Sunday, July 12, 2009

LEVITICUS: Chapter 21

Chapter 21
Summary:God gives more laws to Moses, this time to be directed at Aaron and his sons, concerning the conduct and expectations of priests:

Priests are not to "defile" themselves by touching the body of a dead person, unless it is the body of his close relatives - meaning his mother, father, son, daughter, brother, and his sister (if she is a virgin and does not have a husband to care for her corpse). A priest is supposed to be a "chief man" amongst his people and is not to "defile" himself by touching a dead body (aside from his close family), lest he "profane" himself.

A priest is also not to make baldness upon their head, nor shall they shave off the corner of their beard, or make any cuttings in their flesh. Priests must be "holy" unto their god, and not profane his name, or they will not be fit to make the grain or animal sacrifices by fire.

A priest may not marry a woman who is a whore, profane, or is divorced from her husband. If the daughter of a priest "profanes" herself and her father by "playing the whore", she shall be burnt with fire.

The high priest whose head has been anointed with oil and has been consecrated to wear the "holy garments" shall not uncover his head, rip or damage his clothes, nor go near any dead body - not even the bodies of his mother or father. He also may not leave the tabernacle or profane it in any way, as the anointing oil of his god is upon him. He is only allowed to marry a virgin and may not marry any woman who is a widow, divorced, profane, or a harlot. She must be a virgin amongst his own people (not a foreigner) for he must not "profane" his people by becoming the father of mixed race children.

God continues, stating that if any of Aaron's descendants have any handicaps, disabilities, or "blemishes" that they are not to be allowed to sacrifice to God.

This includes any man that is:
  • blind
  • lame
  • has a "flat nose"
  • anything superfluous
  • a man with a broken foot or hand
  • a crooked back
  • is a dwarf
  • has a blemish in his eye
  • has scurvy
  • has any scabs
  • "hath his stones broken" (meaning testicular damage)
No descendant of Aaron with any blemish is allowed to offer any sacrifices by fire to God due to his handicap, disability, or condition. He may still eat the food from the sacrifices allowed to the priests, but he may not go behind the veil, or come near the altar, as his blemish would defile the tabernacle.

Moses then gave these laws to Aaron, his sons, and the people of Israel.
Thoughts:Chapter 21 of Leviticus is basically a list of laws and rules for the priests - Aaron and his sons, and their future descendants.

First off, priests are never to touch any dead bodies with the exception of close relatives - their mother, father, sons, daughters, brothers, and (if they're still a virgin and unmarried, thereby without a husband who could care for her corpse) sisters. A priest is considered a higher standard of a person and therefore shouldn't be "defiling" himself by touching dead bodies like the common folk do.

A priest isn't allowed to shave their head, in full or in part, nor are they allowed to trim the corners of their beards or make any cuts into their flesh. Doing so would "profane" the name of God, and they would not be fit to offer any grain or animal sacrifices by fire.

Priests cannot marry prostitutes, nor a divorced woman. If a priest has a daughter that turns to prostitution, she must be executed by being burned set on fire. How God can insist upon such excessive brutality and claim to be "compassionate" when these stances contradict each other is baffling to say the least.

The "high priest" (meaning Aaron, and whomever succeeds him) cannot uncover his head, damage his priest costume in any way, go near any dead body - not even those of his mother or father, nor is he allowed to leave the tabernacle while on duty, or profane it in any way.

The high priests are also only to marry virgins - widows, divorced women, profane women, and prostitutes will not do. His virgin bride must also be a pure member of the people of Israel, as women of other clans will shame his people with "half breed" children. Priests apparently must be a pure member of the Master Race or they'll "profane" the priesthood.

If keeping the bloodline pure isn't bad enough, God also doesn't want the handicapped amongst Aaron's lineage anywhere near the veil and the altar in the tabernacle, and they're not allowed to give any sacrifices to God by fire either. Among the disabilities that God lists as unacceptable for priests are blindness, lameness, having a flat nose, anything "superfluous", broken hands or feet, hunchbacks, dwarfism, any eye blemishes, scurvy, having scabs, and most humorously - "damaged testicles". God will allow these "freaks of nature" to chow down on the grain and animal sacrifices, but when it comes to sacrificing anything by fire or going near either the veil or the altar, the handicapped and the deformed need not apply - as they would "defile" the tabernacle.

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