Deuteronomy Chapter 12

Deuteronomy 12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The subject here is the one place of.resort where Jehovah's name was. " Ye shall not do so " refers to this, " ye shall not have high places." They might eat flesh anywhere, clean or unclean, only consecrated things were to be eaten where Jehovah had placed His name. Who was to eat it is not in question I think here at all, only the Levite was not to be forgotten. It would apply to the priests as others; whatever of this kind was to be eaten, and whoever was to eat it, it was to be eaten there. Priests are swamped in the whole mass of Israel.
5-14. One thing is quite clear, that the leading thought is "the one place" to which they were to go; for things are spoken of, of which no man ate anything.
17, 18. But here there is more difficulty, for here it is they are not to eat within their gates; still we find again this point of the place prominent, and the eating spoken of vaguely—they might eat of any (clean) beast, only pouring the blood on the ground. But what belonged to God, sacrifices, vows, etc. (verse 26), they were to take to the place where Jehovah's name was; and then it was left to apply the eating to what it legally applied to.
27. They were to offer their burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of Jehovah, and the blood of the sacrifices was to be poured out on the altar of Jehovah their God, and they would eat the flesh. Now this referred strictly, according to the law, only to the peace-offerings-of sin and trespass-offerings the priests ate, and parts of the peace-offerings, and that is recognized in this book. But the point is offering was to be made here, in what referred to divine worship, to God, not to what the soul lusted after-here he might eat in communion with the altar, with God, but here only. Sacrificial eating was at the chosen place only. Hence what the soul lusted after, the unclean could eat of (verse 22). It is to be remarked that there was no payment of tithes by the people to the priests, nor at Jerusalem-they paid tithes of all to the Levites, then the tithe of their tithes to the priests, and then ate their tithes at home as if they were the, now, sanctified fruit of their fields. With regard to Num. 18:24-32,24But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 26Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe. 27And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest. 29Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. 31And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. 32And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. (Numbers 18:24‑32) it is possible this may have dropped through disorder and carelessness; but the carrying up tithes to Jerusalem was a distinct thing. All nations have god-festivals, and Israel was to have theirs in connection with Jehovah according to the rudiments of the world.
As regards our chapter, it would thus, as noticed, offer no difficulty—offerings were carried up and they ate the part which was to be eaten according to the law; nor does chapter 14: 22, 23, etc. offer any difficulty as to this distinct or second tithe-they ate it before the Lord, or took up money and bought what they liked. Only firstlings, first-fruits, and all vows, heave- and wave-offerings remain, see Num. 5 and 18; these all belong to the priest. These reh-sheeth (first-fruits), so far as males went, some think they were all other firstlings except the males (Rosenmüller), or firstlings generally, not the priest's. But it is wrong as to the priests having the worshippers to eat with them; some, only the clean males of their house could eat, others all the family. But they must be a second set of firstlings as there was a second set of tithes, which there clearly was, see Tobit 1: 1, where the second tithes are very distinctly brought forward, and the third, so that this was a known ordinance in Israel. As regards the firstlings; the first-fruits were given to the priests, so in chapter 18. Tobit speaks only of the second tithes, but these or their worth he spent in feasting in Jerusalem every year. We must leave, I suppose, the directions of Numbers, etc., where they are; they are not the main object of Deuteronomy, but the people's going up with their festal joy to Jerusalem to connect it with Jehovah, and the firstlings and the like to be such as they might otherwise have eaten at home, but, according to Deuteronomy, were to go to Jerusalem with.
The first males, if the first born, would remain to the priests. The immediate object was to identify all their common joy with Jehovah by the place. Next, the character of worship, and all these services and directions, is common enjoyment of the blessings promised—not approach to God in the holiest. As to this, see Deut. 16 and 26, and Lev. 16