Leviticus 21:11
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
He shall not go in to any dead bodies nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother.

King James Bible
Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

American Standard Version
neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Nor shall he go in at all to any dead person: not even for his father, or his mother, shall he be defiled:

English Revised Version
neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

Webster's Bible Translation
Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

Leviticus 21:11 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The priest was not to defile himself on account of a soul, i.e., a dead person (nephesh, as in Leviticus 19:28), among his countrymen, unless it were of his kindred, who stood near to him (i.e., in the closest relation to him), formed part of the same family with him (cf. Leviticus 21:3), such as his mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or a sister who was still living with him as a virgin and was not betrothed to a husband (cf. Ezekiel 44:25). As every corpse not only defiled the persons who touched it, but also the tent or dwelling in which the person had died (Numbers 19:11, Numbers 19:14); in the case of death among members of the family or household, defilement was not to be avoided on the part of the priest as the head of the family. It was therefore allowable for him to defile himself on account of such persons as these, and even to take part in their burial. The words of Leviticus 21:4 are obscure: "He shall not defile himself בּעמּיו בּעל, i.e., as lord (pater-familias) among his countrymen, to desecrate himself;" and the early translators have wandered in uncertainty among different renderings. In all probability בּעל denotes the master of the house or husband. But, for all that, the explanation given by Knobel and others, "as a husband he shall not defile himself on the death of his wife, his mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, by taking part in their burial," is decidedly to be rejected. For, apart from the unwarrantable introduction of the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, there is sufficient to prevent our thinking of defilement on the death of a wife, in the fact that the wife is included in the "kin that is near unto him" in Leviticus 21:2, though not in the way that many Rabbins suppose, who maintain that שׁאר signifies wife, but implicite, the wife not being expressly mentioned, because man and wife form one flesh (Genesis 2:24), and the wife stands nearer to the husband than father and mother, son and daughter, or brother and sister. Nothing is proved by appealing to the statement made by Plutarch, that the priests of the Romans were not allowed to defile themselves by touching the corpses of their wives; inasmuch as there is no trace of this custom to be found among the Israelites, and the Rabbins, for this very reason, suppose the death of an illegitimate wife to be intended. The correct interpretation of the words can only be arrived at by considering the relation of the fourth verse to what precedes and follows. As Leviticus 21:1-3 stand in a very close relation to Leviticus 21:5 and Leviticus 21:6, - the defilement on account of a dead person being more particularly explained in the latter, or rather, strictly speaking, greater force being given to the prohibition, - it is natural to regard Leviticus 21:4 as standing in a similar relation to Leviticus 21:7, and to understand it as a general prohibition, which is still more clearly expounded in Leviticus 21:7 and Leviticus 21:9. The priest was not to defile himself as a husband and the head of a household, either by marrying a wife of immoral or ambiguous reputation, or by training his children carelessly, so as to desecrate himself, i.e., profane the holiness of his rank and office by either one or the other (cf. Leviticus 21:9 and Leviticus 21:15). - In Leviticus 21:5 desecration is forbidden in the event of a death occurring. He was not to shave a bald place upon his head. According to the Chethib יקרחה is to be pointed with ה- attached, and the Keri יקרחוּ is a grammatical alteration to suit the plural suffix in בּראשׁם, which is obviously to be rejected on account of the parallel יגלּחוּ לא זקנם וּפאת. In both of the clauses there is a constructio ad sensum, the prohibition which is addressed to individuals being applicable to the whole: upon their head shall no one shave a bald place, namely, in front above the forehead, "between the eyes" (Deuteronomy 14:1). We may infer from the context that reference is made to a customary mode of mourning for the dead; and this is placed beyond all doubt by Deuteronomy 14:1, where it is forbidden to all the Israelites "for the dead." According to Herodotus, 2, 36, the priests in Egypt were shaven, whereas in other places they wore their hair long. In other nations it was customary for those who were more immediately concerned to shave their heads as a sign of mourning; but the Egyptians let their hair grow both upon their head and chin when any of their relations were dead, whereas they shaved at other times. The two other outward signs of mourning mentioned, namely, cutting off the edge of the beard and making incisions in the body, have already been forbidden in Leviticus 19:27-28, and the latter is repeated in Deuteronomy 14:1. The reason for the prohibition is given in Leviticus 21:6 - "they shall be holy unto their God," and therefore not disfigure their head and body by signs of passionate grief, and so profane the name of their God when they offer the firings of Jehovah; that is to say, when they serve and approach the God who has manifested Himself to His people as the Holy One. On the epithet applied to the sacrifices, "the food of God," see at Leviticus 3:11 and Leviticus 3:16.

Leviticus 21:11 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

his father

Leviticus 21:1,2 And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and say to them...

Numbers 6:7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die...

Numbers 19:14 This is the law, when a man dies in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.

Deuteronomy 33:9 Who said to his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brothers, nor knew his own children...

Matthew 8:21,22 And another of his disciples said to him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father...

Matthew 12:46-50 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood without, desiring to speak with him...

Luke 9:59,60 And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father...

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters...

2 Corinthians 5:16 Why from now on know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh...

Cross References
Leviticus 19:28
You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 21:2
except for his closest relatives, his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother,

Numbers 19:11
"Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days.

Numbers 19:14
"This is the law when someone dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days.

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