Highlights of Levíticus 10, 11, 12, 13

Highlights From Bible Reading ‒ Leviticus 10, 11, 12, 13

Lev 10:1,2 -
*** w04 5/15 p. 22 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 10:1-3) 10 Later Aaron’s sons Na′dab and A•bi′hu each took his fire holder and put fire in it and placed incense on it. Then they began offering before Jehovah unauthorized fire, which he had not commanded them to do. 2 At this a fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed them, so that they died before Jehovah. 3 . . .
10:1, 2—What may have been involved in the sin of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu? Soon after Nadab and Abihu took liberties in performing their priestly duties, Jehovah forbade priests to use wine or intoxicating liquor while serving at the tabernacle. (Leviticus 10:9) This suggests that Aaron’s two sons may have been under the influence of alcohol on the occasion here under consideration. However, the actual reason for their death was their offering “illegitimate fire, which [Jehovah] had not prescribed for them.”

Lev 10:9 - *** w04 5/15 p. 22 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 10:9) 9 “Do not drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, you and your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. It is a permanent statute for your generations.
10:9. We should not perform God-given duties while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

Lev 10:14 - *** it-2 p. 528 Offerings ***
(Leviticus 10:14) 14 You will also eat the breast of the wave offering and the leg of the sacred portion in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, because these things have been given as your allowance and the allowance of your sons from the communion sacrifices of the Israelites.
Sacred portions (heave offerings). The Hebrew word teru•mah′ is sometimes translated “sacred portion” when referring to the part of the sacrifice that was lifted up, or heaved, off the sacrifice as the portion belonging to the priests. (Ex 29:27, 28; Le 7:14, 32; 10:14, 15) The word is also frequently rendered “contribution,” when referring to the things given to the sanctuary, which, with the exception of that which was sacrificed on the altar, also went to the priests for their sustenance.—Nu 18:8-13, 19, 24, 26-29; 31:29; De 12:6, 11.

Lev 10:16-20 - *** w11 2/15 p. 12 Questions From Readers ***
(Leviticus 10:16-20) 16 And Moses diligently searched for the goat of the sin offering, and he discovered that it had been burned up. So he grew indignant at El•e•a′zar and Ith′a•mar, Aaron’s sons who were left, and he said: 17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the holy place, since it is something most holy and he has given it to you so that you may answer for the error of the assembly and make atonement for them before Jehovah? 18 Look! Its blood has not been brought inside the holy place. You certainly should have eaten it in the holy place, just as I was commanded.” 19 Aaron replied to Moses: “Look! Today they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before Jehovah, and yet these things happened to me. If I had eaten the sin offering today, would that have been pleasing to Jehovah?” 20 When Moses heard that, he was satisfied.
Why did Moses become angry with Aaron’s sons Eleazar and Ithamar after the death of their brothers Nadab and Abihu, and how was his anger appeased?—Lev. 10:16-20.
Shortly after the installation of the priesthood for service at the tabernacle, Jehovah executed Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu because they had offered illegitimate fire before Him. (Lev. 10:1, 2) Moses ordered Aaron’s surviving sons not to mourn their dead brothers. Not long thereafter, Moses became indignant at Eleazar and Ithamar because they had not eaten the goat of the sin offering. (Lev. 9:3) Why did Moses react this way?
The laws that Jehovah had given Moses specified that the priest who offered up a sin offering was to eat part of it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. Doing so was considered to be answering for the sins of those who made the sacrifice. However, if some of the blood of the sacrifice was taken into the Holy Place, the first compartment of the sanctuary, the offering was not to be eaten. Instead, it was to be burned.—Lev. 6:24-26, 30.
It appears that after the tragic events of that day, Moses saw the need to make sure that all of Jehovah’s commandments had been followed. On discovering that the goat of the sin offering had been burned, he indignantly asked Eleazar and Ithamar why they had not eaten it as directed, because its blood had not been presented before Jehovah in the Holy Place.—Lev. 10:17, 18.

