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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 22

Introduction

A priest, having any uncleanness, must not eat of the holy things, Leviticus 22:1-7 . No priest must eat that which dies of itself, or is torn, Leviticus 22:8 , Leviticus 22:9 . No stranger must eat of holy things, Leviticus 22:10-13 . Of them that do it ignorantly, Leviticus 22:14-16 . Sacrifices must be without blemish, and of due age, Leviticus 22:17-27 . Thank-offerings must be eaten the same day, Leviticus 22:29 , Leviticus 22:30 . An exhortation to obedience, Leviticus 22:31-33 .

Verse 1

Leviticus 22:1. The foregoing rules relate to the personal qualifications of priests: here follow several cautions relating to the privileges which they and their families had of eating their share of the sacrifices, from Lev 22:1 to Leviticus 22:17, which cautions served to remind them of that reverence and moral purity wherewith their worship ought to be paid to God.

Verse 2

Leviticus 22:2. That they separate themselves When any uncleanness is upon them, as appears from Leviticus 22:3-4. From the holy things This is the first caution. No priest, or other person, was to presume to eat any part of a consecrated victim, while he was under any degree of legal uncleanness. Neither were they, in that state, to eat of the first-fruits, which were also consecrated to God, Numbers 18:12. But they might eat of the tithes, which were allowed for their constant maintenance. That they profane not what they The children of Israel; hallow It ill became the priests to profane or pollute what the people hallowed.

Verse 3

Leviticus 22:3. Goeth unto the holy things To eat them, or to touch them; for if the touch of one of the people having his uncleanness upon him defiled the thing he touched, much more was it so in the priest. Cut off From my ordinances by excommunication: he shall be excluded both from the administration and from the participation of them. Le Clerc takes it for cutting off by death.

Verse 7

Leviticus 22:7. His food His portion, the means of his subsistence. This may be added, to signify why there was no greater nor longer a penalty put upon the priests than upon the people in the same case, because his necessity craved some mitigation: though otherwise the priests, being more sacred persons, deserved a greater punishment.

Verse 9

Leviticus 22:9. Lest they bear sin Incur guilt and punishment. For it For the neglect or violation of it.

Verse 10

Leviticus 22:10. There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing By holy thing here is meant, that portion of the sacrifices which belonged to the priests. And by stranger is not meant one of another nation, in distinction from a native Jew, but one who was not of the priest’s own family, whether Jew, or Gentile proselyte. A sojourner One that came to his house, and abode there for a season, and ate at his table, was not to eat of it. There is one exception, however, to this rule, in the next verse.

Verse 11

Leviticus 22:11. If the priest buy any soul Either one of the Jewish nation, obliged, through poverty, to sell himself, (Leviticus 25:39,) or of another nation, (v. 44, 45,) who being proselyted to the Jewish religion, became part of the priest’s family, and so was permitted to eat of his consecrated meat.

Verse 12

Leviticus 22:12. If the priest’s daughter be married to a stranger To one of another family, who is no priest. Yet the priest’s wife, though of another family, might eat. The reason of which difference is, because the wife passeth into the name, state, and privileges of her husband, from whom the family is denominated.

Verse 14

Leviticus 22:14. The fifth part unto it Over and above the principal, and besides the ram to be offered to God, Leviticus 5:15. And shall give unto the priest the holy thing That is, the worth of it, which the priest was either to take to himself or to offer to God, as the nature of the thing was.

Verse 15

Leviticus 22:15. They The people; shall not profane them, by eating them: or the priests shall not profane them, that is, suffer the people to profane them, without censure and punishment.

Verse 16

Leviticus 22:16. They That is, the priests; shall not (the negative particle being understood out of the foregoing clause) suffer them That is, the people; to bear the iniquity of trespass That is, the punishment of their sin, which they might expect from God, and for the prevention whereof the priest was to see restitution made.

Verses 17-18

Leviticus 22:17-18. The Lord spake unto Moses The following laws relate to the qualifications required in any offering made either by the Israelites or proselytes. For such proselytes as had renounced idolatry, and were proselytes of the gate, termed, Leviticus 22:18, strangers in Israel Though not circumcised, and obliged to keep the whole law of Moses, were yet permitted, in testimony of their worshipping the true God, to offer free- will-offerings at the Jewish altar, as well as proselytes to the whole Mosaic system, termed proselytes of righteousness.

Verse 19

Leviticus 22:19. Ye shall offer it at your own will This is better rendered by the Seventy, the Arabic, and other versions, In order to its being accepted ye shall offer a male. And so we render the same word לרצון , leratson, in the next verse. Males were required in burnt-offerings: but females were accepted in peace-offerings and sin-offerings.

Verse 21

Leviticus 22:21. To accomplish a vow It was not unusual with them to make such a vow when they undertook a journey, went to sea, were sick, or in any danger. It shall be perfect That sacrifice was accounted perfect which wanted none of its parts, nor had any defect in any of them; so that perfect here is the same as without blemish, Leviticus 22:19. The design of this law was still to remind them that they ought to offer to God the most excellent of every thing in its kind, and to guard the worship of God from falling into contempt, as it might have done, had they been allowed to offer to their Maker what men despised, Malachi 1:8. It served also to keep up a due distinction between things sacred and things common, for these same animals which were unfit to be offered to God might be used for common food.

Verse 23

Leviticus 22:23. That mayest thou offer The Hebrew here will bear a different translation, which, indeed, seems necessary to reconcile this with the twenty-first verse, namely, Shouldest thou offer it for a free-will-offering or for a vow, it would not be accepted.

Verse 25

Leviticus 22:25. Neither from a stranger’s hand From proselytes: even from those, such should not be accepted, much less from the Israelites. The bread of your God That is, the sacrifices.

Verse 28

Leviticus 22:28. The cow or ewe, and her young, in one day This Maimonides considers as a precaution of humanity, lest the dam should be brought to the altar while she is yet mourning the loss of her young, slain perhaps before her eyes. And, indeed, there is a degree of cruelty in the very idea of imbruing the hand in the blood of both parent and offspring at the same time. Therefore Jonathan, in his paraphrase, considers this as a symbolical precept, to teach the Israelites to be merciful, as their Father in heaven is merciful.

Verse 32

Leviticus 22:32. I will be hallowed Or, sanctified, either by you, in keeping my holy commands, or upon you, in executing my holy and righteous judgments. I will manifest myself to be a holy God, that will not bear the transgression of my laws. I am the Lord who hallow you Who have separated you to myself as a special people.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/leviticus-22.html. 1857.