Deuteronomy 18

Listen to Deuteronomy 18

Provision for Priests and Levites

1 "The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, 1shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They 2shall eat the LORD's food offerings[a] as their[b] inheritance.
2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.
3 And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: 3they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach.
4 4The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
5 For the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes 5to stand and minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for all time.
6 "And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, 6where he lives--and he may come when he desires[c]--7to the place that the LORD will choose,
7 and ministers in the name of the LORD his God, 8like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the LORD,
8 then he may have equal 9portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.[d]

Abominable Practices

9 "When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, 10you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.
10 There shall not be found among you anyone 11who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[e] anyone who 12practices divination or 13tells fortunes or interprets omens, or 14a sorcerer
11 or a charmer or 15a medium or a necromancer or 16one who inquires of the dead,
12 17for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And 18because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.
13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God,
14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

A New Prophet like Moses

15 19"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen--
16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb 20on the day of the assembly, when you said, 21'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.'
17 And the LORD said to me, 22'They are right in what they have spoken.
18 23I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. 24And I will put my words in his mouth, and 25he shall speak to them all that I command him.
19 26And whoever will 27not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
20 28But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or[f] who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
21 And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?'--
22 29when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; 30the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

A provision respecting Levites. (1-8) The abominations of the Canaanites to be avoided. (9-14) Christ the great Prophet. (15-22)

Verses 1-8 Care is taken that the priests entangle not themselves with the affairs of this life, nor enrich themselves with the wealth of this world; they have better things to mind. Care is likewise taken that they want not the comforts and conveniences of this life. The people must provide for them. He that has the benefit of solemn religious assemblies, ought to give help for the comfortable support of those that minister in such assemblies.

Verses 9-14 Was it possible that a people so blessed with Divine institutions, should ever be in any danger of making those their teachers whom God had made their captives? They were in danger; therefore, after many like cautions, they are charged not to do after the abominations of the nations of Canaan. All reckoning of lucky or unlucky days, all charms for diseases, all amulets or spells to prevent evil, fortune-telling, &c. are here forbidden. These are so wicked as to be a chief cause of the rooting out of the Canaanites. It is amazing to think that there should be any pretenders of this kind in such a land, and day of light, as we live in. They are mere impostors who blind and cheat their followers.

Verses 15-22 It is here promised concerning Christ, that there should come a Prophet, great above all the prophets; by whom God would make known himself and his will to the children of men, more fully and clearly than he had ever done before. He is the Light of the world, ( John 8:12 ) . He is the World by whom God speaks to us, ( John 1:1 , Hebrews 1:2 ) . In his birth he should be one of their nation. In his resurrection he should be raised up at Jerusalem, and from thence his doctrine should go forth to all the world. Thus God, having raised up his Son Christ Jesus, sent him to bless us. He should be like unto Moses, only above him. This prophet is come, even JESUS; and is "He that should come," and we are to look for no other. The view of God which he gives, will not terrify or overwhelm, but encourages us. He speaks with fatherly affection and Divine authority united. Whoever refuses to listen to Jesus Christ, shall find it is at his peril; the same that is the Prophet is to be his Judge, ( John 12:48 ) . Woe then to those who refuse to hearken to His voice, to accept His salvation, or yield obedience to His sway! But happy they who trust in Him, and obey Him. He will lead them in the paths of safety and peace, until He brings them to the land of perfect light, purity, and happiness. Here is a caution against false prophets. It highly concerns us to have a right touchstone wherewith to try the word we hear, that we may know what that word is which the Lord has not spoken. Whatever is against the plain sense of the written word, or which gives countenance or encouragement to sin, we may be sure is not that which the Lord has spoken.

Cross References 30

  • 1. See Numbers 18:20
  • 2. Numbers 18:8, 9; Joshua 13:14; 1 Samuel 2:28; [1 Corinthians 9:13]
  • 3. See Leviticus 7:30-34
  • 4. Numbers 18:12; 2 Chronicles 31:5
  • 5. Deuteronomy 17:12
  • 6. Numbers 35:2, 3; Judges 17:7; Judges 19:1
  • 7. See Deuteronomy 12:5
  • 8. [1 Chronicles 23:6; 2 Chronicles 31:2]
  • 9. 2 Chronicles 31:4; Nehemiah 12:44, 47; Nehemiah 13:10
  • 10. Deuteronomy 12:29-31; See Leviticus 18:26-30
  • 11. See Leviticus 18:21
  • 12. 2 Kings 17:17
  • 13. See Leviticus 19:26
  • 14. [Exodus 22:18]
  • 15. See Leviticus 19:31
  • 16. [1 Samuel 28:7]
  • 17. Deuteronomy 22:5; Deuteronomy 25:16
  • 18. See Deuteronomy 9:4
  • 19. John 1:21, 25, 45; Cited Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37
  • 20. See Deuteronomy 9:10
  • 21. See Exodus 20:19
  • 22. Deuteronomy 5:28
  • 23. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 24. Jeremiah 1:9; Jeremiah 5:14; [John 17:8]
  • 25. [John 4:25; John 8:28; John 12:49, 50]
  • 26. [Acts 3:23]
  • 27. Jeremiah 29:19; Jeremiah 35:13
  • 28. See Deuteronomy 13:5
  • 29. [Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Jeremiah 28:9]
  • 30. [See ver. 20 above]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or the offerings by fire to the Lord
  • [b]. Hebrew his
  • [c]. Or lives - if he comes enthusiastically
  • [d]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [e]. Hebrew makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire
  • [f]. Or and

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the provision made for the priests and Levites, with the reason of it, De 18:1-5, of allowance of a country Levite to minister at Jerusalem, and take his portion with the rest, De 18:6-8, and of several persons of bad practices not to be suffered among the people of Israel, De 18:9-14, and of an extraordinary prophet that should be raised up among them, to whom they should hearken, or it would be the worse for them, De 18:15-19, but a false prophet was to be put to death, of whom a sign is given by which he might be known, De 18:20-22.

Deuteronomy 18 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.