Leviticus 21-24: Priests, annual festivals, stoning

Priests cannot become unclean.  For example, they cannot come near the corpses of anyone except close relatives, while high priests cannot even mourn for their parents’ death, let alone come close to their corpses.  Nobody with physical defects can offer sacrifices to me.  Sacrificed animals shall not be eaten by lay people, nor by priests with an eruption or discharge; they must be without defect.  Oxen, sheep, and goat shall stay with their mother 7 days after being born; on the eighth day, they shall be acceptable for sacrifice.

Detailed instruction about the dates and methods of observance of sacred occasions: the sabbath, Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, sacrifice of first-fruits, day of atonement, and Feast of Booths.  A half-Israelite pronounced God’s name in blasphemy, and God ordered him to be stoned to death.  He additionally ordered that anyone who blasphemes while uttering the name LORD shall be stoned by the whole community.  Anyone who kills a person shall be executed; anybody who harms another shall be harmed in the same way, an eye for an eye.

Commentary:

  • While there is nothing wrong with laypeople becoming ritually unclean, priests cannot do the same.
  • According to 24:16, both Israelites and aliens are equally responsible for blasphemy.  The punishment is death by stoning if the name LORD is uttered, and presumably less severe if the name is not uttered.
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One Response to Leviticus 21-24: Priests, annual festivals, stoning

  1. Michael Snow says:

    A question that never occurred to me, could priests take part in stoning?

    Like

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