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Leviticus 19

Laws of Holiness

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:
2 "Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.[a]
3 "Each of you is to respect his mother and father.[b] You are to keep My Sabbaths;[c] I am the Lord your God.
4 Do not turn to idols or make cast images of gods for yourselves;[d] I am the Lord your God.
5 "When you offer a fellowship sacrifice to the Lord, sacrifice it that you may be accepted.
6 It is to be eaten on the day you sacrifice [it] or on the next day, but what remains on the third day must be burned up.[e]
7 If any is eaten on the third day, it is a repulsive thing; it will not be accepted.
8 Anyone who eats it will bear his punishment, for he has profaned what is holy to the Lord. That person must be cut off from his people.[f]
9 "When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.[g]
10 You must not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident;[h] I am the Lord your God.
11 "You must not steal.[i] You must not act deceptively or lie to one another.[j]
12 You must not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God;[k] I am the Lord.
13 "You must not oppress your neighbor or rob [him]. The wages due a hired hand must not remain with you until morning.[l]
14 You must not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,[m] but you are to fear your God; I am the Lord.
15 "You must not act unjustly when rendering judgment. Do not be partial to the poor or give preference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly.[n]
16 You must not go about spreading slander among your people; you must not jeopardize[o] [p] your neighbor's life;[q] I am the Lord.
17 "You must not hate your brother[r] in your heart.[s] Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him.[t]
18 Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community,[u] but love your neighbor as yourself;[v] I am the Lord.
19 "You are to keep My statutes. You must not crossbreed two different kinds of your livestock, sow your fields with two kinds of seed, or put on a garment made of two kinds of material.[w]
20 "If a man has sexual intercourse with a woman who is a slave designated for [another] man, but she has not been redeemed or given her freedom, there must be punishment.[x] They are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed.[y]
21 However, he must bring his ram as a restitution offering to the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting.[z]
22 The priest will make atonement on his behalf before the Lord with the ram of the restitution offering for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven for the sin he committed.
23 "When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, you are to consider the fruit forbidden.[aa] It will be forbidden to you for three years; it is not to be eaten.
24 In the fourth year all its fruit must be consecrated as a praise offering to the Lord.[ab]
25 But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way its yield will increase for you;[ac] I am the Lord your God.
26 "You are not to eat [anything] with blood [in it].[ad] [ae] You are not to practice divination or sorcery.[af]
27 You are not to cut off the hair at the sides of your head or mar the edge of your beard.[ag]
28 You are not to make gashes on your bodies for the dead[ah] or put tattoo marks on yourselves;[ai] I am the Lord.
29 "Do not debase[aj] your daughter by making her a prostitute,[ak] or the land will be prostituted and filled with depravity.
30 You must keep My Sabbaths and revere My sanctuary;[al] I am the Lord.
31 "Do not turn to mediums[am] or consult spiritists,[an] or you will be defiled by them;[ao] I am the Lord your God.
32 "You are to rise in the presence of the elderly and honor the old.[ap] Fear your God; I am the Lord.
33 "When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him.[aq]
34 You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt;[ar] I am the Lord your God.
35 "You must not act unfairly in measurements of length, weight, or volume.
36 You are to have honest balances, honest weights, an honest dry measure,[as] and an honest liquid measure;[at] [au] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 You must keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them;[av] I am the Lord."

