Leviticus 22 Commentary


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart of Leviticus - Charles Swindoll
A third Overview Chart of Leviticus

LEVITICUS THE BOOK OF
SANCTIFICATION AND WORSHIP

Adapted and modified from C. Swindoll
Leviticus 1-17 Leviticus 18-27
The Way to God
Access
The Walk with God
Lifestyle
The Approach: Offerings Practical Guidelines
The Representative: Priest Chronological Observances
The Laws: Cleansing
Physically & Spiritually
Severe Consequences
Verbal promises
Ritual for Worship
Worshipping a Holy God
Practical for Walking
Living a Holy Life
Location: Mt Sinai for one full year
Theme: How sinful humanity can approach and worship a holy God
Key Verses: Lev 17:11, 19:2, 20:7-8
Christ in Leviticus: In every sacrifice, every ritual, every feast
Time: about 1446BC

Key words:

Holy - 90x/76v (with forms of the root for holy 152x) more than in any OT book (Lev 2:3, 10; 5:15f; 6:16f, 25-27, 29f; 7:1, 6; 8:9; 10:3, 10, 12f, 17; 11:44-45; 14:13; 16:2-4, 16f, 20, 23f, 27, 32f; 19:2, 8, 24; 20:3, 7, 26; 21:6-8, 22; 22:2-4, 6f, 10, 14-16, 32; 23:2-4, 7f, 20f, 24, 27, 35-37; 24:9; 25:12; 27:9f, 14, 21, 23, 28, 30, 32f);

Atonement - 51x/45v - (Lev 1:4; 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7, 30; 7:7; 8:15, 34; 9:7; 10:17; 12:7f; 14:18-21, 29, 31, 53; 15:15, 30; 16:6, 10f, 16-18, 24, 27, 30, 32-34; 17:11; 19:22; 23:27f; 25:9)

Offering - 326x/199v (Lev 1:2-4, 6, 9f, 13f, 17; 2:1-16; 3:1-3, 5-9, 11f, 14, 16; 4:3, 7f, 10, 14, 18, 20f, 23-26, 28-35; 5:6-8, 15f, 18f; 6:5f, 9f, 12, 14f, 17f, 20f, 23, 25, 30; 7:1f, 5, 7-11, 13-16, 18, 20f, 25, 29f, 32-35, 37f; 8:2, 14, 18, 21, 27-29, 31; 9:2-4, 7f, 10, 12-18, 21f, 24; 10:12-17, 19; 12:6, 8; 14:10, 12-14, 17, 19-22, 24f, 28, 31; 15:15, 30; 16:3, 5f, 9, 11, 15, 24f, 27; 17:4f, 8; 19:5, 21f, 24; 21:6, 21; 22:12, 18, 21-23, 25, 27; 23:8, 12-14, 25, 27, 36-38; 24:7, 9; 27:9, 11)

Tent of meeting - 43x/41v (Lev 1:1, 3, 5; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4f, 7, 14, 16, 18; 6:16, 26, 30; 8:3f, 31, 33, 35; 9:5, 23; 10:7, 9; 12:6; 14:11, 23; 15:14, 29; 16:7, 16f, 20, 23, 33; 17:4ff, 9; 19:21; 24:3)

Law - 16x/16v; (Lev 6:9, 14, 25; 7:1, 7, 11, 37; 11:46; 12:7; 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57; 15:32)

Sacrifice - 41x/34v; (Lev 3:1, 3, 6, 9; 4:10, 26, 31, 35; 7:11-13, 15-18, 20f, 29, 32, 34, 37; 9:4, 18; 10:14; 17:5, 7f; 19:5; 22:21, 24, 27, 29; 23:19, 37)

Anoint - 17x/15v; (Lev 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20, 22; 7:36; 8:2, 10-12, 30; 10:7; 16:32; 21:10, 12)

Sin - 111x/90v (Lev 4:2f, 8, 14, 20-29, 32-35; 5:1, 5-13, 15-18; 6:2-4, 17, 25f, 30; 7:7, 37f; 8:2, 14; 9:2f, 7f, 10, 15, 22; 10:16-19; 12:6, 8; 14:13, 19, 22, 31; 15:15, 30; 16:3, 5f, 9, 11, 15f, 21, 25, 27, 30, 34; 19:17, 22; 20:20; 21:21; 22:9; 23:19; 24:15; 25:1, 27; 26:18, 21, 24, 28, 46; 27:34)

