he…: or, being an husband among his people, he shall not defile himself for his wife, etc
a dwarf: or, too slender
And the LORD
said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:
The priests shall not mourn for the dead, except for near
relatives, such as mother, father, son, daughter, and sister
if a virgin, 1-4.
They shall not shave their heads nor beards, nor make any
cuttings in the flesh, because they are holy unto God, 5, 6.
A priest shall not marry a woman who is a whore, profane, or
divorced from her husband, 7, 8.
Of the priest's daughter who profanes herself, 9.
The high priest shall not uncover his head, or rend his clothes,
nor go in unto a dead body, 11;
nor go out of the sanctuary, 12.
Of his marriage and off-spring, 13-15.
No person shall be made a priest that has any blemish nor
shall any person with any of the blemishes mentioned here be
permitted to officiate in the worship of God, 16-24.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXI
Verse 1. There shall none be defiled for the dead
priest shall assist in laying out a dead body, or preparing it
for interment. Any contact with the dead was supposed to be of
a defiling nature, probably because putrefaction had then taken
place; and animal putrefaction was ever held in detestation by
But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is
, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother,
And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.
he shall not defile himself, being
a chief man among his people, to profane himself.a
Verse 4. A chief man among his people
] The word baal
signifies a master, chief, husband
, &c., and is as variously
translated here. 1. He being a chief
among the people, it would
be improper to see him in such a state of humiliation as
mourning for the dead necessarily implies. 2. Though a husband
he shall not defile himself even for the death of a wife,
because the anointing of his God is upon him. But the first
sense appears to be the best.
They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.
Verse 5. They shall not make baldness
] See the note on "Le 19:27"
It is supposed that these things were particularly prohibited,
because used superstitiously by the Egyptian priests, who,
according to Herodotus
, shaved the whole body every third day,
that there might be no uncleanness about them when they ministered
in their temples. This appears to have been a general custom
among the heathen. In the book of Baruch, 6:31
, the priests
of Babylon are represented sitting in their temples, with their clothes rent, and their heads and beards shaven, and having nothing upon their heads
. Every person knows the tonsure
Catholic priests. Should not this be avoided as an approach to a
他们要成为圣，归向他们的 神，不可亵渎他们 神的名，因为他们奉献耶和华的火祭，他们 神的食物，所以他们要成为圣。
They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD
made by fire, and
the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.
They shall not take a wife that is
a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is
holy unto his God.
Verse 7. That is a whore
] A prostitute, though even reclaimed. Profane
] A heathen, or one who is not a cordial believer in the
true God. Put away from her husband
] Because this very circumstance
might lead to suspicion that the priest and the divorced woman
might have been improperly connected before.
Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD
, which sanctify you, am
¶ And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.
Verse 9. She shall be burnt with fire.
] Probably not burnt
alive, but strangled first, and then burnt afterward. Though it
is barely possible that some kind of branding
may be intended.
And he that is
the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;
Verse 10. He that is the high priest
] This is the first
place where this title is introduced; the title is very
emphatic, haccohen haggadol, that priest, the great one
. For the meaning of cohen
, see the note on "Ge 14:18"
As the chief or high priest was a representative of our blessed
Lord, therefore he was required to be especially holy; and he is
represented as God's king
among the people.
Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
他不可走出圣所，也不可亵渎他 神的圣所，因为他 神膏立了他，使他分别为圣，我是耶和华。
Neither shall he 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
Verse 12. The crown of the anointing oil
-is upon him
] By his
office the priest represented Christ in his sacrificial
character; by his anointing
, the prophetic
influence; and by the
crown, the regal dignity
of our Lord.
And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
Verse 13. He shall take a wife in her virginity.
. This is a full proof that bethulah
proper Hebrew term for a virgin
; from the emphatic root bathal
, to separate
; because such a person was in her separate
state, and had never been in any way united
A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or
an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the LORD
do sanctify him.
¶ And the LORD
spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be
of thy seed in their generations that hath any
blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.b
Verse 17. Whosoever-hath
any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
] Never was a wiser, a more
rational, and a more expedient law enacted relative to sacred
matters. The man who ministers in holy things, who professes to
be the interpreter of the will of God, should have nothing in his person
nor in his manner
which cannot contribute to render him
respectable in the eyes of those to whom he ministers. If, on
the contrary, he has any personal defect
, any thing that may
render him contemptible or despicable, his usefulness will be
greatly injured, if not entirely prevented. If however a man have
received any damage in the work of God, by persecution or
otherwise, his scars are honourable, and will add to his
respectability. But if he be received into the ministry with
any of the blemishes specified here, he never will and never can
have that respect which is essentially necessary to secure his
usefulness. Let no man say this is a part of the Mosaic law
we are not bound by it. It is an eternal law, founded on reason
, propriety, common sense
, and absolute necessity
. The priest, the
prophet, the Christian minister, is the representative of Jesus Christ
; let nothing in his person, carriage
, or doctrine
unworthy of the personage he represents. A deformed person
though consummate in diplomatic wisdom, would never be employed
as an ambassador by any enlightened court, if any fit person,
unblemished, could possibly be procured.
