Portion and Inheritance

Portion and Inheritance December 31, 2014

Israel’s priests did not inherit land. Many lived in cities and they possessed the land immediately surrounding. But they did not get a separate plot when the land was divided. Yahweh said He was their inheritance (Numbers 18:19), and He said it chiastically:

A. In the land you will not inherit

B. And a portion you will not have among them

C. I

B’. your portion

A’. your inheritance among the sons of Israel.

There is a neat movement from positive to negative: No inheritance, no portion in land; but then, your portion, your inheritance.

And at the center, the first-person pronoun: ‘aniy. That’s all they get, only the God who says “I.”

But the instructions leading up to this list all the gifts that Yahweh will give to the priests. The verb give (natan) is used 12 times (!!) in the chapter, the noun “gift” (mattanah) another 3 times. Yahweh gives the priest Levites (18:6), the priesthood (v. 7), the privilege of guarding the offerings (v. 8), which are themselves given to the priests (v. 8). Wave offerings (v. 11), the firstfruits of fresh oil, wine, grain (v. 12). holy gifts (v. 19), tithes (v. 21) – all these are given to the priests as well.

Yahweh gives “only” Himself. But God who gives Himself to the sons of Aaron, will He not also with Himself freely give them all things?

Browse Our Archives