Leviticus Chapter 19
Leviticus 19:1 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”
About the same, or quickly after he had delivered the above laws to him. And there are many in this chapter, which were before given, and here repeated.
“Saying”: As follows.
Leviticus 19:2 “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God [am] holy.”
Chapter 18 dealt with holiness in sexual behavior: this chapter deals with holiness in social ethics. “Ye shall be holy” for I the LORD your God am holy: This certainly could be termed the motto of Leviticus. “Holy” (qadosh) and its cognate terms, for example, sanctify and holiness occur 152 times in Leviticus (about 20 percent of the total occurrences in the Old Testament). Israel’s fundamental calling was to be a “holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). They were to be “separated from sin” and “to cling unto the Lord”. God’s holiness served as the model for “all the congregation”. Jewish scholars have seen in the material of this chapter a counterpart of the Ten Commandments, the precepts of which are recapitulated as follows. The first and second in verse 4; the third in verse 12; the fourth and fifth in verse 3; the sixth in verses 16; the seventh in verse 29; the eighth and ninth in verses 11-16; and the tenth in verse 18.
The first thing we need to notice, here, is that this is not just for the ministerial staff. This message is for the whole congregation. Again, God does not want this misunderstood, so He tells Moses to directly tell the congregation, instead of it going through the usual channels. The word “holy” when it is used as a noun, it sometimes is translated God, angel, saint. From all of this, we can see that the word holy means above sin. Righteous is a similar word with an entirely different meaning. Righteous, in the Old Testament, means just or lawful. In the New Testament, righteous means innocent. The way we attain righteousness is by receiving the righteousness of Christ. When we accept Him as our Savior, He puts His robe of righteousness on us. This puts us in right standing with God. To walk holy is an entirely different thing. This means after we receive our righteousness, we walk above sin. We walk in holiness. God is holy, if we are trying to be like Him, we must walk holy lives too.
Verses 3-4: In addition to the fifth commandment, the fourth (19:3b), the first (19:4a), and the second (19:4b), were commanded as illustrations of holy behavior (compare Exodus 20:3-6; 8-11).
Leviticus 19:3 “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I [am] the LORD your God.”
Reverence “his mother, and his father”: The fifth commandment (compare Exodus 20:12), to honor one’s father and mother is amplified by the use of a different word, “reverence”. Because they revered (an attitude), they could then honor (an action).
Holiness begins in the home. Children who “revere” their “mother and father” are far more inclined to revere God than those who disrespect their parents.
The fear that is mentioned here, has to do with respect. Strong’s Concordance says it means to revere. This means then, to hold your Mother and Father in great respect. The keeping of the Sabbath has a two-fold purpose. One is to have one day a week to worship God with no distractions. The other purpose for Sabbath was so that man would rest one day in seven. Jesus explained the second reason in the following Scripture.
Mark 2:27 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:”
Over and over again God tells these people that He is the LORD their God.
Leviticus 19:4 “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I [am] the LORD your God.”
From the one only true and living God to them that are not gods, as the word used signifies, who are nothing. For, as the apostle says, an idol is nothing in the world (1 Cor. 8:4). Is of no worth and value, of no consequence and importance, and of no avail and usefulness to its devotees. Wherefore to turn from the true God to such as these is the greatest stupidity, as well as wickedness. Or “look not” at them for help or assistance, for they are not able to give it. And to look at them so as to view them attentively, and consider their likeness, the Jews say is forbidden. And even in the heart and mind, as Aben Ezra observes, to have respect unto them was not right; or in the thoughts, as Gersom.
Nor make to yourselves molten gods”: Of gold, silver, or brass, melted and cast into a mold, as the golden calf was, to which respect may be had. These laws have a respect unto the first and second commandments (Exodus 20:3).
“I am the Lord, your God”: Who only is to be worshipped, and who has forbid the making and worshipping any image, molten or graven, and who will therefore resent idolatry of every sort, and punish for it.
These people have just been delivered from Egypt, where many gods were worshipped. God brought them out with a mighty hand, after He had discredited the false gods of Egypt. The land they are about to go into also worships false gods. God does not want them to fall into the worship of these false gods. He reminds them, again here who He is by saying (I am the LORD your God). We must remember that just a very short time earlier, they had made a golden calf to worship while Moses was gone to get the 10 Commandments. God destroyed this molten calf. He reminds them not to make this mistake again. The word [elilim] which was translated idols here, means nothings. That is a correct statement since an idol has no power.
“Peace offerings”: See notes on 3:1-17; 7:11-34).
Leviticus 19:5 “And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, ye shall offer it at your own will.”
Which were of three sorts, a thanksgiving, a vow, and a voluntary offering (Lev. 7:11). The latter seems to be here meant, as appears by what follows.
Ye shall offer it at your own will”: A voluntary freewill offering, of their own accord, and not by force, as Aben Ezra. And in such offerings they were left to their liberty to offer what they pleased, it might be of the flock, or of the herd, a male or a female (Lev. 3:1). The Targum of Jonathan is “for your acceptation.” That is, that should be offered, and in such a manner as to be accepted of you with God. Which sense is countenanced by (Lev. 19:7); and becomes acceptable, when what follows about eating them is attended to.
We studied in a previous lesson about the peace offering. The peace offering shadows the grace that is provided all who believe. Just as salvation is of our own free will, this peace offering was of their own free will. The peace offering really shows our fellowship with God. This possibly has to do also with the freewill offering which is actually a peace offering itself.
Leviticus 19:6 “It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire.”
The meaning is, that if it could be, it was best to eat it all up the same day it was offered. But if not, the remainder was to be eaten on the next day, but by no means to be kept any longer. This shows that that sort of peace offering is intended, which was either a vow or a voluntary offering (Lev. 7:16). And the Jews gather from hence, that sacrifices were to be slain in the day, and not in the night.
“And if ought remain unto the third, it shall be burnt with fire”: As it is ordered (Lev. 7:16).
That so the owner might have no profit by it, and therefore be under no temptation to keep it longer than the fixed time.
The peace offering that could be eaten on the second day as well as the first, was the freewill offering. Even though the person is allowed to eat of this offering two days, it is not to be taken lightly. Remember, this symbolizes the peace which the Lord Jesus brings to all who will accept Him as Savior and LORD.
Leviticus 19:7 “And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it [is] abominable; it shall not be accepted.”
Or “in eating be eaten”. Any of it be eaten, the least bit of it.
“It is abominable”: It is as any common thing, as if it was no sacrifice. Yea, as if it was corrupt and putrefied flesh. Nay, as what is abominable to God: and therefore it follows.
“It shall not be accepted”: Of the Lord, but rejected, his will not being attended to.
Leviticus 19:8 “Therefore [every one] that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the LORD: and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”
Be chargeable with sin, be pronounced guilty, and endure the punishment, which is cutting off (Lev. 7:20).
“Because he hath profaned the hallowed thing of the Lord”: The flesh of the peace offerings, by keeping it longer than the fixed time for it, when it was liable to corruption and putrefaction. For after the inwards and the fat of them were offered, as Aben Ezra says, the flesh was holy, and to be eaten as a holy thing. And within the time the law required, or otherwise it was profaned and polluted.
“And that soul shall be cut off from among his people”: Be deprived of his civil and religious privileges, or be punished by the hand of the civil magistrate, or else by the immediate hand of God.
Since this symbolizes the peace that the Lord Jesus brings each of us, it must be treated with great respect and value. To just let it lay around a third day would show great disrespect. The burning of it on the third day would at least make a sweet savor to God. I believe communion elements are like this. Since the bread and the fruit of the vine represent the body and the blood of Jesus, they should be treated with great respect. They should be totally consumed, or burned in the fire. They should not be held over for another time.
Verses 9-18: This contains five sections with five precepts relating to holiness in everyday affairs:
(1) Regard for the poor (verses 9-10);
(2) Regard for the truth (verses 11-12);
(3) Regard for the employee and the helpless (verses 13-14);
(4) Regard for the rich (verse 15);
(5) Regard for one’s neighbor (verses 16-18).
Verses 9-10: This was the law of gleaning (compare 23:22; Deut. 24:19-22), a practice seen in Ruth 2:8-23.
The law had a special provision for “the poor and the stranger”, permitting them to “glean”, the leftover crops from the fields and the fallen “grapes” in the vineyards (23:22; Deut. 24:19-22; Ruth 2:2-23). When possible, God’s people should enable the poor to provide for their own needs with dignity.
Leviticus 19:9 “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.”
Of the land of Canaan, when come into it, which having sown, and it was harvest. Either barley or wheat harvest, or both, and especially the latter, to which reaping seems best to agree.
“Thou shall not wholly reap the corner of the field”: But a part was to be left for the poor. This follows upon the peace offerings: and, as Aben Ezra observes, as the fat of them was to be given to God. So somewhat of the harvest was to be given for the glory of God to the poor and stranger.
“Neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest”: Ears of corn which fall from the hand or sickle of the reaper, or in gathering the reaps to bind up in sheaves. In the above treatise, it is asked, what is a gleaning? That which falls in reaping. If the reaper reaps his handful, or plucks up a handful, and a thorn strikes him, and it falls out of his hand to the ground, lo, it is the owner’s. But if out of the middle of his hand, or out of the middle of the sickle, it is the poor’s.
Leviticus 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.”
Or cut off the little clusters which are, as Aben Ezra observes, like an infant, as the word signifies.
Infant clusters, which were small in comparison of the large ones, as infants are to men. Those which had but a grape or two, or very few upon them, were not to be cut off, but left for the poor. And Gersom says, if the whole vine consisted of such clusters, it all belonged to the poor.
“Neither shall thou gather every grape of thy vineyard”: Every particular single grape; these were such as were left on the vine after the large clusters were gathered, and a man upon viewing it again might not gather such as had only a single grape or two upon them. For the Misnic doctors say, two grapes or berries make a “peret” (the word here rendered “every grape”), but three do not. So that if there were three grapes upon a cluster it was the owner’s, and might be gathered, but if fewer, then it belonged to the poor. Or this may be understood also of such single grapes that fell to the ground in gathering, which might not be taken up by the owners, but were to be left to the poor.
“Thou shall leave them for the poor and stranger”: For the poor Israelite, and the stranger that sojourns with you, as Aben Ezra interprets it. The stranger intends a proselyte, not a proselyte of the gate, but a proselyte of righteousness, as Gersom and it is a rule laid down by Maimonides. That every stranger spoken of concerning the gifts of the poor is no other than a proselyte of righteousness. One that has been circumcised upon embracing the Jewish religion, and agreeing to conform to all the laws and rituals of it. Though the same writer observes, that they do not restrain the poor of the Gentiles from these gifts, but they are in general included among the poor of Israel.
“I am the Lord your God”: That gave them fields and vineyards, and times of harvest, and vintage, and blessed them with fruitful seasons, and therefore had a right to require such things of them. And they were in duty and gratitude bound to observe his commands. And this shows his regard unto, and concern for the poor, and that he is the father and patron of them.
God is teaching the importance of having charity toward those less fortunate than themselves. Over and over in the Scriptures, we are told to care for the widows and the fatherless. God also warns that we are not to be greedy, but willing to share what we have been blessed with. One thing America has going for itself, is that we have been generous in feeding the hungry peoples of the world. Jesus said to even feed your enemy.
Romans 12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
There is no sin in having more than your neighbor. The sin comes when you see his need and do not try to help him.
1 Timothy 6:17-18 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”
When you help the poor, you are doing it as unto God.
Verses 11-18: The command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31, 33; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8), is expanded to “love him as thyself” (19:34). These laws promote honesty, fair treatment, and community harmony as well as “justice” in a court of law for both “the poor” and “the mighty”.
Leviticus 19:11 “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.”
“Ye shall not”: Based on the Ten Commandments (Exodus chapter 20), this teaching against stealing and lying is reemphasized by Jesus (in Matthew 19:18-19), in speaking to the rich young ruler.
The Bible repeatedly condemns lying (Prov. 12:22; Eph. 4:25), as well as deceit (“deal falsely”).
When you deal falsely and lie one to another that is a type of stealing. This is actually in the 10 commandments, but I believe that God is saying here, that there are many types of stealing. He also says don’t do any type of stealing at all.
Leviticus 19:12 “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD.”
Or “to a falsehood”. To any of the above cases. As that a man has not the deposit of another’s in his hands, when he has. Or that such a man owes him so much money, when he does not, or any other false thing. Stealing, dealing falsely, lying, and false swearing, are mentioned together, as following one another, and as tending to lead on, the one to the other. As Jarchi observes; “if thou stealest, this will lead thee on to deal falsely, and then to lie, and after that to swear.” And who further remarks, because it may be thought a man is guilty only because of the proper name (of God he may swear by). Therefore, to comprehend all the surnames (or epithets of God, such as gracious, merciful, etc.) it is said, “ye shall not swear by, my name falsely”. Every name which is mine, by which he is called. And so Gersom, any epithet or attribute of his, or any word or phrase by which he is described, as he that made the heavens. Or that dwelleth in the heavens, or liveth for ever and ever, and the like. And the word being of the plural number, ye shall not swear, takes in, as Aben Ezra thinks, him that causes to swear, as well as him that swears.
“Neither shall thou profane the name of thy God”: Through swearing falsely by it, or through any rash or vain oath in common conversation. Not only perjury in a court of judicature, but all profane oaths, curses, and imprecations are forbidden. As breaches of the third command, which this refers to (see notes on Exodus 20:7).
“I am the Lord”: Whose name is holy, and who can and will revenge every abuse of it in a profane way, and to the injury of men.
Jesus taught on this very thing in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:34-36 “But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:” “Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.” “Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.”
Swearing is a serious thing, but to swear falsely in God’s name would be even worse.
Leviticus 19:13 “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob [him]: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.”
“Wages … shall not abide with thee all night”: Hired workers were to be paid at the end of a work day. Unsalaried day workers depended on pay each day for their sustenance. See notes on Matt. 20:1-2.
God calls His people to fairness, instructing employers to pay a worker’s “wages” right away (Deut. 24:14-15). The Israelites did not always obey this law (Jer. 22:13).
We find here another type of stealing. Stealing is not just against God’s law, but man’s law as well. Not only is it the right thing to do not to steal, defraud or rob, but if you do these things, you could find yourself in jail as well. The punishment that man allots for these sins is nothing compared to what God would have in store for you. When a person works for wages, they expect to be paid.
Matthew 20:2 “And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.”
Matthew 20:9 “And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.”
In this parable of Jesus’, the workers were paid exactly what they agreed to work for, without delay.
Leviticus 19:14 “Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I [am] the LORD.”
“Deaf … blind”: Israel’s God of compassion always demonstrated a concern for the disabled.
When we see a deaf person or a blind person, we should have mercy on them. It is only by the grace of God that we are not that blind person or deaf person. Some believe that things like this are punishment for sin, but Jesus proved this not to be so in the following Scriptures.
John 9:1-3 “And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth.” “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
Do not condemn others, it could be you or your family who is deaf or blind.
Leviticus Chapter 19 Questions
1. Why did God say for His people to be holy?
2. Are just the leaders of the church to be holy?
3. What does the word holy mean in this verse?
4. When the word that was translated holy, here, is used as a noun, what are some of the words it is translated to?
5. What does righteous in the Old Testament mean?
6. What does righteous mean in the New Testament?
7. How does the Christian receive righteousness?
8. How can we walk holy?
9. In verse 3, God says to fear whom?
10. What does the word fear mean in this particular instance?
11. What is the twofold purpose of the Sabbath?
12. What did the LORD God say not to turn to, or to make in verse 4?
13. What sort of worship went on in Egypt?
14. What does the word elilim, which was translated idol, mean?
15. The peace offering really shows our _______________ with God.
16. The peace offering that could be eaten on the first or second day was, also, called what offering?
17. If any of it is left after the second day, what should be done with it?
18. What one word is it called, if it is eaten on the third day?
19. What were they to do when reaping the harvest of the land?
20. Who were some of the grapes to be left for?
21. What lesson is God teaching in this?
22. What one thing does America have going for itself spiritually?
23. What did Jesus tell us to do, if our enemy hungered?
24. What are the rich in the world charged to do?
25. When you are helping the poor, who are you doing it as unto?
26. What are dealing falsely and lying one to another really?
27. Who did Jesus say we could swear by in the Sermon on the Mount?
28. Thou shalt not defraud thy ______________.
29. Stealing is not just against God’s law, but ________, as well.
30. Who will punish you, if you steal?
31. Is deafness and blindness a punishment from God?