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LEVITICUS 19

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

 NASB  NKJV  NRSV  TEV   NJB
(MT versing)
Idolatry Forbidden Moral and Ceremonial Laws The Life of Holiness Laws of Holiness and Justice NJB Text
19:1-8 19:1-3 19:1 19:1-3 19:1-2a
19:2-4 19:2b
19:3a
19:3b
19:4-8 19:4 19:4
Sundry Laws 19:5-8 19:5-8 19:5-8
19:9-10 19:9-10 19:9-10 19:9-10 19:9-10
19:11-12 19:11-12 19:11-12 19:11-12 19:11-14
19:13-14 19:13-14 19:13-14 19:13-14
19:15-16 19:15-16 19:15-16 19:15-16 19:15-18
19:17-18 19:17-18 19:17-18 19:17-18
19:19 19:19-22 19:19 19:19 19:19a
19:19b
19:20-22 19:20-22 19:20-22 19:20-22
19:23-25 19:23-25 19:23-25 19:23-25 19:23-25
19:26-28 19:26-28 19:26-28 19:26-28 19:26
19:27-28
19:29-30 19:29-30 19:29-30 19:29-30 19:29
19:30
19:31 19:31 19:31 19:31 19:31
19:32 19:32 19:32 19:32 19:32
19:33-34 19:33-34 19:33-34 19:33-34 19:33-34
19:35-37 19:35-36 19:35-37 19:35-37 19:35-37
19:37

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")
FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.
  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

  1. This chapter deals with various regulations (note the curses of Deuteronomy 27). These are repeated in several places in the Pentateuch. This shows some type of editing. Remember, OT compilations or editing are also inspired.

  2. List of subject and parallels.
    1. be holy for I am holy, Lev. 19:2 ‒ Exod. 19:5-6; Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7,26; Num. 15:40; Deut. 7:6; 14:2,21
    2. honor parents, Lev. 19:3 ‒ Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16; 27:16 (see full note online at Deut. 5:16)
    3. keep the sabbath, Lev. 19:3b ‒ Exod. 20:8; 23:12; 31:15; Lev. 19:30; Deut. 5:12-14
    4. no idolatry, Lev. 19:4 ‒ Exod. 20:3-4,23; 34:17; Deut. 4:15-19; 5:7-9
    5. peace offering regulations, Lev. 19:5-8 ‒ Leviticus 3; 7:28-34
    6. gleaning (see full note online at Deut. 24:19-23), Lev. 19:9-10 ‒ Lev. 23:22; Deut. 23:24-25; 24:19-21
    7. no stealing, Lev. 19:11 ‒ Exod. 20:15; 21:16; Deut. 5:19 (may refer to kidnaping, see Deut. 24:7)
    8. no false witness, Lev. 19:11 ‒ Exod. 20:16; Deut. 5:20 (see full note online at Deut. 5:20)
    9. take YHWH's name in vain, Lev. 19:12 ‒ Exod. 20:7; Deut. 5:11; 6:13; 10:20 (see full note online at Deut. 5:11)
    10. do not oppress or rob neighbor, Lev. 19:13a ‒ Exod. 22:7-15,21-23
    11. pay the hired help immediately, Lev. 19:13b ‒ Deut. 24:14-15
    12. treat the disabled with care, not malice, Lev. 19:14 ‒ Deut. 27:18
    13. be fair in judgment, Lev. 19:15-16 ‒ Lev. 23:3,6-9; Deut. 1:17; 16:19; 24:17; 27:19,25 (see full note online at Deut. 1:17)
    14. do not hate or take revenge on your covenant partner but love him, Lev. 19:17-18 ‒ Deut. 32:35 (see full note online)
    15. do not mix things, Lev. 19:19 ‒ Deut. 22:9-11
    16. improper sexual activity with a slave, Lev. 19:20-22 ‒ Deut. 22:23-27
    17. initial dedication of fruit tree harvest to God until the fifth year, Lev. 19:23-25
    18. do not eat blood, Lev. 19:26a ‒ Lev. 3:17; 7:26-27; Deut. 12:16,23-25
    19. do not practice divination or soothsaying, Lev. 19:26b,31 ‒ Lev. 20:6; 27; Deut. 18:9-13,14 (see full note online at Deut. 18:9-14)
    20. do not cut your beards, Lev. 19:27-28 ‒ Lev. 21:5; Deut. 14:1 (see full note online)
    21. do not sell/give your daughter to prostitution, Lev. 19:29 ‒ Deut. 23:17-18; for priest's daughters see Lev. 21:9 (see full note online at Deut. 23:17-18)
    22. revere YHWH's sanctuary, Lev. 19:30b ‒ Lev. 26:2
    23. honor the aged, Lev. 19:32
    24. treat the stranger/sojourner well, Lev. 19:33-34 ‒ Exod. 22:21
    25. fair commerce, Lev. 19:35-36 ‒ Deut. 25:13-16

