Leviticus 22 Commentary

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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

Adapted and modified from C. Swindoll
Leviticus 1-17 Leviticus 18-27
The Way to God
The Walk with God
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 1446 BC

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

And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying -  A new MESSAGE delivered to Moses is introduced with this verse.

George Bush - The same general subject is continued in the present chapter as in the preceding, viz. the specification of the various causes which were to operate as impediments in the way of the priests’ discharging their appropriate functions. Of these the principal were the ceremonial uncleanness to which they might be subject. In the subsequent part of the chapter the scope of the lawgiver is to teach, that the sacrifices, as well at the offerers must be free from blemish, in order to be acceptable.

William MacDonald's Summary of Leviticus 22 - If a priest was ceremonially unclean through leprosy, a running issue, contact with something defiled by a dead body, eating meat that had not been drained of its blood, or any other reason, he was not to partake of the food of the priests. That is what is meant by “separating himself from the holy things” (v. 2). If the priest was a leper or had a running sore, the disqualification probably lasted for a long time. In the other cases mentioned, the following ritual prevailed for the priest: first, he must bathe himself, then wait until the evening, at which time lie would be clean again (vv. 1-9).

In general, strangers, visitors, and hired servants were not permitted to eat the holy food. But a slave who had been purchased by the priest, as well as the slave’s children, could eat it (v. 11). If the priest’s daughter married a stranger, she was not permitted to eat it, but if she were widowed or divorced and childless, and living with her father, then she could share the food of the priests (v. 13).

If a man ate some of the holy food unknowingly, he could make restitution by replacing it and adding a fifth, as in the case of the trespass offering (vv. 14-16).

Offerings brought to the Lord had to be without blemish (v. 19), whether for burnt offerings (vv. 18-20) or peace offerings (v. 21). Diseased, disabled, or disfigured animals were forbidden (v. 22). A bull or a lamb with art overgrown member or a stunted member could be presented for a freewill offering but not for a votive offering (v. 24). Castrated animals or those with damaged reproductive organs were not acceptable (v. 24). Israelites were not to accept any of the above defective animals as an offering from a stranger (v. 25). A sacrificial animal could not be offered until it was at least eight days old (vv. 26, 27). A mother animal and her young were not to be killed on the same clay (v. 28). The meat of a thanksgiving offering was to be eaten on the same day that it was offered (vv. 29, 30).

Leon Hyatt  -  Leviticus 22:1-16 Introduction This MESSAGE concerned factors that disqualified priests and their families from eating of the holy foods. The distinction between “a holiness” and “a holiness of holinesses” out of the offerings and explanations concerning who was authorized to eat of each have been explained in Leviticus 6:14-18; 7:28-36; 10:12-15 (see also comment on Lev. 2:3 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading [It is] a holiness of holinesses, on Lev. 6:14-18 in MESSAGE 5, on Lev. 7:28-36 in MESSAGE 9, and on Lev. 10:12-15 in MESSAGE 13). Further information concerning other items that were holinesses or holinesses of holinesses is found in Leviticus 27:1-33. Rules given in this MESSAGE also applied to those items (see comments on those verses in MESSAGE 38). In this MESSAGE, certain limitations were placed on the right of priests and their families to eat or touch those holy items. Priests were disqualified from eating holy foods (certainly including most holy foods) when they were unclean. Persons in a priest’s household were disqualified from eating holy foods if they were only temporarily attached to the household. (Note - Hyatt refers to "MESSAGE" and gives a number - to see these other messages click here

  • Uncleanness disqualifying a priest (Lev 22:2-9)
  • Relationships disqualifying persons attached to a priest’s household (Lev 22:10-16)

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 
  • Leviticus 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 


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.

Hyatt - This MESSAGE was to be relayed to Aaron and his sons. The first part of the MESSAGE (vs. 2-9) was especially pertinent to the priests, because it dealt directly with them. The second part (vs. 10- 16) was also of concern to them, because they were responsible for supervising their households to prevent infractions of the rules by members of their families. The commandment in verse 2 sounds strange, because Aaron and his sons were commanded to keep away from the holy foods they already had been given the right to eat (see comments on Lev. 6:16-17 in MESSAGE 5; on Lev. 7:28-36 in MESSAGE 9; on Lev. 10:12-15 in MESSAGE 13, and on Lev. 21:22 in MESSAGE 26). The puzzle is explained in verse 3 by the statement that priests were not to come near to holinesses when they were unclean. Verses 4, 6, 7 show that “come near the holinesses” means to eat of them. Eating of the portions of the offerings that were assigned to the priests was a part of the offering itself. Eating those potions had important symbolic significance as a part of the offering. Therefore, those who ate of those portions of the offerings needed to be in a ceremonially clean condition when they ate.

The occasions by which it was possible for a priest to become ceremonially unclean were numerous enough that, no matter how careful a priest might be, he could not always avoid uncleanness (see comments on Lev. 11-15 in MESSAGES 14-19; and on Lev. 21:1 in MESSAGE 26; see also Num. 12:11-22). When a priest was in an unclean condition, he was not to eat of the portions of the offerings that were assigned for his and the other priests’ support.

Since uncleanness symbolized sin, the command that when a priest in an unclean condition he was not to eat meat or bread from off the altar, even though it was set aside for his support, surely was intended to teach the Israelites that even the best of men at times would fall short of God’s commandments and ideals. No follower of Jehovah, not even the priests, could be completely free of sin. However, the susceptibility of every person to sin did not mean that they could take sin lightly. Sin always brought evil consequences and shut them off from some of God’s blessings. The commandment that the priests were not to eat of the holy foods when they were unclean taught them that sin in their lives would prevent them from fully carrying out the work to which God had assigned them.