Iniquity - 10x/8v (Lev 7:18; 16:21f; 19:8; 26:39-41, 43)

Death - 17/16v (Lev 16:1; 19:20; 20:2, 4, 9-11, 15f, 27; 24:16f, 21; 27:29)

Die - 15x/15v (Lev 7:24; 8:35; 10:2, 6f, 9; 11:39; 15:31; 16:1f, 13; 17:15; 20:20; 22:8f)

Blood - 86x/65v (Lev 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2, 8, 13, 17; 4:5-7, 16-18, 25, 30, 34; 5:9; 6:27, 30; 7:2, 14, 26f, 33; 8:15, 19, 23f, 30; 9:9, 12, 18; 10:18; 12:4f, 7; 14:6, 14, 17, 25, 28, 51f; 15:19, 25; 16:14f, 18f, 27; 17:4, 6, 10-12; 18:6, 12f, 17; 19:26; 20:18f; 25:49)

Sabbath - 13x/10v (Lev 16:31; 23:3, 11, 15f, 32; 24:8; 25:2, 4, 6)

The LORD spoke to Moses - 28x/28v - (Lev 4:1; 5:14; 6:1, 8, 19, 24; 7:22, 28; 8:1; 12:1; 13:1; 14:1; 16:1; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1; 21:16; 22:1, 17, 26; 23:9, 23, 26, 33; 24:1, 13; 27:1)

Jubilee - 20x/18v (Lev 25:10-13, 15, 28, 30f, 33, 40, 50, 52, 54; 27:17-18, 21, 23-24)

Consecrate - 24x/23v - (Lev 6:18, 27; 7:35; 8:10-12, 15, 30; 11:44; 12:4; 16:19; 20:7; 21:8, 10; 25:10; 27:14-19, 22, 2)

Covenant - 10x/8v (Lev 2:13; 24:8; 26:9, 15, 25, 42, 44f)

Fat - 52x/33v (Lev 3:3f, 9f, 14-17; 4:8f, 19, 26, 31, 35; 6:12; 7:3f, 23-25, 30f, 33; 8:16, 25f; 9:10, 19f, 24; 10:15; 16:25; 17:6)

Leviticus 22:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying

 

Leviticus 22:2 "Tell Aaron and his sons to be careful with the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they dedicate to Me, so as not to profane My holy name; I am the LORD.

  • Lev 22:3-6 15:31 Nu 6:3-8 
  • that they profane not (KJV): This is the very ground of the prohibition, that they might preserve in their minds a holy reverence for the Divine Majesty.  Hence when they approached unto him, they must be free from every legal impurity.  If great men are to be approached with respect, how much more must Jehovah be approached with holy reverence! Lev 22:32 18:21 19:12 20:3 21:6 
  • hallow (KJV): Ex 13:12 28:38 Nu 18:32 De 15:19 

GOD'S HOLY NAME

See more detailed discussion and exhortation regarding God's Name in Notes on Leviticus 18:21

Profane (02490)(chalal - see word study in notes on Lev 18:21). The Septuagint (Lxx) uses bebeloo which is discussed in the word study on chalal.

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Leviticus 22:2 TODAY IN THE WORD - Chicagoan Silas Purnell is credited with helping more than 50,000 inner-city teens get into college. In the mid-1960s, he quit a marketing job and opened a college placement office in the basement of a public housing project. He worked relentlessly to help those who came to his door: persuading administrators to give young people a chance, pleading for scholarship money, asking local businesses for donations, and encouraging students to work hard once they started classes. A good word to describe Silas Purnell is “advocate.” He believed in young people’s future and spoke on their behalf to those in power. A priest was also to be an advocate, speaking to the people on God’s behalf and to God on behalf of the people.

The rules and regulations in our recent readings in Leviticus have dealt with how God’s people should behave; now the focus shifts slightly to some special standards for those in full-time ministry. How should they act? The bottom line: God was always and exclusively their top priority. That’s why the priests weren’t allowed to participate in the mourning process for a deceased loved one, unless it was the death of a very close family member (and for the high priest, not even then). This wasn’t because God wanted to keep priests from feeling sad; rather it was to preserve the purity of the priests in their service in the presence of God.

