Today we begin Leviticus Chapter 21.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
What we’ll notice as we walk through Leviticus is that some of the laws were only for the priesthood and other laws were only for the common citizens.
Chapter 20, which we just finished studying, was addressed to the whole congregation of Israel,
However, the instructions in Leviticus chapters 21 and 22 are directed ONLY towards the Levitical priests.
Here’s an important reminder.
All priests came from the Tribe of Levi but the opposite is NOT true.
Not all Levites were priests.
Only certain families from within the Tribe of Levi were eligible to become priests.
And understand that there were different classes of priests consisting of lesser priests, greater priests and one High Priest with each class required to come from a specific family or group of families.
The High Priest for example had to come from Aaron’s line.
Each of the classes of priests had certain duties assigned to them.
There were lesser duties and greater duties.
Only the greater priests were allowed to approach the altar and officiate over the sacrifices.
The lesser priests, on the other hand, did more menial work such as assembling and disassembling the Tabernacle whenever Israel broke camp and moved to a different location.
They were also responsible for cleaning up the enormous amounts of blood and ashes that accumulated every day.
If you read chapter 21 carefully, you will notice that only the first 9 verses are directed to the ordinary priests while verses 10 to 15 are directed to the High Priest.
The truth be told, chapters 21 and 22 should never have been split up.
These two chapters go together and should be treated as one unit.
Now chapter 21 starts off by addressing that most common and ugly reality of life: DEATH.
The Israelite population was about 3 million at this time, so death was something that probably happened daily during their wilderness sojourn.
The Levities at this time were probably the smallest of all the 12 tribes.
In the book of Numbers, a census taken of the male population of the Levities came to about 22,000 men.
However, even to get to that number, the Levites had to be counted differently than all the other tribes.
Standard protocol for all the other tribes was to count only the men who were 20 to about 50 years old.
In other words, only those men who were physically capable of fighting in a war were counted.
Because of this, thousands of males were left out when a census was taken of the other tribes.
However, for the Levites ALL MALES ONE MONTH OLD AND UP were counted with no upper age limit!
Based on this, it has been estimated that the entire Levite population of men, women, and children came to about 75,000 to 100,000 people.