A priest who did eat of holy foods when he was unclean showed that he desired the privileges of his office without the responsibilities that accompanied them. Such an action was rebellion against Jehovah and His commandments. He was to be “cut off from My face.” Some have interpreted this expression to mean he was to be removed from being a priest. Verse 9 shows it really means he was to be executed. The expression has the same meaning as “cut off from among his people” in Leviticus 7:20 and as “cut off” in Leviticus 20:5 (see comments on Lev. 7:20 in MESSAGE 7, in Introduction to MESSAGE 24, and on Lev. 20:5 in MESSAGE 24). The priest who ate without proper preparation revealed a rebellious heart, and the penalty for rebellion was death.

There is no statement here or in verses. 10- 16 that being unclean disqualified a member of a priest’s household from eating of the holy foods; however, it must have been taken for granted that that was the case. Since being unclean disqualified a priest from eating most holy portions of the offerings, it must have disqualified a member of his household from eating holy portions. This conclusion is supported by Leviticus 7:20-21, which prescribed the death penalty for any person eating of the meat of a slaughter-offering while unclean (see comments on those verses in MESSAGE 7). (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

George Bush - Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things, &c. Heb. ינזרו yinnazeru, that they be separated. The root of the verb is נזר nâzar, to separate, from which comes ‘Nazarite,’ one religiously separated from all secular relations. Gr. προσεχετωσαν απο των ἁγιων let them take heed of the holy things. The precept has respect to such of the priests as were ceremonially unclean. During the time that this uncleanness was upon them they were to abstain from eating the holy things which ordinarily belonged to the priests.

That they profane not my holy name. Heb. שם קדשי shem kodshi, the name of my holiness. But the equivalent rendering of our version is confirmed by the Gr. το ονομα το ἁγιον μου, my holy name. The sanctuary would of course be profaned when its holy things were defiled, which they would be when offered or eaten by persons unclean, contrary to the express commandment of God. Compare vv. 15, 32.

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - 3. Among your generations. That is, either now or at any time hereafter.
That goeth unto the holy things. That is, for the purpose of eating, as is to be inferred from vv. 4, 6, 12.
Shall be cut off from my presence. Heb. מפני mippenë, from my face or presence; with a latent allusion to the visible signal of the divine presence in the Shekinah of the tabernacle. The offender would be cut off before that, as were Nadab and Abihu.

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 
  • Leviticus 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

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

George Bush - 4. Unclean by the dead. Heb. טמא נפש temë nephesh, unclean (by) a soul. Gr. ψυχη, soul. For parallel usage see on Lev. 19:28, and 21:1, and of the nature of the uncleanness see Numb. 19:11, 14, 22. The uncleannesses adverted to in the next chapter are such as were contracted by leprosy, running of the reins, involuntary seed-flux; touching the carcase of any forbidden creature; eating of any animal that died of itself, or was torn to pieces by a ravenous beast or bird; or by coming in contact with any person who was at the time legally unclean; with similar instances, which have been considered in the previous chapters.

Hyatt on Lev 22:4-8 - These verses review certain conditions that made a person unclean. The first condition was having the disease of tsaraath (see comments on Lev. 13:1-46 in MESSAGE 16). The second condition was an abnormal discharge from the body (see comments on Lev. 15:1-12 in MESSAGE 19). Those conditions made a person unclean until he was healed and cleansed (see comments on Lev. 14:1-32 in MESSAGE 18 and on Lev. 15:13-15 in MESSAGE 19). The other conditions mentioned made the person unclean until nightfall. They were: touching the carcass of an unclean animal (see comments on Lev. 11:1-23 in MESSAGE 14), touching a man in a day when he had discharged seed or semen (see comments on Lev. 15:16-18 in MESSAGE 19), touching an unclean swarmer (see comments on Lev. 11:29-38,41-43 in MESSAGE 14), touching an animal that had died of a natural cause (see comments on Lev. 11:39-40 in MESSAGE 14), and touching an animal that was killed by being prey for another animal (see comments on Lev. 7:24 in MESSAGE 8 and on Lev. 17:15 in MESSAGE 21).

Then verse 5 includes other unclean conditions that are not specifically named by referring to touching “a man by whom he may become unclean by any [kind of] uncleanness.” Those conditions would include touching a woman after she had given birth to a child (see comments on Lev. 12:1-8 in MESSAGE 15), touching a person with tsaraath (see comments on Lev. 13:45- 56 in MESSAGE 16), touching a a woman during menstruation (see comments on Lev. 15:19-30 in MESSAGE 19), and touching a corpse (see comments on Lev. 21:1 in MESSAGE 15; see also Num. 12:11-22). Two other conditions could make a person unclean that do not specifically fall under the classification of “touching a man.” They are touching cloth that was infected with tsaraath (see comments on Lev. 13:47-59 in MESSAGE 16) and touching a house that was infected with tsaraath (see comments on Lev. 14:33-53 in MESSAGE 18). No doubt, those conditions were to be understood.

