BIB 111 History & Literature of Ancient Israel
September 23, 2002
At the end of the Exodus, the tabernacle is completed. The book of Leviticus is the instruction to the Israelites, revealing God's holiness and how His imperfect people were to remain with His presence dwelling in the tabernacle in the midst of their nation. God gives Moses His instructions for His people in roughly a month at Mount Sinai between the erection of the Tabernacle and the departure of the people into the Promised Land. He teaches them how to use the tabernacle and how His people should behave. The book though, is hard to read and relate to in our modern age, whether we are Jewish or Christian, because the temple, animal sacrifice, and culture of that time are completely foreign to us.
In Leviticus, God is the direct speaker throughout almost all of it, addressing two groups of people: the first half of the book to the Levite priests, and the rest mainly involves the Israelites as a whole.
The first seven chapters are dedicated to instructing the priest how to perform the six different sacrifices: the burnt offering, grain offering, well-being offering, sin offering, graded sin offering, and guilt offering. Chapters 8-10 are a narrative about the rites of the priest, climaxing at the death of Aaron's two sons, showing God's seriousness. Chapters 11-16 switch the attention from the priestly duties to the behavior of Israel as a whole. God gives Moses an array of different laws to maintain the purity of his people that they may come before Him in worship. These laws range from dietary laws to sexual restrictions. God throughout, reminds his people "I am the Lord" and demands that the Israelites live in a way that would be holy and...