Divine and Human Severity
Leviticus 7:20, 21
But the soul that eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain to the LORD, having his uncleanness on him…

There is something almost startling in the closing words, "That soul shall be cut off from his people." It suggests thoughts of -


1. That God sometimes seems to be severe in his dealings with men. These particular injunctions must have had to the Jews an aspect of rigour. An Israelite excommunicated for one of these offenses probably felt that he had been hardly dealt with. God's dealings have an occasional aspect of severity (see Romans 11:22). So with us. In his providence comparatively slight faults, errors, transgressions, are sometimes followed by most serious evils - disgrace, sorrow, loss, death.

2. That the light of after-days often explains his dealing with us. We can see now that the paramount and supreme importance of maintaining the purity of Israel, its separateness from all the abominations of surrounding heathendom, made the most stringent regulations on that subject necessary and wise, and therefore kind. So with us. Looking back on the way by which we have been led, we frequently see that that very thing which at the time was not only distressing but perplexing, was the most signal act of the Divine wisdom and goodness, the providential ordering for which, above every other thing, we now give thanks.

3. That present faith should rise to the realization that, somewhere in the future, apparent severity will bear the aspect of wise and holy love. "What we know not now we shall know hereafter." "Then shall we know," etc. (1 Corinthians 13:12).


1. That we are sometimes obliged to seem severe towards those for whom we are responsible.

(1) The statesman is obliged to introduce a severe measure;

(2) a father to take a strong and energetic course;

(3) a Church to excommunicate a member.

2. That apparent severity is sometimes the only rightful course which wise and holy love can take. It is the action which is (l) due to itself (James 3:17);

(2) due to the object of its affection (1 Timothy 1:20). - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.

WEB: but the soul who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that belongs to Yahweh, having his uncleanness on him, that soul shall be cut off from his people.

Impurity Forbidden
Top of Page
Top of Page