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TitleIlluminating Leviticus: A Study of Its Laws and Institutions in the Light of Biblical Narratives
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Table of Contents
                            Front Cover
Illuminating Leviticus: A Study of Its Laws and Institutions in the Light of Biblical Narratives
Contents
Preface
Illuminating Leviticus
Introduction: The Nature of Biblical Law
	Story generating law
	Idiosyncratic character of storytelling
	Methods of analyzing biblical legal material
1. Looking at Leviticus: Leviticus 10–14
	Aaron’s sons and their descendants
	Eli’s sons
	The flood story
	The reparation offering
	Rituals for removal of infections
	Buildings and clothing
2. Genital Impurity in the Lineages of David and Jonathan: Leviticus 15
3. The Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16
	The origin of the ritual
	Impact of the Joseph story
	Construction of the ritual
	Aim of the ritual
	Further links between Leviticus and Genesis
	Azazel
4. The Slaughter of Animals: Leviticus 17:2–9
	Genesis 9 and Leviticus
	Goat demons
	Inappropriate sacrifices
5. The Blood Taboo: Leviticus 17:10–16
	Eating blood
	Joseph as prey
	The blood prohibition in Gen 9:4 and Leviticus 17
	Jacob’s comment on Joseph’s fate (Gen 49:9)
	Blood and atonement
	From the topic of blood to the topic of incest
	The flood story and the Joseph story
6. Mourning and Marriage Rules for Priests: Leviticus 21
	The Levite and his concubine
	Prohibition against mourning a married sister
	Aaron’s sons
	Sexuality and the high priest
	Eli’s physical condition
7. Life and Lies of David: Leviticus 22 and 23
	David’s lies
	Temporary residents at a sanctuary
	Sexuality and sacred food
	Unwitting consumption of sacred food
	A foreigner’s animals
8. Blasphemies: Leviticus 24
	Blasphemy
9. The Year of Jubilee: Leviticus 25
	Ancestral property and the jubilee year (Leviticus 25)
	Survey of the interpretation of the biblical jubilee since 1950
	Kindly treatment of one Israelite by another
	The enslavement of an Israelite to a wealthy sojourner or alien who resides in Israel
	The day of atonement and the jubilee
	Warnings, promises, and dedications to Yahweh(Leviticus 26 and 27)
	Dreams and the laws about the sabbatical year, jubilee year, and the forgotten sheaf
10. Three Laws on the Release of Slaves: Exodus 21:2–11, Deuteronomy 15:12–18, and Leviticus 25:39–46
	Jacob with Laban
	The exodus slave rule
		A Slave’s Length of Service
		A Slave’s Marriage
		Permanent Slavery
	Jacob with Laban and the concubine law of Exod 21:7–11
		Rights of a Wife
	The deuteronomic slave law
		Israel’s Enslavement in Egypt
		Duration of a Slave’s Service
		Providing for a Departing Slave
	Joseph in Egypt
	The leviticus slave law
Conclusion: The Inseparability of Biblical Laws and Narratives
Abbreviations
Notes
	Introduction
	Chapter 1
	Chapter 2
	Chapter 3
	Chapter 4
	Chapter 5
	Chapter 6
	Chapter 7
	Chapter 8
	Chapter 9
	Chapter 10
	Conclusion
Index of Biblical Sources
Subject Index
	A
	B
	C
	D
	E
	F
	G
	H
	I
	J
	K
	L
	M
	N
	O
	P
	R
	S
	T
	U
	V
	W
	Y
                        
Document Text Contents
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Illuminating Leviticus



