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Leviticus 19:1-4

Context
Religious and Social Regulations

19:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 19:2 “Speak to the whole congregation of the Israelites and tell them, ‘You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 19:3 Each of you must respect his mother and his father, 1  and you must keep my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. 19:4 Do not turn to idols, 2  and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal. I am the Lord your God.

1 tn Heb “A man his mother and his father you [plural] shall fear.” The LXX, Syriac, Vulgate, and certain Targum mss reverse the order, “his father and his mother.” The term “fear” is subject to misunderstanding by the modern reader, so “respect” has been used in the translation. Cf. NAB, NRSV “revere”; NASB “reverence.”

2 sn Regarding the difficult etymology and meaning of the term for “idols” (אֱלִילִים, ’elilim), see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 126; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 304; N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers (NBC), 89; and Judith M. Hadley, NIDOTTE 1:411. It appears to be a diminutive play on words with אֵל (’el, “god; God”) and, perhaps at the same time, recalls a common Semitic word for “worthless; weak; powerless; nothingness.” Snaith suggests a rendering of “worthless godlings.”



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