Deut 18:1 The priests, who are Levites–indeed the whole tribe of Levi–are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance.

Deut 18:2 They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.

Deut 18:3 This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the jowls and the inner parts.

Deut 18:4 You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep,

Deut 18:5 for the LORD your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always.

Deut 18:6 If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the LORD will choose,

Deut 18:7 he may minister in the name of the LORD his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the LORD.

Deut 18:8 He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.

Deut 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.

Deut 18:10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,

Divination was often employed by false prophets (Jer 14:14; Mic 3:7; Ezek 12:24). This was expressly forbidden in Deuteronomy 18:9-14, but the techniques were impressive (passing through fire, interpreting omens, dealing with false spirits or the dead). Pagan prophets used them constantly.

Deut 18:11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

Deut 18:12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.

Deut 18:13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

Deut 18:14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

Deut 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

Cf. Acts 3:22.

Deut 18:16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

Deut 18:17 The LORD said to me: “What they say is good.

Deut 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

Deut 18:19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.

Deut 18:20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”

Deut 18:21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?”

Deut 18:22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Prophecy and prediction

Biblical prophecy is more than “fore-telling”: two-thirds of its inscripturated form involves “forth-telling,” that is, setting the truth, justice, mercy, and righteousness of God against the backdrop of every form of denial of the same. Thus, to speak prophetically was to speak boldly against every form of moral, ethical, political, economic, and religious disenfranchisement observed in a culture that was intent on building its own pyramid of values vis-à-vis God’s established system of truth and ethics.

However, prediction was by no means absent from the prophetic message. The prophets were conscious of contributing to the ongoing plan of God’s ancient, but constantly renewed promise. They announced God’s coming kingdom and the awful day of the Lord when God’s wrath would be poured out on all ungodliness. In the meantime, before that eschatological moment, there would be a number of divine in-breakings on the historical scene in which the fall of cities such as Samaria, Damascus, Nineveh, Jerusalem, and Babylon would serve as harbingers or foreshadowings of God’s final intrusion into the historical scene at the end of history. Thus each minijudgment on the nations or empires of past and present history were earnests and downpayments on God’s final day of coming onto the historic scene to end it in one severe judgment and blast of victory. So said all the prophets. And in so saying they exhibited the fact that all their messages were organically related to each other; they were progressively building on one another. And, being focused distinctly on God, they were preeminently theocentric in their organization.

Therefore, the predictive sections of biblical prophecy exhibit certain key characteristics:

  1. they are not isolated sayings, but are organically related to the whole of prophecy;
  2. they plainly foretell things to come rather than being clothed in such abstruse terminology that they could be proven true even if the opposite of what they appear to say happens;
  3. they are designed to be predictions and are not accidental or unwitting predictions;
  4. they are written and published before the event, so that it could not be said that it was a matter of human sagacity that determined this would take place;
  5. they are fulfilled in accordance with the original utterance, unless expressly attached to a condition; and
  6. they do not work out their own fulfillment, but stand as a verbal witness until the event takes place.

Walter C. Kaiser, Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

‘Prediction seems to belong to the very idea of the prophetic office. We may see this in Deut 18:9ff.: Israel, entering the land of Canaan, is not only warned about the abominations of the Canaanite cults, such as infant sacrifice, but also about Canaanite religious practitioners, such as diviners. Certainly these men were concerned with what we call ‘fortune-telling’; they offered to probe the future by one means or another. For Israel, instead of all these, there will be a prophet whom the Lord will raise up from among their brethren. This prophet, speaking in the name of the Lord, is to be judged by the accuracy of his forecasts (v. 22)—a clear proof that Israel expected prophetic prediction, and that it belonged to the notion of prophecy.’ (J.P. Baker, NBD)

Fulfillment of prophecy is mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:22, and Micaiah uses this to test his message against his opponents, 1 Kings 22:28.  Isa 30:8, Jer 28:9 and Eze 33:33 also stress this criterion.