Leviticus 21:10

10 The priest who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the vestments, shall not dishevel his hair, nor tear his vestments.

Leviticus 21:10 Meaning and Commentary

Leviticus 21:10

And [he that is] the high priest among his brethren
Either among his brethren, the priests, being in office above them; or among his brethren the Israelites, among and over whom he is high priest; or, as others render it, "the priest who is greater than his brethren" F4, in an higher office; the Jews say F5 the high priest was to be greater than his brethren, in beauty, in strength, in wisdom, and in riches; and if he had not money enough, all the priests were to give him of theirs, everyone according to his riches, until he became the richest among them all: upon whose head the anointing oil was poured;
as it was poured upon Aaron at his consecration, and those that succeeded him, ( Exodus 29:7 ) ( Leviticus 8:12 ) ; and that is consecrated to put on the garments;
the eight garments with which the high priest was clothed at the time of his consecration, ( Leviticus 8:7-9 ) ; and in which he and his sons are said to be consecrated, ( Exodus 29:29 ) ; in order to which he was "to fill his hand"; as the phrase here is, that is, with the fat and right shoulder of the ram of consecration, and with the loaf of bread, and cake of oiled bread, and wafer, ( Exodus 29:23 Exodus 29:24 ) ; in all which he was a type of Christ, the great High Priest, as he is often called, who is greater than his brethren in all the above things, the high priest exceeded his brethren, except in worldly riches; and yet the earth also is his, and the fulness thereof, well as he is fairer than the children of men, stronger than the strong man armed, and the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in him; he is anointed also with the oil of gladness above his fellows; and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and is consecrated an high priest for evermore: of the high priest it is said, he shall not uncover his head:
that is, on account of the dead; not take off his mitre, or in any such way express mourning for the dead; or shall not nourish his hair or let it grow, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; and so Jarchi interprets it, he shall not let the hair grow for mourning; and what is nourishing of the hair? when it is let grow more than thirty days: nor rend his clothes;
that is, on the same account, and therefore Jonathan adds, in the hour of distress, or mourning for the dead; otherwise, in case of blasphemy, he might rend his clothes, see ( Matthew 26:65 ) ; and indeed, according to the Jewish canons, he might rend his clothes in mourning, only in a different manner from common priests; for so they say F6,

``he may not rend for the dead, as other priests,''
as it is said: "nor rend his clothes"; and if he rends he is to be beaten, but he may rend below over against (or near) his feet; and so in the Misnah F7, an high priest rends below, and a common priest above; (See Gill on Leviticus 10:6).

F4 So Pagninus, Ainsworth, and others.
F5 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 18. 1. Horayot, fol. 9. 1. Cholin, fol. 134. 2. Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 1. & in Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 3. & Bartenora in ib.
F6 Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 6.
F7 Horayot, c. 3. sect. 5.

Leviticus 21:10 In-Context

8 and you shall treat them as holy, since they offer the food of your God; they shall be holy to you, for I the Lord, I who sanctify you, am holy.
9 When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.
10 The priest who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the vestments, shall not dishevel his hair, nor tear his vestments.
11 He shall not go where there is a dead body; he shall not defile himself even for his father or mother.
12 He shall not go outside the sanctuary and thus profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the Lord.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.