When a priest became unclean, he had to observe the appropriate cleansing ceremony before he could eat of holy foods. That ceremony usually consisted of washing his body and his clothes in water and waiting until the evening (see comments on Lev. 11:25,40 in MESSAGE 14, on Lev. 14:46- 47 in MESSAGE 18, on Lev. 15:4-12,18,19-23,27 in MESSAGE 19, and on Lev. 17:15 in MESSAGE 21). This passage says a priest who became unclean was to carry out those cleansing ceremonies, though it does not specifically mention washing the priest’s clothes. After the washing, at evening he would be clean. “Evening” is defined in this passage for the first time as “When the sun has gone down.” After his ceremonial cleansing, the priest could eat of the portions of the offerings that belonged to him. Eating portions of the offerings and gifts Jehovah had designated for the priests was a priest’s only means of support. God did not intended for him to be denied of them long enough to harm him, but the provisions of these verses preserved the unclean symbols, which were constant reminders to the Israelites to avoid all forms of sin.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - 6–9. Shall be unclean until even, &c. The priest thus rendered unclean was to remain like other Israelites, in a state of separation for a day, i. e. till sunset, and be incapable of all priestly offices and privileges till he had washed his clothes and his body, and this under the penalty of ‘bearing sin,’ or suffering condign punishment by being cut off by the immediate hand of God, as a bold profaner of his service.

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

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

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Hyatt - This verse means that, if the priests kept watch over their actions and obeyed God’s commands, the weight of sin would not bear down on them and they would not die. The expression translated “watch My watch” is the same as the command God gave to Aaron and his sons to spend seven days in The Tabernacle after their anointing to study and prayer over their responsibilities (see comments on Lev. 8:35 in MESSAGE 10). The same expression was used in Leviticus 18:4,5,26,30; 19:3,19,30; 20:8,22 to refer to watching out to keep Jehovah’s commandments (see comments on Lev. 18:30 in MESSAGE 22). The priests were to be as diligent in keeping Jehovah’s commandments as they had been in observing study and prayer as a part of their hallowing ceremonies. In verse 3, Jehovah had already made it clear that the penalty for eating holy foods while unclean was death. By comparison with Lev. 20:2-5, it would seem that this commandment meant an offending priest was to be executed by the Israelites after he was judged guilty by the judges and that, if the Israelites failed to carry out the sentence, Jehovah Himself would punish him with death. Such a stern penalty was required because eating holy foods while unclean was direct disobedience to a known command of God. It showed disrespect for the symbols of Jehovah and for the spiritual truths they represented. It amounted to rebellion against the authority and commands of Jehovah (see Introduction to Lev. 20 and comments on Lev. 20:2-5 in MESSAGE 24). The penalty for rebellion against Jehovah was death  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 
  • Leviticus 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

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. 

George Bush -   Strangers, Sojourners, and Hired Servants interdicted from eating the Holy Things

10. There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing. That is, not one of another nation, a foreigner, but one that is not of the seed of Aaron, of the family of some priest, is not to be maintained by him out of his share of the sacrifices.

Sojourner. Heb. תושב toshëb, from ישב yâshab, to dwell. Gr. παροικος, a stranger-resident. By a ‘sojourner of the priest’ is to be understood one that should be a boarder or lodger with him, a transient inmate of his house. Such an one was not to eat of the consecrated things, but was to live upon what accrued to the priest from his common tithes. So also with the hired servant.

Hyatt - Relationships disqualifying persons attached to a priest’s household (Lev 22:10-16) This verse means that any person who was not a regular or permanent member of a priest’s household was not authorized to eat of the holy food that Jehovah had designated to provide support for their priests and their families. The word translated “outsider” is the same word used for “strange” fire in Leviticus 10:1 (see comments on that verse in MESSAGE 11 under the heading and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them). It can be translated correctly as “stranger,” though “outsider” communicates the idea more clearly to English readers. Persons from outside the family were not to be allowed to eat the food God had set apart for the priests’ and their families, though they could be welcome guests of the family. This provision prevented persons in secular occupations, who had other means of support, from imposing on the priests, whose only support was through their portions of the people’s offerings and gifts to Jehovah.

The word translated “visitor” means a person who may have been staying within a priest’s house for a period of time but who was not a regular part of his family. It signified a person who was more closely related to the family than an “outsider,” but who still was not a permanent part of the family. This word has often been translated as “sojourner,” but it is not the same word that is often translated in that manner in Leviticus 16:29; 17:8, 10, 12, 13, 15; 18:26; 19:10, 33, 34; 20:2. That word means a person of foreign birth who had accepted Jehovah as his God and who had been accepted as a member of the family and as a citizen of the nation. Such persons were accepted into the family’s tribe and were given all the privileges of native-born Israelites (see comments on Lev. 16:29b-31 in MESSAGE 20, on Lev. 17:8-9 in MESSAGE 21, on Lev. 19:10,33-34 in MESSAGE 23, and on Lev. 20:2 in MESSAGE 24). Many examples of sojourners who played an important part in the life of Israel can be cited. Two who are readily and universally recognized are Rahab (Josh. 6:25; Matt. 1:5; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25) and Ruth (Ruth 4:13-17; Mat. 1:5).. By contrast, this word means “visitor.” When it was applied to the nation, it meant a foreigner, an alien. When it was applied to a family, it meant a person who was not a regular part of the family. The person could have been a renter or a long term guest. The length of his stay did not make him a member of the family. Those visitors were not to be invited to share in the holy food that Jehovah had appointed for the priests’ support. If translators were more careful to distinguish between these two words, the meaning would be much clearer to English readers.