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There shall no stranger [layperson] eat of the holy thing. A resident hired servant of thepriest shall not eat of the holy thing. But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he

shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his food. If the priest’s
daughter also be married unto a stranger [layperson], she may not eat of an offering ofthe holy things. But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child,

and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s food:
but there shall no stranger [layperson] eat thereof. And if a man eat unwittingly, then
he shall pay the priest for the holy thing, adding one-fifth of its value. And they shall

not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto Yahweh. Or

suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I Yah-
weh do sanctify them.The rule follows well from the preceding concerns. Eli’s sons, the priests, ate
sacred food that was not theirs to eat. The lawgiver then inquired as to when priests

must
noteat sacred food that is ordinarily theirs to eat (Lev
22:2–9). In his following
rule in Lev 22:10–16, he still kept his focus on sacred food (of a certain kind) and con-
tinued to ask about any other category of person who is forbidden to eat it. He came

up with the example of a layperson.If, when unclean, a priest is barred from consuming his own sacred dues, because
to eat them when unclean is to desecrate the sanctuary (Lev 22:3–9), then a contrast-ing concern is when a layperson wrongfully consumes what is not permitted to him
because by doing so he desecrates the sanctuary (Lev
22:10–16). As we might expect,
the lawgiver explored the issue because it is embedded in a narrative. The incident

comes from the very next account in 1Samuel concerning a priest serving at a sanc-
tuary, the Nob sanctuary, the one we learn about after Eli’s sons’ service at the Shiloh

sanctuary. The priest is Ahimelech, the great grandson of Eli (
1Sam14:3), and thelayman is none other than the future King David (1Samuel
21). The narrator of thebook of Samuel views, I shall later note, the two incidents as very much related.
david’s lies
Fleeing from the hostile King Saul, David, in a hungry state, comes to the sanc-
tuary at Nob—the seat of the house of Eli after the fall of the Shiloh sanctuary—and
asks that Ahimelech give him “five loaves of bread or whatever is here” (1Sam21:3).Ahimelech tells him that only sacred bread is on hand, the showbread (or Bread of

the Presence), twelve loaves of which are placed on the altar every Sabbath accord-

ing to Lev 24:5–9. Ahimelech implies that he cannot give this sacred bread to Davidbut leaves open the possibility that he might be able to give it to him if David has
life and lies of david: leviticus 22 and 2399



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refrained from sexual relations. David claims, but it is a brazen lie, to be in a state
of ritual cleanness and to be accompanied by men in a similar state. Taken in by his

claim, and certainly contrary to the law currently under consideration in Lev

22:10–16(“There shall no stranger [layperson] eat of the holy thing”), Ahimelechyields to the request and gives David the sacred food.
Here then, from the lawgiver’s standpoint, was an example where a layperson des-
ecrates sacred food—qodesh, “a holy thing” (Lev 22:10)5—that is for priests alone toconsume. At the very least, this would have been the lawgiver’s judgment.
6Althoughirrelevant from the law’s point of view, David’s claim to be ritually clean is presum-

ably as false—he only recently had been with his wife Michal (1Sam19:11–17)—ashis claim that he has companions with him. The law stands opposed to the priest

Ahimelech’s action regardless of David’s deception: under no circumstances can

priestly food be given to a layperson.temporary residents at a sanctuary
Other features of the incident about David at Nob illumine further aspects of the
rule. The lawgiver required that not only must a layperson like David desist from eat-

ing the sacred food, but so too must a priest’s hired servant who temporarily resides

with the priest. If, however, a priest actually purchases a slave, the latter, who is pre-

sumably a foreigner,
7can eat of the sacred food. So too can anyone who is born inthe priest’s house, although qualifying conditions apply to such persons. If a priest’s

daughter, for instance, is married to someone who is not a priest she cannot eat the

sacred food, but if she is divorced or widowed and childless, and returns to her

father’s home, she can partake.
What prompted the lawgiver to take up such matters, I suggest, is a notice in the
same incident about David in
1Sam21:7. A servant of King Saul, Doeg, who is anEdomite, a foreigner, “was detained [
‘azar] before Yahweh” at the Nob sanctuary.
Whatever exactly is meant, Doeg is a nonpriest who, for whatever reason, is confined
at a holy place.8It is this kind of affiliation that the lawgiver took up when he laid
out the conditions under which nonpriests who are in residence at a sanctuary can

eat sacred dues. Temporarily hired residents, like Doeg, cannot consume priestly

dues but permanently purchased servants can: “But if the priest buy any soul with
his money, he shall eat of it.”
100illuminating leviticus



