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Leviticus 22:1-16

Regulations for the Eating of Priestly Stipends

22:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 22:2 “Tell Aaron and his sons that they must deal respectfully with the holy offerings 1  of the Israelites, which they consecrate to me, so that they do not profane my holy name. 2  I am the Lord. 22:3 Say to them, ‘Throughout your generations, 3  if any man from all your descendants approaches the holy offerings which the Israelites consecrate 4  to the Lord while he is impure, 5  that person must be cut off from before me. 6  I am the Lord. 22:4 No man 7  from the descendants of Aaron who is diseased or has a discharge 8  may eat the holy offerings until he becomes clean. The one 9  who touches anything made unclean by contact with a dead person, 10  or a man who has a seminal emission, 11  22:5 or a man who touches a swarming thing by which he becomes unclean, 12  or touches a person 13  by which he becomes unclean, whatever that person’s impurity 14 22:6 the person who touches any of these 15  will be unclean until evening and must not eat from the holy offerings unless he has bathed his body in water. 22:7 When the sun goes down he will be clean, and afterward he may eat from the holy offerings, because they are his food. 22:8 He must not eat an animal that has died of natural causes 16  or an animal torn by beasts and thus become unclean by it. I am the Lord. 22:9 They must keep my charge so that they do not incur sin on account of it 17  and therefore die 18  because they profane it. I am the Lord who sanctifies them.

22:10 “‘No lay person 19  may eat anything holy. Neither a priest’s lodger 20  nor a hired laborer may eat anything holy, 22:11 but if a priest buys a person with his own money, 21  that person 22  may eat the holy offerings, 23  and those born in the priest’s 24  own house may eat his food. 25  22:12 If a priest’s daughter marries a lay person, 26  she may not eat the holy contribution offerings, 27  22:13 but if a priest’s daughter is a widow or divorced, and she has no children so that she returns to live in 28  her father’s house as in her youth, 29  she may eat from her father’s food, but no lay person may eat it.

22:14 “‘If a man eats a holy offering by mistake, 30  he must add one fifth to it and give the holy offering to the priest. 31  22:15 They 32  must not profane the holy offerings which the Israelites contribute 33  to the Lord, 34  22:16 and so cause them to incur a penalty for guilt 35  when they eat their holy offerings, 36  for I am the Lord who sanctifies them.’”

1 tn Heb “holy things,” which means the “holy offerings” in this context, as the following verses show. The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “from the holy things of the sons of Israel, and they shall not profane my holy name, which they are consecrating to me.” The latter (relative) clause applies to the “the holy things of the sons of Israel” (the first clause), not the Lord’s name (i.e., the immediately preceding clause). The clause order in the translation has been rearranged to indicate this.

3 tn Heb “To your generations.”

4 tn The Piel (v. 2) and Hiphil (v. 3) forms of the verb קָדַשׁ (qadash) appear to be interchangeable in this context. Both mean “to consecrate” (Heb “make holy [or “sacred”]”).

5 tn Heb “and his impurity [is] on him”; NIV “is ceremonially unclean”; NAB, NRSV “while he is in a state of uncleanness.”

6 sn Regarding the “cut off” penalty, see the note on Lev 7:20. Cf. the interpretive translation of TEV “he can never again serve at the altar.”

7 tn Heb “Man man.” The reduplication is a way of saying “any man” (cf. Lev 15:2; 17:3, etc.), but with a negative command it means “No man” (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 147).

8 sn The diseases and discharges mentioned here are those described in Lev 13-15.

9 tn Heb “And the one.”

10 tn Heb “in all unclean of a person/soul”; for the Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) meaning “a [dead] person,” see the note on Lev 19:28.

11 tn Heb “or a man who goes out from him a lying of seed.”

12 tn Heb “which there shall be uncleanness to him.”

13 tn The Hebrew term for “person” here is אָדָם (adam, “human being”), which could either a male or a female person.

14 tn Heb “to all his impurity.” The phrase refers to the impurity of the person whom the man touches to become unclean (see the previous clause). To clarify this, the translation uses “that person’s” rather than “his.”

