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Leviticus 19:26-31

Context
Blood, Hair, and Body

19:26 “‘You must not eat anything with the blood still in it. 1  You must not practice either divination or soothsaying. 2  19:27 You must not round off the corners of the hair on your head or ruin the corners of your beard. 3  19:28 You must not slash your body for a dead person 4  or incise a tattoo on yourself. 5  I am the Lord. 19:29 Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, 6  so that the land does not practice prostitution and become full of lewdness. 7 

Purity, Honor, Respect, and Honesty

19:30 “‘You must keep my Sabbaths and fear my sanctuary. I am the Lord. 19:31 Do not turn to the spirits of the dead and do not seek familiar spirits 8  to become unclean by them. I am the Lord your God.

1 tn Heb “You shall not eat on the blood.” See the extensive remarks in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 319-20, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 132-33. The LXX has “on the mountains,” suggesting that this is a prohibition against illegitimate places and occasions of worship, not the eating of blood.

2 tn Heb “You shall not practice divination and you shall not practice soothsaying”; cf. NRSV “practice augury or witchcraft.” For suggestions regarding the practices involved see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 133, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 320.

3 tc Heb “and you [singular] shall not ruin the corner of your [singular] beard.” Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. have the plural pronouns (i.e., “you” and “your” plural) rather than the singular of the MT.

4 tn Heb “And slash for the soul you shall not give.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul, person, life”) can sometimes refer to a “dead person” (cf. Lev 21:1, 5; 22:5). See J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 306, 320-21.

5 tn Heb “and a writing of incision you shall not give in you.”

6 tn Heb “to make her practice harlotry.” Some recent English versions regard this as religious or temple prostitution (cf. TEV, CEV).

7 tn Heb “and the land become full of lewdness.” Regarding the term “lewdness,” see the note on Lev 18:17 above.

8 sn The prohibition here concerns those who would seek special knowledge through the spirits of the dead, whether the dead in general or dead relatives in particular (i.e., familiar spirits; see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 321, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 134). Cf. Lev 20:6 below.



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