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subject index211
Ichabod,20,21Identity,
1–3,11,158,166.See also Laws
Idolatry,
114,115,119–20,134,144,162,196Incest,67,68,77Inheritance: among Jacob’s sons,
164,175,196; ofdaughters,194Intellectual inquiry,
72,73,182,198Intensified death, 119–20,191Irony,
184Islamic law,
6,7,170Jezebel,114–21Jonathan,27,30,33–35Joseph: and his dreams, 4,5; and Flood story,
78,79; as savior, 78,123–24,126–38; as victim,37,39–44,57,59–64,69–77; as vizier, 151,156–59Jubilee, meaning,
193–94Kingship,2,13,33,82,86,96,186,194,198Laws: and dreams,
137; and education, 166; andhistory,
8–10,84,85,91,126,131,151,162,165,169,178–79,187,190–92; and identity,
6,11,21,42,69,75,136,165,166; and oddness, 4–5,60,69,70,84–86,89,126,138,149,155,180,198;and religion, 67,74,94,138; and society,
56,136,149–52,154,159,161,162,164,193,198,199;as utopian, 125,138Legal fictions, 176Liberation,122,131Magic,47,50,172,200Masturbation,175Maxims,5,179,183Meat consumption, 1,14,16–19,54–62,65,67,71,97–99,149–50,179,189Medicine,
24,25,174Memory,
5,6,23,25,48,50,51,60,74,126,138,165,183,192Menstruation,33–35,38,196Mosaic authorship, 1,2,6,11–13,41,56,59,74,126,140–41,153,160–63,172,199Mutilation,81–85,118–20Mythmaking,12Nature,39,70,72Near Eastern law,
6,7,123,125–26,138,144,149,150,161,195Noah,18,19,78Onan,31–34,36,38,39Ordeal,200Peace offering,
61,63Pentateuchal criticism,
1,13,41–42,54,55,65,139–41,163,169,170–71,179,185,199Priesthood: and disease,
166; like Egyptian, 130;fitness for, 92–94; marital restrictions,
80,86–88,91–92,187.See also SexualityProcedure, responding to blasphemy,
113–17,199Property,
170,200; ancestral, 123–24,128,129; land-holdings,
127,131,138,157,158,198Prophecy,
13,172Prostitution,32,34,82–84,86–91,175,186Provocative speech, 9Punishment: appropriate,
43,47; mirroring
39,61,84,118–19,191,199; unending,
177Rachel: marriage, 7,8,142–51; uncleanness, 33–36,38,39Rebellious son, 175Repentance,
37,38Repetition,2–3,12,55,59,63,117,152,169Retribution,43,47,118–20,163,194,199Rights and duties, 153Ritual as storytelling, 44,45,48Sabbath: day,
105–7,110–12,134,162,189,190; year,122,123,134–35Sacred offenses, 22,34,43,200Saul,27–30,35,114,116Sexuality: abuse, 83,89,90,92,117,186; difference
in social status,
49,78,92; dubious, 32; hire ofman by woman, 195; priestly,
80,88,91–92;purity,
30,98,100,101,165Slavery, religious,
136Spittle,30,Suffering, prolonged, 177Theft,18,33,34,39,47,170Usury,
131–32Uzzah,200


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212subject index
Violence,18–19,20,63,64,69,72,78,111,117,176,184Virginity,
7,8,83,85,89,91,186Virility,
31,178Witnesses,115–16,117Yahweh: owns the land,
129,192; resembles thepharaoh,135–36,198

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