Friday, January 5, 2018

The Priests The Levites

I have decided to salvage this post because I put a lot of effort into it.

If you have read the post before, please re-read it as I have made important changes.

I wanted to address the issue of the "The Priests The Levites" expression that seems to be causing a lot of confusion as to the authority of the Priests and the Levites.

The expression "The Priests The Levites" can be found in Deuteronomy 17:9, 17:18, 18:1, 24:8 and 27:9.

Let's take a closer look:
CLV Dt 17:9 And you will come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge who shall come to be in those days; they will inquire and tell you the word of judgment.
 Here is the variant reading presented in Kennicott Vetus Testamentum:

As you can see, the most likely original reading was: "The Priests The Levites, and the Judges". This is because we see similar reading in Deuteronomy 17:12 and 19:17. So only two authorities: Priests and Judges. Levites are excluded. Kennicott variant reading appear to be incorrect.

Let's look further:
CLV Dt 17:18 It will come to be when he is seated on the throne of his kingdom, that he will write for himself a duplicate of this law on a scroll from the one before the priests, the Levites.
It should be "the priests, the Levites". Kennicott variant reading is incorrect:

Let's look further:
CLV Dt 18:1 There shall be for the priests, the Levites--the entire tribe of Levi--neither portion nor allotment with Israel. They shall eat the fire offerings of Yahuah as their allotment.
Here, it should be "the priests AND the Levites", especially because it explicitly says "the entire tribe". Kennicott confirms that and provides correct reading.

Let's look further:
CLV Dt 24:8 Be on guard in a contagion of leprosy to observe especially and to do according to all the law which the priests, the Levites, shall direct you. Just as I have instructed them shall you observe to do.
Here it should be "the priests the Levites" because in this particular verse the MT reading is correct since it is the Priests who are charged with leprosy rituals. Kennicott variant reading is incorrect.

And the last verse:
CLV Dt 27:9 Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying: Keep quiet and hearken, Israel. This day you have become a people holy to Yahuah your Elohim.
Once again, it should be "the priests, the Levites". Kennicott variant reading is incorrect. 

So as you can see, only two verses should be read as "Priests AND Levites". All other verses appear to be correct in MT.

So there are only two Torah authorities: Priests and Judges appointed by Priests. Only Priests and Judges could JUDGE/DECIDE matters of the Torah.

However, please note that according to Deut 33:8 and 33:10, non-priestly Levites were a legitimate TEACHERS of the Torah and Priestly Judgements. They were allowed to TEACH the Torah and the Priestly Judgements.

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