  3. Notice how Israel made no distinction between what we now label as "cultic" and "moral." All of life was sacred and a gift from God. Not only the Sabbath but every day, the people of god model His character to a pagan world.

  4. There is a lot of confusion in this chapter between SINGULAR and PLURAL in the MT and the ancient versions.

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:1
1Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:2-4
2"Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the Lord your God. 4Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the Lord your God.'"

19:2 "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel" This is a Piel IMPERATIVE, like so many in the chapters in Leviticus, but this one is uniquely addressed to the whole congregation (cf. Exod. 12:3).

▣ "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" The VERB (BDB 224, KB 243, Qal IMPERFECT) is used as an IMPERATIVE or JUSSIVE, with an emphasis on "continue to be holy," as are all the VERBS in Lev. 19:2b-5). This is the reason for all of these stipulations. God is to be reflected in the daily life of His people (cf. Lev. 1:44,45; 20:7,26; Matt. 5:48). See SPECIAL TOPIC: HOLY and SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HOLY ONE.

19:3 "you shall reverence his mother and his father" Notice that a stable family pattern, reflected in Exod. 20:12, is what will make a strong society. There are several texts that express this same truth from a negative perspective (cf. Exod. 21:15,17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 21:18-21; Pro. 20:20; 23:22; 30:17).

Also notice that the mother is mentioned first (cf. Lev. 21:2), which shows the respect for her in the Hebrew society. The LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate reverse the order of the MT.

The VERB "revere" (BDB 431, KB 432, Qal PERFECT) is literally "fear." It is used in several senses.

  1. fear
    1. of God ‒ Gen. 3:10; 18:15; 20:8; 28:12
    2. of men ‒ Gen. 32:8; 42:3; 43:18; Exod. 2:14; 14:10; Deut. 20:8; 31:8
  2. in awe
    1. of God ‒ Exod. 9:30; Lev. 19:14,32; 25:17,36,43
    2. of men ‒ Exod. 34:30 (i.e., Moses)
  3. honor/respect/fear
    1. God ‒ Gen. 42:18; Exod. 1:17,21; 18:21; Deut. 4:10; 6:2,13,24; 8:6; 10:12,20; 14:23; 17:19; 31:12-13
    2. parents ‒ Lev. 19:3 (Deut. 5:16, different VERB)
    3. YHWH's sanctuary ‒ Lev. 19:30; 26:2
    4. leaders (i.e., Moses and Joshua) ‒ Josh. 4:14
    5. not fear other gods ‒ Jdgs. 6:10

▣ "you shall keep My sabbaths" The VERB, like all VERBS in Lev. 19:2b-5, is IMPERFECT, which denotes continual action. Notice "sabbath" is PLURAL. This admonition means "keep all the regulations about My sabbath worship, week by week and year by year. It is important to Him (cf. Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11).

19:4 "Do not turn to idols" The term translated "idols" is difficult to define (BDB 47, KB 55).

  1. diminutive of El (the general name for god in the ANE; see SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY, A)
  2. from Arabic root ‒ useless
  3. from Akkadian root ‒ powerless
  4. NET Bible suggests "worthless," p. 254 and mentions that Snaith translates it as "worthless godlings," which combines two of the theories.

It is obvious, as one goes through this chapter, that much of it reflects a delineation of the Ten Commandments, although in a different order (cf. Exod. 20:4-6). See SPECIAL TOPIC: CONSEQUENCES OF IDOLATRY.

The VERB "turn" (BDB 815, KB 937, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense, negated) implies a turning from and a turning to (cf. Deut. 31:18,20; Hos. 3:1). This terrible spiritual reality is expressed in Jer. 2:13! See SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:5-8
5"'Now when you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. 6It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. 7So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted. 8Everyone who eats it will bear his iniquity, for he has profaned the holy thing of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

19:5 "peace offerings" See full note at Leviticus 3 and 7:28-34.

