The third book of the Old Testament, also known as the Third Book of Moses.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27

Previous book: Exodus | Next book: Numbers
King James Bible

This book is largely an enumeration of various laws, often called the Mosaic laws. We start with various laws for sacrifices in atonement for sin. (Interlude: Aaron and his sons are made priests. Two of Aaron’s sons make a sacrifice of incense. This ticks the Lord off, so he immolates them (Leviticus 10:1,2).) Then the laws about what animals can and cannot be eaten: Animals with cloven hooves can be eaten if, and only if, they also chew the cud. (Leviticus 11). Fish can be eaten, and so on.

Leviticus also contains the law about circumcision of a male child (Leviticus 12:3). After a long set of rules about leprosy comes the section about blood which some faiths feel makes blood transfusion a sin: "Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh..." (Leviticus 17:10-14).

Next laws about sex, including prohibitions of male homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22) and bestiality (Leviticus 18:23). There’s a general recap of the ten commandments mixed with prohibitions on tattoos (Leviticus 19:28) and pimping your daughters (Leviticus 19:29).

There are rules for priests: they must marry a virgin, and be unblemished -- not even a flat nose can be tolerated by God (Leviticus 20:18).

Leviticus holds the infamous reparation for injury: "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Leviticus 24:20).


Aside from the above, many of the rules we would recognize as health related: Don’t eat anything more than two days after cooking. Don’t eat animals with disease. Wash your food. Cook your meat. Don’t give out food when you’re sick.

Exodus | Numbers

This is part of a series of original summations of the Old Testament by me, Lord Brawl, prepared on Sundays as a nod toward the faith of my youth.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

Leviticus 18:22 says, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them." While these verses do prohibit same sex intercourse between males, it is for ritualistic and cultural reasons rather than moral ones.

This section of Leviticus is often called the "Holiness Code". Along with some other things, it prohibits intercourse with a woman during her period, cross breeding of animals, sowing fields with two kinds of seed, wearing garments made of two different materials, marrying a divorced woman, tattoos, cursing your father or mother, eating meat with blood still in it, stealing, lying, adultery, witchcraft, and prostitution.

What do these things have in common and why were they prohibited? The Holiness Code is about purity. "Purity" because God required his people to be separate from the pagan culture they left behind (Egypt) and the pagan culture in which they lived (Canaan). It is meant to prevent the acts of pagan society altogether (where temple prostitution, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, was common) because committing one might lead to another, like a domino effect. However, the biggest idea behind these verses is that temple prostitution is a sin. You might argue that it doesn't mention heterosexual intercourse as immoral and hence I'm dead wrong, but that's because women wouldn't be present at the temple near or during rituals in the first place (I'll get to that below). Many scholars believe that these verses are irrelevant outside of purity rituals for worship. Since the condemnation is ritualistic, and not a moral prohibition, it's not even applicable to anyone today. (Except maybe the part about temple prostitution in general...)

Notice women haven't been mentioned much up to this point? You'd think if same sex intercourse were being called immoral they'd be mentioned as well. But they aren't. Things don't add up if it's a condemnation of homosexual behavior in all of society. It only makes sense if the verses are condemning it in a ritualistic sense, since women were considered inferior and didn't take part in the rituals, so purity was irrelevant. This also makes sense because women are included when it comes to prostitution and adultery.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
Book: Leviticus
Chapters: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19 · 20 · 21 · 22 · 23 · 24 · 25 · 26 · 27 ·

God ordained divers kinds of oblations and sacrifices, to
assure his people of the forgiveness of their offences, if they
offered them in true Faith and obedience. Also he appointed the
priests and Levites, their Apparel, offices, conduct, and
portion. He showed what feasts they should observe, and at what
times. He declared By these sacrifices and ceremonies, that the
reward of Sin is Death, and that without the Blood of Christ,
the innocent Lamb of God, there can be No forgiveness of sins.

Le*vit"i*cus (?), n. [See Levitical.]

The third canonical book of the Old Testament, containing the laws and regulations relating to the priests and Levites among the Hebrews, or the body of the ceremonial law.

 

© Webster 1913.

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