18:23 But the Levites must perform the service 4 of the tent of meeting, and they must bear their iniquity. 5 It will be a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations that among the Israelites the Levites 6 have no inheritance. 7
1 sn This chapter and the next may have been inserted here to explain how the priests are to function because in the preceding chapter Aaron’s position was affirmed. The chapter seems to fall into four units: responsibilities of priests (vv. 1-7), their portions (vv. 8-19), responsibilities of Levites (vv. 20-24), and instructions for Levites (vv. 25-32).
2 tn Heb “your father’s house.”
3 sn The responsibility for the sanctuary included obligations relating to any violation of the sanctuary. This was stated to forestall any further violations of the sanctuary. The priests were to pay for any ritual errors, primarily if any came too near. Since the priests and Levites come near all the time, they risk violating ritual laws more than any. So, with the great privileges come great responsibilities. The bottom line is that they were responsible for the sanctuary.
4 tn The verse begins with the perfect tense of עָבַד (’avad) with vav (ו) consecutive, making the form equal to the instructions preceding it. As its object the verb has the cognate accusative “service.”
5 sn The Levites have the care of the tent of meeting, and so they are responsible for any transgressions against it.
6 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Levites) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
7 tn The Hebrew text uses both the verb and the object from the same root to stress the point: They will not inherit an inheritance. The inheritance refers to land.