INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 22
In this chapter several laws are delivered out, forbidding the priests to eat of holy things, when in any uncleanness, or at any time what dies of itself, or is torn of beasts, Leviticus 22:1; also showing who belonging to the priests might or might not eat of the holy things, Leviticus 22:10; and others requiring that whatever offerings were brought by the children, of Israel, they should be perfect and without blemish, Leviticus 22:17; and also declaring what age a creature should be of when sacrificed, and the time when thank offerings were to be eaten, Leviticus 22:26; concluding with an exhortation to observe the commands of God, and sanctify him, and not profane his name, Leviticus 22:31.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... Immediately after he had spoken concerning blemishes in priests, and in a continued discourse signifying, that though priests that had blemishes might eat of the holy things, yet neither they, nor even such who had not any, if they were under legal impurity, might eat of them:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto Aaron and to his sons,.... The priests; the children of Israel or the common people are not mentioned, as having no concern in the following laws about eating holy things:
that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel; both from offering their lawful sacrifices, which was the business of their office when pure, and chiefly from eating that part of them which was their due, and was allowed them; neither of these they were to do, particularly the latter, when they were in any uncleanness, as the following words show:
and that, they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me; which the children of Israel set apart and devoted to his service; which they would do, by eating their part of them when unclean, and thereby show little reverence to that holy name to which they were devoted; or which the priests themselves sanctified, by offering them to him; for Jarchi says, this takes in the holiness of the priests themselves; but the former seems best, and is confirmed in Leviticus 22:3,
I am the Lord; who is holy himself, and whose holy things these are, and will be sanctified by those that draw nigh unto him.
Say unto them, whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations,.... Whether male or female, in all succeeding ages, as long as the ceremonial law lasted; for females as well as males of the families of the priests ate of the holy things, provided they had no uncleanness on them, but if they had, they might not:
that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord: that approaches to any of the sacrifices which the children of Israel have devoted to the Lord, either to offer them, or even to touch them, and particularly to eat of them; and so Jarchi and Ben Gersom observe, that this going or drawing near is no other than eating; for touching only, a man was not guilty of cutting off:
having his uncleanness upon him; through a leprosy, or running issue, or touching any unclean person or thing, as the following words explain it:
that soul shall be cut off from my presence; excluded from the sanctuary, and the service of it, where the presence of God was; or be removed out of the world by death, either by the civil magistrate, or by the hand of God, by an immediate death, by the pestilence, as the Targum of Jonathan:
I am the Lord; that will avenge the breach of such a law, able to inflict such punishment, and faithful to accomplish every word of his, whether in a way of threatening or promise.
What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper,.... A young, or an old man, as the Targum of Jonathan, and indeed man or woman; for the wives and daughters of the priests, if in this, and other circumstances following, might not eat of the holy things until cleansed, who otherwise might, see Leviticus 13:2,
or hath a running issue; a gonorrhoea, whether man or woman, Leviticus 15:2,
he shall not eat of the holy things until he be clean; he might eat of the tithes, but not of the wave breast, or heave shoulder:
and whoso toucheth any that is unclean by the dead; not only that touched the dead, which made unclean, but that touched any person or thing that was made unclean by it:
or a man whose seed goeth from him; involuntarily when asleep, in a dream, and through a lustful imagination; see Leviticus 15:16.
Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean,.... Jarchi thinks this respects the measure or quantity of what is touched, as if but the quantity of a lentil or small pea, see Leviticus 11:31,
or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; as of a leper, a profluvious, or a dead man; Jarchi interprets it of the latter, and of the quantity which defiles, which is that of an olive; who also observes, that the phrase, "whatsoever uncleanness", includes touching a profluvious man or woman, a menstruous woman, and a new mother.
The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even,.... Which is the time fixed by the several laws for such uncleannesses, see Leviticus 11:31,
and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water; in forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan; yea, when the evening is come, he may not eat of the heave or wave offerings, until he has dipped himself all over in water; nor should any eat of the Lord's supper under the New Testament, but such as are first baptized in water.