▣ "so that you may be accepted" There is no VERB in the MT. The NOUN (BDB 953) has three connotations.

  1. goodwill, favor
  2. acceptance ‒ see here and Exod. 28:38; Lev. 1:3; 22:19,29; 23:11
  3. will, desire, pleasure

Proper offering, proper animal, proper place, proper ritual were all required for the sacrifice to be accepted (i.e., Lev. 22:19,20,21). It is difficult to know if "the acceptance" is of the "offering" or the "offerer," possibly both.

19:6 "but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire" This is possibly because the fellowship meal was meant to include other Israelis and Levites. Israelites did not eat much meat and certainly an individual could not eat this much meat at one time, so they were encouraged to invite their covenant partners to share with them.

There may be some kind of hygienic purpose to this regulation.

19:7 "So if it is eaten at all" This is an intensified grammatical construction (i.e., an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and IMPERFECT VERB from the same root, also note Lev. 19:17 and 20).

19:8 "the holy thing" The difference between "the most holy" and "the holy," in referring to sacrifices, has to do with where the blood was placed.

  1. if taken into the inner shrine it became "most holy" and could be eaten only by priests
  2. if put on the altar of sacrifice (i.e., peace offerings) it was "holy" but could be eaten by nonpriests, priests and their families

▣ "that person shall be cut off from his people" This obviously refers to some kine of separation from the people of God. Some see it as excommunication, while others see it as a divine death. The context implies death. See note at Lev. 7:20.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:9-10
9"'Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God.'"

19:9 "you shall not reap" This was a provision for the poor and sojourner (cf. Lev. 23:22; Deut. 23:4-25; 24:19-22). They were not to completely harvest their field crops or vineyards in order that the poor and needy might have access to gather something to eat.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:11-12
11"'You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. 12You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.'"

19:11 "You shall not steal" This may refer to kidnapping. See SPECIAL TOPIC: STEALING.

▣ "nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another" See full note online at Exod. 20:16.

19:12 "You shall not swear falsely by My name" See full note online at Exod. 20:7. This refers to an oath, either in a business deal or in worship. See SPECIAL TOPIC: "THE NAME" OF YHWH (OT).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:13-14
13"'You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. 14You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.'"

19:13 "You shall not oppress your neighbor" This refers to the wages given to a day laborer at the end of the day, whereby he might feed himself and his family (i.e., Exod. 23:3). The owner of the land wanted to be assured that the man would return the next day and often held the money until then, but this was regarded as taking advantage of the poor (cf. Deut. 24:14-15).

19:14 Action toward other members of the covenant people, even though they might have some kind of handicap, was considered to be an action against God (cf. Matt. 25:45).

If a person were "deaf" how would they know someone had "cursed" them?

  1. lip reading (i.e., use sight)
  2. unimportant that it was heard, a curse once pronounced had an affect (like God's word, Isa. 55:9-11)
  3. cursing depreciates the "divine image" in all humans; this depreciation is "felt" by how others act toward the handicapped one

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:15-16
15"'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. 16You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord.'"

19:15-16 God did not show partiality (cf. Deut. 10:17), so neither should His people.

These two verses express the need for

  1. warnings to both judges and witnesses about lying for personal gain
  2. warnings about withholding knowledge of an act/event/crime
19:16
NASB, NRSV, NJB  "as a slanderer"
NKJV, JPSOA footnote  "as a talebearer"
TEV  "spread lies"
LXX  "deal basely"
Peshitta  "accuse"

The NOUN (BDB 940, KB 1236) has an uncertain root meaning.

  1. to travel
  2. to slander

So, does it refer to someone who

  1. is a deceptive business person who travels
  2. a slanderer who goes from person to person, home to home telling falsehoods?

Whichever, the consequences may be devastating, even death. This is far more than gossip but implies a witness in a legal case (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, pp. 1114-1115).

NASB  "You are not to act against the life of your neighbor"
NKJV  "nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor"
NRSV, JPSOA  "you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor"
TEV  "and when someone is on trial for his life, speak out if your testimony can help him"
NJB  "do not take sides against your neighbor on a capital charge"
LXX  "you shall not conspire against the blood of your neighbor"

The MT has "you shall not stand forth against the blood of your neighbor" (BDB 196 CONSTRUCT BDB 945). There are two majority opinions.

  1. if you know the truth about a court case you must speak
  2. do not give false testimony in a capital offense trial

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:17-18
17"'You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.'"