Other rules also preserved the honor and purity of the priestly calling. Priests could not practice pagan mourning customs. They could not marry a woman who was not a virgin. Just as the sacrificial animals had to be perfect, physically handicapped men couldn’t serve as priests, though they could eat the holy food (Lev 21:21, 22, 23). Ceremonially unclean or diseased individuals were similarly barred from offering the sacrifices. Generally, standards were higher for priests and their families than for ordinary Israelites.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Today’s reading gives commands regarding proper behavior for the Jewish priests. Since, as we noted in “Today Along the Way” for July 9, all believers are now considered priests, what might be proper behavior for us? That is, what attitudes and actions will best identify us as disciples of Christ and give glory to God?

Leviticus 22:3 "Say to them, 'If any man among all your descendants throughout your generations approaches the holy gifts which the sons of Israel dedicate to the LORD, while he has an uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from before Me; I am the LORD.(

  • having his uncleanness upon him (KJV): That is, in other words, "when he is unclean." Lev 7:20,21 
  • that soul (KJV): That is, according to some, thrust out of the priest's office, or from officiating at the altar; or, according to others, cut off by some immediate stroke of divine justice, like Nadab and Abihu.
  • from my (KJV): Ex 33:14,15 Ps 16:11 51:11 Mt 25:41 2Th 1:9 

Leviticus 22:4 'No man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy gifts until he is clean. And if one touches anything made unclean by a corpse or if a man has a seminal emission, (

  • the seed (KJV): These words include the daughters as well as the sons of Aaron.
  • a leper (KJV): Lev 13:2,3,44-46 
  • running issue (KJV): Heb. running of the reins, Lev 15:2,3 
  • holy things (KJV): Lev 2:3,10 6:25-29 21:22 Nu 18:9,19 
  • until (KJV): Lev 14:2-32 15:13-15 
  • unclean (KJV): Lev 21:1 Nu 19:11-16 
  • whose (KJV): Lev 15:16 

Unclean (adjective) (02931) (tame - see word study) - Lxx translates tame here with akathartos.

Leviticus 22:5 or if a man touches any teeming things by which he is made unclean, or any man by whom he is made unclean, whatever his uncleanness; (

  • whosoever (KJV): Lev 11:24,43,44 
  • or a man (KJV): Lev 15:7,19 

Leviticus 22:6 a person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat of the holy gifts unless he has bathed his body in water. (

  • Lev 11:24,25 15:5 16:24-28 Nu 19:7-10 Hag 2:13 1Co 6:11 Heb 10:22

Leviticus 22:7 'But when the sun sets, he will be clean, and afterward he shall eat of the holy gifts, for it is his food. 

  • Lev 21:22 Nu 18:11-19 De 18:3,4 1Co 9:4,13,14 

Leviticus 22:8 'He shall not eat an animal which dies or is torn by beasts, becoming unclean by it; I am the LORD. 

  • Lev 17:15 Ex 22:31 De 14:21 Eze 44:31 

Freeman - Like many of God’s laws to the Israelites, this law was not given for spiritual reasons but for health reasons. An animal found dead most likely died from a disease that might possibly affect anyone eating the animal, even if it’s cooked. We well know today that unless certain meats are cooked above a specific temperature until well done, there is a possibility of being infected by any bacteria in it—E. coli, for example—even though the animal was slaughtered under seemingly sanitary conditions. How much more then the danger of bacteria in an animal that died for unknown reasons. The same basic reason applies to a dead animal that had been torn by wild animals. What diseases the wild animals had and passed on to the meat of the dead animal cannot be known. Rabies is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, and so it might be possible to transfer the disease even through a dead animal that had been torn by a rabies infected wolf or wild dog. Rather than trying to teach his people all this in an age of little understanding, God in His wisdom simply gave them laws that protected them from the transmission of such diseases. (Manners & customs of the Bible)

Leviticus 22:9 'They shall therefore keep My charge, so that they will not bear sin because of it and die thereby because they profane it; I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 

  • bear sin for it (KJV): That is, be punished if he break it. Lev 10:1,2 16:2 Ex 28:43 Nu 18:22,32 

Leviticus 22:10 'No layman, however, is to eat the holy gift; a sojourner with the priest or a hired man shall not eat of the holy gift. 

  • The word {zar,} a stranger, does not mean one of another nation, a foreigner, which is expressed by {hechar,} but one who is not of the seed of Aaron, or does not belong to his family.
  • 1Sa 21:6 Mt 12:4 

Ryrie - A layman (not of the priestly tribe), a sojourner, or a hired man (even if they were a part of the priest's household) could not eat his portion of the sacrifices; but a slave and a childless widow who returned home could. 

