Today's passage: Leviticus 21
- Chapters 21 and 22 are concerned with the holiness of the priests among the people of Israel. We'll cover the first half of these laws today.
- Remember, holiness refers to the idea of being set apart. The priesthood was set apart in a special way from the rest of Israel due to their God-given function. The priests were not superior humans compared to the rest of the nation. They were simply set apart for this sacred task. Therefore, God had expectations to help them remain equipped for what He had called them to do.
- Verse 5 contains mourning practices which had been typical of the pagan peoples in the region.
- Just as the animals for the sacrifices needed to be without blemish, so the priests had to as well. Both the priest and the sacrifice served to paint a picture for the people.
Questions to consider:
- Why would it make practical sense for the priests to be held to a higher standard in these areas than the rest of the nation? What roles did they have to fulfil in the tabernacle that required ceremonial cleanness?
- How would the view of the specialness of the priesthood have been viewed? Why were the priests no better than any other Israelite? Why was what the priests were called to do so special? Who deserved the glory and thanks for all of it?
- In what way is our Great High Priest and our sacrificial lamb without blemish (Hebrews 2:9, 17)?