And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) And the Lord spake unto Moses.—The prohibitions in the preceding chapter, which are designed to regulate the moral conduct of relations and connections towards each other in their family circles, are now followed by precepts which affect the Israelite’s life in all its bearings, both towards God and man. Hence the authorities during the second Temple regarded it as “embodying the Decalogue,” for which reason, as well as for the fact that “it contains the sum and substance of the precepts of the Law, it is read in public.” The precepts in this chapter are divided into sixteen groups, eight of which end with the emphatic reiteration, “I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:2-4; Leviticus 19:10; Leviticus 19:25; Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 19:34; Leviticus 19:36), and eight with the shorter formula, “I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:12; Leviticus 19:14; Leviticus 19:16; Leviticus 19:18; Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 19:32; Leviticus 19:37).Leviticus 25:23 is here impersonated, and represented as vomiting forth its present inhabitants, in consequence of their indulgence in the abominations that have been mentioned. The iniquity of the Canaanites was now full. See Genesis 15:16; compare Isaiah 24:1-6. The Israelites in this place, and throughout the chapter, are exhorted to a pure and holy life, on the ground that Yahweh, the Holy One, is their God and that they are His people. Compare Leviticus 19:2. It is upon this high sanction that they are peremptorily forbidden to defile themselves with the pollutions of the pagan. The only punishment here pronounced upon individual transgressors is, that they shall "bear their iniquity" and be "cut off from among their people." We must understand this latter phrase as expressing an "ipso facto" excommunication or outlawry, the divine Law pronouncing on the offender an immediate forfeiture of the privileges which belonged to him as one of the people in covenant with Yahweh. See Exodus 31:14 note. The course which the Law here takes seems to be first to appeal to the conscience of the individual man on the ground of his relation to Yahweh, and then Leviticus 20 to enact such penalties as the order of the state required, and as represented the collective conscience of the nation put into operation.
Le 19:1-37. A Repetition of Sundry Laws. Israelites must be holy, Leviticus 19:1,2; must honour their parents, and keep sabbaths, Leviticus 19:3; shun idolatry, Leviticus 19:4; duly to stay and eat their peace-offerings, Leviticus 19:5-8; in harvest-time leave gleanings for the poor and stranger, Leviticus 19:9,10; not steal, deceive, or lie, Leviticus 19:11; nor swear falsely, Leviticus 19:12; nor defraud, rob, or detain, Leviticus 19:13; nor curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, Leviticus 19:14; nor judge unjustly, Leviticus 19:15; nor be tale-bearers; nor bear false witness against their neighbour, Leviticus 19:16; but rebuke their brother for sin, Leviticus 19:17; not revenge themselves, but love their neighbours, Leviticus 19:18; not to mix different things, Leviticus 19:19. The punishment of a man lying with a bondmaid, Leviticus 19:20-22. They must not eat of the fruits of Canaan till alter four years, Leviticus 19:23-25. To eat no blood, and use no soothsaying, Leviticus 19:26, nor any heathenish method of mourning, Leviticus 19:28, nor prostitute their daughters, Leviticus 19:29; but must reverence God and his ordinances, Leviticus 19:30; not regard conjurers and wizards, Leviticus 19:31; honour the ancient, Leviticus 19:32; love and right strangers, Leviticus 19:33,34; do no unrighteousness, either in judgment or commerce, Leviticus 19:35,36.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)From the prohibition of moral uncleanness exhibiting itself in the form of incest and licentiousness, the legislator proceeds to a series of laws and commandments against other kinds of immorality, inculcating piety, righteousness, and kindness. Chapter 19 may be regarded as an extension of the previous chapter in this direction, after which the subject of chapter 18, is again taken up in chapter 20. The precepts now given are not arranged systematically, though, as Keil has remarked, "while grouped together rather according to a loose association of ideas than according to any logical arrangement, they are all linked together by the common purpose expressed in the words, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.' " They begin by inculcating (in verses 3, 4) duties which fall under the heads of
(1) the fifth commandment of the Decalogue,
(2) the fourth,
(3) the first,
(4) the second.
These four laws are, in their positive aspects,
(1) the religious law of social order, on which a commonwealth rests;
(2) the law of positive obedience to God's command because it is his command;
(3) the law of piety towards the invisible Lord;
(4) the law of faith, which trusts him without requiring risible emblems or pictures of him. In verses 11, 14, 16, 35, 36, obedience is inculcated to the eighth and the ninth commandments, which are the laws of honesty and of truthfulness; in verse 12 to the third commandment, which is the law of reverence; in verses 17, 18, 33, 34, to the sixth commandment, which is the law of love; in verses 20, 29, to the seventh commandment, which is the law of purity; in verses 9, 10, 13, the spirit of covetousness is prohibited, as forbidden in the tenth commandment, which is the law of charity. Thus this chapter may in a way be regarded as the Old Testament counterpart of the Sermon on the Mount, inasmuch as it lays down the laws of conduct, as the latter lays down the principles of action, in as comprehensive though not in so systematic a manner as the ten commandments. Leviticus 18:25) and קאה (Leviticus 18:28) are prophetic (cf. Leviticus 20:22-23), and the expression is poetical. The land is personified as a living creature, which violently rejects food that it dislikes. "Hoc enim tropo vult significare Scriptura enormitatem criminum, quod scilicet ipsae creaturae irrationales suo creatori semper obedientes et pro illo pugnantes detestentur peccatores tales eosque terra quasi evomat, cum illi expelluntur ab ea" (C. a Lap.).
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