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Numbers 18:25-32

Context
Instructions for the Levites

18:25 The Lord spoke to Moses: 18:26 “You are to speak to the Levites, and you must tell them, ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you are to offer up 1  from it as a raised offering to the Lord a tenth of the tithe. 18:27 And your raised offering will be credited 2  to you as though it were grain from the threshing floor or as new wine 3  from the winepress. 18:28 Thus you are to offer up a raised offering to the Lord of all your tithes which you receive from the Israelites; and you must give the Lord’s raised offering from it to Aaron the priest. 18:29 From all your gifts you must offer up every raised offering due 4  the Lord, from all the best of it, and the holiest part of it.’ 5 

18:30 “Therefore you will say to them, 6  ‘When you offer up 7  the best of it, then it will be credited to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor and as the product of the winepress. 18:31 And you may 8  eat it in any place, you and your household, because it is your wages for your service in the tent of meeting. 18:32 And you will bear no sin concerning it when you offer up the best of it. And you must not profane the holy things of the Israelites, or else you will die.’” 9 

1 tn The verb in this clause is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it has the same force as an imperfect of instruction: “when…then you are to offer up.”

2 tn The verb is חָשַׁב (khashav, “to reckon; to count; to think”); it is the same verb used for “crediting” Abram with righteousness. Here the tithe of the priests will be counted as if it were a regular tithe.

3 tn Heb “fullness,” meaning the fullness of the harvest, i.e., a full harvest.

4 tn The construction is “every raised offering of the Lord”; the genitive here is probably to be taken as a genitive of worth – the offering that is due the Lord.

5 tn Or “its hallowed thing.”

6 tn The wording of this verse is confusing; it may be that it is addressed to the priests, telling them how to deal with the offerings of the Levites.

7 tn The clause begins with the infinitive construct with its preposition and suffixed subject serving to indicate the temporal clause.

8 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it functions as the equivalent of the imperfect of permission.

9 tn The final clause could also be rendered “in order that you do not die.” The larger section can also be interpreted differently; rather than take it as a warning, it could be taken as an assurance that when they do all of this they will not be profaning it and so will not die (R. K. Harrison, Numbers [WEC], 253).



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