And the LORD said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
To counterbalance the high honour conferred on Aaron and his family, and to allay the fears and abate the envy of the people, it is here declared, that the priest must bear the blame of everything which was not properly conducted in the sanctuary.
And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.
joined unto thee
There is a fine paronomasia in the original. Levi is desired from lawah, to join, couple, associate; hence Moses says, the Levites yillawoo, "shall be joined," or associated, with the priests: they shall conjointly perform the sacred office, but the priests shall be principal, the Levites their associates or assistants.
And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the tabernacle: only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they, nor ye also, die.
And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
as a service
And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
best of the oil
And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
shalt thou redeem
Redemption of the firstborn is one of the rites which are still practised among the Jews. According to Leo of Modena, it is performed in the following manner:--When the child is thirty days old, the father sends for one of the descendants of Aaron: several persons being assembled on the occasion, the father brings a cup, containing several pieces of gold and silver coin. The priest then takes the child into his arms, and addressing himself to the mother, he says, "Is this thy son?" Mother. "Yes." Priest. "Hast thou never had another child, male or female, a miscarriage, or untimely birth?" Mother. "No." Priest. "This being the case, this child, as firstborn, belongs to me." Then turning to the father, he says, "If it be thy desire to have this child, thou must redeem it." Father. "I present thee with this gold and silver for this purpose." Priest. "Thou dost wish, therefore, to redeem this child?" Father. "I do wish so to do." The priest then turning himself to the assembly, says, "Very well: this child, as first-born, is mine; as it is written in Bemidbar, (ch. 18:16,) Thou shalt redeem the first-born of a month old for five shekels; but I shall content myself with this in exchange." He then takes two gold crowns, or thereabouts, and returns the child to his parents.
But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
it is a
And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
Thou shalt have
The principal part of what was offered to God was the portion of the priests; who had no inheritance of land in Israel. The Rabbins say, 24 gifts were given to the priests; all of which are expressed in the law. Eight were only eaten in the sanctuary: 1. The flesh of the sin-offering. (Le 6:25, 26.) 2. The flesh of the trespass-offering. (Le 7:1, 6.) 3. The peace-offering of the congregation. (Le 23:19, 20.) 4. The remainder of the sheaf. ( Le 23:10.) 5. The remnants of the meat-offerings. (Le 6:16.) 6. The two loaves. (Le 23:17.) 7. The shew-bread. (Le 24:9.) 8. The log of oil offered by the leper. (Le 14:10.) Five they ate only at Jerusalem: 1. The breast and shoulder of the peace-offerings. (Le 7:31-34.) 2. The heave-offering of confession. (Le 7:12-14.) 3. The heave-offering of the Nazarite's ram. (Le 6:17-20.) 4. The firstling. (ch. 18:15.) 5. The first-fruits. (18:13.) Five were due to them only in the land of Israel: 1. The heave-offering of first-fruits. (ver. 12.) 2. Of the tithe. (ver. 28.) 3. The cake. (ch. 15:20.) 4. The first of the fleece. (De 18:4.) 5. The field of possession. (ch. 35.) Five were due both within and without the land: 1. The gifts of slain beasts. (De 18:3.) 2. The redemption of the first-born. (ver. 15.) 3. The lamb for a firstling ass. (Ex 4:20.) 4. That taken by violence from a stranger. (ch. 5:8.) 5. All devoted things. One was from the sanctuary, the skins, etc. (Le 7:8.)
I am thy part
And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
even the service
Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
Heb. to die.
But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
do the service
But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
then ye shall
a tenth part
And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest.
and ye shall
Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
then it shall
And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.