Leviticus 22-24: Acceptable offerings, feasts and justice.

August 24, 2015.

Daily Reading: Leviticus 22-24.

Background: Leviticus 19-21.

Concepts and Connections.

Chapter 22

1. The eating of holy things: The bringing of this chapter lays out a warning first to priests and then to any who would eat the holy things that had been offered as sacrifice before the Lord. The warning to the priests was not that they could not eat the holy things, but rather they could not eat them if they themselves were unclean. For example, if they had touched a dead corpus or had an emission of a bodily fluid (such as blood or semen), they would be considered unclean and were not allowed to touch the holy thing until they were clean again, which often was after they washed and remained until the evening (see Leviticus 15:5-11). The second half of the warning was to the lay public, for they were not allowed to eat the holy things at any point. This rule was for the Israelite and sojourner alike. Those within the household of the priest were allowed to eat of the holy things, for this was the priest’s portion and how he was to provide for his family, but none outside the family could. When a daughter of the priest was married and went to live with her husband who was not a priest, she was no longer allowed to eat of the holy things, except in the case where her husband died and she returned to her father’s house. If one were to eat the holy thing unintentionally, he was to restore it to the priest plus a fifth of its value. The Lord had sanctified the priest to eat of the holy things, and not the layman.

2. Acceptable offerings: The latter portion of this chapter deals with offerings that would be acceptable to the Lord, specifically in the cases of vow and freewill offerings. These sacrifices were different than the Levitical offerings in that they were offered on the volition of individual Israelites, wether to complete a vow (see Acts 21:17-26) or simply to give something to the Lord on their own free will. They were to be unblemished male sheep or goats. Any animal with a deformity would not be acceptable before the Lord, as it would go against the whole concept of making a sacrifice. There are some other regulations given about offerings towards the end of this chapter and then an emphasis on keeping the commandments and not profaning the name of the Lord.

Chapter 23

The Sabbath and feasts of the Lord: This chapter is dedicated to the feasts of the Lord that He had sanctioned for His people to hold before Him yearly, usually as a memorial for them to remember the great deeds that the Lord had done for them. Before the feasts are listed, there is a reminder that the children of Israel were to keep the Sabbath day holy, doing no work on that day, but rather it was a day of solemn rest and holy assembly. After this reminder, the holy feasts, times of holy convocation (assembly), are described by the word of the Lord for His people. The first feast that we find here is the feast of the passover, which was to be held on the 14th day of the first month, as a remembrance of the passover that the Lord had done for His people to bring them out of Egyptian bondage (see Exodus 12). Then on the 15th day of the same month began the feast of unleavened bread (see Exodus 13), which would last for seven days, the first and last of which would be a holy convocation. Then the feast of the first fruits was to be held at the beginning of harvest, as an offering to the Lord for the fruit of the field. The feast of weeks was to be counted 7 Sabbaths after the Sabbath that began the feast of the first fruits, and then an additional 50 days until this holy convocation was to be held, on which day they were to do no work. This day would be later referred to as Pentecost, and would be a pivotal day in the early church, see Acts 2. On the first day of the seventh month, the children of Israel were to have a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets. It seems that this was in preparation for the day of atonement, which was to be held on the tenth day of this seventh month, a day of solemn rest and cleansing. On this day, the Lord would clean them from their sins (see Leviticus 16:29-30). Finally, on the fifteenth day of this seventh month, the feast of booths would begin with a day of solemn rest before the Lord followed by seven days of living in booths (tents) and on the 8th day, solemn rest and a holy convocation once again. This feast was to memorialize how the Lord had made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when He had brought them out of the land of Egypt (see Deuteronomy 31:10-13).

Chapter 24

1. Lamps and bread for the tabernacle: The opening of this chapter deals with the lamps that were to burn continually before the Lord in the tabernacle and the bread for the tabernacle. The children of Israel were commanded to bring pure oil beaten from olives to light the lamps continually (see Exodus 27:20-21) and Aaron and his sons were to arrange the lamps on the golden lamp stand throughout the generations (see Exodus 31:8). Similarly, instructions for the bread of the presence are given to Aaron and his sons to arrange it before the Lord throughout their generations.

2. Blasphemy and social justice sentences: The latter portion of this chapter details an account of the son of an Israelite woman who’s father was an Egyptian who blasphemed the name of the Lord during a fight that he got into. He was taken into custody until the children of Israel could discern the will of the Lord. Note that this sin was not taken lightly in the sight of the Lord, as His sentence on the man was that he should be stoned for blaspheming the name of the Lord. It was a grievous sin in the eyes of God to blaspheme His name, applying both to the native and the sojourner. Then He lays out different sentences for different crimes that were committed, mainly on the basis of same for same: i.e. life for life (human), animal for animal, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, injury for injury. These sentences were imposed on the native and the sojourner in the land.

Tomorrow’s Reading: II Kings 21-25.

The Lord be your guide.


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