Lev 11:6 - *** w92 5/15 p. 4 Why the Bible Is God’s Inspired Gift ***
Animal life: According to the Bible, “the hare . . . is a chewer of the cud.”
(Leviticus 11:6) François Bourlière (The Natural History of Mammals, 1964, page 41) says: “The habit of ‘refection,’ or passing the food twice through the intestine instead of only once, seems to be a common phenomenon in the rabbits and hares. Domestic rabbits usually eat and swallow without chewing their night droppings, which form in the morning as much as half the total contents of the stomach. In the wild rabbit refection takes

Lev 11:7 - *** it-1 p. 632 Diseases and Treatment ***
(Leviticus 11:7) 7 Also the pig, because it has a split hoof and a cleft in the hoof but does not chew the cud. It is unclean for you. . .
According to the Law, the hare and the pig were among animals the Israelites were not permitted to eat. (Le 11:4-8) Regarding this, Dr. Short states: “True, we eat the pig, the rabbit and the hare, but these animals are liable to parasitic infections and are safe only if the food is well cooked. The pig is an unclean feeder, and harbours two worms, trichina and a tape worm, which may be passed on to man. The danger is minimal under present conditions in this country, but it would have been far otherwise in Palestine of old, and such food was better avoided.”—The Bible and Modern Medicine, pp. 40, 41.

Lev 11:10 - *** it-1 p. 838 Fish ***
(Leviticus 11:10) 10 But anything in the seas and in the rivers that has no fins and scales, among all the swarming creatures and of every other living creature that is in the waters, it is a loathsome thing for you.
Clean and Unclean. Although King Solomon’s wisdom embraced the field of natural history, including a knowledge of fish (1Ki 4:33), not once is a specific kind of fish named in the Scriptures. However, the Law did make a distinction between clean and unclean water animals. Only water animals having fins and scales were ceremonially clean for food; this ruled out such creatures as catfish, eels, lampreys, rays, sharks, and the crustacea, many of which live on sewage and decaying matter and often are contaminated by the bacteria that cause typhoid and paratyphoid fevers. (Le 11:9-12) Israelite fishermen therefore had to separate the fine fish from those unsuitable for food, a point highlighted in Jesus’ illustration of the dragnet.—Mt 13:47, 48.

Lev 11:32 - *** it-1 p. 632 Diseases and Treatment ***
(Leviticus 11:32) 32 “‘Now anything they fall on when they die will be unclean, whether a wooden utensil, a garment, a skin, or a piece of sackcloth. Any utensil that is used should be immersed in water, and it will be unclean until the evening; then it will be clean.
Contamination of food and water was guarded against, the Law specifying that anything upon which an “unclean” creature fell in its death was rendered unclean and requiring that certain measures be taken, including the smashing of an earthenware vessel thus contaminated.—Le 11:32-38.
Significantly, it has been stated: “Prophylactic considerations were basic to this legislation, which when followed would go far toward preventing the incidence of food-borne polioencephalitis, the enteric fevers, food poisoning, and the parasitic worms. Insistence on the safeguarding of a clean supply of water was the most effective means of forestalling the rise and dissemination of diseases such as amoebiasis, the fevers of the enteric group, cholera, bilharziasis, and spirochetal jaundice. These prophylactic measures, which constitute a fundamental part of any system of public health, were of particular importance for the welfare of a nation living under primitive conditions in a subtropical region of the earth.”—The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by G. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 2, pp. 544, 545.
In his book The Bible and Modern Medicine, A. Rendle Short, M.D., pointed out that public sanitary law existed, if at all, only in elementary form among nations that surrounded ancient Israel, and stated: “It is the more surprising therefore that in a book like the Bible, alleged to be unscientific, there should be a sanitary code at all, and equally surprising that a nation just escaped from slavery, frequently overrun by enemies and carried away into captivity from time to time, should have on its statute books so wise and reasonable a code of rules of health. This has been recognized by good authorities, even those with no great interest in the religious aspect of the Bible.”—London, 1953, p. 37.

Lev 11:40 - *** w05 7/1 p. 27 Questions From Readers
Deuteronomy 14:21 reads: “You must not eat any body already dead.” Does that contradict Leviticus 11:40, which reads: “He who eats any of its dead body will wash his garments, and he must be unclean until the evening”?
There is no contradiction between these two verses. The first text repeats the prohibition against eating an animal found dead, perhaps one that was killed by wild beasts. (Exodus 22:31; Leviticus 22:8) The second explains what an Israelite might have done if he violated that prohibition, possibly by accident.
The fact that something was prohibited by the Law did not mean that the prohibition would not at some time be ignored. For example, there were laws against stealing, murder, bearing false witness, and so forth. At the same time, there were penalties for breaking those divinely given laws. Such penalties gave force to the laws and showed how serious they were.
A person who transgressed the prohibition against eating the flesh of an animal found dead would be unclean in Jehovah’s eyes and would have to undergo the proper procedure for cleansing. If he failed to cleanse himself properly, he would have to “answer for his error.”—Leviticus 17:15, 16.

