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of the faith. The sowing of a field with mingled seed, for example, was a practice of idolaters, who supposed that they should thus bring down a blessing from their deities; and garments of linsey-woolsey, forbidden in the same verse, were the appropriate dress of the priests of the Zabian idolatry at their devotions.*
Another portion of this chapter deserves particular attention, presenting, as the laws contained in it do, a manifest advance upon the tone of all, having a similar purpose, which have yet come under our notice. These laws do not stop short in the prohibition merely of what is mischievous. They prompt to acts of usefulness, and generous dispositions. They breathe the spirit of a thoughtful and delicate humanity. The Israelite is taught, that in his harvesting and vintage, he must leave the gleanings "for the poor and stranger"; † that he must not withhold a laborer's wages so much as a day beyond that when they have been earned; that he must not revile the deaf, who cannot hear his insult, nor put any obstacle in the way of the blind, who is defenceless against his mischief; that, in a sternly upright administration of justice, he must neither be moved by compassion for the poor, nor reverence for the great; that he must avoid being the cause of those dissensions, which are bred by a heedless volubility of tongue; that he must be honest enough to testify friendship by the unwelcome office of reproof;* that he must “rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man ;” that he must not use his power to vex a stranger, but remember the past condition of his own people, and learn to regard a stranger as a friend ; that he must be scrupulously honest in his dealings; that, finally, he must propose to himself the highest standard of social morality, aiming to love his neighbour as himself. It is impossible to give the slightest attention to these rules, and still maintain any such error, as that the Jewish Law was a mere code of outward observances, having no reference to the cultivation of a benevolent spirit, or the harmony and happiness of the social state. I
* Lev. xix. 19. See Maimonides, “ More Nebochim,” pars 3, cap. 37, pp. 447, 451 ; Spencer, “De Legibus” &c., lib. 2, cap. 18, 92, cap. 21, § 3. The same writer (cap. 20) puts a similar construction on the first clause of xix. 19; but the view is in this case not so well sustained by authorities. Foster, “ De Bysso Antiquorum,” (pp. 92 – 100,) explains the last precept in this verse by reference to costly Egyptian garments, embroidered with superstitious hieroglyphics. - The derivation of the word, in verse 26, rendered in our version “enchantments,” points to a kind of divination in use in ancient times, founded on the movements of serpents, respecting which, see Bochart's “ Hierozoicon," pars 1, lib. I, cap. 3, p. 21. The latter part of the same verse seems to refer to auguries drawn from observation on the heavenly bodies. Compare Jer. x. 2. All kinds of divination and magic connected themselves with idolatry, and to this class of rules also belongs verse 31. — For explanations of the four prohibitions in verses 27, 28, showing that their object was of the same kind, see Spencer, “ De Legibus” &c., lib. 2, cap. 12, 13, 14, 25. Compare Herod. lib. 2, § 36, lib. 3, § 8; Jer. xvi. 6; xli. 5; xlviii. 37. — Verse 29 forbids the service of prostitution at idol temples. For authorities, showing the extent of that practice, see Spencer, lib. 2, cap. 22.
† Lev. xix. 9, 10.
The twentieth chapter does not contain a mere repetition of laws previously announced, as might, at first * Lev. xix. 13 - 17.
† xix. 32-36, 18. | Verses 20-22 merely prescribe the punishment of adultery with a bond-woman or concubine. Compare xx. 10, which treats of the case of adultery with a wife. — The passage, 23-25, is of uncertain sense. Maimonides, “ More Nebochim,” pars 3, cap. 37, pp. 449, 450, testifies to an idolatrous practice, to which he understands this law to be opposed, of dedicating part, and eating another part, of the first-fruits which a tree bore, in the temples. See also Spencer, lib. 2, cap. 24, § 2. — Michaelis finds here only an economical arrangement. If, he says, the proprietor is not allowed to eat the fruit of a tree while it is young, if, to use the Mosaic expression, it is to him “ as uncircumcised,” he will pinch off the blossoms, and this is a practice of modern agriculturists to give a tree strength (cornpare verse 25). The command has a prospective view to the settlement in Canaan (23), but Moses was never to enter Canaan himself, and we might naturally expect to find him giving such directions beforehand, whenever they occurred to his mind. See Michaelis “Commentaries" &c., book 4, chap. 5, § 4.
view, appear. The appropriate subject of the chapter is, the denunciation of penalties against the violation of those laws respectively. A crime, for instance, simply forbidden in the last chapter but one, is now declared to be punishable with stoning.* Reverence for parents, had been before inculcated; outrage offered to them is now declared to be a capital offence; † and so in other instances. On the nature of the punishments specified, I shall remark in another place. I only observe further here, that there appears a great propriety in the order adopted; viz. the prohibition of certain acts in the first instance, and then, when there had been a little time to reflect on their nature and criminality, the specification of punishments which were to follow upon their commission.
