Priests and Levites

Neither the levitical priests nor any Levite tribe member will have a designated inheritance in Israel. They can eat the sacrifices offered to the Lord, which are the Lord’s portion,[a] but they won’t share an inheritance with their fellow Israelites. The Lord alone is the Levites’ inheritance—just as God promised them.

Now this is what the priests may keep from the people’s sacrifices of oxen or sheep: They must give the priest the shoulder, the jaws, and the stomach. You must also give the priest the first portions of your grain, wine, and oil, and the first of your sheep’s shearing because the Lord your God selected Levi from all of your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name—both him and his descendants for all time.

Now if a Levite leaves one of your cities or departs from any location in Israel where he’s been living and, because he wants to, comes to the location the Lord selects and ministers in the Lord his God’s name, just like his relatives—the other Levites serving there in the Lord’s presence— he is allowed to eat equal portions, despite the finances he has from his family.[b]

Communicating with God

Once you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don’t try to imitate the detestable things those nations do. 10 There must not be anyone among you who passes his son or daughter through fire; who practices divination, is a sign reader, fortune-teller, sorcerer, 11 or spell caster; who converses with ghosts or spirits or communicates with the dead. 12 All who do these things are detestable to the Lord! It is on account of these detestable practices that the Lord your God is driving these nations[c] out before you.

13 Instead, you must be perfect before the Lord your God. 14 These nations you are displacing listened to sign readers and diviners, but the Lord your God doesn’t permit you to do the same! 15 The Lord your God will raise up a prophet like me from your community, from your fellow Israelites. He’s the one you must listen to. 16 That’s exactly what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb, on the day of the assembly, when you said, “I can’t listen to the Lord my God’s voice anymore or look at this great fire any longer. I don’t want to die!”

17 The Lord said to me: What they’ve said is right. 18 I’ll raise up a prophet for them from among their fellow Israelites—one just like you. I’ll put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will hold accountable anyone who doesn’t listen to my words, which that prophet will speak in my name. 20 However, any prophet who arrogantly speaks a word in my name that I haven’t commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.

21 Now, you might be wondering, How will we know which word God hasn’t spoken? 22 Here’s the answer: The prophet who speaks in the Lord’s name and the thing doesn’t happen or come about—that’s the word the Lord hasn’t spoken. That prophet spoke arrogantly. Don’t be afraid of him.[d]


  1. Deuteronomy 18:1 Heb uncertain
  2. Deuteronomy 18:8 Heb uncertain
  3. Deuteronomy 18:12 Or them
  4. Deuteronomy 18:22 Or bothered by it (the prophecy)