Lev 11:44 - *** w87 11/1 p. 11 par. 6 “You Must Be Holy
(Leviticus 11:44) 44 For I am Jehovah your God, and you must sanctify yourselves and become holy, because I am holy. So you must not make yourselves unclean by any swarming creature that moves on the earth.
6 Jehovah, on the other hand, is “mighty in holiness.” He could not tolerate such degradation in his worshipers. (Psalm 15) So, unlike the degrading Canaanite gods, Jehovah elevated his people. Uttering the words Peter would later quote, Jehovah repeatedly exhorted: “You should prove yourselves holy, because I Jehovah your God am holy.”—Leviticus 11:44; 19:2; 20:26.

Lev 11:45 - *** w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 11:45) 45 For I am Jehovah, who is leading you up out of the land of Egypt to prove myself God to you, and you must be holy, because I am holy.
11:45. Jehovah God is holy and demands that those who render him sacred service be holy. They must pursue holiness and remain physically and spiritually clean.—2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:15, 16.

Lev 12:3 - *** it-1 pp. 469-470 Circumcision ***
Circumcision Under the Law. Circumcision was made a mandatory requirement of the Mosaic Law. “On the eighth day [after the birth of a male] the flesh of his foreskin will be circumcised.” (Le 12:2, 3) So important was it that, if the eighth day fell on the highly regarded Sabbath, circumcision was to be performed anyway. (Joh 7:22, 23) Examples of parents under this Law who faithfully had their children circumcised on the eighth day include the parents of John the Baptizer, Jesus, and Paul. (Lu 1:59; 2:21; Php 3:4, 5) The Law also required aliens to be circumcised before they were allowed to eat the passover.—Ex 12:43-48.
Why did the Law specify that circumcision be done on the eighth day?
Jehovah did not explain, nor was it necessary that he do so. His ways are always right; his reasons, the best. (2Sa 22:31) However, in recent years man has learned some of the physical reasons why the eighth day was a good time to circumcise. Normal amounts of the blood-clotting element called vitamin K are not found in the blood until the fifth to the seventh day after birth. Another clotting factor known as prothrombin is present in amounts only about 30 percent of normal on the third day but on the eighth day is higher than at any other time in the child’s life—as much as 110 percent of normal. So, following Jehovah’s instructions would help to avoid the danger of hemorrhage. As Dr. S. I. McMillen observes: “From a consideration of vitamin K and prothrombin determinations the perfect day to perform a circumcision is the eighth day . . . [the] day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.”—None of These Diseases, 1986, p. 21.

