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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 22

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-33

Leviticus 22:4. Unclean. The injunctions in this and the following verses, though not literally binding on christians, yet the holy law from whence they emanate is not to be disregarded. Every infirmity which kept a Jew from the synagogue, does not debar a christian from the church. With regard also to bodily purity, the christian law requires every one to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.

Leviticus 22:10. No stranger shall eat of holy things. Nor were they allowed to make any offerings to the Lord, as in Leviticus 22:25. These regulations placed the uncircumcised in a very humiliating situation. Some have endeavoured to qualify the law, by restricting the prohibition of not eating, to the priest’s portion; but without sufficient reason.


In the 7th, 13th, and 15th chapters of this book, the impurities which excluded people from the sacred altar were considered. The impurities of a priest are here considered again, that he might observe the precepts of the Lord, and not profane his worship, lest God, excusing sins of ignorance in another, should strike the priest with death. The ministers of religion should be very exact in their obedience to the divine precepts, because the Lord particularly requires, and the people expect them to be models of righteousness.

No alien could eat of the meat-offerings, though he were a hired servant of the priest; no, nor even his daughter, if married to a stranger. But a servant bought with money, or born in his house, and in covenant with God, might eat. And we being all aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, may learn hence the necessity of becoming regenerate and adopted into the family of God, before we can have claims to his covenant, and a right to the blessings of his house.

The strangers, and even the priest’s daughters when married to strangers, being thus excluded from eating of holy things, may farther teach us the awful state of the heathen world, and of all the infidels who despise the grace of the gospel. They are broken off from God, and have no right to the benefits of redemption; and though the Lord most assuredly will make allowance for their ignorance; yet those who live in places where they cannot be ignorant of the glory and grace of the gospel, seem not only excluded from holy things by figurative language, but are by a cloud of declarations cut off from the hope of Israel.

It is once more repeated here, that God required the best of the flock, and free from every blemish, to be offered in sacrifice. And as the heathen attended to this precept, we may conclude that it was given to the holy patriarchs. And what do we learn from it, but to be sincere in all we do for God. The want of this would be a blemish of the foulest kind. If the Lord required the best of the flocks and herds, the better to presignify the immaculate glory of Christ; surely he requires us to love him with all our heart and mind, and soul and strength. Let us obey his voice, for he is the Lord; that our persons and our works may be pleasing in his sight.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/leviticus-22.html. 1835.
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