Leviticus 22:11 'But if a priest buys a slave as his property with his money, that one may eat of it, and those who are born in his house may eat of his food. 

  • his money (KJV): Heb. the purchase of his money, Ge 17:13 Nu 18:11-13 

Leviticus 22:12 'If a priest's daughter is married to a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the gifts. 

  • a stranger (KJV): Lev 21:3 Isa 40:13 *marg:

Leviticus 22:13 'But if a priest's daughter becomes a widow or divorced, and has no child and returns to her father's house as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's food; but no layman shall eat of it. 

  • returned unto her father's house (KJV): A widow in Bengal not unfrequently returns to her father's house on the death of her husband:  the union between her and her own family is never so dissolved as among European nations. Ge 38:11 
  • as in her (KJV): Lev 10:14 Nu 18:11-19 

Leviticus 22:14 'But if a man eats a holy gift unintentionally, then he shall add to it a fifth of it and shall give the holy gift to the priest. 

  • Lev 5:15-19 27:13,15 

Leviticus 22:15 'They shall not profane the holy gifts of the sons of Israel which they offer to the LORD, 

  • Lev 22:9 19:8 Nu 18:32 Eze 22:26 

Leviticus 22:16 and so cause them to bear punishment for guilt by eating their holy gifts; for I am the LORD who sanctifies them.'" 

  • suffer them to bear the iniquity of the trespass, or, lade themselves with the iniquity of trespass in their eating, bear. Lev 7:18 Ps 38:4 Isa 53:11,12 1Pe 2:24 
  • for I (KJV): Lev 22:9 20:8 

Leviticus 22:17 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 

Leviticus 22:17-33 I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who makes you holy. - Leviticus 22:32

TODAY IN THE WORD - When people serve in the U.S. military, they are held to high standards of conduct and obedience. They are not living or acting as private persons, but as representatives of their country. Should they break the rules or disobey a superior, they can be charged with “conduct unbecoming” to a soldier. “Unbecoming” means something like “unsuitable” or “inappropriate.” So “conduct unbecoming” means their behavior was inappropriate for someone wearing the uniform–their actions somehow brought shame to their unit, the armed forces, or even the nation. We can apply the idea of “conduct unbecoming” to worship and our identity as God’s children. In today’s reading, for example, the Israelites had proper or appropriate ways to offer the sacrifices. Just as those who served before the Lord had to do so in the right ways, so also those who worshiped had to present their sacrifices in the right ways. To worship carelessly or disobediently would dishonor God’s name! As we read earlier in Leviticus, sacrificial animals needed to be perfect, with no defects of any kind. Though exceptions could be made in the case of a freewill offering, bringing a perfect animal showed a worshiper’s heart. If a person truly understood who God was, would he bring any less than the best to the altar? If he was stingy and kept the good animals for himself, his sacrifice would not be accepted, there would be no forgiveness, and God would not be pleased. This requirement of the Law’s system foreshadowed the perfection of Christ’s sacrifice (Heb. 10:10). The basis for the sacrifices was the Israelites’ covenant relationship with God. Leviticus 22:33 makes the amazing statement that He had brought them out of Egypt for this very relationship! Offering sacrifices was not something they did for Him, to repay Him somehow. It was simply His due–the rightful honor they owed Him.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - As we’ve been reading this month about the Old Testament system of priests and animal sacrifices, you may have been wondering how the New Testament views all this. These things foreshadow or symbolize Christ, but how does it all come together?

Leviticus 22:18 "Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the sons of Israel and say to them, 'Any man of the house of Israel or of the aliens in Israel who presents his offering, whether it is any of their votive or any of their freewill offerings, which they present to the LORD for a burnt offering--

  • Whatsoever (KJV): Lev 1:2,10 17:10,13 
  • of the strangers (KJV): Nu 15:14-16 
  • vows (KJV): Lev 7:16 23:38 Nu 15:3 De 12:6 Ps 22:25 56:12 61:5,8 65:1 66:13 Ps 116:14,18 Ec 5:4 Jon 1:16 2:9 Na 1:15 Ac 18:18 
  • freewill (KJV): Nu 15:3 De 12:6,17 16:10 

Criswell - Lev 22:18-25 The votive and freewill offerings represent special types of peace offerings. See chart, "The Levitical Offerings," Lev. 1:2.

