christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

leviticus 16:1-20:27, parashah acharei mot + kedoshim (after the death + holiness)

I study the Torah every year using the teaching tools of Scripture. (Why?)

Today is the 29th Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle. Today, the fourth sabbath of the counting of the seven sabbaths toward the Feast of Weeks, the Torah reading is a combination of two Torah portions: Lev 16:1-20:27.

The paragraph divisions are as follows, for Acharei Mot:

Lev 16:1-34 (p), The law of the Day of Atonement
Lev 17:1-16 (p), The law of the slain animal
Lev 18:1-30 (p), The law of forbidden relations
– Lev 18:1-5 s Doing the statutes of Egypt and Canaan forbidden
– Lev 18:6 s Relations with near of kin forbidden
– Lev 18:7 s Relations with father or mother forbidden
– Lev 18:8 s Relations with father’s wives forbidden
– Lev 18:9 s Relations with sisters forbidden
– Lev 18:10 s Relations with granddaughters forbidden
– Lev 18:11 s Relations with half sisters forbidden
– Lev 18:12 s Relations with father’s sisters forbidden
– Lev 18:13 s Relations with mother’s sisters forbidden
– Lev 18:14 s Relations with father’s brothers and wives forbidden
– Lev 18:15 s Relations with daughters- in- law forbidden
– Lev 18:16 s Relations with brothers’ wives forbidden
– Lev 18:17-30 p Forbidden relations + Do not profane the name of the LORD + keep His statutes

Each of the strong paragraphs (the three chapters) forms their own separate chiastic structures; furthermore, the three chapters of this parashah forms a single chiastic structure, which can be roughly expressed as:

Lev 16, That which makes atonement (the day of atonement);
central axis) Lev 17:11, The life of the flesh is in the blood, I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul;
Lev 18, That which makes abominable and defiled.

The paragraph divisions are as follows, for Kedoshim:

Lev 19:1-22 p Be holy for the LORD your God is holy + statues for holiness
Lev 19:23-37 p Statutes so that the land becomes defiled not
– Lev 19:23-32 s Statutes: re the land, to not defile the land + Fear the Lord your God
– Lev 19:33-37 p Statutes re: strangers dwelling with Israel, to not defile the land + I am the LORD
Lev 20:1-27 p Punishments for violations of the LORD’s holy statutes just expressed

Kedoshim forms a chiastic structure with part of Acharei Mot (although there are other structures present; this was the one I was able to find this year):

Lev 18:1-20:27
1a) Lev 18:1-5, Doing the statutes of Egypt and Canaan forbidden;
1b) Lev 18:6-19:2, Abominations forbidden + Israel shall be holy for YHVH is holy:
— 1) Lev 18:6-23, Forbidden relations;
— 2) Lev 18:24-30, Israel shall not do abominations + the land vomiting out its inhabitants;
— 3) Lev 19:1-2, Be holy for the LORD your God is holy;
1c) Lev 19:3a, Every one of you shall revere his mother and father;
1d) Lev 19:3b, Every one of you shall keep the LORD’s Sabbaths;
1e) Lev 19:4, Idolatry forbidden;
1f) Lev 19:5-14, Transgressing the LORD’s statutes forbidden + Israel shall fear their God;
1g) Lev 19:15, Judging unjustly forbidden;
1h) Lev 19:16-18, Israel shall love his neighbor as himself;
central axis) Lev 19:19-32, The statutes of the LORD which Israel shall keep;
2h) Lev 19:33-34, Israel shall not mistreat strangers but shall love them as themselves;
2g) Lev 19:35-36, Injustice in judgment forbidden;
2f) Lev 19:37, Israel shall observe all the LORD’s statutes and judgments;
2e) Lev 20:1-6, Punishment for idolatry (Molech + mediums + familiar spirits);
2d) Lev 20:7-8, Be holy for I am the LORD your God;
2c) Lev 20:9, Every one who curses father or mother shall be put to death;
2b) Lev 20:10-26, Punishment for abominable relations + Israel shall be holy for YHVH is holy;
— 1) Lev 20:10-21, Punishment for forbidden relations;
— 2) Lev 20:22-25, Israel shall keep the LORD’s statutes + the land shall not vomit them out;
— 3) Lev 20:26, Israel shall be holy to the LORD for the LORD is holy;
2a) Lev 20:27, Mediums + familiar spirits shall be put to death.

What distinguishes the Lord’s people from the people of demons, as the Torah puts it in Lev 17:7? The people who are not the Lord’s, do these abominations. They not only have relations with whomever they choose, but they put stumbling blocks in front of the blind or hate their neighbors, as well as the strangers living among them. You know, the big sins are those we think of as in Lev 17. A little sin, we might think of as not arising before the hoary head (Lev 19:32). That these are together in the section which describes that which defiles the land, and that which atones for the land, shows that God does not distinguish between them in a hierarchy of “badness” as men do. If we do not honor the Lord by honoring His commandments (yes, even the commandment to observe the Sabbath day, for it has never been excised from the Word of God from that day to this) then we are defiling the land. If we do not wish to do so, then it is WE who must repent, the Lord’s people. This is speaking to those who care about what the Lord says enough to read it every week. It is not speaking to the “Egyptians” or “Canaanites.”

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