Leviticus 19 Commentary

Chapter 19


- There are some ceremonial precepts in this chapter, but most of these precepts are binding on us, for they are explanations of the ten commandments. It is required that Israel be a holy people, because the God of Israel is a holy God, ver. ( Leviticus 19:2 ) . To teach real separation from the world and the flesh, and entire devotedness to God. This is now the law of Christ; may the Lord bring every thought within us into obedience to it! Children are to be obedient to their parents, ver. ( Leviticus 19:3 ) . The fear here required includes inward reverence and esteem, outward respect and obedience, care to please them and to make them easy. God only is to be worshipped, ver. ( Leviticus 19:4 ) . Turn not from the true God to false ones, from the God who will make you holy and happy, to those that will deceive you, and make you for ever miserable. Turn not your eyes to them, much less your heart. They should leave the gleanings of their harvest and vintage for the poor, ver. ( Leviticus 19:9 ) . Works of piety must be always attended with works of charity, according to our ability. We must not be covetous, griping, and greedy of every thing we can lay claim to, nor insist upon our right in all things. We are to be honest and true in all our dealings, ver. ( Leviticus 19:11 ) . Whatever we have in the world, we must see that we get it honestly, for we cannot be truly rich, or long rich, with that which is not so. Reverence to the sacred name of God must be shown, ver. ( Leviticus 19:12 ) . We must not detain what belongs to another, particularly the wages of the hireling, ver. ( Leviticus 19:13 ) . We must be tender of the credit and safety of those that cannot help themselves, ver. ( Leviticus 19:14 ) . Do no hurt to any, because they are unwilling or unable to avenge themselves. We ought to take heed of doing any thing which may occasion our weak brother to fall. The fear of God should keep us from doing wrong things, though they will not expose us to men's anger. Judges, and all in authority, are commanded to give judgment without partiality, ver. ( Leviticus 19:15 ) . To be a tale-bearer, and to sow discord among neighbours, is as bad an office as a man can put himself into. We are to rebuke our neighbour in love, ver. ( Leviticus 19:17 ) . Rather rebuke him than hate him, for an injury done to thyself. We incur guilt by not reproving; it is hating our brother. We should say, I will do him the kindness to tell him of his faults. We are to put off all malice, and to put on brotherly love, ver. ( Leviticus 19:18 ) . We often wrong ourselves, but we soon forgive ourselves those wrongs, and they do not at all lessen our love to ourselves; in like manner we should love our neighbour. We must in many cases deny ourselves for the good of our neighbour. Ver. ( Leviticus 19:31 ) : For Christians to have their fortunes told, to use spells and charms, or the like, is a sad affront to God. They must be grossly ignorant who ask, "What harm is there in these things?" Here is a charge to young people to show respect to the aged, ver. ( Leviticus 19:32 ) . Religion teaches good manners, and obliges us to honour those to whom honour is due. A charge was given to the Israelites to be very tender of strangers, ver. ( Leviticus 19:33 ) . Strangers, and the widows and fatherless, are God's particular care. It is at our peril, if we do them any wrong. Strangers shall be welcome to God's grace; we should do what we can to recommend religion to them. Justice in weights and measures is commanded, ver. ( Leviticus 19:35 ) . We must make conscience of obeying God's precepts. We are not to pick and choose our duty, but must aim at standing complete in all the will of God. And the nearer our lives and tempers are to the precepts of God's law, the happier shall we be, and the happier shall we make all around us, and the better shall we adorn the gospel.