Lev 12:4 - *** it-1 pp. 479-480 Clean, Cleanness ***
(Leviticus 12:4) 4 She will continue cleansing herself from the blood for the next 33 days. She should not touch any holy thing, and she should not come into the holy place until she fulfills the days of her purification.
Giving birth also meant a period of uncleanness for the mother. If the baby was a boy, she was unclean for seven days, the same as during her menstrual period. The eighth day the child was circumcised, but for another 33 days the mother was unclean with regard to touching anything holy or coming into the sanctuary, though she did not make unclean everything she touched. If the baby was a girl, this 40-day period was doubled: 14 days plus 66 days. Thus, from birth, the Law distinguished between male and female, assigning to the latter a subordinate position. In either case, at the end of the period of purification she was to bring a ram less than a year old for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. If the parents were too poor to afford a ram, as was the case with Mary and Joseph, then two doves or two pigeons served for the cleansing sacrifices.—Le 12:1-8; Lu 2:22-24.
Why did the Mosaic Law say that sexual intercourse and childbirth made a person “unclean”?
The question arises: Why were such normal, proper things as menstruation, sexual intercourse between married persons, and childbirth viewed in the Law as making one “unclean”? For one thing, it raised the most intimate relations of marriage to the level of sanctity, teaching both mates self-control, a high regard for the reproductive organs, and respect for the sacredness of life and blood. The hygienic benefits that accrued from scrupulous observance of these regulations have also been commented on. But there is yet another aspect of the matter.
In the beginning God created the sex impulses and generative powers in the first man and woman and commanded them to cohabit and bring forth children. It was therefore no sin for the perfect pair to have sexual intercourse. However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, not in the matter of sex relations, but in eating the forbidden fruit, drastic changes took place. Suddenly their guilty sin-stricken consciences made them aware of their nakedness, and they immediately covered their genital organs from God’s sight. (Ge 3:7, 10, 11) From then on, men could not carry out the procreative mandate in perfection, but, instead, the hereditary blemish of sin and the penalty of death would be transmitted from the parents to children. Even the most upright and God-fearing parents produce sin-infected children.—Ps 51:5.
The Law’s requirements pertaining to the functions of the reproductive organs taught men and women self-discipline, restraint of passions, and respect for God’s means of propagation. The Law’s regulations forcefully reminded creatures of their sinful state; these were not merely health measures to ensure cleanliness or prophylactic safeguards against the spread of diseases. As a reminder of man’s inherited sinfulness, it was fitting that both the male and the female with genital discharges due to normal functions of their bodies observe a period of uncleanness. If suffering abnormal prolonged discharges because of defective conditions, a more extensive period of uncleanness was demanded; and in the end, as also when a mother gave birth, in addition to bathing, a sin offering was necessary, so that God’s priest might make atonement in behalf of the person. Jesus’ mother Mary thus confessed to her hereditary sinfulness, acknowledging that she was not sinless, immaculate, by offering a sin-atoning sacrifice after giving birth to her firstborn.—Lu 2:22-24.

Lev 12:5 - *** w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 12:2-5) 2 “Tell the Israelites, ‘If a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male, she will be unclean for seven days, just as she is in the days of the impurity when she is menstruating. 5 “‘If she should give birth to a female, she will then be unclean for 14 days, just as she would be during her menstruation. She will continue cleansing herself from the blood for the next 66 days.
12:2, 5—Why did childbirth make a woman “unclean”? The reproductive organs were made to pass on perfect human life. However, because of the inherited effects of sin, imperfect and sinful life was passed on to the offspring. The temporary periods of ‘uncleanness’ associated with childbirth, as well as other matters, such as menstruation and seminal emissions, called this hereditary sinfulness to mind. (Leviticus 15:16-24; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) The required purification regulations would help the Israelites to appreciate the need for a ransom sacrifice to cover mankind’s sinfulness and restore human perfection. Thus the Law became their “tutor leading to Christ.”—Galatians 3:24.

Lev 12:8 - *** w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 12:8) 8 But if she cannot afford a sheep, she must then take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
12:8. Jehovah allowed the poor to offer birds instead of a more costly sheep as a sacrificial offering. He is considerate of the poor.

Lev 13:13 - *** it-2 pp. 237-238 Leprosy ***
(Leviticus 13:13) 13 and the priest has examined him and sees that the leprosy has covered all his skin, he will then declare the infected person clean. All of it has turned white, and he is clean.
Diagnosis. By means of the Mosaic Law, Jehovah provided Israel with information enabling the priest to diagnose leprosy and to distinguish between it and other less serious skin afflictions. From what is recorded at Leviticus 13:1-46, it can be seen that leprosy might begin with an eruption, a scab, a blotch, a boil, or a scar in one’s flesh from fire. Sometimes the symptoms were very clear. The hair in the affected area had turned white, and the malady was seen to be deeper than the skin. For example, a white eruption in the skin might turn the hair white, and raw flesh might appear in the eruption. This meant that one had leprosy and was to be declared unclean. However, in other cases the malady was not deeper than the skin and a period of quarantine was imposed, with subsequent inspection by the priest, who made a final determination in the case.
It was acknowledged that leprosy could reach a stage in which it was not contagious. When it overspread the entire body, all of it having turned white, and living flesh was not in evidence, it was a sign that the diseased action was over and that only the marks of its ravages remained. The priest would then declare the victim clean, the disease posing no further danger to anyone.—Le 13:12-17.

References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD-ROM

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