And verily they that are of the sons of Levi
Or Levites; who are of the tribe of Levi, whose descent is from him:
who receive the office of the priesthood;
as some of them were priests, though not all; and the Levites therefore are sometimes called priests. R. Joshua ben Levi says, that in twenty four places the priests are called Levites; and this is one of them, ( Ezekiel 44:15 ) "and the priests and Levites" F11
these have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to
the ceremonial law, ( Numbers 18:20-26 ) , these they took of all the people of Israel in the rest of the tribes, by the commandment of God, on account of their service in the tabernacle; and because they had no inheritance in the land; and to show that the Israelites held their land of God himself:
that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of
who are their brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh, though of different tribes; and from these they receive, notwithstanding they are the sons of Abraham: but here a difficulty arises, how the Levites that were priests can be said to receive tithes from the people, when they received the tenth part of the tithes, or the tithe of tithes from the Levites, ( Numbers 18:26 ) ( Nehemiah 10:38 ) , but it should be observed, that it was not necessary that the Levites should give these tithes to the priests themselves; an Israelite might do it, and so give the Levites the less; on which account the priests may be said to receive from the people; besides, Ezra in his time ordered, that the first tithe should not be given to the Levites, but to the priests, because they would not go up with him to Jerusalem F12.
F11 T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 86. 2. & Becorot, fol. 4. 1.
F12 Maimon. Hilchot Maaser, c. 1. sect. 4.