A third type of person who might be attached to a priest’s family but who was not authorized to eat of the holy food that was set aside for the priests’ support was a hired servant, that is, an employee. He might have worked for the priest for a long time and perhaps could have lived with the priest, but he was not a regular part of the household. He had his own means of support through the wages he earned, and he did not need to eat the priest’s food. He was to be treated fairly and his wages were to be paid to him regularly (see comments on Lev. 19:13 in MESSAGE 23), but he was not authorized to eat food set aside for the priest’s family.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - 11. If the priest buy any soul with his money. Heb. כי יקנה נפש קנין כספו ki yikneh nephesh kinyan kispho, when he shall buy a soul the purchase of his money. It is evident from this that there were among the ancient Hebrews persons who were bought with money. At the same time it by no means follows, that the slavery which existed among them was of a nature similar to that which is unhappily established among us, or which can be justly pleaded as a precedent to warrant it. Those who were thus ‘purchased,’ and held in this servile relation, were generally those of their own nation, who from being reduced to a state of poverty, had sold their own services, or those whose services had become forfeited by a breach of the laws, or lastly, those who were obtained from the surrounding heathen in the manner which will be considered in the Notes on Lev. 25. It is certain, however, that from whatever source they were obtained, they were treated like the rest of the family to which they belonged, and had privileges entirely unknown to modern servitude. See Note on Gen. 15:3.

Leon Hyatt - A slave owned by a priest was another matter. He was a regular part of the priest’s household, because he belonged completely to the priest. A child of a priest’s slave was also a part of the priest’s family. Both the slave and his or her child could eat the priest’s food. They had no other means of support, because they were completely dependent on their priest owner. They could eat the priest’s food just like the priest’s family members. (For a discussion of the moral questions involved in provisions for slavery in Israel, see comments on Lev. 19:20-22 in MESSAGE 23).  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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

George Bush - 12, 13. If a priest’s daughter be married to a stranger. That is, to one who was not of the stock or family of the priests, in relation to whom other Israelites were counted as ‘strangers.’ By marrying out of the priestly line she of course lost the right which she had to her share of the Levitical maintenance while she remained at home in her father’s house. An exception to this rule is stated in the next verse, when a priest’s daughter so married was left a widow, or bad been divorced, without children. In this case, she was permitted to return and become a member of her father’s family as before, and ate of his food, like the rest of his family.

Leon Hyatt vv12-13 - A third kind of person who was considered to be a part of a priest’s family and who was entitled to eat of the priest’s food was a daughter who had been married but who had returned to her father’s house to live. A priest’s daughter who was married to a man who was not a priest and who lived with her husband was not entitled to eat her father’s food. The word translated “outsider” in verse 12 is the same word translated in that manner in verse 10. Here it refers to a man who was not of the priestly family, that is, not descended from Aaron. When a priest’s daughter married, she no longer belonged to her father’s household and, therefore, she lost her right to eat of the holy food, unless her husband was also a priest. However, if her husband died or if she was divorced and returned to live with her father, she was again authorized to eat of her father’s food.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 
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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. 

George Bush - The case of one who ate of the Holy Things unwittingly 14. If a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly. Heb. בשגגה bishgâgâh, through unadvised error. Though the act were done ignorantly and unintentionally, yet in order to inspire the utmost caution in respect to holy things, the priest was to affix a value to the thing eaten,’ which the offender was obliged to pay, together with a fifth part of the value in addition; all which went to the priest.

Leon Hyatt - If an unauthorized person ate of holy food, that is, food designated for the priests without realizing it was holy food, it was not rebellion but a sin of “mistake” (see comments on Lev. 4:2 in MESSAGE 2). He was to return to the priest food of equal value plus one-fifth more. This provision had been commanded already in instructions concerning the offense-offering. In those instructions, it also had been made clear that the restitution was to be accompanied by an offenseoffering (see comments on Lev. 5:15-16 in MESSAGE 3).  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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

George Bush - 15, 16. They shall not profane, &c. That is, the priests should not profane the holy things by suffering them to be eaten by strangers. The phrase in the next verse, ‘suffer them to bear the iniquity,’ may be rendered ‘cause them to bear,’ meaning that they shall not by their negligence cause the people to fall under the punishment which God would inflict for such a trespass. Otherwise it may be understood of the priests themselves, which appears to be intimated by the marginal reading, ‘lade themselves with the iniquity of trespass in their eating.’ This is favored by the Gr. which has επαξουσι εφʼ ἑαυτους ανομιαν, bring upon them iniquity. But after all it is scarcely possible to determine whether the priests or the people are intended.

Leon Hyatt - Because this offense could be forgiven did not mean that either the offender or the priest should take it lightly. If the offender made light of his offense, he made a holy object common, which was a serious offense against Jehovah. The word translate “contribute” is a verb related to the word translated “contribution” in Leviticus 7:14. In that verse, the word “contribution” referred to the bread a worshiper was to offer to Jehovah along with a slaughter-offering. Jehovah designated it for the priests (see comments on Lev. 7:14 in MESSAGE 7 under the heading And he shall offer from it one from each [kind of] offering [as] a contribution to Jehovah). In Leviticus 7:32, the word was used to refer to the right front quarter of a slaughter offering, which was a portion of the offering that belonged to Jehovah and which He assigned to the officiating priest (see comments on that verse in MESSAGE 9). In Numbers 15:19-21, it was used to refer to a firstfruits offering (concerning first-fruits, see comments on Lev. 2:12 in MESSAGE 1). In Numbers 18:8-29, which lists all the items that were set aside for the priests’ support, it is applied to the whole list. In Numbers 31:29,41 it was applied to the priests’ portion of spoils from a war with Midian. Therefore, this verse means that any items Jehovah had set aside for the priests’ support was to be recognized as holy and treated with the greatest of respect.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 
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Leon Hyatt - All translators have struggled with these words and have interpreted them in a number of complicated ways. The literal translation given here is best. “Cause them to bear” means the weight of iniquity would bear down on those who made light of holy objects set aside for the priests. They were subject to punishment (see comments on Lev. 5:1 in MESSAGE 2). “Iniquity of offense” means treating lightly holy objects was an iniquity that required restitution (see comments on Lev. 5:6 in MESSAGE 2). The restitution already had been specified as equal to the amount eaten plus a fifth more.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

