Leviticus 21:18
For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
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(18) For whatsoever man . . . —This part of the verse is simply an emphatic repetition of the same declaration at the end of the last verse to introduce the examples of the bodily blemishes which disqualified the priests for the service at the altar. A similar law obtained among the Greeks and Romans, that a priest should be perfect in all his parts; and according to the Hindoo law, Brahmins born with a bodily defect, or who received one before their sixteenth year, are excluded from the rites of consecration.

A blind man.—During the second Temple, this was not only interpreted to be partial blindness on both eyes, or on one eye, but was taken to include any blemish in the eye or in the eyelid, of which the administrators of the Law enumerate twenty-six cases, nineteen in the eye and seven in the eyelid.

Or a lame.—This was understood during the second Temple to refer to any imperfection in the gait of the priest, which might show itself in twenty different ways.

Or he that hath a flat nose.—Of the nasal deformity no less than nine different illustrations are given.

Or any thing superfluous.—That is, one member of the body more stretched out or longer than the others, or out of proportion, as an eye, shoulder, thigh, leg, &c.

Leviticus 21:18. A flat nose — Most restrain this word to the nose, and to some great deformity relating to it. But according to others it signifies, more generally, a person that wants some member or members, because the next word, to which it is opposed, signifies one that hath more members than he should.

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.He was not treated as an outcast, but enjoyed his privileges as a son of Aaron, except in regard to active duties.16-24. Whosoever he be … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God—As visible things exert a strong influence on the minds of men, any physical infirmity or malformation of body in the ministers of religion, which disturbs the associations or excites ridicule, tends to detract from the weight and authority of the sacred office. Priests laboring under any personal defect were not allowed to officiate in the public service; they might be employed in some inferior duties about the sanctuary but could not perform any sacred office. In all these regulations for preserving the unsullied purity of the sacred character and office, there was a typical reference to the priesthood of Christ (Heb 7:26). He shall not approach unto God, or to serve him in his sanctuary.

A flat nose: most restrain this word to the nose and to some great deformity relating to it, either the want of it wholly or in part, or the shortness, flatness, or crookedness of it. But according to others, it signifies more generally a person that wants some member or members, because the next word, to which it is opposed, signifies one that hath more members than he should.

For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish,.... Let him be otherwise ever so well qualified for his office, as with respect to his parentage, against which no objection lies; or, as to his character and abilities, being a man of knowledge and of good manners; and whether these blemishes be, as the Jews (z) call them, fixed, settled ones, which have attended them ever since they were born, and are likely to attend them as long as they live; or are transient ones, only for the present, and perhaps, in a short time, wilt be removed; yet it matters not, while these blemishes are on them:

he shall not approach; to the altar to offer sacrifice, or do any part of the priestly office, for this phrase is expressive of a sacerdotal act: the particular blemishes unfitting a man for such service follow:

a blind man, or a lame; that is blind of one eye, or of both; and is lame of one leg, or of both:

or he that hath a flat nose; which Jarchi explains, whose nose is sunk between his two eyes, whose nose is short, and crooked, or mutilated:

or anything superfluous; more members than usual, as six fingers on an hand, or two gristles in an ear, as Ben Gersom; or whose members are not proportionate, as one eye large and the other small, or one thigh or leg longer than the other, so Jarchi; the Targum of Jonathan is,"whose thigh (or thigh bone) is out of joint;''and so a man draws his foot after him, which is the sense of the Rabbins, as observed by Kimchi (a), and Ben Melech from him; and so such are not fit to be called the priests of the Lord, and much less ministers of his word, who are blind as to the knowledge of divine and spiritual things, and walk not as becomes the Gospel of Christ; or halt between two opinions, or savour not the things of God, and lay not aside all superfluity of naughtiness.

(z) Misn. Zebachim, c. 12. sect 1. & Becorot, c. 7. sect. 1.((a) Sepher Shorash. rad.

For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath {m} a flat nose, or any {n} thing superfluous,

(m) Which is deformed or bruised.

(n) As not of equal proportion, or having in number more or less.

18. a flat nose] slit, as R.V. mg., rather than ‘flat.’ The Heb. word does not occur elsewhere in O.T. But the cognate root in Arabic, having the sense perforate, pierce, admits of the sense of perforation of the lip, or the lobe of the ear, as well as a slit in the partition between the nostrils.

any thing superfluous] The rendering of the EVV is too vague. The Heb. root denotes extension, and is applied to an extended (i.e. abnormally long) limb or other member, in this case of a man, in its only other occurrence (Leviticus 22:23) of a beast. The LXX. ὠτότμητος, having the ear split, following the Aram. rendering mutilated, is wrong.

Leviticus 21:18Directions for the sons (descendants) of Aaron who were afflicted with bodily imperfections. As the spiritual nature of a man is reflected in his bodily form, only a faultless condition of body could correspond to the holiness of the priest; just as the Greeks and Romans required, for the very same reason, that the priests should be ὁλόκληροι, integri corporis (Plato de legg. 6, 759; Seneca excerpt. controv. 4, 2; Plutarch quaest. Romans 73). Consequently none of the descendants of Aaron, "according to their generations," i.e., in all future generations (see Exodus 12:14), who had any blemish (mum, μῶμος, bodily fault) were to approach the vail, i.e., enter the holy place, or draw near to the altar (in the court) to offer the food of Jehovah, viz., the sacrifices. No blind man, or lame man, or charum, κολοβόριν (from κολοβός and ῥίν), naso mutilus (lxx), i.e., one who had sustained any mutilation, especially in the face, on the nose, ears, lips, or eyes, not merely one who had a flat or stunted nose; or שׂרוּע, lit., stretched out, i.e., one who had anything beyond what was normal, an ill-formed bodily member therefore; so that a man who had more than ten fingers and ten toes might be so regarded (2 Samuel 21:20).
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