Leviticus chapter 21

The holiness required of priests.

 


 

THE HOLINESS REQUIRED OF PRIESTS

 

VERSE 1. The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, ‘A priest shall not defile himself for the dead among his people,

priest shall not defile himself for the dead. That is, a priest may not assist in preparing a corpse for burial.

 

VERSE 2. except for his relatives that are near to him: for his mother, for his father, for his son, for his daughter, for his brother,

 

VERSE 3. and for his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband; for her he may defile himself.

 

VERSE 4. He shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

 

VERSE 5. “ ‘They shall not shave their heads or shave off the corners of their beards or make any cuttings in their flesh.

This is a prohibition against pagan mourning customs:

  • not shave their heads
  • or shave off the corners of their beards
  • or make any cuttings in their flesh

This verse is not a prohibition against shaving hair or beard or piercings.

 

VERSE 6. They shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the bread of their God. Therefore they shall be holy.

 

VERSE 7. “ ‘They shall not marry a woman who is a prostitute, or profane. A priest shall not marry a woman divorced from her husband; for he is holy to his God.

a woman who is a prostitute. A Levitical priest may not marry a prostitute.

However, the prophet Hosea married a prostitute:

Hosea 1:2. When the LORD spoke at first by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of prostitution and children of unfaithfulness; for the land commits great adultery, forsaking the LORD.”

or profane. The Hebrew word is זֹנָ֤ה (“zō·nāh”). It means to commit fornication, to be a harlot.

a woman divorced. A Levitical priest may not marry a divorced woman.

 

VERSE 8. Therefore you shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.

 

VERSE 9. “ ‘The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the prostitute, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire.

 

VERSE 10. “ ‘He who is the high priest among his brothers, upon whose head the anointing oil is poured, and who is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose, or tear his clothes.

He who is the high priest. The high priest is held to stricter standards than the other priests.

shall not let the hair of his head hang loose, or tear his clothes. Those were customary ways of grieving. They were permitted for everybody except the high priest. For the high priest, those ways of grieving were not allowed.

 

VERSE 11. He must not go in to any dead body, or defile himself for his father or for his mother.

go in to. This phrase is usually a metaphor for penetrative intercourse.

any dead body. A Levitical priest may not have sex with a corpse.

 

VERSE 12. He shall not go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him. I am the LORD.

 

VERSE 13. “ ‘He shall take a wife in her virginity.

 

VERSE 14. He shall not marry a widow, or one divorced, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute. He shall take a virgin of his own people as a wife.

 

VERSE 15. He shall not profane his offspring among his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.’ ”

 

VERSE 16. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 17. “Say to Aaron, ‘None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect may approach to offer the bread of his God.

who has a defect. This disqualification only applies to the case of a Levite who is to minister as a priest. He must be without “defect.”

 

VERSE 18. For whatever man he is that has a defect, he shall not draw near: a blind man, or a lame, or he who has a flat nose, or any deformity,

 

VERSE 19. or a man who has an injured foot, or an injured hand,

 

VERSE 20. or hunchbacked, or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye, or an itching disease, or scabs, or who has damaged testicles.

 

VERSE 21. No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall come near to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire. Since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.

 

VERSE 22. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.

 

VERSE 23. He shall not come near to the veil, nor come near to the altar, because he has a defect; that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them.’ ”

 

VERSE 24. So Moses spoke to Aaron, and to his sons, and to all the children of Israel.

 


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LEVITICUS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, The Scapegoat, Female Sacrificial Animals

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

todd

Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.