Leviticus 21

1 The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, ‘A priest shall not defile himself for the dead amongst his people; 2 except for his relatives that are near to him: for his mother, for his father, for his son, for his daughter, for his brother, 3 and for his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. 4 He shall not defile himself, being a chief man amongst his people, to profane himself. 5 “‘They shall not shave their heads or shave off the corners of their beards or make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 They shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God; for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. 7 “‘They shall not marry a woman who is a prostitute, or profane. They shall not marry a woman divorced from her husband; for he is holy to his God. 8 You shall sanctify him therefore; for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you; for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy. 9 “‘The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the prostitute, she profanes her father. She shall be burnt with fire. 10 “‘He who is the high priest amongst his brothers, upon whose head the anointing oil is poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose, or tear his clothes. 11 He must not go in to any dead body, or defile himself for his father, or for his mother. 12 He shall not go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him. I am the LORD. 13 “‘He shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 A widow, or one divorced, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry: but a virgin of his own people shall he take as a wife. 15 He shall not profane his offspring amongst his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.’” 16 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Say to Aaron, ‘None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatever man he is that has a defect, he shall not draw near: a blind man, or a lame, or he who has a flat nose, or any deformity, 19 or a man who has an injured foot, or an injured hand, 20 or hunchbacked, or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye, or an itching disease, or scabs, or who has damaged testicles. 21 No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall come near to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire. Since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. 22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. 23 He shall not come near to the veil, nor come near to the altar, because he has a defect; that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them.’” 24 So Moses spoke to Aaron, and to his sons, and to all the children of Israel.

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–24

As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.

Back to Top