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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Leviticus - Introduction

The structure and content of Leviticus as a whole can be briefly outlined as follows:

  • Sacrificial system (chs. 1–7 )

  • Whole burnt offering ( 1:3–17 )

  • Cereal offering (ch. 2 )

  • Well-being offering (ch. 3 )

  • Sin offering (chs. 4–5 )

    • Normal sin offering (ch. 4 )
    • Graduated sin offering ( 5:1–13 )
  • Guilt offering ( 5:14–6:7 (HB 5:14–26 ))

  • Laws (tôrôt) of the offerings (chs. 6–7 )

  • Initiation of Aaron and sons to the priesthood (chs. 8–10 )

    • Consecration of priests (chs. 8–9 )
    • Death of Nadab and Abihu ( 10:1–11 )
    • Question of consuming the offerings ( 10:12–20 )
  • Purity and pollution (chs. 11–15 )

    • Clean and unclean animals (ch. 11 )
    • Childbirth (ch. 12 )
    • Skin diseases (‘leprosy’) (chs. 13–14 )
    • Genital discharges (ch. 15 )
  • Atonement for sanctuary and people (scapegoat ritual) (ch. 16 )

  • Holiness code (chs. 17–26 )

    • Question of blood (ch. 17 )
    • Forbidden sexual relations (ch. 18 )
    • Miscellaneous laws on being holy (chs. 19–20 )
    • Laws for priests (ch. 21 )
    • Laws on holy things and sacrifice (ch. 22 )
    • Festivals (ch. 23 )
    • Lamps and bread of presence ( 24:1–9 )
    • Question of blasphemy ( 24:10–23 )
    • Sabbatical and jubilee years (ch. 25 )
    • Blessings and curses (ch. 26 )
  • Appendix: vows and tithe of livestock (ch. 27 )

At various points in this commentary, the form critical structure of passages will be discussed. For further detailed information on the structure and contents of Leviticus, one should consult the Leviticus volume of the Abingdon series, the Forms of Old Testament Literature, when it appears. In the meantime, the commentary by Hartley (1992 ) is very valuable for its extensive discussion of the form criticism of each section of the book.

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