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.”

Unexplored Facets of Leviticus 10

Within previous posts, I’ve analyzed Leviticus 10 and offered alternative interpretations.

Observations Relevant to Interpretation of Leviticus 10

The Strange Fire of Leviticus 10

Before the Lord in Leviticus 9:1-24

Clarification: Why Nadab and Abihu Die

Unfortunately, as I been reading recently, I noticed that I have been limiting myself to the narrative context of Leviticus 10. Such an approach is problematic because it fails to consider the sources prior to the Pentateuch’s composition, namely the Documentary Hypothesis. Rather than just analyze Leviticus 10, I hope to expand my analysis beyond it and into a fuller understanding of P (Priestly Source) material. By doing so, reading Leviticus 10, and the issues of holy fire, should become more clear, or perhaps more convoluted.

Additionally, this new endeavor will serve as a guide my review of BibleWorks 10. In other words, as I analyze P material, BibleWorks 10 will be my primary source for analysis.

Thoughts? Ideas? Am I missing something?


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