International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
pat'-ri-mo-ni (ha-'abhoth, "the fathers"): A word occurring once in English Versions of the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:8), meaning literally, "the fathers," which, however, is obscure, probably by reason of abbreviation for some phrase, e.g. "house of the fathers." It may indicate "some private source of income possessed by the Levite (who has come up from a country district to the central sanctuary) distinct from what he receives as a priest officiating at the central sanctuary" (Driver, "Deuteronomy," ICC, in the place cited.). Beyond this one occurrence of the word the same idea is conveyed often by other words or phrases: "He divided unto them his living" (Luke 15:13); "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me" (Luke 12:13). Full and specific directions were given in the Law for the division of the patrimony (Numbers 27 Deuteronomy 21, etc.) and for its redemption (Ruth 4:1-12). The idea was frequently used with figurative and spiritual application: the land of Canaan was Israel's patrimony, being inherited from Yahweh (Psalm 105:11); salvation because of its origin in grace was the believer's patrimony (Galatians 3:26-4:7). Contrariwise Israel was Yahweh's inheritance (Isaiah 19:25; Isaiah 63:14; compare Psalm 33:12; and the whole earth is the Messiah's patrimony, inherited from His Eternal Father (Psalm 2:8).