Deuteronomy Chapter 18


A provision respecting Levites. (Verse 1-8.)

The abominations of the Canaanites to be avoided. (Verse 9-14.)

Christ the great Prophet. (Verse 15-22.)

1 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.

2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.

3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.

4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.

5 For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.

6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose;

7 Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD.

8 They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.

9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

“thou shalt not learn to do…” – sin can be learned – it is not always an accident or something that occurs on the spur of a moment when a temptation arises. Be careful what you learn!

10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

these prohibitions seem to fully encompass just about every imaginable form of the occult or semi-occult practices including horoscopes and astrology.

13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.

[Lev 19:2, Matt 5:48, 2nd Cor 7:1, Phil 3:15]

14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

[Gen 49:10, Num 24:17, Dan 9:24, Matt 11:3, Acts 3:22, Acts 7:37]

16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.

18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

[Acts 3:22]

this is Moses’ great prophecy of the coming Messiah called here, “that Prophet.” The Jews understood this to refer to the Messiah and therefore questioned John the Baptist as to whether he was “that Prophet” (John 1:21, 25) and speculated whether or not Jesus was “that Prophet” (John 7:40). Acts 3:22-26 identifies this “Prophet” as Jesus. – “will put my words in his mouth” – the whole context of this chapter places much emphasis upon the “words” of God and the fact that this great “Prophet” would speak God’s words. Thus we find Jesus during his earthly ministry emphasising that he was not speaking his own words, but those words that the Father had given him to speak (John 7:1618; 8:25-28; 8:38; 12:49; etc.). – “a Prophet…like unto me” – Moses stressed that this coming Prophet would be like himself. When Moses appeared to the Jews back in Exodus chapter four as a prophet from God, he came confirming his words with visible, miraculous signs. Therefore the Israelites should have been looking for “that Prophet” to arrive on the scene, confirming his identity and message with visible, miraculous signs – this is of course exactly what Jesus did. Our Lord often reminded the Jews that if they did not believe what he was saying, believe him for his “works” sake (ie. miracles) – compare John 5:20,36; 10:25, 37-38; 14:10; etc.). Once again we see that the primary target of miraculous signs and works was Jews and that their primary purpose is to confirm new truth – so much for much of the modern charismatic counterfeit that misses the mark on both points!

19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

The Father gives a very strong warning to those that do not listen to his Son.

Study Question

What did he say in Mat. 17:5?

20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

this passage is the Bible formula for testing a prophet to see if he is from God or not. God’s prophets are correct 100% of the time when they speak for God – if they miss even once they then prove themselves to be fakes. These verses prove devastating for such groups as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have many false prophecies in their history. If you would be interested in documentation of some of these for the next time they call at your door, please ask us. – these verses need to be read along side of 13:1-3 as a false prophet could be correct in his prophecies and yet be prophesying contrary to the Bible. Taking all of the verses on a given topic into account is important for just such an instance as this one.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.

Verse 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.