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BibliaTodo Commentaries

Benson Joseph
Leviticus 19

1. The LORD spoke to Moses. He said,

2. "Speak to the whole community of Israel. Tell them, 'Be holy, because I am holy. I am the LORD your God.

3. "'All of you must have respect for your mother and father. You must always keep my Sabbath days. I am the LORD your God.

4. "'Do not turn away from me to worship statues of gods. Do not make gods out of metal for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

5. "'Suppose you sacrifice a friendship offering to me. Then do it in the right way. And I will accept it from you.

6. You must eat it on the same day you sacrifice it or on the next day. Anything that is left over until the third day must be burned up.

7. "'If you eat any of it on the third day, it is not pure. I will not accept it.

8. If you eat it, you will be held accountable. You have misused what is holy to me. You will be cut off from your people.

9. "'Suppose you are harvesting your crops. Then do not harvest all the way to the edges of your field. And do not pick up the grain you missed.

10. Do not go over your vineyard a second time. Do not pick up the grapes that have fallen to the ground. Leave them for poor people and outsiders. I am the LORD your God.

11. "'Do not steal. "'Do not tell lies. "'Do not cheat one another.

12. "'Do not take an oath and give false witness in my name. That would be treating it as if it were not holy. I am the LORD your God.

13. "'Do not cheat your neighbor. Do not rob him. "'Do not hold back the pay of a hired worker until morning.

14. "'Do not call a curse down on deaf people. Do not put anything in front of blind people that will make them trip. Instead, have respect for me. I am the LORD your God.

15. "'Do not make something that is wrong appear to be right. Treat poor people and rich people in the same way. Do not favor one person over another. Instead, judge everyone fairly.

16. "'Do not go around spreading lies among your people. "'Do not do anything that puts your neighbor's life in danger. I am the LORD.

17. "'Do not hate your brother in your heart. Correct your neighbor boldly when he does something wrong. Then you will not share his guilt.

18. "'Do not try to get even. Do not hold anything against one of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the LORD.

19. "'Obey my rules. "'Do not let different kinds of animals mate with each other. "'Do not mix two kinds of seeds and then plant them in your field. "'Do not wear clothes that are made out of two kinds of cloth.

20. "'Suppose a man has sex with a female slave. But she and another man have promised to get married to each other. And her freedom has not yet been paid for or given to her. Then she and the man who had sex with her must be punished. But they must not be put to death, because she had not been set free.

21. "'The man must bring a ram to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. It is for a guilt offering to me.

22. The priest must take the ram for the guilt offering. He must sacrifice it to pay for the man's sin in my sight. Then his sin will be forgiven.

23. "'When you enter the land, suppose you plant a fruit tree. Then do not eat its fruit for the first three years. The fruit is not "clean."

24. In the fourth year all of the fruit will be holy. Offer it as a way of showing praise to me.

25. But in the fifth year you can eat the fruit. Then you will gather more and more fruit. I am the LORD your God.

26. "'Do not eat any meat that still has blood in it. "'Do not practice any kind of evil magic at all.

27. "'Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head. Do not clip off the edges of your beard.

28. "'Do not make cuts on your bodies when someone dies. Do not put marks on your skin. I am the LORD.

29. "'Do not dishonor your daughter's body by making a prostitute out of her. If you do, the people of Israel will start using prostitutes. The land will be filled with evil.

30. "'You must always keep my Sabbath days. Have respect for my sacred tent. I am the LORD.

31. "'Do not look for advice from people who get messages from those who have died. Do not go to people who talk to the spirits of the dead. If you do, they will make you "unclean." I am the LORD your God.

32. "'Stand up in order to show your respect for old people. Also have respect for me. I am the LORD your God.

33. "'Suppose an outsider lives with you in your land. Then do not treat him badly.

34. Treat him as if he were one of your own people. Love him as you love yourself. Remember that all of you were outsiders in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

35. "'Be honest when you measure lengths, weights or amounts.

36. Use honest scales and honest weights. Use honest dry measures. And use honest liquid measures. I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt.

37. "'Obey all of my rules and laws. Follow them. I am the LORD.'"