19:17 "You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart" This is a regulation (or possibly two separate laws) regarding attitude, much like Exod. 20:17. This shows that a root of bitterness was not allowed between individuals of covenant people of God. Leviticus 19:18 shows that God will set everything straight; it is not up to the individual Israelite to do so (cf. Deut. 32:35).

▣ "you may surely reprove your neighbor" This is an intensified grammatical form (i.e., an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and an IMPERFECT VERB of the same root, BDB 406, KB 410).

Israelites could disagree and confront one another ([1] personally, see Ben Sira 9:3; [2] in a lawsuit, see NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 442, #1) but not hate one another. How faithful followers treat each other is a reflection of their love and respect for God.

19:18 "love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord" Notice that some degree of self love is mandatory as we see ourselves in an appropriate relationship to God and, therefore, to others (cf. Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). This same law is mentioned in Lev. 19:34, where it is expanded to include the resident alien. This was Jesus' "second great commandment" (cf. Matt. 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8).

For a helpful discussion of the relationship of the NT believers to OT law, see Fee and Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 165-169.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:19
19"'You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.'"

19:19 The theological or cultural reason behind this rule has been lost. Like other rules, it probably related to

  1. magic, sorcery (Lev. 19:31; 20:6; 27, see SPECIAL TOPIC: MAGIC and the full notes online at Deuteronomy 18)
  2. things related to pagan worship (cf. Lev. 18:3,24-30, i.e., sacrifices or priestly clothes)

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:20-22
20"'Now if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for another man, but who has in no way been redeemed nor given her freedom, there shall be punishment; they shall not, however, be put to death, because she was not free. 21He shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord to the doorway of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. 22The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.'"

19:20 "if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for another man" Leviticus 19:20-22 seems to form a separate unit going back to sexual improprieties which had to do with slave women. There are some double standards in the Old Testament. However, this seems to imply that a price had to be paid.

NASB  "acquired for another man"
NKJV  "who is betrothed as a concubine to another man"
NRSV  "designated for another man"
TEV  "the recognized concubine of a man"
NJB  "who is a concubine slave of a man"
JPSOA, REB  "who has been designated for another man"
LXX  "she is a domestic carefully guarded for a man"
Peshitta  "who is a bond maid betrothed to a husband"

The MT has the PARTICIPLE (BDB 358, KB 356, Niphal PARTICIPLE), which KB simply defines as "intended for (another) man." BDB adds the designation "concubine." The Niphal occurs only here. It is not meant to be a negative term in any way. She is not the problem, the one who lies with her is the guilty party.

▣ "who has in no way been redeemed" This is the third example in this chapter of an emphatic construction (i.e., an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and a VERB from the same root, BDB 804, KB 911, cf. Lev. 19:7,17). This one, however, has a PERFECT VERB and not the normal IMPERFECT. See SPECIAL TOPIC: RANSOM/REDEEM.

NASB, TEV  "there shall be punishment"
NKJV  "for this there shall be scourging"
NRSV, REB, LXX, Peshitta  "an inquiry shall be held"
NJB  "he will be liable for a fine"
JPSOA  "there shall be an indemnity"

The phrase, "there shall be punishment" (BDB 134, KB 152), is very difficult (NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 707, #3) to understand and the rabbis differ over its meaning. It may refer

  1. according to the Jerusalem Bible, to damages which must be paid (i.e., the dowry price) to the slave girl's owner or to her fiancÚ.
  2. BDB defines the term as "punishment after iniquity."
  3. KB defines the term as "obligation to compensate."

19:22 "make atonement" See SPECIAL TOPIC: ATONEMENT.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:23-25
23"'When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. 24But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25In the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its yield may increase for you; I am the Lord your God.'"

19:23 "When you enter the land" This phrase clearly shows that

  1. parts of Leviticus were given by YHWH to Moses before Israel entered the Promised Land
  2. this is an anachronism by a later editor
NASB, NRSV, JPSOA, REB  "forbidden"
NKJV, NJB  "uncircumcised"
TEV  "ritually unclean"
LXX  "impure"

The MT has "uncircumcised" (lit. "foreskin"), which was an idiom for that which was unclean or "to be removed."

