Leviticus 22


Of the uncleanness of the priests, by which they were prevented

from ministering in holy things, 1-5.

How they should be cleansed, 6, 7.

The priest must not eat of any animal that had died of itself,

or was torn by wild beasts, but must keep God's ordinances,

8, 9.

No stranger, sojourner, nor hired servant shall eat of the holy

things, 10.

A servant bought with money may eat of them, 11.

Who of the priest's family may not eat of them, 12, 13.

Of improper persons who partake of the holy things unknowingly,


Freewill-offerings, and sacrifices in general, must be without

blemish, 17-25.

The age at which different animals were to be offered to God,

26, 27.

No animal and its young shall be offered on the same day, 28.

How the sacrifice of thanks-giving was to be offered, 29, 30.

All God's testimonies to be observed, and the reason, 31-33.


Verse 2. Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they

separate themselves] The same subject is continued in this

chapter as in the preceding, with this addition, that besides

the perfection of the priests, it was indispensably necessary

that the sacrifices also should be perfect. In the service of

God, according to the law, neither an imperfect offering nor an

imperfect offerer could be admitted. What need then of a

mediator between a holy God and sinful men! And can we expect

that any of our services, however sincere and

well-intentioned, can be accepted, unless offered on that living

Altar that sanctifies the gift?

Verse 4. Is a leper, or hath a running issue] See the case

of the leper treated at large in the notes on Le 13:1-14:57;

and for other uncleannesses, see the notes on Le 15:1-30.

Verse 10. There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing] For

the meaning of the word stranger,

see the note on "Ex 12:43".

The Jews suppose that stranger here means one who has had his ear

pierced, (see the note on "Ex 21:6",) and that

sojourner means a servant who is to go free on the Sabbatical

year. Neither of these was permitted to eat of the holy things,

because they were not properly members of the priest's family, and

might go out and defile themselves even with the abominations of

the heathen; but the servant or slave that was bought with money,

Le 22:10, might eat of these things, because he was the property

of the master for ever.

We see that it was lawful, under the Mosaic economy, to have

slaves under certain restrictions; but these were taken from

among the heathen, and instructed in the true religion: hence we

find, as in the above case, that they were reckoned as a part of

the priest's own family, and treated as such. They certainly

had privileges which did not extend either to sojourners or to

hired servants; therefore their situation was incomparably

better than the situation of the slaves under different European

governments, of whose souls their pitiless possessors in general

take no care, while they themselves venture to profess the

Christian religion, and quote the Mosaic law in vindication of

their system of slavery. How preposterous is such conduct! and

how intolerable!

Verse 13. But if the priest's daughter be a widow-and is

returned unto her father's house] A widow in Bengal not

unfrequently returns to her father's house on the death of her

husband: the union betwixt her and her own family is never so

dissolved as among European nations. Thousands of widows in

Bengal, whose husbands die before the consummation of marriage,

never leave their parents.-WARD.

Verse 14. Then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it]

The holy thing of which he has unknowingly eaten shall be fairly

valued, and to this value he shall add one fifth more, and give

the whole to the priest.

Verse 20. Whatsoever hath a blemish] The same perfection is

required in the sacrifice that was required in the priest; see

on Le 22:2, and the notes on the preceding chapter.

Verse 23. That hath anything superfluous or lacking] The

term sarua signifies any thing extended beyond the usual

size, and the term kalut signifies any thing unusually

contracted; and both mean any monstrosity, whether in redundance

or defect. Such things, it seems, might be offered for a

freewill-offering, because that was not prescribed by the law;

God left it to a man's piety and gratitude to offer such

additional gifts as he could: what the law required was

indispensably necessary, because it pointed out the Gospel

economy; but he that made a vow to offer such a sacrifice as the

law had not required, could of course bring an imperfect

offering. Some contend that the last clause of this verse

should be thus read: If thou offer it either for a

freewill-offering, or for a vow, it shall not be accepted. It

was the opinion of the Jews, and it appears to be correct, that

none of these imperfect animals were ever offered on the altar;

but the person who made the freewill-offering of such things as

he had, sold the animal, and gave its price for the support of

the sanctuary.

Verse 24. Bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut] That is,

no bullock or lamb that is injured in any of the above ways,

shall be offered unto the Lord.

Verse 25. Their corruption is in them] Viz., they are

bruised, crushed, broken, &c.

Verse 27. When a bullock-is brought forth] This is a most

unfortunate as well as absurd translation. The creature called

an ox is a bull castrated; surely then a bullock was never yet

brought forth! The original word shor signifies a bull, a

bullock, or indeed any thing of the neat kind: here, even common

sense required that it should be translated calf; and did I not

hold myself sacredly bound to print the text of the common

version with scrupulous exactness, I should translate the former

clause of this verse thus, and so enter it into the text: When a

CALF, or a LAMB, or a KID is brought forth, instead of, When

a bullock, a sheep, or a goat is brought forth, the absurdity of

which is glaring.

Seven days under the dam] In vindication of the propriety of

this precept it may be justly asserted, that the flesh of very

young animals is comparatively innutritive, and that animal food

is not sufficiently nourishing and wholesome till the animal has

arrived at a certain growth, or acquired the perfection of its

nature. There is something brutish in eating the young of beast

or fowl before the hair and hoofs are perfect in the one, and

the feathers and claws in the other. Before this period their

flesh is not good for food. See Clarke on Le 9:1.

Verse 28. Ye shall not kill it and her young in one day] This

precept was certainly intended to inculcate mercy and tenderness

of heart; and so the Jews understood it. When it is necessary

to take away the lives of innocent animals for the support of

our own, we should do it in such a way as not to blunt our moral

feelings; and deplore the necessity, while we feel an express

gratitude to God for permission, to do it.

Verse 30. Leave none of it until the morrow]

See Clarke on Le 7:15.

Verse 32. Neither shall ye profane my holy name] God's name

is profaned or rendered common when we treat his commands as we

often do those of our fellows, when they do not appear to have

self-interest to recommend them. He therefore profanes God's

holy name who does not both implicitly believe and

conscientiously obey all his words and all his precepts.

I will be hallowed among the children of Israel] The words

children of Israel, beney Yishrael, which so

frequently occur, should be translated either the descendants or

posterity of Israel, or the people of Israel. The word children

has a tendency to beget a false notion, especially in the minds

of young people, and lead them to think that children, in the

proper sense of the word, i. e., little ones, are meant.

Verse 33. Brought you out of the land of Egypt] By such a

series of miraculous interferences, to be your God-to save you

from all idolatry, false and superstitious worship, teach you

the right way, lead and support you in it, and preserve you to

my eternal kingdom and glory. God, infinite in his own

perfections, has no need of his creatures; but they need him;

and, as a source of endless felicity, he opens himself to all

his intelligent offspring.

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