Leviticus 19

Lev 19:2. Ye shall be holy — Separated from all the forementioned defilements, and entirely consecrated to God, and obedient to all his laws. I am holy — Both in my essence, and in all my laws, which are holy, and just, and good.

Lev 19:3. His mother — The mother is put first, partly because the practice of this duty begins there, mothers, by perpetual converse, being sooner known to their children than their fathers; and partly because this duty is commonly neglected to the mother, upon whom children have not so much dependance as they have upon their father. And this fear includes the two great duties of reverence and obedience. And keep my sabbaths — This is added, to show that, whereas it is enjoined to parents that they should take care the sabbath be observed both by themselves and their children, it is the duty of children to fear and obey their parents in this matter. But that, if parents should neglect their duty therein, or by their command, counsel, or example, draw them to pollute the sabbath, the children in that case must keep the sabbath, and prefer the command of God, before the command of their parents.

Lev 19:4. Turn ye not unto idols — Hebrew, אלילם, Elilim, No gods, or nothings, as the word signifies, and as idols are called, (1Co 8:4,) many of them having no being but in the fancy of their worshippers, and all of them having no virtue or power to do good or evil, Isa 41:23.

Lev 19:5. At your own will — Or, According to your own pleasure, what you think fit; for though this sacrifice, in general, was required, it was left to their choice to determine the particulars. But the original word may be rendered, For favour to you; that is, in order to procure you the divine favour; or in such a manner as God has prescribed and will accept. And thus it is understood by Le Clerc, after the LXX., the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

Lev 19:9-10. Thou shalt not gather the gleanings of thy harvest — They were not to be exact in carrying all off, but were to leave some part to be gleaned and reaped by their poor neighbours, whether Israelites or Gentiles. And thou shall not glean thy vineyard — When they had cut off the great bunches, they were not to examine the vine over again for the scattered grapes or small clusters, but leave them for the poor and stranger. Strangers are joined with the poor, because they could have no possessions of land among the Hebrews, and therefore were often poor. I am the Lord your God — Who gave you all these things, with a reservation of my right in them, and with a charge of giving part of them to the poor. This, and many other laws which provide for the indigent, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger, show the genius of the Jewish religion to have been much more humane than we are apt to conceive, from examining the lives of its narrow-minded professors.

Lev 19:12. Ye shall not swear falsely — This is added to show how one sin draws on another, and that when men will lie for their own advantage, they will easily be induced to perjury. Profane the name — By any unholy use of it. So it is an additional precept, thou shall not abuse my holy name by swearing either falsely or rashly.

Lev 19:14. Before the blind — To make them fall. Under these two particulars are manifestly forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care, because they are not able to secure themselves. Fear thy God — Who both can and will avenge them.

Lev 19:15. The poor — So as, through pity to him, to give an unrighteous sentence.

Lev 19:16. Stand against the blood — In judgment, as a false accuser, or false witness, for accusers and witnesses use to stand, while the judges sit, in courts of judicature.

Lev 19:17. Thou shalt not hate — As thou dost, in effect, if thou dost not rebuke him. Thy brother — The same as thy neighbour; that is, every man. If thy brother hath done wrong, thou shalt neither divulge it to others, nor hate him, and smother that hatred by sullen silence; nor flatter him therein, but shalt freely, and in love, tell him of his fault. And not suffer sin upon him — Not suffer him to lie under the guilt of any sin, which thou, by rebuking him, and thereby bringing him to repentance, couldst free him from.

Lev 19:18. Thy neighbour — Every man, as plainly appears, 1st, By comparing this place with Lev 19:34, where this law is applied to strangers. 2d, Because the word neighbour is explained by another man, Lev 20:10; Rom 13:8. As thyself — With the same sincerity, though not equality of affection.

Lev 19:19. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender — This was prohibited, partly to restrain the curiosity and boldness of men, who might attempt to amend or change the works of God; partly that by the restraint here laid, even upon brute creatures, men might be taught to abhor all unnatural lusts; partly to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion, which also may be signified by the following prohibitions.

