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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 22

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-33


Aaron and his sons were always in close proximity to those things that had been separated for sacred purposes. They were therefore to be careful as to their contact with these things, lest they should profane the name of the Lord. If one had contacted any uncleanness, he must be cleansed from this before touching the holy things. A number of things are listed as to what would make one unclean.

This was only ceremonial uncleanness, but is, as we have seen before, symbolical of moral or spiritual uncleanness. Cleansing would not be complete until evening. In cases of leprosy, the time was longer, with offerings being made (Leviticus 14:1-57). But in all cases one was to bathe and wash his clothes, as we find elsewhere (Leviticus 15:1-33), and in some cases the time for cleansing was longer than in others.

Often now a person may intuitively realize that his moral or spiritual condition is such that he ought to avoid any handling of spiritual things. If we are in an unclean moral state, how much better is this avoidance than any hypocritical pretense of religious observance! At least the person will realize the need of being cleansed.

If an animal died or was killed by beasts, it was not to be eaten (v. 8). In this case it had not been offered before the Lord. Also, only the priests and their families were to eat of the holy things. No hired servant was allowed to eat (v. 10). Yet if the priest bought a person, that person was privileged to eat the priest's fare. A hired servant is one who serves for wages, while the one bought is fully the possession of his master, as true believers today belong fully to the Lord. They do not serve for gain, but because they are His.

If a priest's daughter was married to one who was not of the priestly family, she could no longer eat of the holy things (v. 12), yet if she was widowed or divorced, having no children, and returned to live with her father, she would be allowed to eat her father's food (v. 13).

If one should eat holy food, being unaware that it was holy, then afterward he must restore the same amount as an offering for the priest and add the fifth part to it (v. 14).

All of these things should press upon us the importance of Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” To give God His place of supreme honor, a place of pure holiness and sanctification, is a matter we must not dare to overlook. “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 4:15).


The Lord now instructs Moses to address Aaron and his sons and all the children of Israel, to insist that even free will burnt offerings must be free from blemishes. For some might think that, though the compulsory offerings for sin and trespass must be without defect, yet this might not be required if the offering was giving voluntarily. But the burnt offering was offered primarily for God's glory, and no defect was to be allowed (vv. 18-20).

The peace offering might be offered to fulfill a vow, or as a free will offering. No defect was to be allowed in such cases either, except that a bull or a lamb that had a limb too long or too short could be allowed for a free will offering, but not for a vow (vv. 21-23). But no animal that had been bruised or crushed or torn or cut was acceptable for any sacrifice. The same law must be applied to a foreigner who desired to offer anything to God (v. 25).


The Lord adds conditions that are interesting as regards the acceptability of any offering. When a bull, sheep or a goat was born it must be allowed seven days with its mother before being used as an offering. Also, the mother was not to be killed on the same day as her offspring (vv. 26-28). No doubt it will take spiritual discernment to understand the spiritual significance of these things.

The peace offering of a thanksgiving is singled out also (vv. 29-30), to insist that it was to be offered entirely voluntarily and eaten the same day it was offered, with nothing allowed to remain over night. This is repeated from Leviticus 7:15. Just as God's mercies are “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23), so our occasions of thanksgiving should be always new and fresh.

Therefore, even what seemed to be the least of God's commandments were to be carefully observed, that God's name should not be profaned, but hallowed by His people, for He had brought them out of Egypt (vv. 31-33).

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/leviticus-22.html. 1897-1910.
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