לֹא־יִהְיֶה לַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם כָּל־שֵׁבֶט לֵוִי חֵלֶק וְנַחֲלָה עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל אִשֵּׁי יְהוָה וְנַחֲלָתֹו יֹאכֵלוּן 18:1
Deut. 18:1 “There shall be no portion or inheritance for the priests, the Levites -- the whole tribe of Levi -- with Israel; they shall eat the fire offerings of the Lord, and His portion.”
In the few verses of this chapter that have second-person pronouns addressed to the congregation, all of them are singular.
וְנַחֲלָה לֹא־יִהְיֶה־לֹּו בְּקֶרֶב אֶחָיו יְהוָה הוּא נַחֲלָתֹו כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר־לֹו 18:2
Deut. 18:2 “So there shall be no inheritance for him in the midst of his kindred; the Lord, He is his inheritance, as He has spoken to him.”
וְזֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַכֹּהֲנִים מֵאֵת הָעָם מֵאֵת זֹבְחֵי הַזֶּבַח אִם־שֹׁור אִם־שֶׂה וְנָתַן לַכֹּהֵן הַזְּרֹעַ 18:3
Deut. 18:3 “And this shall be the due of the priests from the people, from the offerers of the sacrifice: If an ox or a sheep, then he shall give the shoulder and the jaws and the maw to the priest.”
רֵאשִׁית דְּגָנְךָ תִּירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ וְרֵאשִׁית גֵּז צֹאנְךָ תִּתֶּן־לֹּו 18:4
Deut. 18:4 “You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep.”
כִּי בֹו בָּחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִכָּל־שְׁבָטֶיךָ לַעֲמֹד לְשָׁרֵת בְּשֵׁם־יְהוָה הוּא וּבָנָיו כָּל־הַיָּמִים 18:5
Deut. 18:5 “For the Lord, your God, has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, he and his sons always.”
It’s clear from this verse that the third-person singular pronouns up to here (him and his in vss. 18:2, 4) are referring to the tribe of Levi, that is the priests and Levites of the tribe collectively. However, the second-person pronouns, you (v. 18:4) and your (v. 18:4, 5), refer to the children of Israel as a single entity.
וְכִי־יָבֹא הַלֵּוִי מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר־הוּא גָּר שָׁם וּבָא בְּכָל־אַוַּת נַפְשֹׁו אֶל־הַמָּקֹום 18:6
Deut. 18:6 “And when the Levite will come from one of your cities from all of Israel where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his soul to the place that the Lord shall choose,
וְשֵׁרֵת בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו כְּכָל־אֶחָיו הַלְוִיִּם הָעֹמְדִים שָׁם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה 18:7
Deut. 18:7 then he shall minister in the name of the Lord, his God, like all his brethren, the Levites, who will be standing there before the Lord.”
חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכֵלוּ לְבַד מִמְכָּרָיו עַל־הָאָבֹות 18:8
Deut. 18:8 “They shall equally consume, besides his due according to the fathers’ households.”
כִּי אַתָּה בָּא אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ לֹא־תִלְמַד לַעֲשֹׂות כְּתֹועֲבֹת הַגֹּויִם הָהֵם 18:9
Deut. 18:9 “When you will be coming in to the land that the Lord, your God, will be giving you, you must not learn to do like the abominations of those nations.”
לֹא־יִמָּצֵא בְךָ מַעֲבִיר בְּנֹו־וּבִתֹּו בָּאֵשׁ קֹסֵם קְסָמִים מְעֹוןֵן וּמְנַחֵשׁ וּמְכַשֵּׁף 18:10
Deut. 18:10 “One dedicating his son or his daughter to fire shall not be found with [or among] you, a practitioner of divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer,
וְחֹבֵר חָבֶר וְשֹׁאֵל אֹוב וְיִדְּעֹנִי וְדֹרֵשׁ אֶל־הַמֵּתִים 18:11
Deut. 18:11 or one who uses charms, consults a familiar spirit or a ghost, or questions the dead.”
These two verses, 18:10 and 11, include a number of terms that some of you may not be familiar with. But before I offer some definitions, I point out that the first clause of the previous verse is already a commandment (See Levi. 18:21). Now here are the definitions (some are virtual synonyms):
Practitioner of divination = one who seeks knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means.
Soothsayer = one who is supposed to be able to foresee the future.
Enchanter = one who uses magic or sorcery, especially to put someone or something under a spell.
Sorcerer = one who claims or is believed to have magic powers.
User of charms = one who employs a verbal formula believed to have magical force.
Consulter of ghosts = a medium.
Questioner of the dead = a medium.
Of far more significance to me personally, is that here we have three verses that virtually prove the validity of my theory of second-person pronouns (see my remarks connected with Exod. 19:9):. The “you” in the phrase “with (or “among”) you” in Deut. 18:10 above is singular. Likewise in Deut. 18:12 and 13 below the pronouns “you” in the phrase “before you” (v.12) and the first word in v.13 are singular. Now the “you” in Deut. 18:10 could be construed to apply to individuals, as the phrase “with you” indicates. But the beth prefix in the second Hebrew word of that verse can also be translated as “among.” The two translations are practically synonymous. And the phrase “among you” has to be considered to refer to the congregation, not the individual. Even more pertinently, the singular pronouns “you” in Deut. 18:12 and 13 below could not be interpreted as addressing any individual. They must refer to the entire people of Israel. Now I said “virtually” in the first sentence of this paragraph deliberately. Why? Because these verses do not necessarily extrapolate to usage throughout the entire Torah (or bible). The habits or lapses of different scribes with respect to second-person pronouns in some cases in other locations in these scriptures may have to be individually evaluated.