Lev 19:20. She shall be scourged — Hebrew, There shall be a scourging, which probably may belong to both of them; for, 1st, Both were guilty; 2d, It follows, they shall not be punished with death, which may seem to imply that they were to be punished by some other common and considerable punishment, which scourging indeed was; but the paying of a ram was a small penalty, and very unsuitable to the greatness of the offence. And the offering of the ram, as a trespass-offering for the sin against God, is not inconsistent with making satisfaction other ways for the injury done to men, but only added here as a further punishment to the man, either because he only could do this, and not the woman, who being a bond- woman had nothing of her own to offer; or because his sex and his freedom aggravated his sin. Not put to death — Which they should have been, had she been free, Deu 22:23-24. The reason of this difference is not from any respect which God gives to persons, for bond and free are alike to him, but because bond-women were scarcely wives, and their marriages were scarcely true marriages, being neither made by their choice, but their masters’ authority, nor continued beyond the year of release, but at their masters’ or husbands’ pleasure.

Lev 19:23. As uncircumcised — That is, as unclean, not to be eaten, but cast away, because the fruit then was less wholesome, and because hereby men were taught to bridle their appetites; a lesson of great use and absolute necessity in a holy life.

Lev 19:24. Holy — Consecrated to the Lord, as the first-fruits and tithes were, and therefore given to the priests and Levites, Num 18:12, 13; Deu 18:4; yet so that part of them were communicated to the poor widows, and fatherless, and strangers, see Deu 14:28; to bless the Lord, by whose power and goodness the trees bring forth fruit to perfection.

Lev 19:25. That it may yield the increase — That God may be pleased to give his blessing, which alone could make them fruitful.

Lev 19:26. Any thing with the blood — Any flesh out of which the blood is not first poured. Neither shall ye use enchantments — It was unpardonable in them, to whom were committed the oracles of God, to ask counsel of the devil. And yet worse in Christians, to whom the Son of God is manifested, to destroy the works of the devil. For Christians to have their nativities cast, or their fortunes told, or to use charms for the cure of diseases, is an intolerable affront to the Lord Jesus, a support of idolatry, and a reproach both to themselves and to that worthy name by which they are called. Nor observe times — Superstitiously, esteeming some days lucky, others unlucky.

Lev 19:27. The corners of your heads — That is, your temples; ye shall not cut off the hair of your heads round about your temples. This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of their idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch, and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isa 15:2; Jer 48:37. And the like is to be thought concerning the beard, or the hair in the corner, that is, corners of the beard. The reason then of this prohibition is, because God would not have his people agree with idolaters, neither in their idolatries, nor in their excessive sorrowing, nor so much as in the appearances of it.

Lev 19:28. Cuttings in your flesh — Which the Gentiles commonly did, both in the worship of their idols and in their solemn mournings, Jer 16:6.

Lev 19:29. Do not prostitute — As the Gentiles frequently did for the honour of some of their idols, to whom women were consecrated, and publicly prostituted.

Lev 19:31. Wizards — Them that have entered into covenant with the devil, by whose help they foretel many things to come, and acquaint men with secret things; see Lev 20:27; Deu 18:11; 1Sa 28:3; 1Sa 28:7; 1Sa 28:9; 2Ki 21:6.

Lev 19:32. Rise up — To do them reverence when they pass by, for which end they were obliged, as the Jews say, presently to sit down again when they were past, that it might be manifest they arose out of respect to them. Fear thy God — This respect is due to such, if not for themselves, yet for God’s sake, who requires this reverence, and whose singular blessing old age is.

Lev 19:33. Vex him — Either with opprobrious expressions, or grievous exactions.

Lev 19:34. As one born among you — Either, 1st, As to the matters of common right, so it reached to all strangers. Or, 2d, As to church privileges, so concerned only those who were proselytes. Ye were strangers — And therefore are sensible of the fears, distresses, and miseries of such; which call for your pity, and you ought to do to them, as you desired others should do to you, when you were such.

Lev 19:35. In mete-yard — In the measuring of lands, or dry things, as cloth, riband. In measure — In the measuring liquid or such dry things as are only contiguous, as corn or wine.

Lev 19:36. A just ephah and a just hin — These two measures are named as most common, the former for dry, the latter for moist things, but under them he manifestly comprehends all other measures.

Lev 19:37. Therefore — Because my blessings and deliverances are not indulgences to sin, but greater obligations to all duties to God and men.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

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