Leviticus, Numbers (Shepherds Notes)

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Much spiritual heritage had been lost in their prolonged bondage. At Sinai they heard the voice of their God. He revealed His unique relationship with them. When we carefully examine the festivals and observances in Levitical law Lev. Instructions can be found in Exodus 35, Lev. The Sabbath is specified to be three things: a time of rest from labor Gen. A time of obedience: God did not simply want compliance to a list of rules. The commandments Ex. Time to learn and worship was essential. The Sabbath was truly made for the man! The need for rest precedes the instructions for all of the other holy festivals of Leviticus.

The order of its appearance on this list significant. The real message of the Sabbath is that we can rest in the Word of God, and His Word can absolutely be trusted! That is the lesson of the Sabbath. Passover or Pesach, the first day of Unleavened Bread Lev. Unleavened Bread the week of First Fruits the second day of unleavened bread Weeks also called Shavuot or Pentecost Day of Atonement or Yom Kippor Tabernacles or Sukkot Individuals would have to use the blood.

The day after the Passover sacrifice and meal, a week long festival ensues Lev. Instruction on the festival is given in Exodus cp. Leaven was specifically mentioned by God in connection with offerings and sacrifices. The Law is then given from the Tabernacle, dealing first with various types of offerings and sacrifices, then passing on to forms of "uncleanness", i.

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This section of the Law concludes with the ritual of the Day of Atonement. At this point the priestly writers embodied H, adding notes from time to time. Once or twice new laws are inserted; e.

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Laws concerning vows follow, and a fairly long section is devoted to the priesthood. Arrangements are made for the orderly grouping of the tribes about the Tabernacle, and sundry ritual laws are added, possibly belonging to a later stratum, though some of the ritual involved is probably very ancient.


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Then Israel moves from Sinai, and marches straight to the Wilderness of Paran. Thence spies are sent, including Joshua, who traverse the whole length of Palestine, finally bringing back the report that the land is not good. The people refuse to attempt an entry, the spies except Caleb and Joshua fall by disease, and the people are condemned to wander for forty years in the wilderness.

The remainder of P in Numbers contains laws of various kinds, mostly ritual. Not infrequently incidents are described which serve to reinforce or to illustrate the priestly law in general. Thus, the rebellion of Korah established the Aaronic priesthood, and the case of the daughters of Zelophehad introduces the law of female inheritance in the absence of male heirs. The account of the settlement of the Transjordanic tribes is based on JE, but a priestly hand has revised it, and P probably contained some mention of the affair.

Itineraries and a census are included, and with the appointment of Cities of Refuge on the cast of Jordan, Israel is brought to the point at which she is about to enter the Promised Land. To the later elements belong a large number of small notes and expansions, which, by some peculiarity in form, or by some unsuitability to their present context, betray a later origin. A good example occurs in Exod. Again, at the beginning of ch. Elsewhere P speaks as if there were only one altar, i. Since, however, the whole represents much the same point of view, the distinction between the various strata of P is not of great importance for the student of Israel's religious history, and if it be desired to enter into details, they can readily be obtained from any good modern commentary.

We now reach the last of the five books of the Law.

4. Insights into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy | Religious Studies Center

Deuteronomy - D covers a brief period at the end of the life of Moses and, in its present form, contains simply his final charge to the people. But it stands markedly apart from all the rest of the Pentateuch, both in style and in outlook. Its kernel is a code chs. The code itself resembles that of E Exod. For a complete list of parallels between Deut. There are occasional parallels with the J code in Exod.

A comparison of the two codes, E and D, makes clear one striking fact: when the same law appears in both, if there be a difference in the form, it will be found that the law of D is the milder, and carries with it a distinctly humanitarian tone. One illustration will suffice. In Exod. In both codes the period is defined as six years.

But in E it is expressly stated that the slave is to go free exactly as he entered bondage. If he has married and has begotten children, he must leave them behind, or, as an alternative, submit to the ceremony that transforms him into a permanent slave. In D nothing is said about the slave's wife or children, but his master is enjoined to give him such presents as will enable him to make a fresh start in life. Permanent slavery is still contemplated, but the motive is assumed to be, love for the master himself.

There is no direct contradiction here. But E, when dealing with a female slave, expressly states that she is not liable to be liberated; she is a permanent slave in any case, and the best that the legislator can do is to secure her rights if her master marries her to himself or to his son.

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In D, on the other hand, it is expressly stated that she stands on the same footing as the male slave. We receive the same impression of sympathy for the poor and oppressed in other instances. The laws found in D, but not in E, are equally instructive.


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Some of them are ritual and ceremonial; many of these were probably intended to be condemnation of Gentile practices. Such are the prohibition of disfigurement in mourning Deut.

But we have others, which again suggest a high degree of sensitiveness to human feeling. One of the best illustrations is the law in Deut. A like sympathy is extended to animals; a mother-bird is not to be taken with her eggs x. The most striking difference, however, concerns a matter of ritual. E, evidently, contemplates the possibility that there will be a number of altars on which sacrifice may be offered to Yahweh; D Deut.. The earlier chapters of Deuteronomy form an exhortation, or rather a series of exhortations.

They are written in a highly characteristic style with long and for Hebrew rather complex sentences.

Lecture 9. The Priestly Legacy: Cult and Sacrifice, Purity and Holiness in Leviticus and Numbers

Again and again the text insists on right relations between Yahweh and His people, or rather on the maintenance by Israel of a right attitude towards her God. The first address of Moses occupies chs. This opens with an historical introduction, in which Moses summarises the history of the people from the giving of the Law down to the time at which he was speaking. It is a noticeable fact that this section includes nothing that is not also found in E, and may be regarded as a compendium of the history as contained in that element in the Pentateuch.

Again, we note that there is little or nothing which, must have come from J; in particular, the name of the mountain of the Law is in D invariably Horeb, as in E, and not Sinai, as in J and P. The conclusion is almost irresistible, that the compiler of Deuteronomy, even in its present form, had E before him, but no other of our Pentateuchal sources.

It is generally agreed that Deuteronomy is not homogeneous, but has, in its present form, undergone revision from its primitive shape. What that shape was we do not know for certain, but there is little, if anything, in the code itself which suggests later addition; the principal question is as to the introductory and concluding chapters. It is generally agreed that the first exhortation, i. On the whole, the probability seems to lie on the side of that view which holds that, when the Deuteronomic code was made available in its present form for general use, it was already provided with this introductory homily.

Moses is no longer the speaker, and there are internal difficulties, which suggest the expansion of an original Deuteronomic nucleus, which has been transferred to this point from some other position.

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In chs. Neither of the poems has any essential connection with the rest of Deuteronomy. And finally, ch. Attempts have been made from time to time to analyse D on the basis of the pronouns used. Israel is sometime addressed in the singular and sometimes in the plural.