Application Christian ministers should be extremely careful to keep their lives free from sin. They have no right to enjoy the blessings and privileges that belong to the Lord’s ministers, unless they are willing to carry worthily the moral responsibilities that go along with them. If a minister deliberately sins and persists in sin while trying to pose as a servant of Christ, he is guilty of rebellion. He will become an outcast from the Lord and from the privileges that the Lord’s ministers enjoy. Persons outside of a minister’s family who try to enjoy the privileges that belong to those chosen families also sin. To seek those privileges without the right to them is not rebellion, but it is a serious offense and should be repented of. The person also should restore the privileges wrongfully taken, and more besides.

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

This verse introduces another MESSAGE of Jehovah to Moses.

Leon Hyatt - Leviticus 22:17-25 Introduction It was not only important for a priest to be properly qualified to officiate at the altar and for members of his household to be properly qualified to eat meat and bread from the offerings. It also was important for animals used in an offering to be properly qualified. It had frequently been specified in previous MESSAGES that animals used in the offerings were to be “pristine” (Lev. 1:3,10; 3:1,6; 4:3,23,32; 5:15,18; 6:6; 9:2,3; 14:10; see comments on Lev. 1:3 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading a pristine male). This MESSAGE clarifies what was meant by a “pristine” animal. The blemishes that prevented it from being worthy of being used for an offering are listed. They were the same kind of blemishes that disqualified a priest from officiating at the altar, though the lists are not identical (compare blemishes listed for a priest in Lev.21:16-24 in MESSAGE 26 with blemishes listed for an animal in verses 22-25 below).  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 hig 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 
  • Leviticus 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

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

George Bush - Free-will and Thank-offerings for Vows to be without Blemish 18. Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel. As the enactments that follow had respect to the quality of the sacrifices which were to be offered by the congregation, the congregation had, of course, as much concern in them as the priests, and therefore they are addressed to the whole people collectively. They constitute a strict injunction that all sacrifices by way of present, or free-will offering to God, made either by Israelite or proselyte, for thanksgiving for former mercies, or by way of vow for procuring blessings desired, should be perfect in their kind. No beast that was marked by any apparent defect, superfluity, excrescence, deformity, or disease, was permitted to come upon the altar. For the reason of this statute, see Note on Lev. 1., prefatory remarks.

Or of the strangers in Israel. Heb. מן הגר min haggër, from the stranger, collect, sing. Gr. των προσηλυτων των προσκειμενων προς αυτους εν Ισραηλ, of the proselytes joined unto them in Israel; i. e. such of the surrounding heathen nations as had renounced idolatry and become converts to the faith of Israel, but had not been circumcised. These were usually called proselytes of the gate, and differed entirely from the strangers alluded to, v. 25, as will be seen by the Note in loc.

Hyatt on vv18-20 - Jehovah told Moses to relay the MESSAGE to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the Israelites. All Israelites needed to be concerned with the proper selection of an animal to be offered at The Tabernacle altar, since the people brought the animals and the priests received them. Then the MESSAGE states that the regulations contained in it applied to sojourners as well. Sojourners were people of other nations who had accepted Jehovah and had been accepted into Israel on an equal footing with home-born Israelites. All the Israel’s laws applied equally to sojourners as to descendants of Jacob (see comments on Lev. 16::29b in MESSAGE 20 and on Lev. 17:8-9 in MESSAGE 21). These verses speak specifically of offerings offered as rededication-offerings, which symbolized commitment of the worshipers whole life to God (see comments on Lev. 1:3-17 in MESSAGE 1). More specifically it speaks of rededication-offerings that accompanied the payment of a vow or a voluntary gift. The difference between a vow and a voluntary gift was that a vow was a promise to give a gift at a specific date in the future, while a voluntary gift was given immediately (see comments on Lev. 7:16 in MESSAGE 7). Leviticus 7:16-18 had discussed peace-offerings used to accompany a vow or voluntary gift (see comments on those verse in MESSAGE 7). This verse shows that a rededication-offering could be used for the same purpose. When a rededication-offering was used, it symbolized that the gift expressed total dedication, whereas when peace-offerings were used, it symbolized that the gift expressed joy for fellowship among God’s people and with God (see comments on Lev. 1:3 in MESSAGES 1).

