The book of Leviticus is so called because it contains the laws of the Levites or tribe of Levi, who were the appointed priestly caste among the Hebrews. Moses was himself a Levite, and it was probably for this reason that he received his strongest support from this tribe. In Exodus we are told that when the Israelites worshipped the golden calf, the tribe of Levi were not only the first to rejoin Moses, but they drew sword at his command and slew even their own brethren. We are told that it was after this that they were chosen as the priesthood.
Among the Hebrews this book is known as "Wayyikra," signifying "and he called," from the opening word of its first verse. The name Leviticus was first employed in the Greek Bible. It is undeniably appropriate; for the book consists almost entirely of the laws established to guide the Jewish priesthood or Levites. The only narrative portion is that which tells of the inauguration of Aaron as high priest and of the punishment of his sons, Nadab and Abihu.
The five chief themes of priestly instruction are: first, the directions relating to sacrifice both for worshippers and priests (chapters 1-7) ; second, the details of the priestly consecration (chapters 8-10) ; third, the law of the clean and unclean (chapters 11-15); fourth, the law of the Day of Atonement (chapter 16); and fifth, the law of holiness (chapters 17-26), with an appendix on vows and tithes in chapter 27.
The law of holiness is of a broader character than the other parts and applied not merely to the Levites but to Israel in general. Hence this portion of the book is allied closely with some parts of Deuteronomy.
All of the directions in Leviticus are so carefully formulated and so exact in detail that in its present state the book is generally regarded as being of later date than the bulk of the material in Genesis and Exodus. The elaborately described ritual of the ceremonials causes Leviticus to become of small interest to general readers, though all who are interested in the meaning of the duties of the priestly office must ever read its pages with special care.
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The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt
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For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Leviticus Chapter 1
The offerings 1,2. From the herds 3-9. From the flocks, and of fowls 10-17.
Leviticus Chapter 2
The meat-offering of flour 1-11. The offering of first-fruits 12-16.
Leviticus Chapter 3
The peace-offering of the herd 1-5. The peace-offering of the flock 6-17.
Leviticus Chapter 4
The sin-offering of ignorance for the priest 1-12. For the whole congregation 13-21. For a ruler 22-26. For any of the people 27-35.
Leviticus Chapter 5
Concerning various trespasses 1-13. Concerning trespasses against the Lord 14-19.
Leviticus Chapter 6
Concerning trespasses against our neighbor 1-7. Concerning the burnt-offering 8-13. Concerning the meat-offering 14-23. Concerning the sin-offering 24-30.
Leviticus Chapter 7
Concerning the trespass-offering 1-10. Concerning the peace-offering 11-27. The wave and heave offerings 28-34. The conclusion of these institutions 35-38.
Leviticus Chapter 8
The consecration of Aaron and his sons 1-13. The offerings of consecration 14-36.
Leviticus Chapter 9
The first offerings of Aaron for himself and the people 1-21. Moses and Aaron bless the people, Fire cometh upon the altar from the Lord 22-24.
Leviticus Chapter 10
The sin and death of Nadab and Abihu 1,2. Aaron and his sons forbidden to mourn for Nadab and Abihu 3-7. Wine forbidden to the priests when in the service of the tabernacle 8-11. Of eating the holy things 12-20.
Leviticus Chapter 11
What animals were clean and unclean.
Leviticus Chapter 12
Leviticus Chapter 13
Directions to the priest to judge concerning leprosy 1-17. Further directions 18-44. How the leper must be disposed of 45,46. The leprosy in garments 47-59.
Leviticus Chapter 14
Of declaring the leper to be clean 1-9. The sacrifices to be offered by him 10-32. The leprosy in a house 33-53. Summary of the law concerning leprosy 54-57.
Leviticus Chapter 15
Laws concerning ceremonial uncleanness.
Leviticus Chapter 16
The great day of atonement 1-14. The sacrifices on it, The scape-goat 15-34.
Leviticus Chapter 17
All sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle 1-9. Eating of blood, or of animals which died a natural death, forbidden 10-16.
Leviticus Chapter 18
Unlawful marriages and fleshly lusts.
Leviticus Chapter 19
The ashes of a heifer 1-10. Used to purify the unclean 11-22.
Leviticus Chapter 20
Law against sacrificing children to Moloch, Of children that curse their parents 1-9. Laws repeated, Holiness enjoined 10-27.
Leviticus Chapter 21
Laws concerning the priests.
Leviticus Chapter 22
Laws concerning the priests and sacrifices.
Leviticus Chapter 23
The feasts of the Lord, The Sabbath 1-3. The Passover, The offering of first-fruits 4-14. The feast of Pentecost 15-22. The feast of Trumpets, The day of atonement 23-32. The feast of Tabernacles 33-44.
Leviticus Chapter 24
Oil for the lamps, The shew-bread 1-9. The law of blasphemy, blasphemer is stoned 10-23.
Leviticus Chapter 25
The sabbath of rest for the land in the seventh year 1-7. The jubilee of the fiftieth year, oppression forbidden 8-22. Redemption of the land and houses 23-34. Compassion towards the poor 35-38. Laws respecting bondmen, oppression forbidden 39-55.
Leviticus Chapter 26
Promises upon keeping the precepts 1-13. Threatenings against disobedience 14-39. God promises to remember those that repent 40-46.
Leviticus Chapter 27
The law concerning vows, Of persons and animals 1-13. Vows concerning houses and land 14-25. Devoted things not to be redeemed 26-33. Tithes 30-33. Conclusion 34.
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