כִּי־תֹועֲבַת יְהוָה כָּל־עֹשֵׂה אֵלֶּה וּבִגְלַל הַתֹּועֵבֹת הָאֵלֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֹורִישׁ אֹותָם מִפָּנֶיךָ 18:12
Deut. 18:12 “For everyone doing these things is an abomination of the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord, your God, will be driving them out from before you.”
תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה עִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ 18:13
Deut. 18:13 “You, the people of the Lord, your God, must be pure.”
Well! In this short verse we have virtually absolute proof of my theory of second-person pronouns. The word people and the pronouns referring to it, you and your, are all singular. Corroboration of this proof appears in the next three verses as well. So let me restate my theory for the record:
When a group is being addressed, a singular second-person pronoun refers to the group and a plural second-person pronoun refers to the individuals of the group.
Throughout the whole of the bible there are only a relatively small number of exceptions to this theory. At this point in time, I believe I would call those exceptions errors.
כִּי הַגֹּויִם הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יֹורֵשׁ אֹותָם אֶל־מְעֹנְנִים וְאֶל־קֹסְמִים יִשְׁמָעוּ וְאַתָּה לֹא כֵן נָתַן לְךָ 18:14
Deut. 18:14 “For these nations that you will be dispossessing may hearken to soothsayers and to diviners, but you, the Lord, your God, does not grant the same to you.”
נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי יָקִים לְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן 18:15
Deut. 18:15 “The Lord, your God, will raise up a prophet for you from your midst, from your brethren, like me. You shall listen to him
כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־שָׁאַלְתָּ מֵעִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּחֹרֵב בְּיֹום הַקָּהָל לֵאמֹר לֹא אֹסֵף לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶת־קֹול יְהוָה 18:16
אֱלֹהָי וְאֶת־הָאֵשׁ הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת לֹא־אֶרְאֶה עֹוד וְלֹא אָמוּת
Deut. 18:16 for all that you sought from the Lord, your God, in Horeb on the day of assembly saying, ‘Let me not continue to hear the voice of the Lord, my God, and let me not see this great fire any more, so I will not die.’”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֵלָי הֵיטִיבוּ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּרוּ 18:17
Deut. 18:17 “And the Lord said to me, ‘They have said well what they have spoken.’
נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמֹוךָ וְנָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיו וְדִבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּנּוּ 18:18
Deut. 18:18 ‘I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brethren and I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I will command him.’
וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִשְׁמַע אֶל־דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרֹשׁ מֵעִמֹּו 18:19
Deut. 18:19 ‘And it shall be, the one who will not listen to My words that he will speak in My name, I will demand from him.’
אַךְ הַנָּבִיא אֲשֶׁר יָזִיד לְדַבֵּר דָּבָר בִּשְׁמִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־צִוִּיתִיו לְדַבֵּר וַאֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בְּשֵׁם אֱלֹהִים 18:20
אֲחֵרִים וּמֵת הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא
Deut. 18:20 ‘But the prophet who will be presumptuous to speak a word in My name that I did not command him to speak, or who will speak in the name of other gods, then that prophet shall die.’”
וְכִי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבֶךָ אֵיכָה נֵדַע אֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־דִבְּרֹו יְהוָה 18:21
Deut. 18:21 “And if should you say in your heart, ‘How will we know that the Lord had not commanded him the word,
אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר הַנָּבִיא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה הַדָּבָר וְלֹא יָבֹוא הוּא הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־דִבְּרֹו יְהוָה 18:22
בְּזָדֹון דִּבְּרֹו הַנָּבִיא לֹא תָגוּר מִמֶּנּוּ
Deut. 18:22 what the prophet will speak in the name of the Lord and it would not be the word, then it will not come to pass; it is the word that the Lord did not command him. The prophet speaks it with insolence. You need not be afraid because of him.”
Torah Commandments in this Chapter
466. When you offer an ox or sheep, you shall give the shoulder,
jaws, and maw to the priest. V. 18:3
467. You shall give the priest the first fruits of your grain, wine, oil, and
the first of the fleece of your sheep. V. 18:4
468. When a Levite comes to the Temple, wanting to minister there,
he shall minister as his brethren. V. 18:6 - 18:8
469. The new Levite shall consume equally with the others, besides his
due according to the fathers’ households. V. 18:8
470. A soothsayer shall not be found among you. V. 18:10
471. An enchanter shall not be found among you. V. 18:10
472. A sorcerer shall not be found among you. V. 18:10
473. A user of charms shall not be found among you. V. 18:11
474. A consultant of a familiar spirit or ghost shall not be found among you. V. 18:11
475. One who questions the dead shall not be found among you. V. 18:11
476. You shall listen to the prophet of the Lord. V. 18:15
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