Leviticus [Hebrew: ויקרא, Vayikra, "And he [God] called," named after the first word in the Hebrew text] is the third book of the Old Testament, part of the Pentateuch, the most important part of the Bible in Judaism. The book is chiastically structured.
Many Christian and Jewish conservatives believe that Moses is the sole author of the Pentateuch and that he was inspired directly by God to write text to write the Pentateuch in the space of a month, that month being the first of the second year after the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.
Most of Leviticus is filled with laws and codes, many of which are ritualistically followed by Orthodox Judaism. Much of Christianity, but not all, sees the law structure as being superseded by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Pauline teaching is that we were first under grace for salvation and the law, such as it is in Leviticus and recorded in other Old Testament books, is to show us the standard that we would have to uphold if there was no grace - a standard from which we would fall short.
There are two main sections in Leviticus:
Summary of Leviticus 1-16
Is the priestly code and many of its rules and regulations. Among these regulations:
Offerings: Leviticus 1-7
- Burnt Offerings (Leviticus 1)
- Offerings of meat (Leviticus 2)
- Peace Offerings (Leviticus 3)
- Offerings for sin (Leviticus 4)
- Offerings for trespass (Leviticus 5)
- Instructions for Priests regarding offerings (Leviticus 6-7)
Sacrificial Stories 8-10
- Aaron and his sons are made into priests (Leviticus 8)
- Aaron's sons "offered strange fire before the Lord" and are burnt to death for their sins by God directly. (Leviticus 9-10)
More Laws 11-16
- Which animals are clean and which are unclean. (Leviticus 11)
- How to purify a woman rendered unclean from child birth. (Leviticus 12)
- Laws of leprosy and lepers as well as laws of mildew. (Leviticus 13-14)
- Laws regarding on the rendering clean of issues of bodily fluids from men and women and how to become clean. (Leviticus 15)
- On atonement and the description of the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16)
Holiness Code: Leviticus 17-26
- See also: Leviticus 18
This is a very clear and concise expression of laws and holiness. It is not thought that Leviticus 27 is part of this concision of laws.
- Prohibition on the consumption of blood and of anything that has died naturally, also subjects idolatry and proper sacrifice of animals (Leviticus 17)
- Prohibition of incest, and of relations with the wife of a neighbor. (Leviticus 18)
- Prohibition of looking upon a woman while she is menstruating. (Leviticus 18)
- Prohibition of sacrifice of humans (Leviticus 18)
- Prohibition of homosexuality and bestiality (Leviticus 18)
- Many laws and admonitions: Keep the Sabbath, help the poor, do not steal or lie or cheat, be kind to the blind and dumb, don't be a gossip, love thy neighbor, don't let cows interbreed, don't used mixed seeds, do not wear two types of fabric at once, relations with slave women, do not eat fruit from trees for four years, no magic, no astrology, guidelines for haircuts and shaving, no tattoos, respect elders, treat strangers kindly, be fair. (All Leviticus 19)
- Punishments: All who sacrifice their children will be put to death, all who do not respect their parents will be put to death, both of those who adulterer shall be put to death, those who have relations with their fathers wife or son's wife shall be put to death, those who engage in sodomy shall be put to death, those who engage in relations with their mother in law will incur burning death upon man, wife and mother, those who engage in bestiality will be put to death along with the animal, do not look at naked or have relations with your sister, uncle's wife or brother's wife, witches and wizards should be stoned. (Leviticus 20)
- Priestly codes: Priests must marry virgins, cannot shave their heads, daughters will be burnt alive if they are "whores," no lame or dwarven or blemished or handicapped priests. (Leviticus 21)
- Holy food: No unclean man shall eat of the holy food, nor shall strangers, slaves or servants unless the priest owns them. If the Priest's daughter marries a stranger she shall not eat the holy food. Your sacrifices to the Lord may not be deformed. (Leviticus 22)
- Keep the Sabbath, make festivals and make offerings to God. Save some of your harvest for the poor. God will destroy you if you violate the Sabbath. (Leviticus 23)
- Altar of incense (Leviticus 24)
- A blasphemer is put to death. All blasphemers shall be put to death. (Leviticus 24)
- Murderers shall be put to death. Those who kill beasts shall have their own beasts killed. "Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again." (Leviticus 24)
- Laws regarding the Sabbath and the Jubilee year, and laws regarding slavery. (Leviticus 25)
- Those who follow God's commandments shall be rewarded. They shall be prosperous and blessed with good weather and respected by God. Those who dispute God's commandments will be punished. Their crops will fail and be eaten by enemies, they will be killed by enemies, their children will be eaten by wild animals, there will be pestilence, then they will eat their own children. (Leviticus 26)
- Also there is Leviticus 27. It concerns the commutation vows and sets the price for each human being. It is not a part of the Holiness code, though.
There are many very important passages in Leviticus:
Aaron and his Sons
- 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
- 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
- 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
- 10:4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
- 10:5 So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.
- 10:6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
Important Laws of Leviticus 18
- 18:10 The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
- 18:11 The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
- 18:12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.
- 18:13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman.
- 18:14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
- 18:15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
- 18:16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
- 18:17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
- 18:18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime.
- 18:19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
- 18:20 Moreover, thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
- 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
- 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
- 18:23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Important Laws of Leviticus 19
- 19:10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.
- 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
- 19:13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
- 19:14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
- 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.
- 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
- 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
- 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
- 19:26 Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
- 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
- 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
- 19:34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
Punishments of Leviticus 20
- 20:2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
- 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
- 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
- 20:11 And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- 20:12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
- 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- 20:15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
- 20:16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
- 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
- 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
Codes of Justice in Leviticus 24
- 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone * him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
- 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
- 24:18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
- 24:19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
- 24:20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.
- 24:21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.