When a rededication-offering was used to accompany payment of a vow or a voluntary gift, the animal was to be a male, (see comments on Lev. 1:3 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading a pristine male). However, the animal could be a bull, a ram, or a male goat (see comments on Lev. 1:3 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading of the herd, on Lev. 1:10-13 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading And if his offering is of the flock, [that is] of sheep or of goats). Birds could also be used as rededication offerings (see comments on Lev. 1:14-17 in MESSAGE 1). However, the instructions that Jehovah had given for bird rededication-offerings had said nothing about the birds’ being in pristine condition. Therefore, nothing is said in this MESSAGE to define any blemishes that might make a bird unacceptable. Or perhaps birds were not appropriate to use for offerings to accompany payment of a vow or a voluntary gift, since birds were too small a gift for someone who was able to bring a significant gift.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 
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George Bush - 19. At your own will. Rather, according to the Heb. ‘for your favorable acceptance.’ See Note on Lev. 1:3. Gr. δεκτα, acceptable. Thus too, Sol. Jarchi, ‘Bring the thing that is meet to make you acceptable before me, that it may be to your favorable acceptation.’ So in the next verse, the leading word in the clause, ‘it shall not be acceptable for you,’ is in the original precisely the same (רצון râtzon).

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

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Hyatt - This verse emphasizes that animals offered as slaughter-offerings of peace offerings to accompany the payment of a vow or a voluntary gift, that animal also had to be pristine (see comments on Lev. 3:1 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading a slaughter-offering of peace offerings). However, in that case, the animal did not have to be a male. Like a rededication-offering that accompanied a vow or a voluntary gift, it could be from the herd (cow family), a sheep, or a goat (see comments on Lev. 3:1-2,7,12-16 in MESSAGE 1). Whereas this MESSAGE emphasized that a slaughter-offering that accompanied payment of a vow or a voluntary gift had to be a “pristine” specimen, the same principle applied to all animals offered at The Tabernacle altar for any kind of offering. The pristine condition of the animals had been repeatedly stated in previous MESSAGES (see references listed in Introduction to this MESSAGE).  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Hyatt - The blemishes that kept an animal from being “pristine” and that, therefore, disqualified it for use in the offerings were then listed. They are similar to the blemishes that disqualified a priest from serving at the altar or in the Tabernacle, but they are not identical. The word translated “blind” is well known and easily understood. The word translated “broken” probably means an animal with a broken bone. The word translated “cut” probably means an animal that was disfigured from a cut or gash in the skin. The word translated “running [sore]” definitely refers to something that is running and most likely means a sore. The word translated “itch” is rare. It was one of the blemishes mentioned for the priests, and it is generally understood to mean some kind of itching rash on the skin. The word translated “mange” was also listed for the priests. It refers to some kind of scaly condition on the skin. With reference for the priests, it is translated “psoriasis” in Leviticus 21:20, while in this verse it is translated “mange.” At least, it means some kind of scaly illness on the skin. Any of these conditions made the animal undesirable and unfit for use as any kind of fire-offering (see comments on Lev. 1:9 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading a fire-offering).  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - 23. That hath any thing superfluous or lacking. That is, deformed by any peculiar elongation or contraction of its limbs.

That mayest thou offer for a free-will offering. The most obvious construction of this passage is, that the two kinds of defect just mentioned, though they prevented the acceptance of an animal for a vow, did not for a free-will offering, which would seem to have been considered of less value. But the Hebrew writers understand by free-will offering, in this case, not an offering for sacrifice on the altar, where a blemished beast under no circumstances was allowed, but for the maintenance of the priests, or for sacred uses in general; as, for instance, to be sold for the reparation of the temple, &c.

Hyatt - A difference was made in the regulations concerning an animal that was offered as a slaughter-offering to accompany a voluntary gift from one to accompany a vow. An animal that accompanied a voluntary gift could have a twisted spine or be stunted in its growth. An animal presented with the payment of a vow could not have either of those conditions. A distinction already had been made in the ceremonies for slaughter-offerings that accompanied payment of a vow or a voluntary gift from those that expressed thanksgiving. A slaughter-offering that was offered to accompany payment of a vow or a voluntary gift was not offered with bread, and they could be eaten over a period of two days. A slaughter-offering that was offered to express thanksgiving was offered with bread and had to be eaten the same day the offering was made (see comments on Lev. 7:15 in MESSAGE 7). In this MESSAGE a means was provided to distinguish a slaughter-offering offered for a vow from one offered for a voluntary gift. The difference was in the condition of the animals that could be offering. The reason why a stricter standard was provided for animals offered with vows may have been to emphasize the importance of not forgetting vows made in advance and of fulfilling promises made to Jehovah. In all other cases, the same standard applied to animals for all the offerings.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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,

George Bush - 24. Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut. That is, castrated; of which there were four modes, expressed by these four terms.

Neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land. Heb. בארצכם לא תעשו beartzekem lo taasu, in your land ye shall not make or do (it). That is, as the Hebrews understand it, ye shall not do this thing, ye shall not be in the practice of castrating your animals in any part of your land. Otherwise it may be understood as in our version, which is sustained by the Greek. See Note on Deut. 23:1.

Hyatt on vv 24-25 - These verses mean that animals with damaged testicles were not to be used as offerings to Jehovah. The words probably do not describe four methods of castration but four injuries to the testicles that could make the animal incapable of reproducing. Animals with damaged reproductive organs were not whole and pristine. They could not be used as an altar offering.

“And you must not do [this] in your land” may mean that Israelites were not ever to deliberately make animals incapable of reproducing within their land. More likely it means they were not to use animals they had made incapable of reproducing as altar offerings. “And you must not offer any of these from the hand of a foreigner” means they were not to offer an animal that had been made incapable of reproducing by a foreigner outside the land and that had been brought into the land for sale. How and where an animal was damaged was not the issue. Any damaged animal was not to be offered to Jehovah. If a worshiper did offer a damaged animal, it would not be accepted for him as a legitimate offering.

Application Animal offerings represented spiritual experiences in the life of the worshipers. An animal with a blemish could not be a fitting symbol of a genuine worship experience. Bringing to the altar a pristine animal showed he sincerity of the Israelite worshiper. Christians must be equally sincere when we worship God. Just going through the ceremony of worship is not pleasing to God. Our hearts must be sincere about experiencing God and yielding ourselves to Him. When we sing, pray, listen, learn, or dedicate ourselves with our hearts, our worship is acceptable. We are blessed and made whole ourselves by sincere and genuine worship and communion with our God.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - 25. Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer. Heb. מיד בן נכר miyad bën nâkâr, from the hand of the son of an alien. That is, a Gentile, a foreigner, one not of the seed of Israel. Gr. αλλογενης, of another stock. The Hebrew writers for the most part expound this of blemished beasts, brought by Gentiles to be offered to the Lord, which was sometimes the case with those who were convinced of the folly of idolatry, and felt the prompting of a better service towards God. This is recognized by Maimonides: ‘If the heathen (Gentile) bringeth peace-offerings, he offereth them for burnt-offerings, for the heathen’s heart is towards! heaven;’ they are often prompted to worship. We see something of this kind in the case of Cyrus, Ezra 6:8–10. But though their sacrifices were allowed, yet the victims were required to be no less perfect than those of the Israelites. As they were to bring no blemished offering, so they were to take none such from the hand of a stranger. Such offerers were obliged to adhere to the rites of the country observed by the priests. Thus Alexander the Great, when he was at Jerusalem, offered sacrifice to God according to the directions of the high priest. Josephus, Lib. 11., at the end.

Because their corruption is in them. That is, their faults are in them, the faults above mentioned; which might as a general rule be presumed, coming from the source they did. It would be natural that the ideas of the heathen on these matters would be very loose.

Leon Hyatt - OTHER FACTORS DISQUALIFYING AN ANIMAL FROM BEING USED IN AN OFFERNG Leviticus 22:26-33 Introduction This MESSAGE names three other factors that disqualified animals from being acceptable as offerings to Jehovah. It completed Jehovah’s instructions concerning the way fire-offerings were to be presented to Him, and it closes with a challenge to keep the commandments exactly as Jehovah commanded them. This MESSAGE may be outlined as follows:

  • Introductory note (22:26)
  • A. An animal disqualified if under a week old (22:27)
  • B. An animal disqualified if offered with its offspring (22:28)
  • C. A thanksgiving slaughter-offering disqualified if not eaten the same day (22:29-30)
  • Conclusion: Challenge to keep the commandments concerning the offerings (22:31-33)   (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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

Another MESSAGE of Jehovah to Moses is introduced with these words.

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - The Age at which different Animals were to be offered to God 27. It shall be seven days under the dam. Before the eighth day they were not fit for food, and therefore not for sacrifice, which was the bread or food of God, as it is frequently termed. See Note on Ex. 22:30.

Leon Hyatt - To be used as an offering at The Tabernacle, a bull, sheep, or goat was to be at least eight days old. It was to be old enough to be strong and relatively independent. An animal in its first week of life had not developed enough to adequately represent a human life or a genuine spiritual experience with God. Also, it had not attained sufficient value to be a worthy offering to Jehovah. Thus, an animal less than a week old was disqualified from use as a fire-offering  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

George Bush - The Age at which different Animals were to be offered to God 27. It shall be seven days under the dam. Before the eighth day they were not fit for food, and therefore not for sacrifice, which was the bread or food of God, as it is frequently termed. See Note on Ex. 22:30.

28. Ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day. This precept seems to be confined to sacrifices, which were to be devoid of all appearance of cruelty. The Jews in general understand it as inculcating mercy. Maimonides expressly remarks, that it was designed to prevent the slaughter of the young ‘in the presence of the dam, because this occasions to animals extreme grief; nor is there, in this respect, a difference between the distress of man and that of the irrational creation.’ The Targum of Jonathan beautifully introduces the verse with this paraphrase:—‘And my people, the children of Israel, as our Father is merciful in heaven, so be ye merciful on earth.’

Leon Hyatt - An animal disqualified if offered with its offspring (22:28) An animal and one of its offspring were not to be slaughtered for use as altar offerings on the same day. The word translated “slaughter” is the regular word used for slaughtering animals at the altar. It was sometimes used to refer to slaughtering an animal for other purposes, but its regular use was for slaughtering animals to be used as offerings. In this verse, it definitely applied to animals slaughtered at the altar as offerings to God (see comments on Lev. 1:5 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading And he shall kill the bull). The commandment applied to animals of either gender. The word translated “head of cattle” referred to a beef of either sex (see comments on Lev. 4:10 in MESSAGE 2 under the heading the head of cattle of the slaughter-offering of peace-offerings). The word translated “one of the flock” referred to any animal of the flock, that is, a sheep or a goat of either gender (see comments on Lev. 5:7 in MESSAGE 2 under the heading And if his hand does not extend [enough] to bring one from the flock). The word translated “son” means literally a male offspring, but it was regularly applied to both people and animals of both genders. The prohibition in this verse applied to all animals offered at the altar. No animal of any gender was to be offered at the altar with one of its offspring of either gender.

