Offerings for Priests and Levites
1 The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them.
God gives great care that the tribe of priests rely only on Him. They are not to entangle themselves with the affairs of this life, or to enrich themselves with the wealth of this world by the work of their hands. They are to have better things, Godly things in mind. Their inheritance is to be the Lord alone, they are not to be greedy of great things in the world, or to gripe about what they don’t have. Instead they are to consider all things with the indifference that reveals that they believe God to be all-sufficient. He expects them to trust him regardless of the state of the world and relax in that sufficiency.
At the same time, they are not to expect to struggle or be in lack, because God has promised to be their inheritance, and he is so much more than all the world could possibly offer.
3 This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the internal organs and the meat from the head. 4 You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep, 5 for the Lord your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always.
Here, we see how God plans to provide for the tribe of priests. The people must provide for them. Although they depend on God and not on the people, the people are required by God to give the first fruits that are devoted to God, to the Levites. This shows that God considered the Levites to be his receivers of his tithes and offerings.
6 If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the Lord will choose, 7 he may minister in the name of the Lord his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the Lord. 8 He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.
God shows here that as long as he is the one who moves the priest, he may continue to enjoy the same benefits and provision as his fellow Levites and he is still called to minister.
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
In one of the previous chapters, God warned them to completely destroy all the altars and places where the Canaanite gods were worshipped. Here he warns them in even greater detail, revealing to us some of the detestable practices that were engaged in by the people of the land. These traditions are the very reason God drove out the people and gave the Israelites possession of it. They are to remain blameless before Him and it is very important that they do not fall into this wickedness.
14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
God reminds them that he offered to speak directly with them and they were afraid. So he agreed to provide them with a prophet to give them his direction. For this reason, he requires that they ONLY listen to that prophet, and not seek direction from someone who does not hear from God. These people listen to spirits and demons and will lead them astray and possibly even into the very practices God has forbid them from following. In addition to providing this prophet for them, he also lets them know that the prophet will be held accountable for the words he speaks. They do not need to worry because the prophet will have to answer to God