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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Leviticus 21



Verses 1-24

Laws relating to the Priesthood and Sacrifice

The principle laid down in this and the following chapter is the far reaching one, that whatever comes near or is presented to God must be perfect of its kind: see on Exodus 12:5. Priests, therefore, must be free from physical defects or ceremonial impurity, and sacrifices must be without blemish.

That this section is put together from different sources is shown by the interchange of the singular and plural and. of the second and third persons (cp. e.g. Leviticus 21:4-5, Leviticus 21:8) by the introduction of fresh headings (Leviticus 21:1, Leviticus 21:16; Leviticus 22:1, Leviticus 22:17, Leviticus 22:26), and by the fact that in the body of the laws the 'seed of Aaron 'is spoken of, whereas in the headings and conclusions it is his 'sons.'

1-3. As contact with the dead defiles, priests are forbidden to attend to the funeral rites of any save their nearest relatives. But this exception does not apply to the high priest (see Leviticus 21:11): see on Leviticus 10:4.

5. See on Leviticus 19:27, Leviticus 19:28.

6. Bread of their God] see on Leviticus 3:11.

7. Profane] having lost her chastity.

10. Uncover his head] RV 'let the hair of his head go loose.' The law is more strict with regard to the high priest. The higher the office the greater the responsibility.

12. Go out of the sanctuary] i.e. intermit his sacred duties: cp. Leviticus 10:6, Leviticus 10:7. Crown] RM 'consecration.'

16-24. No priest with any physical defect may officiate at the altar, though he may partake of the sacrificial gifts (Leviticus 21:22) which fall to the lot of the priests for their maintenance.

18. Flat] RM 'slit.'

22. See on Leviticus 2:3.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 21:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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