15 sn The phrase “any of these” refers back to the unclean things touched in vv. 4b-5.

16 tn Heb “a carcass,” referring to the carcass of an animal that has died on its own, not the carcass of an animal slaughtered for sacrifice or killed by wild beasts. This has been clarified in the translation by supplying the phrase “of natural causes”; cf. NAB “that has died of itself”; TEV “that has died a natural death.”

17 tn Heb “and they will not lift up on it sin.” The pronoun “it” (masculine) apparently refers to any item of food that belongs to the category of “holy offerings” (see above).

18 tn Heb “and die in it.”

19 tn Heb “No stranger” (so KJV, ASV), which refers here to anyone other than the Aaronic priests. Some English versions reverse the negation and state positively: NIV “No one outside a priest’s family”; NRSV “Only a member of a priestly family”; CEV “Only you priests and your families.”

20 tn Heb “A resident [תּוֹשָׁב (toshav) from יָשַׁב (yashav, “to dwell, to reside”)] of a priest.” The meaning of the term is uncertain. It could refer to a “guest” (NIV) or perhaps “bound servant” (NRSV; see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 149). In the translation “lodger” was used instead of “boarder” precisely because a boarder would be provided meals with his lodging, the very issue at stake here.

21 tn Heb “and a priest, if he buys a person, the property of his silver.”

22 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the person whom the priest has purchased) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23 tn Heb “eat it”; the referent (the holy offerings) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the priest) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn Heb “and the [slave] born of his house, they shall eat in his food.” The LXX, Syriac, Tg. Onq., Tg. Ps.-J., and some mss of Smr have plural “ones born,” which matches the following plural “they” pronoun and the plural form of the verb.

26 tn Heb “And a daughter of a priest, if she is to a man, a stranger” (cf. the note on v. 10 above).

27 tn Heb “she in the contribution of the holy offerings shall not eat.” For “contribution [offering]” see the note on Lev 7:14 and the literature cited there. Cf. NCV “the holy offerings”; TEV, NLT “the sacred offerings.”

28 tn Heb “to”; the words “live in” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

29 tn Heb “and seed there is not to her and she returns to the house of her father as her youth.” The mention of having “no children” appears to imply that her children, if she had any, should support her; this is made explicit by NLT’s “and has no children to support her.”

30 tn Heb “And a man, if he eats a holy thing in error” (see the Lev 4:2 not on “straying,” which is the term rendered “by mistake” here).

31 sn When a person trespassed in regard to something sacred to the Lord, reparation was to be made for the trespass, involving restitution of that which was violated plus one fifth of its value as a fine. It is possible that the restoration of the offering and the additional one fifth of its value were made as a monetary payment (see, e.g., B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 150). See the regulations for the “guilt offering” in Lev 5:16; 6:5 [5:24 HT] and the notes there.

32 tn Contextually, “They” could refer either to the people (v. 14a; cf. NRSV “No one”) or the priests (v. 14b; cf. NIV “The priests”), but the latter seems more likely (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 356, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 150). The priests were responsible to see that the portions of the offerings that were to be consumed by the priests as prebends did not become accessible to the people. Mistakes in this matter (cf. v. 14) would bring “guilt” on the people, requiring punishment (v. 16).

33 tn The Hebrew verb הֵרִים (herim, rendered “contribute” here) is commonly used for setting aside portions of an offering (see, e.g., Lev 4:8-10 and R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 4:335-36).

34 tn Heb “the holy offerings of the sons of Israel which they contribute to the Lord.” The subject “they” here refers to the Israelites (“the sons of Israel”) which is the most immediate antecedent. To make this clear, the present translation has “the holy offerings which the Israelites contribute to the Lord.”

35 tn Heb “iniquity of guilt”; NASB “cause them to bear punishment for guilt.” The Hebrew word עָוֹן (’avon, “iniquity”) can designate either acts of iniquity or the penalty (i.e., punishment) for such acts.

36 sn That is, when the lay people eat portions of offerings that should have been eaten only by priests and those who belonged to priestly households.

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