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(Chs. 17-26) The Law of Holiness
This section of Leviticus occupies a position by itself, being distinguished from the rest of the book both by style and contents. A few only of its main characteristics may be noticed here. (1) Among a large number of phrases almost, if not entirely, peculiar to this part of the Pentateuch is the constantly recurring expression ’I am Jehovah,’ or ’I am Jehovah your God,’ or ’I your God am holy.’ This ’divine I,’ as it has been called, occurs forty-seven times is these chapters, and only six times elsewhere from Genesis to Joshua, but is found again seventy-eight times in Ezekiel. See Intro. § 2. (2) A second distinguishing feature of this section is its more rhetorical style and the comparatively large number of hortatory passages, somewhat in the manner of Deuteronomy: see e.g. Leviticus 26. (3) A third characteristic is the high spiritual tone of these chapters. Compared with the rest of the book we find here less ritual and more religion, morality, and humanity. The duly of holiness is repeatedly emphasised and grounded on the holiness of God Himself. The oft-recurring key note of the whole is ’Ye shall be holy, for the Lord your God am holy.’ It is for this reason that the title ’Law of Holiness’ has been applied to this part of Leviticus. Some other fragments bearing a similar character outside these chapters have been assigned to the same collection, e.g. Exodus 31:13.; Leviticus 11 (especially Leviticus 11:43-45) Numbers 15:37-41.
It has long been observed that there is a considerable resemblance both in leading ideas and phraseology between this ’Law of Holiness’ and the book of Ezekiel. That Ezekiel knew and used this Law Book seems beyond dispute, but that he is also its author is not made out.
Similar exhortations are found at the conelusion of other codes of laws, as in Exodus 23:20,; and frequently in Deuteronomy, e.g. in Leviticus 28. The leading ideas and phraseology are the same in all. There is the same insistence on the holy character of Jehovah, the same demand for holiness on the part of His people, the same promises on condition of obedience, and the same warnings against being led astray by the evil example of the idolatrous nations among whom they dwell.
1, 2. These two vv. have no connexion with what follows, except that they form the fundamental principles of the Hebrew religion, and on them rests the entire body of the Levitical legislation: see on Exodus 24:4; Exodus 34:13.
3-13. Promise of prosperity attached to obedience.
4. In a country like Palestine rain in the proper season is an indispensable condition of prosperity and plenty. Hence it is frequently referred to in the OT. as a special mark of the divine favour: see on Deuteronomy 11:10, and cp. Ezekiel 34:26; Isaiah 55:10-11; Hosea 6:3. There are two rainy seasons in Palestine. The former rain falls in October-November when the seed is sown, and the latter rain in March-April before harvest.
5. There will be no scarce season.
10. Because of the new] i.e. to make room for the embarrassing abundance.
12. Cp. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. God’s presence among, and delight in, His people are the cause of all the material blessings spoken of.
14-39. The penalty of disobedience.
This is described in the form of a climax of which the steps are Leviticus 26:14-17, Leviticus 26:18-20, Leviticus 26:21-22, Leviticus 26:23-26, Leviticus 26:27-39.
19. The rain will be withheld, and the ground in consequence become like brass for hardness; see on Deuteronomy 28:23, and for an instance, 1 Kings 17:1.
26. The staff of your bread] RV ’your staff of bread’: i.e. the bread which is your staff or support: cp. Ezekiel 4:16; Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 14:13. Owing to the scarcity one oven will be sufficient to bake the bread of ten families.
29. This actually took place more than once: see on Deuteronomy 28:53-57.
30. High places] places of worship, usually on an eminence. The name is sometimes applied to places, used for the worship of Jehovah, but in later times the ’high places’ were condemned as idolatrous. Images] RV ’sun-images,’ images of the sun-god worshipped by the Phœnicians and Babylonians: see 2 Kings 23:11; 2 Chronicles 14:5; 2 Chronicles 34:4, 2 Chronicles 34:7 and cp. Ezekiel 6:4, Ezekiel 6:5.
31. Savour of your sweet odours] i.e. sacrifices: see on Exodus 29:18.
34. The land lying desolate will then enjoy the rest of the sabbaths and Sabbatical years refused to it by a disobedient people: see Leviticus 25:1-7, and cp. 2 Chronicles 36:21.
36, 37. A highly imaginative description of the inherent weakness of all wrongdoing, and of the cowardice which is the result of an evil conscience: cp. Deuteronomy 28:65-67; Proverbs 28:1.
40-45. God desireth not the death of the sinner, and therefore every threat of punishment for disobedience is followed by a promise of mercy, on condition of repentance and amendment: cp. the way in which the prophecies of Amos and Micah conclude.
41. Uncircumcised hearts] unclean, not consecrated to God: see on Leviticus 19:23.
46. The conclusion of the Law of Holiness (see intro. to Leviticus 17-26). The following chapter is of the nature of an appendix.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany