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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 22

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-9

Things that profane a priest 22:1-9

A selection of seven laws appears between a brief introduction (Leviticus 22:1-2) and a conclusion (Leviticus 22:9). The priests could, of course, become defiled like any other Israelites, but no priest who had become ceremonially unclean was to touch or eat the holy things (the tabernacle furniture, sacrifices, etc.).

Verses 1-33

3. The third list of regulations for priests ch. 22

The previous section (Leviticus 21:16-24) named physical impediments that prohibited some priests from offering sacrifices. This one identifies the circumstances under which priests could neither officiate at the sacrifices nor eat priestly food. Twenty-eight selected laws (7 x 4) compose this section.

Verses 10-16

Persons who could not eat the sacred offerings 22:10-16

Another list of seven laws guarded the offerings. No non-priest could eat the sacrifices the priests ate except those who had become members of a priest’s household. The principle appears at the beginning and at the end of the list (Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 22:13 b) with a brief statement regarding restitution for accidentally eating an offering following (Leviticus 22:14-16). All these regulations guarded the holiness of God by treating the people and things most closely associated with Him as special.

"Those whom God has called to be spiritual leaders must reflect the holiness of the LORD in all they do and exemplify the faith in the eyes of the congregation." [Note: Ross, p. 388.]

Verses 17-25

The offerings of the priests 22:17-25

Another list of seven selected laws appears with the principle stated at the end (Leviticus 22:25). Certain animals were not acceptable as sacrifices under any circumstances. Other animals were acceptable for some sacrifices but not for others. Generally the more important the offering, the higher were the requirements for the sacrificial animal. Only the best sacrifices were suitable for presentation to the Lord since He is worthy of only the very best.

Verses 26-33

The time intervals of sacrifices 22:26-33

Seven additional laws specified the time periods that governed the offering of some sacrifices. The Israelites were not to offer oxen, sheep, and goats as sacrifices before these animals were eight days old (Leviticus 22:27). It took these animals this long to attain the strength and maturity necessary for them to represent the offerer adequately. The people were not to slay parent animals on the same day as their offspring (Leviticus 22:28). The reason may have been ". . . to keep sacred the relation which God had established between parent and offspring." [Note: Keil and Delitzsch, 2:437.] Another explanation is that this ruling simply conserved the animal stock that would have become depleted otherwise. [Note: Wenham, The Book . . ., p. 296; and Ross, pp. 393-94.]

Moses repeated reasons for these regulations again (Leviticus 22:31-33) so the Israelites would know why God instructed them as He did (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2).

"These chapters like many others in this book form the background to much NT teaching. Christ is both perfect priest (Leviticus 21:17-23; Hebrews 7:26) and perfect victim (Leviticus 22:18-30; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22). His bride (cf. Leviticus 21:7-15) is the Church, whom he is sanctifying to make her ’without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish’ (Ephesians 5:27; cf. Revelation 19:7-8; Revelation 21:2)." [Note: Wenham, The Book . . ., p. 296.]

"Those who worship the redeeming, sanctifying LORD God must come into his presence with acceptable offerings." [Note: Ross, p. 394.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/leviticus-22.html. 2012.
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