And when the sun is down he shall be clean,.... Having washed himself in water, otherwise not, though the sun may be set:
and shall afterwards eat of the holy things; the families of the priests lived upon:
because it is his food: his common food, his ordinary diet, that by which he subsists, having nothing else to live upon; this being the ordination of God, that he which ministered about holy things should live on them; and these being his only substance, in compassion to him they were detained from him no longer than the evening; and this was done, to make him careful how he defiled himself, since thereby he was debarred of his ordinary meals.
That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts,.... Whether fowls or beasts, and even clean ones, which, had they been killed in a proper manner, were fit to cut, but dying of themselves, or torn to pieces by other birds or beasts of prey, might not, see Ezekiel 44:31,
he shall not eat, to defile himself therewith; being impure food, at least in a ceremonial sense, and not fit to be eaten; these things were forbid a common Israelite, and much less might a priest eat of them, see Leviticus 17:15,
I am the Lord; who enjoin this, and expect to be obeyed.
They shall therefore keep mine ordinance,.... The observance of my word, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, of his word of command; either respecting the not eating of such creatures that died of themselves, or were torn by beasts; or else the not eating holy things in uncleanness, so Jarchi and Gersom; but Aben Ezra thinks the sanctuary is referred to, which was to be kept by the priests, and which seems to agree with what follows:
lest they bear sin for it: the sanctuary, by neglecting it, and so be charged with the guilt of sin, and be obliged to bear the punishment of it:
and die therefore if they profane it; by going into it in their uncleanness, and eating of the most holy things there when in such circumstances, and die by the hand of God, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom interpret it, as Nadab and Abihu did, and even in like manner, by fire, Leviticus 10:1; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"lest they die by flaming fire:"
I the Lord do sanctify them; the priests, who were separated from others, and devoted to his service, and therefore ought to be holy; or the holy things separated for the use of the priests, but not to be eaten in their uncleanness; the Arabic version renders it, "do sanctify that", the sanctuary, and therefore it should not be profaned, but be kept pure and holy.
There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing,.... Any one of the holy things, as the heave shoulder, wave breast, &c. by a "stranger" is not meant one of another nation; though indeed all such were called strangers, and might not eat of these things, Ephesians 2:12; but one that was not of the family of a priest, though he might be an Israelite, and even a Levite; anyone that was not of the seed of Aaron, as Aben Ezra; any common man or laic, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, excepting those after mentioned:
a sojourner of the priests, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing: by the former is not intended an Heathen, a proselyte of the gate, one that has renounced idolatry, and so permitted to live among the Israelites, of it uncircumcised, who is often understood by one that sojourneth in the gate, but here an Israelitish sojourner; and so the Targum of Jonathan expressly has it,"a son of an Israelite, who is a sojourner of the priests;'not that is a guest for a short time, or a boarder with him; for if he may not eat of the holy things, what must he live on while with him? but one that dwells in some part of his house: and by the latter is meant anyone that is hired by the day, or week, or year, and when the time is expired is at his liberty; though the Jewish writers commonly, and particularly Jarchi, interpret the sojourner of the servant that has his ear bored, and is bought with money, until the year of jubilee, and serves for ever; and the hireling of one that is purchased for years, and goes out in the sixth year; but the above objection will lie against these.
But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it,.... Whether any of his own nation, who sometimes, when become poor, were obliged to sell themselves; or a stranger, as the Targum of Jonathan; one of another nation, a Canaanitish servant, as Jarchi. Now these being his own purchase, and always to abide with him, became part of his family, and so might eat of the provisions of it; and it is from hence the Jews gather, as Jarchi and Gersom, that his wife might eat of the holy things, because bought with his money; but there is a better reason to be given for that, for of whatever family she was before, whether of the priests or not, by marriage she became a part, yea, a principal of his family, being one flesh with him, bearing the same name, and entitled to all the privileges of his house. This is extended by some Jewish writers
and he that is born in his house; they shall eat of his meat; whether male or female, as Aben Ezra; these are children of handmaids, as Jarchi, that were bought with his money; and these children being born of them, became his property, and part of his family, and so had a right to the provisions of his house. All this may teach us, that the holy ordinances of the Gospel are not to be administered to strangers, persons destitute of the grace of God, nor to such as are not of the family or church of God, but to such as are bought and redeemed with the blood of Christ, the high priest, and are born again of his Spirit and grace.
