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Numbers 18:21-24

Context
18:21 See, I have given the Levites all the tithes in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they perform – the service of the tent of meeting. 18:22 No longer may the Israelites approach the tent of meeting, or else they will bear their sin 1  and die. 18:23 But the Levites must perform the service 2  of the tent of meeting, and they must bear their iniquity. 3  It will be a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations that among the Israelites the Levites 4  have no inheritance. 5  18:24 But I have given 6  to the Levites for an inheritance the tithes of the Israelites that are offered 7  to the Lord as a raised offering. That is why I said to them that among the Israelites they are to have no inheritance.”

1 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive construct of the verb “to bear” with the lamed (ל) preposition to express the result of such an action. “To bear their sin” would mean that they would have to suffer the consequences of their sin.

2 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.”

3 sn The Levites have the care of the tent of meeting, and so they are responsible for any transgressions against it.

4 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Levites) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

5 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.

6 tn The classification of the perfect tense here too could be the perfect of resolve, since this law is declaring what will be their portion – “I have decided to give.”

7 tn In the Hebrew text the verb has no expressed subject (although the “Israelites” is certainly intended), and so it can be rendered as a passive.



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