Leviticus 21:12
Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary.—Better, and he shall not go out of the sanctuary as in Leviticus 10:7. When the tidings of the death of a parent is brought to him during the service, he must not desist from the service and quit the sanctuary, lest it should appear that he has a greater regard for the dead than for the service of the living God. The difference between the ordinary priest and the high priest in this respect was, that when the former heard, during the service, of the death of any one of the seven relations for whom he had to mourn, he was obliged to discontinue the service, though he too could not leave the precincts of the sanctuary; whilst the former, under these circumstances, was bound to continue the service. The former, by becoming a mourner, profaned the service if he continued it; the latter never became a mourner, and hence profaned the service if he discontinued it.

Leviticus 21:12. Out of the sanctuary — To attend the funeral of any person: for upon other occasions he might, and did commonly go out. Nor profane the sanctuary — Either by the performance of a civility, or by entering into the sanctuary before the seven days allotted for his cleansing (Numbers 19:11) were expired. The crown of the anointing oil — Or, the crown, the golden plate, which is called the holy crown, (Exodus 29:6,) and the anointing oil of his God are upon him. So there is only an ellipsis of the conjunction and, which is frequent. And these two things, being most eminent, are put for the rest, as the sign is put for the thing signified, as if he had said, For he is God’s high-priest. But the word נזר, Nezer, which we render crown, more properly signifies separation, or consecration; and so the clause might here be rendered, — The consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him.

21:1-24 Laws concerning the priests. - As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.Go out of the sanctuary - i. e. not for the purpose to which reference is here made. The words do not mean, as some have imagined, that his abode was confined to the sanctuary. 10-15. he that is the high priest among his brethren … shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes—The indulgence in the excepted cases of family bereavement, mentioned above [Le 21:2, 3], which was granted to the common priests, was denied to him; for his absence from the sanctuary for the removal of any contracted defilement could not have been dispensed with, neither could he have acted as intercessor for the people, unless ceremonially clean. Moreover, the high dignity of his office demanded a corresponding superiority in personal holiness, and stringent rules were prescribed for the purpose of upholding the suitable dignity of his station and family. The same rules are extended to the families of Christian ministers (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6). Out of the sanctuary, to wit, to attend the funerals of any person; for upon other occasions he might and did commonly go out.

Nor profane the sanctuary; either by making the service thereof give place to the discharge of his passions, or the performance of a civility, or by entering into the sanctuary before the seven days allotted for his cleansing { Numbers 19:11} were expired.

The crown of the anointing oil, i.e. the anointing oil, which to him was instead of a crown, by which he was advanced not only above the rest of his brethren, but even above all the people, whose chief governor he was in the things of God, though subject and accountable to the civil magistrate, by which also he was made an eminent type of Christ, who was to be King and Priest. Or, the crown, to wit, the golden plate, which is called the holy crown, Exodus 29:6, and

the anointing oil of his God are upon him. So there is only an ellipsis of the conjunction and, which is frequent, as Psalm 144:9 Isaiah 63:11 Habakkuk 3:11, &c. And these two things being most eminent, are put for the rest, and the sign is put for the thing signified, q.d. for he is God’s high priest. Or, the consecration (for so nezer signifies) of the anointing oil, which by an hypallage may be put for the anointing oil of the consecration, i.e. whereby he is consecrated, is upon him; i.e. though that action be past, yet the virtue of it remains still upon him; he is a sacred person in the highest degree, and therefore not to defile himself in any kind.

Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary,.... In the time of service, upon any occasion whatever; otherwise, when there was a necessity for it, he might go out from thence, though this was rarely done, and only in the night time: Maimonides (m) says he had a house prepared for him in the sanctuary, called the chamber of the high priest; and it was his honour and his glory to remain in the sanctuary all the day, and he did not go out, except to his own house, and that only in the night, or an hour or two in the day; and his house was in Jerusalem, and from thence he never removed: but this law respects him only in the case of his dead; as when any news was brought him of the death of his father, or of his mother, if in his service, he was not to quit it on any account; for we are told (n), that an high priest might offer when mourning, though he might not eat in such a circumstance, whereas a common priest might neither offer nor eat; nor might an high priest go out of the sanctuary on such an occasion, if he was not in service, as to follow the dead corpse or bier, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it; at least, he was to go no further than the gate of the city; though even this is not allowed by others, who say (o), if the dead were his, he might not go out after it; he might not go out of the door of his house, nor out of the sanctuary, and all the people were to come and comfort him at his own house:

nor profane the sanctuary of his God; by deserting the service of it, on any account, and particularly on account of the dead, by departing from it to go after them, and by entering into it again before the time, when so defiled:

for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him; the anointing oil, which was a crown of glory, and gave him a superior dignity to others, which it became him to be careful not to debase by any of the above things: or "the crown and the anointing oil", so some (p) supply the word "and"; both the golden plate or the holy crown, as it is sometimes called, and the anointing oil were upon him, which showed him to be a very dignified person, a sort of king as well as a priest, and so a type of Christ, who is a priest upon his throne, Zechariah 6:13,

I am the Lord: whose high priest he is, and who command him all these things, and expect to be obeyed in them.

(m) Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 7. (n) Misn. Horayot, c. 3. sect. 5. (o) Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 5, 6. Vid. Misn. Sanhedrim, c. 2. sect. 1.((p) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.

Neither shall he go out of the {h} sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the {i} crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.

(h) To go to the dead.

(i) For by his anointing he was preferred above the other priests and therefore could not lament the dead, least he should have polluted his holy anointing.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. go out, etc.] lest, on returning to the sanctuary, he should pollute it. The words seem to imply that the sanctuary was his usual abode. Cp. 1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:2. But they may only mean that he was not to go out during the ceremonial.

crown] R.V. mg. consecration. The former is the literal rendering, but the mg. gives the sense here. The oil was the symbol of his office, marking him out as a crowned one among his brethren. The original word is used elsewhere in the special sense of the consecration of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:7, etc.).

Leviticus 21:12The high priest was to maintain a spotless purity in a higher degree still. He, whose head had been anointed with oil, and who had been sanctified to put on the holy clothes (see Leviticus 8:7-12 and Leviticus 7:37), was not to go with his hair flying loose when a death had taken place, nor to rend his clothes (see Leviticus 10:6), nor to go in to any dead body (מת נפשׁת souls of a departed one, i.e., dead persons); he was not to defile himself (cf. Leviticus 21:2) on account of his father and mother (i.e., when they were dead), nor to go out of the sanctuary funeris nempe causa (Ros.), to give way to his grief or attend the funeral. We are not to understand by this, however, that the sanctuary was to be his constant abode, as Bhr and Baumgarten maintain (cf. Leviticus 10:7). "Neither shall he profane the sanctuary of his God," sc., by any defilement of his person which he could and ought to avoid; "for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him" (cf. Leviticus 10:7), and defilement was incompatible with this. נזר does not mean the diadem of the high priest here, as in Exodus 29:6; Exodus 39:30, but consecration (see at Numbers 6:7).
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