An assessment of the priestly emolument in Numbers 18:8-32
CITATION: Ajah, M. 2010. An assessment of the priestly emolument in Numbers 18:8-32. Scriptura, 103:107-121, doi:10.7833/103-0-592.
The original publication is available at http://scriptura.journals.ac.za
This article seeks to examine how a theological reflection on the priestly emolument in Numbers 18:8-32 would enhance a better interpretation of stewardship amongst believing communities in Africa. Dependency syndrome amongst most African churches, especially those established by Europeans has robbed them of the prestige of adopting a selfsupporting/propagating programme. The thesis of this paper maintains that a good synchronization of the tradition-historical exegetical method proposed by Gnuse will facilitate a good interpretation of the priestly emoluments in Numbers 18 and their subsequent application to the church in Africa today. Comparable texts from the Ancient Near East that may have influenced Numbers 18 were surveyed; the possible oral prehistory of Numbers 18 was scrutinized; the connection of Numbers 18 to other priestly traditions was examined; and the use or interpretation of the pericope by the wider biblical tradition concluded the study. The practice of tithes in Numbers 18 was rooted in the theological understanding that the LORD was the owner of the land and the Israelites were to tithe all the wealth of the land as a means of submitting to that sovereign ownership. This same understanding will motivate a strong stewardship and independence amongst churches in Africa.