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Concerning the uncleanness of the priests, and the perfection of the sacrifices.
Before Christ 1490.
Leviticus 22:2. That they separate themselves— Or, That they abstain. These cautions respecting abstinence from the holy things,—from that food which was allotted to the families of the priests, are to be understood as of the same import with those mentioned in the former chapter; alike calculated to preserve a reverence for sacred matters, and to inculcate moral purity.
Leviticus 22:3.— Houbigant renders this verse better, when he is unclean. The meaning of the phrase, he shall be cut off from my presence, is given us in the 9th verse; he shall die.
Leviticus 22:4. What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper— These defilements, spoken of at large in the 15th chapter, were to seclude the priests from all public offices, in the same manner as they secluded common Israelites from the general intercourse of life. The words, whoso toucheth any thing that is unclean by the dead, are rendered by Houbigant, whoever shall touch any uncleanness of a funeral: they might more literally be rendered, whoso toucheth any unclean thing of the dead; and they seem to express, that not only the touching of a dead body; but the having any concern at all with such, was sufficient to render the priest legally unclean; see the note on chap. Leviticus 21:1.
Note; (1.) It is no light matter to profane with unhallowed touch the sacred table of the Lord. (2.) The higher the station, the deeper the fall. A priest who perishes, sinks into the lowest pit. (3.) It becomes us with jealousy, knowing what a God we have to do with, to take heed to our ways in this naughty world, and never to omit daily application to the fountain which is opened for sin and for uncleanness.
Leviticus 22:10. Holy thing— Compare chap. Leviticus 21:22.
Leviticus 22:11. If the priest buy any soul— See chap. Leviticus 25:39; Leviticus 25:44-3.25.45. The word stranger, in the next verse, signifies as in the 10th verse, one who is not of the priest's family.
Leviticus 22:14. He shall put the fifth part thereof unto it— The meaning is, that the person, thus ignorantly offending, should, to the full worth of the thing, add a fifth part, and so restore to the priest what he had inadvertently applied to his own use.
Leviticus 22:15. Shall not profane the holy things— That this verse refers to the priests, and not to the people, is evident from the context, and from the following verse. Provision is made in the former verse, that the holy things appropriated to their maintenance should be exactly rendered to the priests: here it is observed, in reference to the cautions given in the former part of the chapter, that the priests themselves should not profane the holy things, by an improper and defiling use of them; and thus lade themselves with the iniquity of trespass in their eating; i.e. render themselves obnoxious to divine justice by transgressing these ordinances.
Note; There is but one Mediator, who is appointed to bear our sins, and we must be careful to join no other with him. His blood and merits alone, not any works of ours, or of others, have any efficacy in obtaining remission of the iniquity of our trespass.
Leviticus 22:19. Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish— Laws are next given to provide for the perfection of the sacrifices, as well as of the sacrificers. Upon this head, we refer to the last note of the foregoing chapter, The strangers in Israel, Lev 22:18 signify the proselytes of the gate, such as had embraced the Mosaic law. At your own will might be rendered more consistently with the former verse, for your acceptance, or to be accepted; as it is rendered in the 21st verse, and by several of the ancient versions. The same attention to the perfection of victims was found among the heathens: they thought that unworthy to be offered to their gods, which was not excellent and complete in its kind. "No lame animal is to be sacrificed," says the Greek scholiast on Aristophanes; "and, in general, nothing must be offered to the gods, but what is sound and perfect:" τελειον και υγιες .
Leviticus 22:23. That mayest thou offer for a free-will-offering, &c.— Some render this, If thou offer it either for a free-will-offering, or for a vow, it shall not be accepted. The Hebrew will certainly bear this interpretation; and the 21st verse both requires and justifies it.
Leviticus 22:24. Neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land— Though there is nothing for offering in the Hebrew, yet the verb and the context sufficiently shew, that our version has added it with great propriety. The four participles, bruised, crushed, broken, cut, have immediate reference to the words bullock and lamb; to which animals, the two participles in the Hebrew, rendered superfluous and lacking, are applied, and of which the four following must be understood; not of any parts of them, of which no mention is made in the text. Dr. Beaumont's short gloss is, "in your land ye shall not do it, i.e. any in your land of Israel; opposed to the stranger in the next verse: not do it; i.e. not offer it, or make it a sacrifice, or suffer it to be done by any in your land."
Leviticus 22:25. The bread of your God— Or, The food of your God, i.e. Sacrifices. [Because their corruption is in them,—blemishes be in them.] As in the original of these words we find no connective particle, blemishes may be either understood as explanatory of corruption; [corruption, i.e. blemishes be in them;] or, the two words may be considered as distinct: the former expressing the ill habit of body specified above; the latter the external defects of the body. Most of the versions countenance the first exposition.
Leviticus 22:28. Whether it be cow or ewe— This law appears to be of the same nature with several others that we have heretofore remarked, inculcating humanity: accordingly, Maimonides considers it as such: and Jonathan, in his paraphrase, understands it as a symbolical precept, teaching the Israelites to be merciful, as their father in heaven is merciful.
Leviticus 22:32. Neither shall ye profane my holy name, &c.— "An attentive observation of the law," says Selden, "was called by the Hebrews, sanctification of the divine name; and the doing any thing contrary to the law, profanation of that name."
REFLECTIONS.—(1.) Our Lord Jesus was thus a lamb without spot or blemish; and when examined, no fault was found in him. (2.) It is but mockery, instead of service, to appear before God with blind devotion and lame formality: unless our souls are engaged, and our hearts given up to him, the rest is no better than abomination.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany