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Leviticus 19:1-37 (In This, Israel Failed)

Nov 12, 2017   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Leviticus, Leviticus (written), Old Testament, Sermons, Torah, Torah (written)  //  No Comments

Leviticus 19:1-37
In This, Israel Failed

There are a lot of verses to go through today, but they will get done. Although many of the laws that we will look at have absolutely no bearing on anything we would consider as relevant to our society today, some of them do. In fact, Paul and other New Testament writers mention quite a few precepts which parallel those we will see.

I won’t highlight them all because there are a lot of verses to get through, but I’ll give you enough to show you that there is a consistency in the moral precepts of the two testaments. As the law is fulfilled and annulled in Christ, we now are free from those things which are not repeated in the new. We have no prohibitions on shaving beards for example. Why anyone would want to do that is a bit hard to understand, but we are free to do so if we wish.

Tattoos. I am not a fan of them, but there is nothing in the New Testament to forbid wearing them. Our pointing finger needs to be pointed in the right direction and for the right reasons. Having said that, just imagine yourself bound to all of the rules that are in today’s passage! And then imagine that you are bound to it, your children are, and your children’s children are. There can be no slip ups, and there can be no overlooking infractions.

One violation of any of these precepts breaks the entire law. The people who cared about their state before God must have longed each year for the Day of Atonement. Outside of that, there was only the constant nagging that they had let the Lord down, time and again. Thank God for Jesus who has freed us from this!

Text Verse: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” Romans 3:27-30

How can we boast before God when Jesus has done all the work? We are saved not by deeds of the law, but by faith in Jesus! This is the incredible marvel of what we have going for us in the New Covenant. We aren’t just saved by faith, we continue to be saved by faith. Surely the words of Scripture are true – “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

This is the truth that we will continue to see today. Israel failed, we have failed, but Jesus prevailed. Where there was condemnation, there is now peace with God. Thank God for Jesus Christ. This truth is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

Like the words of Chapter 18, words of law lie ahead, and so the Lord again speaks directly, and only, to Moses. They are words which will include both moral and ceremonial aspects. Some will bear on what is simply morally honorable, such as rising for the gray headed in verse 32.

It should be remembered, that laws like that one would not bear any penalty if they were otherwise not given. But once the law is given, it is a precept which must be adhered to. To fail to stand for the gray headed would then be a violation of the law. As James says in his epistle, to keep the whole law, but yet to stumble in one point, one is then guilty of breaking the entire law. And to show how wide-ranging this guilt extends, we read the next words…

“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel,

The words of this chapter are to be conveyed to kal adat, or “all [the] congregation of the children of Israel, because they apply to all. This is the only time the phrase is used in Leviticus, and it is only used one other time in the entire Torah, in Exodus 12:3 at the giving of the Passover instructions. No one is exempt, and ignorance of the law is, therefore, no excuse. The law, including every single precept – no matter how large or small – is a unified whole. All people were bound to it, and all were expected to comply. And there is a reason for this…

(con’t) and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

The Chapter is subdivided into sixteen separate groupings, including the first which comprises verses 1 & 2. Each of these groupings ends with a declaratory statement, “I am the Lord,” “I am the Lord your God,” or – in this case – “I the Lord your God am holy.” The holiness of God is tied up in the laws which He gives to His people. Therefore, they were required to comply with His words in order to reflect that same holiness. In other words, holiness is the basis for, and the goal of, what is relayed.

As these laws deal with interactions between the Lord and His people, or between the people themselves, they embody much of the Decalogue itself, some directly, others implicitly. In fact, the scholar Kalisch wisely states –

This remarkable chapter is perhaps the most comprehensive, the most varied, and in some respects the most important section of Leviticus, if not of the Pentateuch; it was by the ancient Jews regarded as an epitome of the whole Law; … it has at all times been looked upon as a counterpart of the Decalogue itself.” Kalisch.

The admonition to be holy, as the Lord God is holy, ends the first sub-grouping of the chapter.

‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.

Two seemingly unrelated commands are given in one short verse. And yet they are intricately tied together. As a whole, they form what could be considered the two pillars of Israel’s moral governance. The first is reverence for mother and father. The second is honoring the Lord’s Sabbaths. As they are tied together here, they are actually also tied together in the Decalogue, but in reverse. They are also the only two positive commands in the Decalogue – “You shall,” instead of “You shall not.”

It is of high note that “mother” is placed before “father” here. It is also of high note that this reverence is placed before the Sabbath. In the Decalogue, the Forth Commandment is the Sabbath, and the Fifth is honoring one’s parents. And in the fifth, the father is noted before the mother. What to make of this?

Reverence of the Lord is tied up in the Sabbaths. Hence the term, shabbatotay, or “My Sabbaths.” And yet, reverence for the parents is listed prior to that of the Sabbaths. It is to teach Israel that one cannot honor the Lord properly if they do not honor their parents. And likewise, one cannot honor their parents properly if they do not equally esteem both – mother and father, or father and mother.

It is interesting, however, that the Sabbath observance for Israel is the only command in the Decalogue to be wholly set aside in Christ. Honor of the Son as our Sabbath Rest now replaces honoring of the Lord on a Sabbath Rest.

The violation of not honoring one’s parent is noted in Israel, such as in Micah 7:6. Violations of not keeping the Sabbath are noted in Scripture, such as in Nehemiah 13:15. They failed to honor the Lord their God. This ends the second sub-grouping of the chapter.

‘Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the Lord your God.

The next command essentially embraces both the first and second commands of the Decalogue. It is first to not turn to ha’elilim or “the idols.” This is the first time the word is used. It comes from the word al, or “no,” and thus it literally means “the nothings.” Paul, understanding this nuance, repeats it in 1 Corinthians 8:4 –

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one.”

Understanding that these are “nothings,” the Lord then tells them to not make for themselves molded gods, as if they were making something. Psalm 115 explains that those who do such things hold the same value as what they produce – they render themselves of no value, becoming nothings –

But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.” Psalm 118:3-8

The Old Testament is filled with references to violations of these two precepts. In this, Israel failed to honor Yehovah their God. This ends the third sub-grouping of the chapter.

‘And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, you shall offer it of your own free will.

The words of this verse are more certainly rendered, “you shall offer it for your acceptance,” not “of your own free will.” When a peace offering was offered, it was to be according to a set procedure. If that was not followed, the offeror and his offering would not be accepted. Chapter 17 showed that the Israelite’s were in the habit of offering their sacrifices to the goat idols. This was now forbidden, but it was not enough to tell them to abstain from sacrificing to these demons. Instead, their offerings were to be to the Lord, and in a set manner.

It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire.

There were two classes of peace offerings in Chapter 7, the first class, an offering of thanksgiving, had to be eaten on the first day alone. The second class, a vow or voluntary offering, could be eaten on the next day. It is the second such class which is described here. But the same warning as given in Chapter 7 is repeated here. Anything remaining had to be burnt up on the third day.

And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted.

This prohibition looks forward to Christ who was resurrected on the third day, and who saw no corruption. As this is a peace offering which is shared in by both the Lord and the offeror, eating it on the third day would be wholly unsuited to that typology.

Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

To violate the typology of the unblemished, incorruptible Christ was reason for excision from the people of God. Though the people didn’t have an explanation for this, there were two reasons they needed to be obedient. First, the command has been given. That alone is justification. Secondly, when Christ came, there would be no excuse in missing the typology that they had personally participated in for so many centuries.

‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.

The subgroup continues with a seemingly unrelated admonition to not wholly reap the land. But, as the first law, that of the peace offering, concerns a relationship with the Lord, this law is directed to a relationship with one’s fellow man. It is the same thought as uniting the honoring of parents and the keeping of the Sabbath. One cannot honor the Lord rightly if they do not care for their poor neighbors. How can one offer an acceptable peace offering to the Lord while not being a living peace offering to their neighbor?

And so Israel was instructed to leave the corners of their fields and not reap them. They were to further leave behind anything which dropped during the reaping process. They were not to bend over and pick it up. That way, the poor could follow after them and gather the gleanings. To understand this, and to see it in practice, read the book of Ruth. To understand the book of Ruth, watch or read the sermons on Ruth on the Superior Word website. This verse is a mirror of Leviticus 23:22. It contains rather remarkable Hebrew which will be looked at when we get there. Stay tuned!

10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

Like the harvest of the field, so it was to be in the vineyard as well. Here, a unique word, peret, is seen. It essentially means single fruit, and it comes from another unique word, parat, which means “to chant.” As one improvises, or scatters, words in a chant, so single grapes are scattered on vines, and single grapes fall from bunches. When going over the vines, any clusters were to be taken, but any grapes growing by themselves were to be left. And any that dropped as the clusters were cut were to be left behind. All of this was for the sake of the poor and the stranger.

The first king of Israel, Saul, violated the law of the peace offering, as did others in the Old Testament. The word also condemns the people for oppressing the poor. In this, Israel failed to honor the Lord their God. This ends the fourth sub-grouping of the chapter.

11 ‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.

Stealing here is a repeat of the Eighth Commandment. Dealing falsely, as well as lying, are all classed together as kindred sins. These same precepts carry through in the New Covenant as well.

12 And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

These words correspond to the Third Commandment. There are those who believe that the Bible implies that it is inappropriate to make any vows, or to swear, at all. This is incorrect. Vows are mandated elsewhere in Scripture. However, they are only to be made in the name of the Lord. Further, as this verse defines when one swears by the Lord’s name, it was never to be a false vow.

Stealing, dealing falsely, and lying are found throughout Israel’s time under the Law of Moses. Swearing falsely in the Lord’s name is as well, such as in Isaiah 48:1. In this, Israel failed to honor the Lord their God. This ends the fifth sub-grouping of the chapter.

13 You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.

The word “cheat” here gives the sense of oppression. One was not to do something towards their neighbor to bring hardship upon him, nor was anyone to rob their neighbor. And positive treatment of one’s hired hand was expected as well. The word peullah, or wages, is introduced here. It means simply “labor,” but it implies that which results from the labor, and thus wages. If a person worked, they were not to have their pay withheld from them. To say, “I will give it to you in the morning,” was to deprive him of his food and bed in the night. What was owed was to be paid. This is seen still in practice at the time of Jesus as is reflected in the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20.

14 You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

These words are to be taken literally. Cursing a deaf person who cannot hear, and who then cannot respond in order to defend himself is truly wicked. But the term for deaf here also includes those who are out of range for hearing. It is inappropriate to curse someone who is not available to defend himself. Secondly, the Lord protects the blind by commanding that no person should ever put a mikshol, or stumblingblock, before them. The very thought of doing such a thing is a perverse, unholy thing. This “stumblingblock” is a new word which will be seen only fourteen times, with eight of them being found in Ezekiel.

Oppression and robbing by the people is seen elsewhere in the Old Testament. The other forms of wrongdoing are not specifically noted as having been done, but the same terms – blind and deaf – are specifically applied to Israel for failing to heed the Lord. In these things, Israel failed to honor Yehovah. This ends the sixth sub-grouping of the chapter.

15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.

A new word, translated as “injustice,” and which is variously spelled and spoken, is brought in now. This thought is then further defined. It is both unjust to show partiality to the poor because he is poor, and to show preference to the mighty because he is mighty. Instead, the eyes of the one judging are to be blind to the state of the person, and are to judge according to what is right, regardless of how it will affect either the rich or the poor, or how they could benefit personally off such a judgment to the rich or to the poor.

Instead, all judgments are to be in righteousness alone. This should be an obvious precept in all places and at all times, but like Israel of old, America today violates both of these, and we do it with zeal. Toss in preference because of race, political affiliation, fame, and a host of other irrelevant issues, and injustice rules the land.

16 You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

The rakil, or talebearer, is introduced here. This is one who goes from place to place spreading false or defamatory statements. Such was to be rejected. In a similar fashion, gossips are especially spoken against in the New Testament. Along with this, one was not to take a stand against the blood, or life, of their neighbor. Injustice is spoken against numerous times. The talebearer being allowed to continue is spoken against in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the blood of Naboth was stood against by his neighbors in 1 Kings 21. In these and other instances, Israel failed to honor the Lord. This ends the seventh sub-grouping of the chapter.

17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.

Hating one’s brother will inevitably lead to other sins. There is no way around this. Further, if a neighbor does wrong and we refrain from rebuking him, we are prone to bear sin because of his wrongdoing against us. Both are the natural course of such things. This second precept is explicitly laid out by Jesus in Luke 17:3.

18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

The previous words were given to rebuke an offender. These now go further. If one rebukes, and no change takes place, the offended is still to refrain from taking vengeance, or even bearing a grudge. Offense is to flow like water off the back. These words are substantially repeated by Paul in Romans 12. And in an opposing positive to what has thus far been instructed, Israel was to go even further and love their neighbors, even as one loves himself.

The precepts of verse 17 are both explicitly violated by Absalom, son of David, in 2 Samuel 13. The commands of verse 18 are not explicitly stated as having been violated by Israel, but the Lord is said to take vengeance against them for their own infractions. In this, Israel failed to honor the Lord. This ends the eighth sub-grouping of the chapter.

19 ‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

The words, “You shall keep my statutes,” look to what follows. These precepts are to be followed without fail. The first is to keep types of livestock from interbreeding. The word kilayim, or kind, is introduced here. It will be seen three times in this verse and once in Deuteronomy. Such interbreeding worked against the natural order of things established in Genesis 1. Despite not allowing interbreeding, the use of interbred animals is seen in the use of mules in the Old Testament. The first such time refers to the mules of the sons of King David.

Next, to sow fields with mixed seed would stress the soil, and it would also stress the crops – one type fighting against another. Thus, this was forbidden. And finally, no garment was to be made of both linen and wool. The words “linen and wool” are a single Hebrew word, shaatnez, which is found only here and in Deuteronomy 22:11. It means “mixed stuff.” To wear a garment of two or more materials would cause the garment to wear out unevenly. Only garments of single materials were thus to be worn. These laws each carry a moral meaning which can be summed up in New Testament verses such as –

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:21

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

These verses in Leviticus are given to point us to the spiritual truth that we are not to mix the holy with the profane. One will always stress, and often wear out the other.

20 ‘Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.

What is seen here is a woman who is a bondwoman who is espoused to another man. She is partly free, but still partly slave. Such an espousal would not yet be considered legally complete, and so a verdict of adultery could not be made because she was not properly married to another man. Only a scourging, but not a sentence of death could be handed out in such a case. It is debated whether the scourging was to be on the woman only, or on both. However, only the man was required to bring a trespass offering…

21 And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, a ram as a trespass offering.

The woman, being the property of another, and thus having no property of her own, could not bring a trespass offering. However, the man was required to do so. The laws for the trespass offering have already been given, and so the specifics of this are not detailed now. However, the symbolism, if you recall, points directly to Christ and His work in forgiving our trespasses.

22 The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.

With this offering according to what is laid out in the law, the sins are atoned for, and thus the trespass is forgiven. Although the offense may seem highly unusual to us today, it is exactly appropriate for a society which included the ownership of slaves.

23 ‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten.

The verse here is one of blessing. First, it says, “When you come into the land.” The blessing of entering the land is implied. Next, it says, “and have planted all kinds of trees.” The blessing of possessing the land in permanence is implied. Next it says, “for food.” The blessing of productive land, land which will produce food, is implied. Then it says, “you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised.” There is the blessed assurance that the plants will bear. Next, it says, “Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you.” The blessing of healthy trees, that the land will remain in the planter’s possession, and they will continue to bear, are all implied. The mandates here only apply to trees planted after arrival in the land. Those already established were not under this law.

In this verse, the word aral, or “to count as foreskin,” meaning uncircumcised, is seen. It will be seen just once more in Habakkuk 2:16. And so what the Hebrew reads is, “and you shall circumcise its uncircumcision. The fruit itself is considered uncircumcised, and so the blossom is to be plucked off as if circumcising it. This increases the health and strength of the plant, something known for countless generations. In this law, it would keep those who were untrained in such things from causing themselves undue harm in later years because of having weak, poorly performing trees.

24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the Lord.

The word hillul, or “praise” is to be seen only here and in Judges 9:27. It is a festival, or rejoicing, for the harvest. The fruit was to be considered both holy, and an offering to the Lord. The priests would certainly receive it and do with it according to the law, probably going so far as to apportion it out to the poor and needy, and so on. It may also be that the fruit could be eaten in Jerusalem at a pilgrim feast as an offering and a praise to the Lord, but it could not be commonly eaten at home at this time.

25 And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the Lord your God.

In the fifth year, the fruit belonged to the household, except for the tithe, which certainly applied to fruit trees as well as other produce. For two years, that tithe would be eaten in Jerusalem at a pilgrim feast, or it would be exchanged for money and the money spent at the feast. In the third year, this fruit tithe would be given away as prescribed by law. The words, “that it may yield its increase” are given as a promise that if the law was obeyed, it would bear as anticipated. As Charles Ellicott states, “So far, therefore, from being losers by waiting till the fifth year, they will actually be gainers.” This ends the ninth sub-grouping of the chapter.

26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.

These prohibitions are given to avoid participating in any type of heathen practices. It is more than probable that this is a special reference to magic or idolatrous rites which included the eating of blood, or meals which included blood. The second prohibition is a cause of much conjecture. The Hebrew says, lo tenakhashu. Some see the word as deriving from nakhash, or serpent, and so it is divination by serpents. Another believes it is from a word meaning, “to whisper.” And so it is mutterings and incantations.

Thirdly, it says v’lo teonenu. The word comes from anan, or “cloud,” and so it is the clouding over of an enchanter for divination, or the reading of clouds for telling good or bad fortune.

27 You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.

The word naqaph, or around, is introduced here. It is what the men of war will do when going around Jericho in order to destroy it. The cutting of the hair around the head to form a hemisphere to look like one of the three stooges was done by Arabs and other worshipers of the god Orotal. The practice is mentioned in proper translations of several verses in Jeremiah.

The second practice, that of disfiguring the edges of one’s beard, is too troubling to contemplate, so we will go on… Actually, to cut off the corners of the beard was a practice of pagans. They would take the cuttings and offer them to their gods. Though these prohibitions were stated in a now-fulfilled law, one must ask himself why they would ever want to cut their beard. It’s almost incomprehensible to consider.

28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.

Seret, or “cuttings” which are intended for the dead, and kethobeth qaaq, or “marks tattoos” are both introduced here. This will be the only mention of tattoos in Scripture. Both were pagan practices which defiled the body, created in the image of God. They were for superstitious reasons, and in some cases it was to honor their gods. Although not all of these practices are explicitly stated as having been violated by Israel, some of them are, such as practicing soothsaying. In these ways, Israel failed to honor the Lord. This ends the tenth sub-grouping of the chapter.

29 ‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.

This was, and in parts of the world to this day remains, a common custom. Fathers selling daughters causes the practice to increase, even to the point where the entire land becomes filled with immorality. At times, the daughters were sold into whoredom for the sake of appeasing their gods, this then led to spiritual harlotry as well. One thing always leading to another, the Lord forbade this.

30 ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.

The admonition here is purposeful. Instead of following the pagan practices just described, the people were to observe the weekly Sabbaths, and reverence the Lord’s sanctuary. The other practices drew their hearts away from Him; these would draw them near to Him. But, the pagan practices were often followed. Whoredom in the land, both literal and spiritual flourished, and the Lord’s sanctuary was often abandoned by the people. Israel failed to honor the Lord. This ends the eleventh sub-grouping of the chapter.

31 ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Ov or “mediums,” meaning necromancers, and yiddeoni, or spiritists, meaning wizards, or conjurers, are both introduced here. Israel’s recorded history is plagued with such people coming into fashion, being expelled by good kings, and coming back into fashion under bad kings. Israel failed to honor the Lord their God through this. So ends the twelfth sub-grouping of the chapter.

32 ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.

This is given as a stark contrast to those things previously mentioned. Though they were to be rejected and ignored, the gray headed was to be honored, even with great reverence. This custom was, and is, not unknown among the pagans, but it is specifically mandated here by the Lord. Some go so far as to teach rising when they pass by, and then sitting down again so that they know you rose for them. Job says, “Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding” (Job 12:12). Old age in the Bible is considered an honorable thing which is to be rewarded with respect. This ends the thirteenth sub-grouping of the chapter.

33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him.

A stranger willing to dwell with the Israelites, and who was willing to submit himself to the laws and customs of the land, was not to be oppressed. Interestingly, throughout the chapter, the Lord has been speaking to all of Israel. Suddenly, He speaks to only one person, then to all again. It says, “And if a stranger dwells with you (singular) in your land (plural), do not mistreat (plural) him. The singular must be speaking of Messiah. The verse is telling Israel that if someone dwells with the Lord, who is a son of Israel, he is to be treated as one of them. An example of this would be Ruth who chose the Lord as her God. Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews, is Christ of the Gentiles.

34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Israel, all of Israel, came from another land. Even if they were born in the land of Israel, their forefathers were brought out of Egypt and into the land of Israel. As the Lord loved Israel and brought them into the land, and as He treated them as the rightful owners of the land, He commanded the Israelites to so treat the foreigners who dwelt among them. This command is repeated by the Lord in Ezekiel 47:22, a time after the tribulation period. The foreigners who remain at that time are to be considered as native born. However, in Ezekiel 22:7, the Israelites violated this precept. Israel failed to honor the Lord through this. This ends the fourteenth sub-grouping of the chapter.

35 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume.

Fair judgment was to be imparted as well. In measurements of length, weight, and volume, there was to be a set standard. This is so much so that in Scripture a right measure is noted as coming from the Lord Himself. It is He who sets the standard, and therefore, to violate that is to violate His character. And false dealings were then considered a wicked abomination. In this verse, a new word, mesurah, is given. It is where the English word measure is derived from. It specifically speaks of measure by volume. To support this verse, we next read…

36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

The term “honest” means that these instruments and units were to be the same for buying and for selling, and they were to be based upon a set standard. The mozen, or scales, are introduced here. In Israel, they consisted of balances. They were to be honest and would prove the weights, or amounts, accordingly. The originals of these things would surly have been maintained at the sanctuary. Any cheater could be found out by comparing with the set standard. That is, unless those in the sanctuary also dealt in an underhanded manner. But this was not to be the case. The Lord brought them out of Egypt, and He expected the people to act in accord with His divine law.

It is seen in the Old Testament that Israel failed to honor the Lord their God through these weights and measures. This ends the fifteenth sub-grouping of the chapter.

*37 ‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the Lord.’

It is because of the Lord’ work, His redemption, His guarantee of their inheriting the land, His promised blessings upon them, and for watching over them while they worked, and as they slept – and for countless other reasons of blessing – He told them that they were not given license to sin, but to hold to His statutes and judgments, performing them because it was right to do so. Unfortunately, and as we have seen, Israel failed to honor Yehovah in these many ways. This ends the sixteenth and final sub-grouping of the chapter.

Having shown, once again, the failings of Israel under the law, is it any wonder that the Lord sent Jesus? Without Him, there is nothing but failure on the part of man. There is the constant falling away from what is sound, holy, and also reasonable. It is in our very nature. Israel was merely selected as God’s nation to show us this. They were given the perfect land, the most marvelous of promises, and the greatest of abundance and blessing. And yet, they continuously turned from Him to the path which was unsound.

Were it not for His covenantal promise to keep them as a people, they would have been utterly swept away with the sands of time. But He did preserve them, and through them came the Savior of the world. In all of the laws we have seen today, and in all of the countless other laws which are recorded in the Law of Moses, He never violated one. Now, through Him, restoration with God is possible. The law which stood opposed to us, and which brought us condemnation, is fulfilled in Him. By a simple act of faith in that, you can be reconciled to God, and your account will be recorded as “Not guilty. This one stands justified.” I would hope that you would make the choice today to call out to this wonderful God who is so willing to forgive, that He did all the work Himself.

Closing Verse: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:19, 20

Next Week: In doing good, they needed to be nudged… Leviticus 20:1-27 (In These, Israel Will be Judged) (33rd Leviticus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Holy Behavior Towards God and Man

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
These are the words He was then relaying

Speak to all the congregation
Of the children of Israel
And say to them: ‘You shall be holy
For I the Lord your God am holy, so to you I tell

Every one of you shall revere
His mother and his father, as in this life you trod
And keep My Sabbaths
I am the Lord your God

Do not turn to idols
Nor for yourselves molded gods make:
I am the Lord your God
These words you shall not forsake

And if you offer a sacrifice
Of a peace offering to the Lord
You shall offer it of your own free will
Pay heed to this word 

It shall be eaten the same day you offer it
And on the next day too
And if any remains until the third day
It shall be burned in the fire, so you shall do

And if it is eaten at all on the third day
It is an abomination
It shall not be accepted, not in any way

Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity
Because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the Lord
And that person shall be cut off from his people
So shall it be according to this word

When you reap the harvest of your land
You shall not reap the corners of your field wholly
Nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest
Heed these instructions given by Me

And you shall not glean your vineyard
Nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard too
You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God
So these things you shall do

You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another
And you shall not swear by My name falsely
Nor shall you profane the name of your God:
I am the Lord, and so these things shall be

You shall not cheat your neighbor
Nor rob him. Pay heed to this warning
The wages of him who is hired
Shall not remain with you all night until morning 

You shall not curse the deaf
Nor put a stumbling block before the blind
But shall fear your God: I am the Lord
These things you shall keep always in your mind

You shall do no injustice in judgment
You shall not be partial to the poor
Nor honor the person of the mighty
In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor

You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people
———-Pay careful heed to this word
Nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor:
I am the Lord

You shall not hate your brother in your heart
No, you shall not be so grim
You shall surely rebuke your neighbor
And not bear sin because of him

You shall not take vengeance
Nor bear any grudge against the children of your people
———-so you have heard
But you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am the Lord

You shall keep My statutes
You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind
———–this you shall not do
You shall not sow your field with mixed seed
Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you

Whoever lies carnally with a woman
Who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, you see
And who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom
For this a scourging there shall be

But they shall not be put to death, you see
Because she was not free

And he shall bring
His trespass offering to the Lord
To the door of the tabernacle of meeting
A ram as a trespass offering, according to this word 

The priest shall make atonement for him
With the ram of the trespass offering, it shall be admitted
Before the Lord for his sin which he has committed
And it shall be forgiven him the sin which he has committed

When you come into the land
———-and have planted all kinds of trees for food
Then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised
Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you
It shall not be eaten, of this law please be apprised

But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy
A praise to the Lord, and therefore shall it be

And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit
That it may yield to you its increase:
I am the Lord your God
In obedience, to you there shall be peace

You shall not eat anything with the blood, as I am now relaying
Nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying 

You shall not shave around the sides of your head
———-which would look weird
Nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead
Nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord; do as I have said

Do not prostitute your daughter
To cause her to be a harlot, pay heed to this address
Lest the land fall into harlotry
And the land become full of wickedness

You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary:
I am the Lord; these instructions in your heart you shall carry

Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits
Do not seek after them, to be defiled by them, so I tell you
I am the Lord your God
These things you are expected to not do

You shall rise before the gray headed
So shall you do according to this word
And honor the presence of an old man
And fear your God: I am the Lord

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land
You shall not mistreat him, please understand

The stranger who dwells among you
Shall be to you as one born among you
And you shall love him as yourself
For you were strangers in the land of Egypt:
———-I am the Lord your God; so this you shall do

You shall do no injustice in judgment
In measurement of length, weight, or volume
You shall have honest scales, honest weights
An honest ephah, and an honest hin:
———-Yes, honesty in all shall you assume

I am the Lord your God
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, as you know
Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments
And perform them: I am the Lord; it shall be so

Oh impossible law, where can I go from you?
Who will from this body of death free me?
To Jesus Christ, I will go; it is what I will do
The law is a tutor to lead me to Him, and in Him I am set free

By this law, I have a consciousness of sin
How utterly sinful sin is, by it I can clearly see
By this law, I am utterly defeated; I am done in
But by faith in Jesus, He has set me free

Thank You Lord God for the giving of Your Son
Thank You that You have broken off the yoke and set me free
By faith alone I am saved; through His cross it is done
Now I can live for You, but when I fail
———-You have already forgiven me

Thank You for the perfect life of my Lord
Who fulfilled every detail of Your perfect word

Hallelujah and Amen…

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