Friday, June 24, 2016
Old Tesmanet Priesthood exempt from Military Service
Theology of the Old Testament, Gustav Friedrich Oehler, p 206.
The service of the Levites…is designated as military service [zaba, Num. 4.3, 30; 8.24 (in the camp of Jehovah, 1 Chron. 9.19)], and at a later period it was still organized entirely in a military manner.
Dictionary of the Bible: Pleroma-Zuzim, Hastings, Selbie, Davidson, Driver, Swete, p 85.
There appears to be a special reference to the escorting of the sacred ark, which accompanied Israel in their journeyings and campaigns, in the remarkable term, likewise used very occasionally of the Levites’ service, zaba, ‘to render military service’ [Num. 4.23 al.].
The ‘tribe of Levi,’ i.e. probably the Levites and also the Aaronites, is exempted from being numbered amongst the children of Israel [Num. 1.49; 2.33], i.e. from military service.
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers, Num. 4.3:
All that enter into the host.—Or, every one who enters upon the service. The word zaba, commonly rendered host, and used elsewhere to denote military service, is here used to denote the service of the sanctuary.
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Num. 4.3:
[the service] This unusual meaning of the word which generally denotes ‘warfare’ or ‘host’ (R.V. marg.) is found again five times in this chapter (Numbers 4:23; Numbers 4:30; Numbers 4:35; Numbers 4:39; Numbers 4:43), and elsewhere only in Numbers 8:24 f., and of women in two very late passages, Exodus 38:8, 1 Samuel 2:22. It perhaps implies that the Levites formed an organized body appointed for God’s work under the command of superior officials, as were the rest of Israel who were numbered for war.
Greg Boyd, Gods’ Way of War:
"Yahweh forbade those who served as temple priests to engage in violence. When the New Testament later refers to the body of Christ as a royal priesthood, this is at least part of what it has in mind. While non-followers of Jesus may consider the use of violence in certain “justified” circumstances to be necessary, if not praiseworthy, the royal priesthood of Jesus followers are called and empowered to bear witness to God’s non-violent ideal by altogether abstaining from it."