Didache 13 – Text and Comments

1 But every true Prophet who wants to live among you is already worthy of his support.

2 So also a true teacher is himself already worthy, as the workman, of his support.

3 Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the Prophets, for they are your high priests.

4 But if you have no Prophet, give it to those who are in need.

5 If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the Commandment.

6 So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the Prophets.

7 And of money and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the Commandment.

Commentary

Verses 1,3,4 and 6 refers to a prophet. In Egyptian culture, the Prophet is a divine messenger. If the Messenger is present with us, he is to have our full support, which includes appropriate honor, prayers and offerings. Verse 3 says that the Divine Messenger is the high priest.

Verse 2 refers to a teacher. This can be a lay teacher or a priest who serves as a teacher. If the teacher lives with a community, or with a member of the community, he or she is supported by the household with shelter, food and basic supplies. The teacher’s responsibility is to teach the community or household and if appointed as a priest, serve in religious functions (specific priestly duties).

In verse 3, we are told that if there is no High Priest (Divine Messenger) at the time, then our offerings are supposed to go to others who are in need.

Verses 5-7 uses the phrase “according to the Commandment”; this is referring to the Israelite custom of giving ten percent of the dough. In our case today, it is ten percent of our income (according to our means), or ten percent of our food, or the value of ten percent of the food we have in stock. In Atenism, food offerings (or the value of the food) serves as sin/guilt offerings for the individual or family.

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