Today we begin Leviticus Chapter 27.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Alright, we’ve finally arrived at the final stretch of the book of Leviticus, the last chapter before we get into the exciting Book of Numbers (and trust me, the Book of Numbers is anything but some boring book of numbers!).
Before we jump into our hardcore textual analysis, let me share a few introductory thoughts.
The first thing you should now about Leviticus 27 is that as a whole this chapter deals with the funding of the sanctuary.
Historically speaking, when I say “sanctuary”, I’m speaking of two entities.
One entity is the “wilderness tabernacle” where we’re at now in Scripture, and the other entity is “the Temple”, which will be built later.
One entity was a portable and moveable sanctuary and the other was an immoveable, fixed building.
Now here’s the thing.
Both the Wilderness Tabernacle and the Temple were funded from a number of different sources as follows:
-Pledges of Silver
-Pledges of Animals
-Consecration of Property (land and houses)
-Giving of Firstborn Animals
-Giving of First Fruits from one’s crop yield
-Donation of one’s personal property
Now as we read through this chapter, here’s what we’re going to find.
The objective of the priesthood who were in charge of the sanctuary’s maintenance and operations was to receive silver which they would later use to purchase whatever was necessary to keep God’s house running smoothly.
Why did they prefer silver?
For the same reason, we would rather use paper money bills to purchase the things we need at our local grocery store rather than hauling up one of our farm animals to use as barter to get our Cheerios and eggs or whatever.
Silver was obviously more compact and portable than animals, property, and crops.
So in order to make the currency exchange of physical goods into silver fair, in this chapter we are given a list of what the relative value of various things in silver would be.
This list contains pledges of land, animals and even human beings!
The idea being communicated is that somebody would make a vow to give an offering to the sanctuary and then the giver would turn around and redeem or purchase back whatever he had given in silver.
For example, let’s say I go to the priesthood and announce I’m giving them my house as a donation.
Once I make that announcement, the deal is done.
The house now belongs to the priesthood.
However, immediately afterwards, I tell the priest I want to buy my house back.
The officiating priest then runs a calculation of how much my house will cost in silver.
I pay him the amount in silver he calculated and go back to my house (that I just repurchased in silver).
So basically this is what Leviticus 27 is all about.
All of the rules and regulations were established so that for the most part the Sanctuary received offerings for its operations in the form of silver, a much easier mode of exchange than animals and field crops.
One final point, notice how Leviticus breaks down all of the funds for sanctuary operations into very detailed categories among which “tithing” is but one of them!
Did you notice that?
Out of the several categories of donations to God’s House of Worship, “tithing” is just one of the categories.
This is a far cry from how the church lumps everything together into just “tithes and offerings”.