Concerning the tithe of the tithe, Numbers 18:28 (LEB) states:

So you will present your own contribution to Yahweh from all your tithes that you receive from the Israelites; from it you will give the contribution of Yahweh to Aaron the priest.

Yet, two chapters later when God has finished speaking, almost the very next point in the narrative is Aaron being "gathered to his people" up on Mount Hor where he dies in the presence of all Israel.

Why then is Aaron specifically named in this command in 18:28? Why doesn't it say "give the contribution of Yahweh to the high priest" instead? Or should that be considered implied?


Until the point that Aharon is replaced by his son, he's the one and only high priest. The title 'high priest' doesn't co-occur with Aharon in the narrative. It's Aharon and his sons. So, any instructions related to the high priest tend to attach to his name. The whole formal structure of the idea of the 'kohen ha-gadol' doesn't really clarify until much later. The fact that this transition happens soon in the narrative doesn't matter so much -- from the POV of the narrative, it hasn't happened yet.

Some provisos: for us who accept the idea that the text is made up of different traditions, a counterexample to this would not be particularly disturbing. Further, in this view, the institution of 'the one and only kohen ha-gadol' is a Deuteronomic thing, part of the centralization of the cult. In the time of, say, Samuel, there are multiple sanctuaries each with their own priests, and no such critter.

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