Leviticus 21:12

12 He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the LORD .

Leviticus 21:12 Meaning and Commentary

Leviticus 21:12

Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary
In the time of service, upon any occasion whatever; otherwise, when there was a necessity for it, he might go out from thence, though this was rarely done, and only in the night time: Maimonides F13 says he had a house prepared for him in the sanctuary, called the chamber of the high priest; and it was his honour and his glory to remain in the sanctuary all the day, and he did not go out, except to his own house, and that only in the night, or an hour or two in the day; and his house was in Jerusalem, and from thence he never removed: but this law respects him only in the case of his dead; as when any news was brought him of the death of his father, or of his mother, if in his service, he was not to quit it on any account; for we are told F14, that an high priest might offer when mourning, though he might not eat in such a circumstance, whereas a common priest might neither offer nor eat; nor might an high priest go out of the sanctuary on such an occasion, if he was not in service, as to follow the dead corpse or bier, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it; at least, he was to go no further than the gate of the city; though even this is not allowed by others, who say F15, if the dead were his, he might not go out after it; he might not go out of the door of his house, nor out of the sanctuary, and all the people were to come and comfort him at his own house: nor profane the sanctuary of his God;
by deserting the service of it, on any account, and particularly on account of the dead, by departing from it to go after them, and by entering into it again before the time, when so defiled: for the crown of the anointing oil of his God [is] upon him;
the anointing oil, which was a crown of glory, and gave him a superior dignity to others, which it became him to be careful not to debase by any of the above things: or "the crown and the anointing oil", so some


F16 supply the word "and"; both the golden plate or the holy crown, as it is sometimes called, and the anointing oil were upon him, which showed him to be a very dignified person, a sort of king as well as a priest, and so a type of Christ, who is a priest upon his throne, ( Zechariah 6:13 ) ; I [am] the Lord:
whose high priest he is, and who command him all these things, and expect to be obeyed in them.
F13 Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 7.
F14 Misn. Horayot, c. 3. sect. 5.
F15 Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 5, 6. Vid. Misn. Sanhedrim, c. 2. sect. 1.
F16 So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator

Leviticus 21:12 In-Context

10 “The high priest has the highest rank of all the priests. The anointing oil has been poured on his head, and he has been ordained to wear the priestly garments. He must never leave his hair uncombed or tear his clothing.
11 He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother.
12 He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the LORD .
13 “The high priest may marry only a virgin.
14 He may not marry a widow, a woman who is divorced, or a woman who has defiled herself by prostitution. She must be a virgin from his own clan,