Probably the reason for this prohibition was that offering an animal with its offspring was a practice of pagan religions of the time, similar to seething a kid in its mother’s milk (Ex. 23:19; Deut. 14:21). Not a great deal is known about these pagan practices, but other warnings against pagan practices seem to indicate that this explanation is the best way to understand the reason for this prohibition (Lev. 18:2-18,21; 19:4,26b,27,28,31; 22:24-25). Likely the pagan practice of offering an animal and its offspring together was related to practices of fertility cults, which were so fascinating to the pagans of that day. The Israelites were not offer their offerings in ways that seemed to resemble similar offerings of pagan and fertility religions.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 

Hyatt - A thanksgiving slaughter-offering disqualified if not eaten the same day (22:29-30) A slaughter-offering symbolized fellowship among the worshiper, Jehovah, and Jehovah’s ministers (see comments on Lev. 3:1 in MESSAGE 1 under the heading a slaughter-offering of peace offerings). It could be offered to accompany payment of a vow or a voluntary gift or to express thanksgiving. A variation in the ceremony was commanded for each of the three occasions (see comments on Lev. 7:12-21 in MESSAGE 7 and on Lev. 22:23 in MESSAGE 28). These verses repeat instructions already given that a slaughter-offering for thanksgiving was to be eaten on the same day the offering was presented at the altar. If eaten later, not just the portion eaten incorrectly, but the whole offering, became foul and repulsive to Jehovah (see comments on Lev. 7:18 in MESSAGE 7). These verses add that, not only the offering, but also the worshiper was not accepted. Instead of being blessed, the offerer was guilty and subject to punishment, because his action showed that he had not offered the offering in the right spirit. So, leaving some of the meat to eat after the first day disqualified the animal and made the offering unacceptable, even if it otherwise possessed all the necessary qualities. Though this instruction had been given earlier, it was repeated in this MESSAGE to complete the catalog of factors that disqualified an animal from being acceptable as an offering. The same disqualification applied to a slaughter-offering for a vow or a voluntary gift that was eaten after the second day. That fact is not mentioned here because it had already been stressed in three earlier MESSAGES (see comments on Lev. 7;16-18 in MESSAGE 7, on Lev. 19:5-8 in MESSAGE 23, and on Lev. 22:18-25 in MESSAGE 28). Therefore, this brief notice was enough of a reminder.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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

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

Leon Hyatt - Conclusion: Challenge to keep the commandments concerning the offerings (22:31-33) This MESSAGE completed the instructions concerning the offerings. It was appropriate that it should close with a challenge to the Israelites to obey all the instructions that had been given concerning the offerings. The offerings were to teach the Israelites to be a people separated form the unbelieving peoples of the world and unto Jehovah. Failing to keep Jehovah’s instructions concerning the offerings would cause the Israelites to lose their distinctiveness and would make them like all the other peoples of the world. Since they bore the name of Jehovah, the moral distinctiveness of that name would be lost, and Jehovah’s name would become like all the other common, ordinary names of the world. The Israelites were to be careful not to let that happen, because their God Jehovah was utterly distinct from every other god served by men.

Application Christians are to be a distinct people, like no others in the world. Our way of life is to be set apart from all others. It is to be based on the wisdom and commandments of God, because only God can know what is truly right and good for the people He created. Reason, emotion, and experience have value; but they all eventually lead people to error and falsehood and thus to destruction. As Christians, we are to accept the moral authority of God and live by His commands. If we do, we will keep ourselves from destruction and the name of our God from dishonor.  (For Hyatt's MESSAGES he refers to see complete list of his series of Leviticus)

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 
  • Leviticus 22 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 


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

You shall not profane My holy name - To profane is to make common, treat with disrespect and irreverence. It is to make the heavenly Name no better than earthly names. The idea is to treat God's Name (holy) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt. His Name is profaned with one's lips when it is used disrespectful even in uttering profanities. His Name is profaned by those who are known to be His people by the non-believing world, who watch the behavior of the ones who should live holy. If their behavior belies their profession, Yahweh's great Name is profaned in their minds! They see no difference in people of the world and people who profess to be of God. 

THOUGHT - What impression do you leave with the lost world with your life and your lips? If you are profaning His Name, you need to confess your profane words and/or behavior and you need to repent and walk holy as He is holy so the world receives a proper opinion of the unseen God by your seen actions (Mt 5:16+)! 

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

but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel - This is essentially a prophecy, because one day in the future when the Holy One of Israel returns the whole world will see Him and they will mourn for their sin against him and the penalty of eternal punishment they must suffer! (see Rev 1:7+, Php 2:9-11+)

I am the LORD who sanctifies you - Yahweh calls Himself Jehovah Mekeddeshem (Mekadesh), the LORD Who Sanctifies (Jehovah M'Kaddesh)

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

Who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God - Deliverance of Israel from Egypt should always motivate a desire to seek to be holy as He is holy. Israel was delivered to be possessed by Yahweh ("your God"). They were to be His people and to live holy lives indicating to the lost world that they were not their own but had been bought out of Egypt with the price of blood! Does this sound familiar? Indeed, it should for Paul asks rhetorically "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For (term of explanation) you have been bought with a price: therefore (term of conclusion ~ now "for this reason") glorify (give a proper opinion to the lost world of your Father - Glorify is aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) God in your body.." (1Cor 6:19-20+)

I am the LORD - He alone is the only God, Who Alone is without beginning and without end, the great I Am.