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18 Moses: The Levitical priests and the whole tribe of Levi will not have any inherited property within Israel. They will be supported by the sacrifices and other offerings that are burnt and set aside for the Eternal. They won’t have any share in the land, as the other Israelites do, but the Eternal Himself will be their share as He promised.

This is a special arrangement between God and the Levites; He’ll provide for them and give them their distinct identity so they can focus on serving Him instead of serving their families.

Whenever someone sacrifices an ox or a sheep, the priests are entitled to these portions: one shank (a thigh and shoulder), the cheeks (those tender delicacies), and the fourth compartment of the stomach so they can have rennet to make cheese curds. You must also give the priests the first grain, wine, and olive oil you produce each year, and the first wool you shear from your sheep because the Eternal your God chose Levi and his descendants, out of all of your tribes, to stand in His presence and to serve in His name at all times.

If a Levite who’s living in one of your cities anywhere in Israel decides he really wants to go and live in the place the Eternal will choose, he must be allowed to serve in the name of the Eternal his God, like all of the other Levites who are already serving there in the Eternal’s presence. He must be given an equal share of the contributions to eat, apart from anything he earns for performing priestly services.[a]

When you’ve settled in the land the Eternal your God is giving you, don’t imitate the horrible practices of the other nations. 10 Don’t ever burn any of your sons or daughters alive as a sacrifice! And don’t ever get involved in any divining, such as predicting fortunes, interpreting omens, sorcery, 11 casting spells, or trying to contact ghosts, spirits, or the dead. 12 The Eternal is horrified when anyone does these things. It’s because of these horrible practices that the Eternal your God is driving those nations out ahead of you. 13 You shall be complete in your obedience and devotion to Him.

The pagan nations around them share the belief that absolute immanent power comes from within creation. They engage in many activities designed to tap into that power so that they can gain knowledge of the future or have influence over others. “Drawing lots” is often done by writing possibilities on pottery shards, putting them in a bag, and then drawing out an answer. Other ways of trying to predict the future or choose the best course include watching the shapes of clouds or listening for natural omens such as bird cries. It is commonly believed that spirits and the dead can also provide guidance and special information. Whatever specific practices are being described here, however, the general principle is once again that the people should trust the Lord, transcendent above creation, as their source of guidance and protection.

Moses: 14 The nations you’re going to displace seek guidance from people who practice divination and predicting. But the Eternal your God doesn’t want you to do that. 15 He will raise up from among your own people a prophet who will be like me.[b] Listen to him. 16 This is just what you asked Him for on the day you gathered at Mount Horeb: “Don’t make me listen to the voice of the Eternal my God anymore! And don’t make me look at that blazing fire! I’ll die!”[c] 17 The Eternal told me, “They’re right. 18 I’ll send them another prophet like you from among their own people. I’ll put My words in the mouth of this prophet who will tell them everything I command him to say. 19 I, Myself, will punish whoever doesn’t listen to his words[d] when the prophet speaks in My name. 20 But a prophet who dares to say anything in My name that I haven’t commanded, or who says anything in the name of another god, will die.” 21 Now you may be wondering, “How will we recognize something He hasn’t commanded a prophet to say?” 22 If a prophet speaks in the Eternal One’s name, but the words turn out not to be true or the prediction doesn’t happen, then He wasn’t actually speaking. That prophet arrogantly spoke in the Lord’s name, but he didn’t really have a message from Him. And so you don’t need to be afraid of what the prophet said.


  1. 18:8 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; also translated “father’s estate.”
  2. 18:15 Acts 7:37; 3:22
  3. 18:16 Deuteronomy 5:22–27
  4. 18:19 Acts 3:23

Offerings for Priests and Levites

18 The Levitical(A) priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings(B) presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance.(C) They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance,(D) as he promised them.(E)

This is the share due the priests(F) from the people who sacrifice a bull(G) or a sheep: the shoulder, the internal organs and the meat from the head.(H) You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep,(I) for the Lord your God has chosen them(J) and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister(K) in the Lord’s name always.(L)

If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the Lord will choose,(M) he may minister in the name(N) of the Lord his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the Lord. He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.(O)

Occult Practices

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate(P) the detestable ways(Q) of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire,(R) who practices divination(S) or sorcery,(T) interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,(U) 11 or casts spells,(V) or who is a medium or spiritist(W) or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.(X) 13 You must be blameless(Y) before the Lord your God.(Z)

The Prophet

14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination.(AA) But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites.(AB) You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”(AC)

17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet(AD) like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words(AE) in his mouth.(AF) He will tell them everything I command him.(AG) 19 I myself will call to account(AH) anyone who does not listen(AI) to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.(AJ) 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods,(AK) is to be put to death.”(AL)

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true,(AM) that is a message the Lord has not spoken.(AN) That prophet has spoken presumptuously,(AO) so do not be alarmed.