Leviticus 19

1 The Lord told Moses
2 to say to the community of Israel, "Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 1
3 Each of you must respect your mother and your father, and must keep the Sabbath, as I have commanded. I am the Lord your God. 2
4 "Do not abandon me and worship idols; do not make gods of metal and worship them. I am the Lord your God. 3
5 "When you kill an animal for a fellowship offering, keep the regulations that I have given you, and I will accept the offering.
6 The meat must be eaten on the day the animal is killed or on the next day. Any meat left on the third day must be burned,
7 because it is ritually unclean, and if anyone eats it, I will not accept the offering.
8 Any who eat it will be guilty of treating as ordinary what is dedicated to me, and they will no longer be considered my people.
9 "When you harvest your fields, do not cut the grain at the edges of the fields, and do not go back to cut the heads of grain that were left. 4
10 Do not go back through your vineyard to gather the grapes that were missed or to pick up the grapes that have fallen; leave them for poor people and foreigners. I am the Lord your God.
11 "Do not steal or cheat or lie. 5
12 Do not make a promise in my name if you do not intend to keep it; that brings disgrace on my name. I am the Lord your God. 6
13 "Do not rob or take advantage of anyone. Do not hold back the wages of someone you have hired, not even for one night. 7
14 Do not curse the deaf or put something in front of the blind so as to make them stumble over it. Obey me; I am the Lord your God. 8
15 "Be honest and just when you make decisions in legal cases; do not show favoritism to the poor or fear the rich. 9
16 Do not spread lies about anyone, and when someone is on trial for his life, speak out if your testimony can help him. I am the Lord.
17 "Do not bear a grudge against others, but settle your differences with them, so that you will not commit a sin because of them. 10
18 Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the Lord. 11
19 "Obey my commands. Do not crossbreed domestic animals. Do not plant two kinds of seed in the same field. Do not wear clothes made of two kinds of material. 12
20 "If a slave woman is the recognized concubine of a man and she has not been paid for and freed, then if another man has sexual relations with her, they will be punished, but not put to death, since she is a slave.
21 The man shall bring a ram to the entrance of the Tent of my presence as his repayment offering,
22 and with it the priest shall perform the ritual of purification to remove the man's sin, and God will forgive him.
23 "When you come into the land of Canaan and plant any kind of fruit tree, consider the fruit ritually unclean for the first three years. During that time you must not eat it.
24 In the fourth year all the fruit shall be dedicated as an offering to show your gratitude to me, the Lord.
25 But in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you do all this, your trees will bear more fruit. I am the Lord your God.
26 "Do not eat any meat with blood still in it. Do not practice any kind of magic. 13
27 Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard 14
28 or tattoo yourselves or cut gashes in your body to mourn for the dead. I am the Lord.
29 "Do not disgrace your daughters by making them temple prostitutes; if you do, you will turn to other gods and the land will be full of immorality. 15
30 Keep the Sabbath, and honor the place where I am worshiped. I am the Lord. 16
31 "Do not go for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead. If you do, you will be ritually unclean. I am the Lord your God. 17
32 "Show respect for old people and honor them. Reverently obey me; I am the Lord.
33 "Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land. 18
34 Treat them as you would an Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35 "Do not cheat anyone by using false measures of length, weight, or quantity. 19
36 Use honest scales, honest weights, and honest measures. I am the Lord your God, and I brought you out of Egypt.
37 Obey all my laws and commands. 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.

Cross References 19

  • 1. 19.2Leviticus 11.44, 45; 1 P 1.16.
  • 2. 19.3 aExodus 20.12;Deuteronomy 5.16; bExodus 20.8;Deuteronomy 5.12.
  • 3. 19.4 aLeviticus 26.1; bExodus 20.23; 34.17;Deuteronomy 17.25.
  • 4. 19.9, 10Leviticus 27.15;Deuteronomy 24.19-22.
  • 5. 19.11 aExodus 20.15;Deuteronomy 5.19; bExodus 20.16;Deuteronomy 5.20.
  • 6. 19.12Exodus 20.7;Deuteronomy 5.11;Matthew 5.33.
  • 7. 19.13Deuteronomy 24.14, 15.
  • 8. 19.14Deuteronomy 27.18.
  • 9. 19.15Exodus 23.6-8;Deuteronomy 16.19.
  • 10. 19.17Matthew 18.15.
  • 11. 19.18Matthew 5.43; 19.19; 22.39;Mark 12.31;Luke 10.27;Romans 13.9;Galatians 5.14;James 2.8.
  • 12. 19.19Deuteronomy 22.9-11.
  • 13. 19.26 aGenesis 9.4;Leviticus 7.26, 27; 17.10-14;Deuteronomy 12.16, 23; 15.23; bDeuteronomy 18.10.
  • 14. 19.27, 28Leviticus 21.5;Deuteronomy 14.1.
  • 15. 19.29Deuteronomy 23.17.
  • 16. 19.30Leviticus 26.2.
  • 17. 19.31Deuteronomy 18.11; 1 S 28.3; 2 K 23.4;Isaiah 8.19.
  • 18. 19.33, 34Exodus 22.21;Deuteronomy 24.17, 18; 27.19.
  • 19. 19.35, 36Deuteronomy 25.13-16;Proverbs 20.10;Ezekiel 45.10.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. so . . . them; [or] so that you do not commit this sin against them.
  • [b]. they . . . not; [or] an investigation will be made but they will not be.
  • [c]. to show your gratitude to me; [or] in praise of me.
  • [d]. temple prostitutes: [These women were found in Canaanite temples, where fertility gods were worshiped. It was believed that intercourse with these prostitutes assured fertile fields and herds.]

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

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.