19:24 The fruit from the fourth year was to be offered to the Lord as a sign that all of the fruit belonged to Him. The Old Testament quite often takes the part to refer to the whole. This is true of

  1. the Sabbath day, which reflects the truth that all days belong to God, see SPECIAL TOPIC: SABBATH (OT)
  2. the firstborn, that all children belong to God, see SPECIAL TOPIC: FIRSTBORN
  3. the tithe, that all income belongs to God, see SPECIAL TOPIC: TITHING
  4. the first fruits, which shows that all of the produce belongs to God

The term (BDB 239) is translated "an offering of praise." The same word refers to a pagan harvest festival in Jdgs. 9:27. Some scholars suspect that this law had its origin in contrast to pagan worship. Many of Israel's laws were meant to separate the Israelites from Egyptian and Canaanite practices (cf. Lev. 18:3).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:26-28
26"'You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.'"

19:26 Instead of a prohibition of eating blood (cf. Lev. 17:12), the LXX has "Do not eat on the mountains," which would reflect Ba'al worship (cf. Isa. 57:5-7; Ezek. 6:13; 18:6,15; 20:28; 22:9; Hos. 4:13).

▣ "divination or soothsaying" These were different ways that the surrounding nations determined the will of God (see full note online at Deut. 18:10-12). Although Leviticus is speaking to the people of God, it shows that they had been influenced, or would be influenced, by Canaanite worship practices.

19:27 "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard" This was related somehow to the Canaanite worship rites of mourning (cf. Lev. 21:1-5; Deut. 14:1-2) but we are simply unsure at this point (i.e., Roland deVaux, Ancient Israel, p. 61). See SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES.

19:28 "You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves" This same type of procedure is found in Lev. 21:5 and Deut. 14:1. It relates somewhat to Canaanite worship practices (cf. 2 Kings 18). This does not relate to modern artistic tattoos. The word "tattoo" (BDB 508) occurs only here.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:29-30
29"'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the Lord.'"

19:29-30 This relates to YHWH's Tabernacle being totally different from the worship practices of the fertility cults of the ANE. See SPECIAL TOPIC: FERTILITY WORSHIP OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST.

19:29,31 There are three IMPERFECTS used in a JUSSIVE sense.

  1. do not profane, Lev. 19:29
  2. do not turn to, Lev. 19:31
  3. do not seek, Lev. 29:31

Notice the same contextual thrust in Lev. 19:4, "do not turn to. . ."

19:30 "You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary" This reflects Exod. 20:8-11.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:31
31"'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.'"

19:31 "mediums or spiritists" These were people who tried to contact the dead (cf, Deut. 18:10-12). Ancestor worship or an attempt to manipulate "the powers" dominated ancient worship practices. See full notes online in Deuteronomy 18.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:32
32"'You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.'"

19:32 "You shall rise up before the grayheaded" This is a unique passage about reverence for the aged. See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology 2nd ed., pp. 568-570.

It is possible that the aged person here is part of the community leadership (i.e., elder, judge) and this was an act of defiance toward authority, not just age.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:33-34
33"'When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.'"

19:33 Abraham and Isaac were sojourners in a foreign land. Israel knew how it felt, as they were slaves in Egypt (cf. Exod. 22:21; 23:9; Deut. 5:15; 10:19). Israel must be distinct, holy, different, reflecting YHWH's character. See SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD (OT).

19:34 "The stranger who resides with you. . .you shall love him as yourself" This even expands the concept which was mentioned in Lev. 19:18, where we are told to love our neighbors. Here we are told to even include our resident aliens. In the New Testament it is expanded to include even those who persecute us.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 19:35-37
35"'You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity. 36You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. 37You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am the Lord.'"

19:35-37 This basically deals with honesty in business practices. The famous statement, "business is business" is an untrue maxim. We should reflect who our God is in every area of our lives.

19:36 "ephah. . .hin" YHWH was concerned with fair business practices (cf. Pro. 11:1; 20:23; Hos 12:7; Amos 8:5; Mic. 6:11). How one does business reveals his heart and priorities! See SPECIAL TOPIC: ANE WEIGHTS AND VOLUMES.

▣ "just balances, just weights" This is an example of the term (BDB 841, cf. Deut. 25:15), usually translated "righteousness" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS) in a non-theological sense.

19:37 "statutes. . .ordinances" See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. What does "be holy" mean in this context?
  2. What is the theological purpose of these various laws?
  3. Is there a distinction between worship and daily life in these guidelines?
  4. Why is Lev. 19:18 so significant?
  5. What was the "practical" outcome of these guidelines?
  6. How is Lev. 19:26 different from 19:31?

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