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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Leviticus 19

 

 

Verses 1-37

2. Different Duties

CHAPTER 19

1. Honoring parents and fearing God (Leviticus 19:1-8)

2. The care of the poor (Leviticus 19:9-10)

3. Against stealing and lying (Leviticus 19:11-12)

4. Against oppression (Leviticus 19:13-14)

5. Against unrighteousness in judgment (Leviticus 19:15-16)

6. Thou shalt love thy neighbor (Leviticus 19:17-18)

7. Different commands and prohibitions (Leviticus 19:19-37)

Many of these duties enjoined upon a people called to holiness, the different commands and prohibitions, are of much interest. It is true, believers are not under the law. This, however, does not mean that we should refrain from reading and studying these commands. Jehovah changes not. May we remember that our call, like Israel’s, is unto practical holiness in life. Our responsibilities are even greater. Many lessons are here for us which will greatly help us in our walk as His people. The provision made for the poor (verses 9-10 compare with Ruth 2:14-16) manifests the loving care of Jehovah. God has special regard for the poor and strangers. His blessed Son became poor and was indeed a stranger in the world He created. His people had no heart for Him and He was hungry, while His disciples had to take ears of corn from the field to satisfy their hunger. The Lord Himself was the owner of Israel’s land (Leviticus 25:23), and as owner He charged His servants to be unselfish in the use of the bountiful provision He was making for their temporal need.

Note the precept concerning the laborer. “The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning” (verse 13). This again reveals the gracious care of the Lord. How little such care and consideration for the poor and the servant is found in our day! If these simple instructions were followed the discontent of the poor and the unrest of the laborers would not be as prominent as they are now. Israel failed in this. They cheated the poor and hired servants (Amos 8:5-6). What is to be in the last days of the present age we find in James 5:4 : “Behold the hire of the laborers, who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them that have reaped have entered into the ears of the lord of Sabaoth.” The divine plea for the poor and the laborer is utterly disregarded in the last days, and Jehovah has to take up their case.

The deaf and the blind are also mentioned. The defenceless and helpless with the poor and the hired servant are the objects of His special care.

In verse 19 the raising of hybrid animals is forbidden. Anything “mingled” God despises. His people are to avoid this, even in the smallest things.

Heathen superstitions, such as using enchantments and observing times are forbidden by Jehovah. These are unworthy of a redeemed people linked with Jehovah. All superstitions, such as dreading certain days and numbers (“Friday” or “13”), and other foolish observances, alas! found so much amidst professing Christians are heathenish and dishonor God, who alone knows and controls the welfare and future of His people. All “cuttings in your flesh for the dead” were also prohibited. Thus the pagans did who have no hope. Such sorrow, expressed in fearful lamentations and frenzied outbreaks, were unworthy of Israel, as they are more so for Christian believers (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Those who have familiar spirits (mediums) and wizards were not to be consulted.

But it is truly most extraordinary that in Christian lands, as especially in the United States of America, and that in the full light, religious and intellectual, of the twentieth century, such a prohibition should be fully as pertinent as in Israel! For no words could more precisely describe the pretensions of the so-called modern spiritualism, which within the last half century has led away hundreds of thousands of deluded souls, and those, in many cases, not from the ignorant and degraded, but from circles which boast of more than average culture and intellectual enlightenment. And inasmuch as experience sadly shows that even those who profess to be disciples of Christ are in danger of being led away by our modern wizards and traffickers with familiar spirits, it is by no means unnecessary to observe that there is not the slightest reason to believe that this which was rigidly, forbidden by God in the fifteenth century B.C., can now be well-pleasing to Him in the nineteenth century A.D. And those who have most carefully watched the moral developments of this latter-day delusion, will most appreciate the added phrase which speaks of this as “defiling” a man. (S.H. Kellogg)

It will be wise to meditate carefully on all these commands and prohibitions. They reveal the tenderness, the wisdom and the holiness of God.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Leviticus 19:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/leviticus-19.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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