Just random thoughts on Leviticus. What are your thoughts on Leviticus?
What an incredible book! Filled with so many juicy morsels... Some of them uncooked ;)
I really like how Leviticus ends with the Jubilee and the laws of return/rest of slaves and land and of the abundance that YHWH brings from this release from servitude. That really emphasizes for me what the point of the whole book is...
But then the book also shows us how YHWH's blessing goes hand in hand with our response to his sacrifices.
Where do all these things that "YHWH said to Moses and Aaron" in Leviticus fit chronologically into the story? Did most of them or all of them come from Sinai? Exodus ends with the tabernacle and the presence going from the mount to the tabernacle where YHWH can speak with Moses. Do you think much of this book might have actually come from the tabernacle?
It certainly seems that many of the commands are specifically related to a tabernacle...so what if there is a temple instead?
I think it is peculiarly interesting that so many of the holy sacrifices have wicked opposites... For instance, the golden idol was a calf...and the first sacrifice in Leviticus is a calf. Goats are sacrificed... Why goats? Maybe because the Israelites were sacrificing to “goat-demon” idols as some translations of Leviticus say... It's almost like the sacrifices were a direct response to the wandering inclinations of Israel. But what about the birds and lamb? Do they have any correspondence?
And what about some of the logistics in there... Like the command to keep the lamps burning perpetually night and day. How could this be done if the tabernacle was moving? And how long might it take for them to build something so grand and amazing like the mishkan?
Then there's the command from YHWH to Aaron and his sons not to mourn for Nadab and Abihu when they are struck dead for their transgression. Wow. I suddenly recall YHWH telling Ezekiel not to mourn for his wife when she is struck dead to represent something prophetically! Is the lack of mourning somehow tied to place? Would someone naturally be destroyed for mourning in the tabernacle? Aaron and his sons were bound to that place at the time.
Leviticus makes me want to make a sacrifice just to better understand the context.
Imagine the complete industry created by all this.
I'm starting to think it would be great to begin dedicating the first-fruits of my Modern produce to YHWH. I mean, I don't raise flocks and I don't grow wheat... And even if I did, I'm not sure giving the firstfruits of that would mean much in my current context. But there must be an equivalent.
One of the things that amazes me is how much is done to protect and provide for women and slaves and the poor and the non-desirables.
Oh, and the whole “mystery” of boiling a goat in it's mother's milk... This seems to directly tie into the idea of not sacrificing the mother with its young on the same day... Did I just solve the old riddle?
I could go on and on about Leviticus. Truly under-appreciated...even if you don't know what "halakah" is.
He whose wisdom is more abundant than his works, to what is his like? To a tree whose branches are abundant but whose roots are few; and the wind comes and uproots it and overturns it (as it is written, “He shall be like a tamerisk in the desert and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness"). But he whose works are more abundant than his wisdom, to what is he like? To a tree whose branches are few but whose roots are many; so that even if all the winds in the world come and blow against it, it cannot be stirred from its place (as it is written, “He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out his roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat cometh, and his leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit”).
--Mishnah Aboth, 3:18 (with Jeremiah 17:6, 8)