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Chapter 18

Priests. The levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no hereditary portion with Israel; they shall eat the fire offerings of the Lord and the portions due to him.(A) They shall have no heritage among their kindred; the Lord himself is their heritage, as he has told them.(B) This shall be the due of the priests from the people: those who are offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep, shall give the priest the shoulder, the jowls and the stomach. The first fruits of your grain, your wine, and your oil,(C) as well as the first shearing of your flock, you shall also give him. For the Lord, your God, has chosen him out of all your tribes to be in attendance to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his descendants for all time.(D)

When a Levite goes from one of your communities anywhere in Israel in which he has been residing, to visit, as his heart may desire, the place which the Lord will choose, and ministers there in the name of the Lord, his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand before the Lord there, he shall receive the same portions to eat, along with his stipends and patrimony.[a]

Prophets. When you come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the nations there.(E) 10 (F)Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire,[b] or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, 11 or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. 12 Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of such abominations the Lord, your God, is dispossessing them before you.(G) 13 You must be altogether sincere with the Lord, your God. 14 Although these nations whom you are about to dispossess listen to their soothsayers and diviners, the Lord, your God, will not permit you to do so.

15 A prophet like me[c] will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen.(H) 16 This is exactly what you requested of the Lord, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, “Let me not again hear the voice of the Lord, my God, nor see this great fire any more, or I will die.”(I) 17 And the Lord said to me, What they have said is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred, and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command.(J) 19 Anyone who will not listen to my words which the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will hold accountable for it.(K) 20 But if a prophet presumes to speak a word in my name(L) that I have not commanded, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the Lord has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the word does not come true, it is a word the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him.


  1. 18:8 His stipends and patrimony: meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  2. 18:10–11 Causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire: to Molech. See note on Lv 18:21. Such human sacrifices are classed here with various occult and magical practices because they were believed to possess powers for averting a calamity; cf. 2 Kgs 3:27. Three other categories of magic are listed here: divination of the future (by a soothsayer or augur); black magic (by a sorcerer or one who casts spells); and necromancy (by one who consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead to divine the future).
  3. 18:15 A prophet like me: from the context (opposition to the practices described in vv. 10–11) it seems that Moses is referring in general to all the true prophets who were to succeed him. This passage came to be understood in a quasi-Messianic sense in the New Testament (Mt 17:5; Jn 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22; 7:37).