Harmony Of The Pentateuch Respecting Priestly Dues -- By: Henry Hayman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 052:205 (Jan 1895)
Article: Harmony Of The Pentateuch Respecting Priestly Dues
Author: Henry Hayman

Harmony Of The Pentateuch Respecting Priestly Dues

Rev. Henry Hayman

PERHAPS on no part of Deuteronomy as exhibiting assumed discrepancies with the laws of Leviticus or Numbers, where they touch the same subject-matter, has greater stress been laid than on those relating to the position, functions, and provision directed for the “priest Levites,” and the assignment of the tithes in particular which it contains. The principal passages on the subject are chaps, 10:8-9; 12:6 foll., 17; 14:22–29; 18:1–8; 26:12 foll., omitting the specially judicial portion of their duties. There can hardly be a more startling contrast than that between the first superficial sense of discrepancy, and the deeper conviction of harmony and wholeness between the three books Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which a closer examination is apt to produce. I limit myself in this article to the subject of priestly dues, including tithes, oblations of all kinds, and their contingent perquisites.

From Deuteronomy, if that were our sole guide, we should never infer that tithes were ranked among such dues. The only precise appointment there seems to allot them to be consumed by the owners of the soil on occasions of festive rejoicing to which “the Levite” is specially to be a party, but only amongst other partakers (see Deut. 12:6 foll., 17; 14:22–29; 26:12 foll.). From Num. 18:20-21 some critics have derived a totally different inference. There Jehovah declares himself the “inheritance” of Levi, represented in the

tithe, but subject (ver. 26) to a deduction of one-tenth—the tithe of the tithe—due “to Aaron” (ver. 28), i.e. to the priestly house par excellence. But the seeming conflict vanishes on a closer inspection. In Deut. 18:1-2, the fire-offerings of Jehovah, and his inheritance are there made the portion of “the priests the Levites, the whole tribe of Levi,” with a further iterative stress on the latter term in verse 2; and similarly in Deut. 10:9 we ...

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