Study Guide

Leviticus Chapter 22

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Chapter 22

Common is Not God's Favorite Rapper

  • Just in case anyone was still wondering, no, God insists that priests can't do anything that would lower God's holy name to the level of the layperson or unclean.
  • This chapter is a laundry list of rules telling priests when they can't eat or touch holy donations or offerings.
  • Big surprise: if a priest is ritually unclean, he has to stay away from holy things until he goes through a cleansing routine. If he does that, he can eat holy food in the evening.
  • Laymen in the priests' household—such as a tenant or hired servant—can't eat holy food.
  • The same goes for any of his daughters married to a layman.
  • But hey, a priest can give sacred food to foreigners that he has purchased as slaves. Um, so let's hear it for buying people as your personal property?
  • The priestly holiness instructions end with God's instructions to both the priests and the Israelites regarding injured or otherwise blemished sacrificial animals. As a general rule, not cool.
  • One rule illustrates how God's holiness is wholly inconsistent with imperfection. For the peace offering, an Israelite can use an animal with a leg that's too long or short when giving thanks but not when making a vow.
  • Why? Because using an animal with an imperfect leg in swearing an oath to God would be like using an animal that chews its cud but doesn't have split hooves—its means of walking are defective.
  • And yes, chapter 22 also bans animals with damaged testicles. Can't forget the damaged testicles.
  • Here's a puzzler: it's not permitted to sacrifice an ox or sheep on the same day as its child. Next day? Okay. Day after that? All clear.
  • Likewise, a newborn ox or sheep or goat can't be offered until the eighth day after its birth. Happy sacred covenant circumcision day?

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