The theme of inheritance is a big deal in the Bible. Back in the Old Testament the idea of gaining an inheritance and blessing your children (and children’s children) was a big deal. God promised to make Abraham’s descendants as many as the sand and stars. The story of Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright meant something because inheritance was everything in that culture. When the arrival of Jesus was announced to the Jewish people, His lineage was used to prove his role as the Messiah and thus showed that Christ was the inheritance for the Jewish people.
In the book of Joshua when the Israelites go into the Promised Land the different tribes receive their land inheritance. “To the tribe of Judah I give this land from here to here” and so on. All of the tribes received a land inheritance… except the Levites. The Levites are the descendants of Aaron (Moses’ brother) and are of the “priestly” lineage. The Levites are to be the high priests in the nation of Israel. Several times during the book of Joshua (and I think in Deuteronomy too) God declares that the tribe of Levi will receive no inheritance because the offerings to the Lord God of Israel are their inheritance.
I’m not sure how many times it was repeated, but it was definitely enough times for me to notice… at least 5 or 6 times.
Why do you think that this was repeated so many times? I believe that nothing is in the Bible on accident, especially repetition. I know that there is a point to constantly making this point that the priests of the land received no inheritance, but I’m not really sure what it is. Here are some of my possible conclusions:
- God wanted to keep His pure high priests from being tainted by selfishness that inherently rises up from having possessions
- The honor of getting to offer sacrifices to God was much greater than the traditionally conceived notion of family inheritance. Maybe God was saying “You think having a huge family is awesome, but these guys get to experience ME!”
- God wanted to stress the set-apart-ness of the priestly class
I honestly have no idea… I would love for you to share your thoughts on this one.