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Leviticus 19:26

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 

Leviticus 19:31

19:31 Do not turn to the spirits of the dead and do not seek familiar spirits 3  to become unclean by them. I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:27

Prohibition against Spiritists and Mediums

20:27 “‘A man or woman who 4  has in them a spirit of the dead or a familiar spirit 5  must be put to death. They must pelt them with stones; 6  their blood guilt is on themselves.’”

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 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.

4 tc Smr, LXX, Syriac, and some Targum mss have the relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “who, which”), rather than the MT’s כִּי (ki, “for, because, that”).

5 tn See the note on the phrase “familiar spirit” in Lev 19:31 above.

6 tn This is not the most frequently-used Hebrew verb for stoning, but a word that refers to the action of throwing, slinging, or pelting someone with stones (see the note on v. 2 above). Smr and LXX have “you [plural] shall pelt them with stones.”

sn At first glance Lev 20:27 appears to be out of place but, on closer examination, one could argue that it constitutes the back side of an envelope around the case laws in 20:9-21, with Lev 20:6 forming the front of the envelope (note also that execution of mediums and spiritists by stoning in v. 27 is not explicitly stated in v. 6). This creates a chiastic structure: prohibition against mediums and spiritists (vv. 6 and 27), variations of the holiness formula (vv. 7 and 25-26), and exhortations to obey the Lord’s statutes (and judgments; vv. 8 and 22-24). Again, in the middle are the case laws (vv. 9-21).

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