Leviticus 22:19 for you to be accepted--it must be a male without defect from the cattle, the sheep, or the goats.

  • Lev 1:3,10 4:32 Ex 12:5 Mt 27:4,19,24,54 Lu 23:14,41,47 Joh 19:4 2Co 5:21 Eph 5:27 Heb 9:14 1Pe 1:19 2:22-24 3:18 

Leviticus 22:20 'Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it will not be accepted for you.

  • Lev 22:25 De 15:21 17:1 Mal 1:8,13,14 

Leviticus 22:21 'When a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a special vow or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.

  • peace (KJV): Lev 3:1,6 7:11-38 
  • to accomplish (KJV): Ge 28:20 35:1-3 Nu 15:3,8 De 23:21-23 Ps 50:14 Pr 7:14 Ec 5:4,5 
  • sheep (KJV): or, goats
  • it shall be perfect (KJV): This law is so founded on the nature of the thing itself, that it has been in force among all nations that sacrificed victims to their deities

Leviticus 22:22 'Those that are blind or fractured or maimed or having a running sore or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make of them an offering by fire on the altar to the LORD.

  • Blind (KJV): Lev 22:20 21:18-21 Mal 1:8 
  • an offering (KJV): Lev 1:9,13 3:3,5 

Leviticus 22:23 'In respect to an ox or a lamb which has an overgrown or stunted member, you may present it for a freewill offering, but for a vow it will not be accepted.

  • lamb (KJV): or, kid
  • superfluous (KJV): Lev 21:18 

Leviticus 22:24 'Also anything with its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the LORD, or sacrifice in your land,

  • broken (KJV): or, cut, Lev 22:20 De 23:1 

Leviticus 22:25 nor shall you accept any such from the hand of a foreigner for offering as the food of your God; for their corruption is in them, they have a defect, they shall not be accepted for you.'"

  • a stranger's (KJV): Nu 15:14-16 16:40 Ezr 6:8-10 
  • the bread (KJV): Lev 21:6,8,21,22 Mal 1:7,8,12-14 
  • because (KJV): Eph 2:12 1Jn 5:18 

Leviticus 22:26 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

Leviticus 22:27 "When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be accepted as a sacrifice of an offering by fire to the LORD.

  • seven days (KJV): It was necessary for the mother's health that the young one should suck so long; and prior to this time, the process of nutrition in a young animal can scarcely be considered as completely formed.  Besides this, it may justly be asserted, that the flesh of very young animals is comparatively innutritive.  There is something brutish in eating the young of beast or fowl, before the hair and hoofs are perfect in the one, and feathers and claws in the other; and before this period, their flesh is not good for food, consequently they were not fit for sacrifice, which is termed the bread or food of God, (ver. 25.) Lev 22:25 12:2,3 19:23,24 Ex 22:30 

Leviticus 22:28 "But, whether it is an ox or a sheep, you shall not kill both it and its young in one day.

  • ewe (KJV): or, she goat
  • ye shall not kill it (KJV): This law was certainly intended to inculcate mercy and tenderness of heart; and so the Jews have understood it. Ex 23:19 34:26 De 14:21 22:6,7 

Leviticus 22:29 "When you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted.

  • Lev 7:12-15 Ps 107:22 116:17 Ho 14:2 Am 4:5 Heb 13:15 1Pe 2:5 

Leviticus 22:30 "It shall be eaten on the same day, you shall leave none of it until morning; I am the LORD.

  • Lev 7:15-18 19:7 Ex 16:19,20 

Leviticus 22:31 "So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the LORD.

  • Lev 18:4,5 19:37 Nu 15:40 De 4:40 1Th 4:1,2 

Leviticus 22:32 "You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the LORD who sanctifies you, 

  • Lev 22:2 18:21 
  • I will (KJV): Lev 10:3 Isa 5:16 Mt 6:9 Lu 11:2 
  • hallow you (KJV): Lev 22:16 20:8 21:8,15 Ex 19:5,6 Joh 17:17 1Co 1:2 

GOD'S HOLY NAME

See more detailed discussion and exhortation regarding God's Name in Notes on Leviticus 18:21

Profane (02490)(chalal - see word study in notes on Lev 18:21). The Septuagint (Lxx) uses bebeloo which is discussed in the word study on chalal.

Leviticus 22:33 who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God; I am the LORD."

  • Lev 11:45 19:36 25:38 Ex 6:7 20:2 Nu 15:41 

 

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