For whatsoever man he be
that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
Verse 18. A blind man
] That is, in one
eye; for he that was
utterly blind could not possibly be employed in such a service.
A flat nose
, like that of an ape
; so the best versions. Any thing superfluous
, such as six fingers, six toes, &c.
Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Verse 19. Broken-footed, or broken-handed
bandy-legged, &c.; or having the ankle, wrist, or fingers
Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;c
Verse 20. Crooked-backed
] Hunch-backed or gibbous. A dwarf
, a person too short
or too thin
, so as to be either
particularly observable, or ridiculous in his appearance. A blemish in his eye
] A protuberance on the eye, observable
spots or suffusions. Scurvy, or scabbed
] A bad habit of body, evidenced by
scorbutic or scrofulous affections. Stones broken
] Is ruptured; an infirmity which would render
him incapable of fulfilling the duties of his office, which
might be often very fatiguing.
In the above list of blemishes we meet with some that might
render the priest contemptible
in the eyes of men, and be the
means of leading them, not only to despise the man, but to
despise the ministry
itself; and we meet with others that would
be a very great impediment
in the discharge of his ministerial
duties, and therefore any person thus blemished is by this law
precluded from the ministry.
The blemishes here enumerated have been considered by some in
an allegorical point of view, as if only referring to the
necessity of moral purity; but although holiness of heart
and righteousness of life
be essentially necessary in a minister of
God, yet an absence of the defects mentioned above is, I fully
believe, what God intends here, and for the reasons too which
have been already advanced. It must however be granted, that
there have been some eminent divines who have been deformed; and
some with certain blemishes have been employed in the Christian
ministry, and have been useful. The Mosaic rule, however, will
admit of but few exceptions, when even examined according to the
more extended interpretation of the Christian system.
"The Hebrews say there are in all 120 blemishes which disable
the priest-eight in the head
, two in the neck
, nine in the ears
five in the brows
, seven in the eyelids
, nineteen in the eyes
nine in the nose
, nine in the mouth
, three in the belly
in the back
, seven in the hands
, sixteen in the secrets
in any part
of the body
, eight in the skin
, and seven in the strength
and in the breath
."-Ainsworth. In ancient times, even
among heathens, persons of the most respectable appearance were
appointed to the priesthood; and the emperor, both among the
ancient Greeks and Romans, was both king
. It is
reported of Metellus
, that, having lost an eye in endeavouring
to save the Palladium
from the flames, when the temple of Vesta
was on fire, he was denied the priesthood, though he had
rendered such an excellent piece of service to the public; yet
the public opinion was that a priest who was defective in any
member was to be avoided as ominous
.-See Dodd. "At Elis, in
Greece, the judges chose the finest looking man to carry the
of the deity; he that was next to him in beauty
and elegance led the ox
; and the third in personal beauty, &c.,
carried the garlands, ribbons, wine
, and the other matters used
for the sacrifice."-Athen
. Deipnisoph., l. xiii., c. 2.
Formerly the Church of England was very cautious in admitting
to her ministry those who had gross personal defects; but now we
find the hump-backed
, the jolt-headed, bandy-legged, club-footed
, &c., priests even of her high
places. Why do our
prelates ordain such?
No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD
made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
He shall eat the bread of his God, both
of the most holy, and of the holy.
Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the LORD
do sanctify them.
Verse 23. He shall not go in unto the veil
] The priest with
a blemish was not permitted to enter into the holy of holies,
nor to burn incense, nor to offer the shew-bread, nor to light
the golden candlestick, &c. In short, he was not permitted to
perform any essential function of the priesthood.
1. THE great perfection required in the Jewish high priest was
intended principally to point out the perfection of that
priesthood of which the Jewish was only the type. And yet, as
the apostle assures us, that law made nothing perfect, but
pointed out that most perfect priesthood and sacrifice by which
we draw near to God.
2. As none who had a blemish could enter into the holy of
holies, and this holy of holies was a type of the kingdom of
God, so nothing that is defiled can enter into heaven; for he
gave himself for his Church that he might purify it to himself,
and present it at last before the presence of the Divine glory having neither spot nor wrinkle, nor any such thing
, Eph 5:27
; a passage which evidently refers to the directions in
the preceding verse. Reader, art thou become a king
unto God and the Lamb? and hast thou obtained, or art thou
earnestly seeking, that holiness without which thou canst not see
the kingdom of heaven?
And Moses told it
unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.