Footnotes 48

  • [a]. Lv 11:44-45; 20:7,26; 1 Pt 1:16
  • [b]. Ex 20:12; 21:15,17; Dt 21:18-21; Pr 30:17; Eph 6:2
  • [c]. Lv 16:31; 19:30; Ex 20:8-11; 31:13-16
  • [d]. Ex 20:3,23; 32:31; Dt 4:15-16
  • [e]. Lv 7:17
  • [f]. Lv 7:18,20
  • [g]. Lv 23:22; Dt 24:19; Ru 2:15-19
  • [h]. Dt 24:20-21; Isa 17:5-6; 24:13
  • [i]. Ex 20:15; Rm 13:9; Eph 4:28
  • [j]. Ex 20:16; Ps 32:2; Eph 4:25
  • [k]. Ex 20:7; Mal 3:5; Jms 5:12
  • [l]. Dt 24:14-15; Ezk 18:7; Jms 5:4
  • [m]. Dt 27:18
  • [n]. Ex 23:2-3,6-7; Jms 2:1,9
  • [o]. Lit not stand against
  • [p]. Jdg 6:31; Ezr 10:15; 2 Ch 26:18; Dn 11:14
  • [q]. Ex 23:7; Dt 19:16-21; Jms 4:11
  • [r]. Or your fellow Israelite
  • [s]. Pr 26:24-25; Mt 5:23-24
  • [t]. Pr 9:8; 27:5; Ezk 3:18; Mt 18:15; Gl 6:1
  • [u]. Jms 5:9
  • [v]. Mt 22:39; Mk 12:31; Lk 10:27; Rm 13:9; Gl 5:14; Jms 2:8
  • [w]. Dt 22:9-11
  • [x]. Or compensation
  • [y]. Dt 22:23-27
  • [z]. Lv 5:6,15-19; 6:5-6
  • [aa]. Lit uncircumcised
  • [ab]. Lv 27:30; Ex 23:16; Nm 18:12-13
  • [ac]. Lv 25:18-22
  • [ad]. Or [anything] over its blood
  • [ae]. Lv 17:10-12; 1 Sm 14:32-35; Ezk 33:25
  • [af]. Dt 18:10-12; 2 Kg 17:17; 2 Ch 33:6
  • [ag]. Lv 21:5; Dt 14:1; Ezk 44:20
  • [ah]. Jr 16:6; 48:37
  • [ai]. Isa 44:5
  • [aj]. Lit profane
  • [ak]. Lv 21:9; Dt 23:17
  • [al]. Lv 20:3; 26:2; Nm 19:20
  • [am]. Or spirits of the dead
  • [an]. Or familiar spirits
  • [ao]. Lv 20:6,27; 1 Sm 28:3; Isa 8:19
  • [ap]. Jb 12:12; Pr 20:29; 1 Tm 5:1
  • [aq]. Ex 22:21; 23:9; Dt 24:14,17
  • [ar]. Ex 23:9; Dt 10:19; 23:7
  • [as]. Lit honest ephah; an ephah is a dry measure of grain equivalent to 22 liters.
  • [at]. Lit honest hin; a hin is a liquid measure of about 4 liters or 1 gallon.
  • [au]. Dt 25:13-16; Pr 16:11; Ezk 45:10
  • [av]. Lv 18:4-5,26; Dt 11:1,32; 26:16-17

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains various laws, ceremonial and moral, tending to the sanctification of men, in imitation of the holy God, Le 19:1,2; as concerning the reverence of parents, and observing the sabbaths, Le 19:3; against idolatry, Le 19:4; about offering and eating of peace offerings, Le 19:5-8; concerning harvest and gleaning of fields and vineyards, Le 19:9,10; respecting the breach of several of the commandments of the law, as the eighth, ninth, and third, particularly, Le 19:11-13; and others relating to the ill usage of the deaf and blind, and having respect to persons rich or poor in judgment, and acting the part of a tale bearer among people, Le 19:14-16; and bearing hatred and ill will to any of their neighbours, Le 19:17,18; and others forbidding mixtures in the generation of cattle, sowing fields, and wearing apparel, Le 19:19; and concerning the punishment of a man that lay with a bondmaid, and the offering he should bring for his atonement, Le 19:20-22; then follow certain laws concerning fruit trees, when the fruit of them should be eaten, Le 19:23-25; and concerning eating with blood, using enchantments, and observing times, and managing the hair of the head and beard, and avoiding to make any marks, prints, and cuttings in the flesh for the dead, Le 19:26-28; a caution not to prostitute a daughter to whoredom, and to observe the sabbath, and reverence the sanctuary of God, and pay no regard to wizards and familiar spirits, Le 19:29-31; to show reverence to ancient persons, and not to vex and distress strangers, Le 19:32-34; and to do no injustice in weight and measure, Le 19:35,36; all which instructions are to be carefully observed, and put in execution, Le 19:37.

Leviticus 19 Commentaries

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