Notes on Leviticus 16-27

This is a continuation of my previous post, Notes on Leviticus. I used the Jewish Study Bible as a translation.

  • Leviticus 17:1-2 contains a somewhat unique formula: the Lord spoke to Moses, who is to speak to Aaron, his sons, and all the Israelite people.
    • Unlike 1-16, Leviticus 17 begins with a new  arrangement, putting the Priesthood with the people.
    • Leviticus 17:1-7 centralizes cult sacrifice at the Tabernacle: all animals killed must be brought to it or else they have blood-guilt.
    • 17:8-9 comments the same of strangers or anyone in the house of Israel.
    • 17:10-12, 13-14 focus on strangers and Israel not partaking in blood. By doing so, they interfere with the ritual narrative for expiation upon the altar.
    • 17:15-16 claims that anyone he eats what has died in the wild is unclean.
  • Leviticus 18:2 shifts to speaking only towards the Israelite people. Aaron is not named as in 17:1-2.
    • 17:3-30 covers issues of sexuality morality.
      • 17:21 seems out of place because, while the rest of the context focuses on sexual relation, 21 bans offering offspring to Molech.
    • These actison defile the land and the land will spew out the people. In the Holiness School, land is given anthropomorphic characteristics.
  • 19:1-37 enumerates a series of moral laws.
    • Notably, the text acknowledges the existence of magic in the imagined/perceived history of ancient Israel: 19:26b, 31 (21:27).
    • The text also picks up on previous motifs, themes, and laws.
      • 19:13: “You shall not defrauud your fellow” (also 19:11, 12). Compare with Leviticus 5:20-26.
  • Lovin’ it.
    • 20:2-6 picks up on 17:21, more thoroughly detailing the ban against offering children to Molech.
    • 20:10-15, esp. 15, picks up on apodictic laws already expressed in Leviticus 18:23.
    • The same occurs with Leviticus 20:17-21, this time including the issue of blood flow.
  • Leviticus 21 focuses, again, on just Aaron and the priests.
    • Contains issues relevant to the purity of the Priesthood.
    • 21:16-24, which restricts those with any physical defect from serving at the altar, reflects well that much of the issue at hand was a social issue. The question of defects was not an issue of ontological impurity, at least from a historical perspective.
    • Leviticus 22 continues this trajectory. It touches upon many of the same things found in P material, pre-Chapter 17: nocturnal emissions, unclean things, etc.
    • 22:22 returns to the issue of defects: sacrifices may have no defects.
  • Leviticus 23 details the fixed times of the Lord.
    • 23:3 – Sabbath
    • 23:4-8 – Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread
    • 23:9-14 – First fruits
    • 23:15-21 – Shavuot
    • 23:22 – special mentioned of the law not to gather the gleanings of harvest, or reap the edges of the field. The leftovers is for the poor and stranger.
    • 23:23 -25 – Trumpets!
    • 23:26-32 – Day of Atonement (The culmination of ritual narrative in Leviticus 16).
    • 23:33-36 – Feast of Booths.
  • Leviticus 24:1-9 has more rituals for sabbath.
    • 24:10-23 – Law and Punishment.
    • Leviticus 25 contains laws for entering the land and working the crops.
  • Leviticus 26 discusses the issue of blessings and cursings for obedience and disobedience.
  • Leviticus 27 discusses the worth of human beings in terms of a vow to Yahweh. The “worth” in terms of money is one of equivalent, not actual worth.
  • Leviticus 27:24 wraps up the show: “These are the commandments that the LORD gave Moses for the Israelite people at Mount Sinai.”

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