If the priest's daughter also be married to a stranger,.... Not to an Heathen, but to any Israelite, that is, a common man, or a layman, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, one that is not a priest; but is married either to a Levite, or an Israelite, as Jarchi:
she may not eat of an offering of the holy things; the heave shoulder or wave breast, &c. being removed into another family by marriage, she is not reckoned of her father's family, and so had no more a right to eat of the holy things.
But if the priest's daughter be a widow or divorced,.... If her husband be dead, or if living, and she is put away by him, whether a Levite, or an Israelite:
and have no child: by him, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi add, nor is with child by him:
and is returned to her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat; not of all, or any part, only of some, of the heave offering, but not of the shoulder or breast, which is the tradition of the wise men, as Maimonides
but there shall no stranger eat thereof; as not anyone of another nation, so not anyone of another family beside the priest's, no, not the son of a priest's daughter by an Israelite, which some think is principally intended; and so Aben Ezra remarks this is said of a son, if she had any, and upon whose account she herself might not eat.
And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly,.... Either not knowing that it is an holy thing, or the heave offering, or any thing of that kind; or else is ignorant of the punishment of such an action, as Gersom observes; and this is to be understood of any man that was not a priest, or was not of the priest's family, even any common Israelite; so the Targum of Jonathan, a man of Israel, or an Israelite, one of the common people:
then he shall put a fifth part thereof unto it; a fifth part of the value of what he has eaten, to an equivalent for the whole, that is, he shall pay the full value for what he has eaten, and a fifth part besides:
and shall give it to the priest with the holy thing; the meaning is, that he shall give the fifth part to the priest, with the equivalent for what he has eaten; for he could not give the holy thing itself, but a compensation for it; according to Gersom, he was to give the principal to the priest, whose the holy thing was he ate of, and the fifth part he might give to what priest he would. The Jewish canon, concerning this matter, runs thus; he that ignorantly eats the heave offering pays the principal, and the fifth part; and the same, either he that eats, or drinks, or anoints; and whether the heave offering be clean or unclean, he pays the fifth, and the fifth of the fifth; and he does not pay the heave offering but of common things, rightly ordered, and they become an heave offering, and the compensation of it; and if the priest would forgive, he may not
And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord. By causing or suffering strangers to eat of them; so Jarchi, referring the words to the priests, who should be careful that strangers ate not of sacred things; or by the strangers themselves eating them, whereby they were profaned and used as common things.
Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass,.... The punishment of sin: either the strangers:
when they eat their holy things; the holy things belonging to the priests, which they permitting them to do, suffer them to be liable to the punishment incurred thereby, or else the priests themselves; so the Septuagint version renders the word "themselves"; and in like manner Jarchi interprets it; and then the sense may be, according to the Targums of Jonathan and Onkelos, that the priests shall bear the punishment of their sins,"when they shall eat the holy things in uncleanness,'which is what is forbidden them in the former part of the chapter; but this seems to be too remote; rather the former sense is best:
for I the Lord do sanctify them; both the priests, to whom the holy things belong, and the holy things for their use, and the use of their families, and them only.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time; for having said many things concerning the holiness of priests, whose business it was to offer sacrifices, he adds various things concerning the nature, condition, and circumstances of the sacrifices they were to offer:
saying, as follows.
Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons,.... The priests, whose work it was to offer sacrifices, and therefore it behoved them to know what kind and sort were to be offered by them, when brought to them:
and unto all the children of Israel: who were to bring the sacrifices, and for whom they were to be offered, and therefore should be acquainted with the nature and kind of what would be acceptable to God, and what not:
and say unto them, whatsoever he be of the house of Israel; this phrase includes women and servants, and even Gentiles, as say the Jewish writers
or of the strangers in Israel: those of other nations that dwelt there, either proselytes of the gate, or proselytes of righteousness, so Ben Gersom; and Aben Ezra observes, that the text speaks of the stranger, because there is some reason in the vows and freewill offerings of an Israelite and stranger, as follows:
that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering; the wise men, as Aben Ezra observes, distinguish between a vow and a freewill offering; every vow is a freewill offering, but every freewill offering is not a vow; and though these were both of them sorts of peace offerings, yet they were not received from Gentiles under that notion, but as burnt offerings, because they were offered in devotion to God, and not to be eaten by Israelites; so Maimonides
Ye shall offer at your own will,.... For vows and freewill offerings were at their own option, and depended on their own will and pleasure, and when offered should be with a willing mind, and from their whole heart: or "for good will to you"; as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; or for gracious, acceptation, that is, that they might be well pleasing to God, and acceptable in his sight, so Jarchi; in order to which the following direction was strictly to be observed:
a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, and of the goats; bullocks, sheep, and goats, were the only sorts of beasts, out of which sacrifices were taken, and those that were for burnt offerings were always to be males, and unblemished, see Leviticus 1:3; but for other offerings, as peace offerings and sin offerings, females might be used, see Leviticus 3:1. Fowls are not mentioned, though burnt offerings were of them, because it was not required in them, only of beasts, that they should be males, and without blemish; for, as Jarchi observes, these were not rejected on account of a blemish, only for want of a member.
For whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer,.... Which is the general rule, the particulars of which are after given, and which has been imitated by the Heathens. The Egyptians, as they only sacrificed the males of beeves, so they were very curious in examining them, that they might be entirely pure and perfect
for it shall not be acceptable for you; be grateful to God, and accepted by him on their account, if blemished; see Malachi 1:13.
And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offering unto the Lord,.... This, as Ben Gersom observes, is distinguished from a burnt offering; for though it was to be perfect, and without blemish, yet not obliged to be a male as that, Leviticus 3:1. This was either by way of thanksgiving for mercies received, Leviticus 7:12, or
to accomplish his vow; made in any distress, that if God would deliver him, then he would offer such a sacrifice:
or a freewill offering; either on account of favours received, or in order to obtain them: which sacrifice, whether
in beeves or sheep; whether in bullocks or sheep, under which are comprehended goats, both being of the flock, Leviticus 22:19,
it shall be perfect to be accepted; perfect in all its parts, not only in those that are without and obvious to view, but in those that are within: wherefore the Jewish writers say
there shall be no blemish therein; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and that it might be observed. Such sacrifices were typical of Christ, the immaculate Lamb of God, who offered himself without spot to him, 1 Peter 1:19; and shows that no sacrifice of man's can be so acceptable to God as to atone for him, since none of theirs are perfect, and without blemish.
Blind, or broken, or maimed,.... Which is "blind" of one eye, or both: and so the Egyptians, as they would not sacrifice any of their oxen that had any blemishes on them, and were of a different colour, or changed in their form, so likewise such that were deprived of either of their eyes
or having a wen: or full of warts, as others; the Targum of Jonathan is, whose eyes are smitten with a mixture of white and black; and so Gersom interprets it of a like defect in the eye, in the white of the eye; for he says, if it was in the black or pupil of the eye, the eye would be blind:
or scurvy or scabbed: the same of those in men; See Gill on Leviticus 21:20,
ye shall not offer these unto the Lord; any creatures defective in any of these instances; three times this is said, as Jarchi observes, to make them careful concerning the sanctification of them, and concerning the slaying of them, and concerning the sprinkling of their blood:
nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord; a burnt offering on the altar of burnt offering, or burn the fat of them upon it.
Either a bullock, or a lamb that hath anything superfluous,
or lacking in its parts,.... That has either more members than it should have, as five feet, or two gristles in an ear, as Gersom says, or has fewer than it should have; or, as Jarchi, that has one member longer or shorter than another, as the leg or thigh; according to the Targum of Jonathan, that is redundant in its testicles, or deficient therein; the Septuagint version is, that hath its ear or its tail cut; and so the Vulgate Latin version:
that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering: for the repair of the sanctuary or temple, as Jarchi and Gersom; money, or the value of the sacrifices, might be given to the priests for that use, but according to them might not be offered upon the altar: but it rather seems to be an exception to the above law, and allows of the sacrifice of them for freewill offering, though not for a vow, as it follows
but for a vow it shall not be accepted; because the other was according to a man's will and pleasure, and he might bring what he would on that account; but when he made a vow that he would offer such a sacrifice, it must be of creatures that were perfect, and without blemish.
Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut,.... The Targum of Jonathan is, whose testicles are pressed and bruised, and whose nerves are corrupted and bruised, and so most Jewish writers interpret it:
neither shall you make any offering thereof in your land; any offering of any sort, either burnt offering or peace offering, or any other; or ye shall not do, that is, any such thing as here suggested, not bruise, or crush, or break, or cut the testicles of any creature; so the above writers.
Neither from a stranger's hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these,.... That is, from a Gentile, a proselyte of the gate, who had renounced idolatry, and was willing to offer sacrifice to the true God; but what had such defects and blemishes in them as before described the priest might not take of his hands, and offer on the altar of God; and this is the rather observed, because on the one hand the Gentile might think such sacrifices would be acceptable, since he might have been used to offer such to idols; and on the other hand, the priest might think such would do well enough for Gentiles, though not for Israelites:
because their corruption is in them; or they are corrupt through being bruised, crushed, broken, or cut:
and blemishes be in them; which seems to be added to explain the former, and may have respect to all the blemishes before named, and whatsoever is included in them; for though there are but here mentioned, the Jews reckon no less than fifty
they shall not be accepted for you; to make atonement for you; Jarchi says, or "from you", the priests; they shall not be accepted of the Lord from their hands, and so be of no avail to the offerers, nor to those for whom they are offered.
And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time, as before, in a continued discourse, the subject being of the same kind, relating to sacrifices:
saying, as follows.
When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth,.... Those three are only mentioned, because they were only made use of in sacrifice, to which this law refers:
then it shall be seven days under the dam; whether a calf, or a lamb, or a kid of the goats; it was not to be taken from its dam and killed, either for food or sacrifice, before it was seven days old: Fagius says, the Hebrews give two reasons why a creature might not be offered before the eighth day; one is, that a sabbath might pass over it, nothing being perfect and consistent without it, that giving, as they say
and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the Lord; become an acceptable burnt offering to God; so Pliny
And whether it be cow or ewe,.... Or "an ox or sheep"
ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day; or, "it and its son"
And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord,.... Which was a sort of peace offering, distinct from freewill offerings and vows before spoken of:
offer it at your own will; just what they pleased, whether a bullock, a sheep, or a goat, and whether a male or female; these were left to their own option, or for acceptation to you, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi; that is, it was right in them, and they ought to be careful to offer it in such manner, that it might be acceptable to God, by observing the rules given concerning it, particularly what follows.
On the same day it shall be eaten up,.... Which is the law concerning it; See Gill on Leviticus 7:15,
ye shall leave none of it till the morning; of another day, as the Vulgate Latin version adds, and much less the fat of them, and the most holy things, as Ben Gersom observes, the one being to be burnt upon the altar, the other to be eaten by the priests
I am the Lord; who has made this law, and expect it will be observed.
Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them,.... Both priests and people, even all the commandments delivered at this time, as well as all others; these they were to observe and take notice of, and keep them in memory, and put them in practice:
I am the Lord; See Gill on Leviticus 22:30.
Neither shall ye profane my holy name,.... By transgressing the laws of God, particularly by offering blemished sacrifices, or before the proper tithe; or by slaying the dam and its young on one day; for, as Aben Ezra observes, this is said to the sons of Aaron:
but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel; by his priests among them, and by themselves, conforming to all the precepts, and particularly the last mentioned, which respects them, and their eating up the peace offerings the same day:
I am the Lord which hallowed you; had separated them from all other people, and had given them holy laws to walk by, through the observance of which they would be at least externally holy.
That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God,.... Whereby he showed himself to be their covenant God and Father, who had a kind and gracious regard unto them, and which laid them under obligation to fear, serve, and worship him as their God:
I am the Lord; that hath sovereign right unto them, and claim upon them, and therefore they ought to be subject to his will, and observe his laws ordinances.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34