, Mt 4:10. And though this is principally

meant of Christ in person, of whom God said, Hear him, Mt 17:5;

yet it implies also his ministers, as himself said, He that heareth

you heareth me, Lu 10:16." To these may be added, 6. As Moses was

king among his people, in this respect Christ is like to him, but

infinitely greater; for he is King of kings and Lord of lords,

Re 19:16; 1Ti 6:15.

And, 7. He was like to Moses as a legislator. Moses gave laws to

Israel by the authority and commandment of God, which the Jews have

ever acknowledged as coming from the immediate inspiration of the

Almighty: these are contained in the Pentateuch. Christ gave a new

law, the Gospel contained in the four Evangelists and Acts of the

Apostles, on which the Christian Church is founded, and by which

all genuine Christians are governed both in heart and life. To all

which may be added, 8. That God never commissioned any human beings

to give laws to mankind but Moses and Christ; and therefore, as a

lawgiver, Christ alone resembles Moses; for to the present hour

none but themselves have given laws in the name of God, which he

has ratified and confirmed by the most indubitable and infallible

signs, proofs, and miracles.

Dr. Jortin, in his Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, has drawn

a parallel between Moses and Christ in a great number of

particulars, which he concludes thus: "Let us search all the

records of universal history, and see if we can find a man who was

so like to Moses as Christ was, and so like to Christ as Moses

was. If we cannot find such a one, then have we found HIM of whom

Moses in the law and the prophets did write to be Jesus of

Nazareth, the Son of God." On this subject see Ainsworth, Calmet,

and Dodd, who have all marked this striking correspondence between

Moses and Christ.

Copyright information for Clarke