The purport of the regulations in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters, is obviously to secure the decency of public worship, and so attach a greater reverence to the sacerdotal character and office, and the religious ceremonial. In his peculiar consecration to public cares, the priest must not allow himself in indul
* Compare Lev. xviii. 21 ; xx. 2. Verses 3-5 I understand as follows; Whoever is guilty of this sin, thus offering an affront to my Tabernacle, which is in the midst of the nation, and dishonoring my name, I command that he shall be cut off; and if his family, or his neighbours, instead of informing against his crime, and taking part in its punishment, should connive at, and conceal it, I declare them to be accessaries, and command that they be cut off also.
+ xix. 3 ; xx. 9. In this instance, however, we have but a repetition of Ex. xxi. 17.
Upon the peculiar provision in verses 15, 16, Priestley well remarks as follows ; “ Every thing connected with the idea of the crime was to be removed out of the way, and with every sign of detestation.” “ Notes" &c., p. 248. —“They shall die childless,” Lev. xx. 20, 21. These words might be interpreted; Do not suffer the children of such an unlawful union to live ; take care that the very memory of it shall perish. But I understand them to mean simply, that the parents of only such children shall be without offspring, that can be registered as theirs; in other words, that such children shall be illegitimate.
gences of private feeling, which are suitable for other men; and only on the death of his nearest relations, may he retire from his sacred functions for the ceremonies of mourning,* taking care then not to fall into practices in use among idolaters on such occasions.f The duty of the high-priest is stricter still. He is all consecrated to Heaven. On no occasion whatever may he contract the ritual impurity incident to mourning, even though his bereavement should have been of father or mother. A priest must not marry an unchaste or a divorced woman; and of such public concern is the reputation of his family, that his daughter who should disgrace him by impurity is to suffer the severest penalty known to the law. The high-priest, further, must not marry a widow; and any personal blemish incapacitated for the priestly office; a rule necessary, in the existing degree of culture of the people, to prevent degrading or ludicrous associations from impairing the solemn impressiveness of the ritual. || To engage in sacerdotal functions, or so much as feast upon the offerings, when affected with any ritual uncleanness, is a crime punishable with death. I So separate from others are the sacerdotal families to be, that no guest or hired servant of a priest may partake of the offerings which supply his table; and, if a priest's daughter marry into another tribe, not only may she not bring her husband to his table, when furnished with the “holy things,” but she may not come to it herself, during her married state, nor even in widowhood, nor after divorce, unless, being without children, she is in a condition to withdraw entirely from the ties of her matrimonial alliance, and resume all the relations of her youth.* On the other hand, as these laws against the eating, by unqualified persons, of what had been offered in sacrifice, were liable to be unintentionally violated, provision is made for the acquittal of the person who should have committed such an error, when he should have restored an equivalent to what he had consumed, and added a fifth part more, to teach him greater caution for the future.t Victims must be without personal blemish for a similar reason to that, which had dictated the same regulation respecting the priest. In this connexion, a further extension is given to a rule before announced respecting victims, calculated to teach the sentiment of compassion for the brute creation. And, lastly, a rule already given respecting the consumption of Thank Offerings before the third day, is here repeated, apparently for the purpose of urging its observance in a still stricter form upon the priests, who are directed to take care that none of it shall be left even till the day subsequent to the sacrifice.
* Lev. xxi. 1-6.
† A similar prohibition had been before addressed to the people at large. See xix. 27, 28, † xxi. 10 - 12.
$ xxi. 7,9. || xxi. 13-24. The priest, however, did not lose (22), through his personal misfortune, his hereditary right to a share of the sacerdotal perquisites.
The twenty-third chapter has something of the same character which was ascribed to part of the nineteenth, containing a republication of certain laws. The laws
* Lev. xxii. 10- 13.
# xxii. 14 - 16. | xxii. 17 – 24. But an animal not fit to be sacrificed, (23,) might be fit for a present to the priest. — Verse 25 supposes the case of offerings presented at the Tabernacle by strangers sojourning in the nation, as a mark of respect to the divinity, whose protection they were enjoying.
§ xxii. 26 - 28. Compare Ex. xxii. 30. On verse 28 Maimonides remarks, that it was designed to prevent the slaughter of the young “ in the presence of the dam ; because this occasions to animals extreme grief; nor is there, in this respect, a difference between the distress of man and that of the irrational creation.” — “More Nebochim," pars 3, cap. 49,
|| Lev. xxii. 29, 30. Compare vii. 16.