The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Leviticus 19

Lev 19:11


Lev 19:14

DO NOT CURSE THE DEAF OR PUT A STUMBLING BLOCK IN FRONT OF THE BLIND, BUT FEAR YOUR GOD: Here is a principle not just for our care in dealing with those with these physical infirmities, but also with spiritual implications in the way that we act towards those who are spiritually blind and deaf. "Do not take advantage of each other" (Lev 25:17; cp Deu 27:18). "Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way" (Rom 14:13).

Lev 19:16

DO NOT GO ABOUT SPREADING SLANDER: "Tale-bearing emits a threefold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person concerning whom the tale is told. Whether the report be true or false, we are by this precept of God's Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord's people should be very precious in our sight, and we should count it shame to dishonour the Church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves. Noah's wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse. We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren; let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now. Be this our family rule, and our personal bond -- SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN" (CHS).

Lev 19:17

REBUKE YOUR NEIGHBOR FRANKLY: "The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God's blessing will be useful. Does the flesh shrink from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful brethren. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in his warning given to Peter, the prayer with which he preceded it, and the gentle way in which he bore with Peter's boastful denial that he needed such a caution" (CHS).

"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them" (Eph 5:11).

Lev 19:18

DO NOT SEEK REVENGE OR BEAR A GRUDGE AGAINST OF YOUR PEOPLE: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil... Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay' [Deu 32:35] says the Lord" (Rom 12:17,19).

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: Cp Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jam 2:8.

In answer to the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luk 10:25), Jesus cites this verse: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luk 10:27). When this answer elicits the follow-up question, "And who is my neighbor?" (v 29), Jesus responds by telling the parable of the good Samaritan (Luk 10:30-37). In his parable Jesus makes it very plain that "neighbor" must not be restricted to 'fellow believer', but that it includes especially those with whom we feel we have little in common -- even those whom the most "upright" Jews despised -- the Samaritans!

In taking this broadly inclusive point of view, Jesus is only following the context of the Lev 19:18 citation: in Lev 19:33,34 it is clear that "neighbor" includes the "alien" -- that is, the Gentile: "Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt."

I AM THE LORD: This reminder, "I am the LORD", has a two-fold significance here: (1) "I, the LORD your God, am holy" (v 2) -- therefore you must be holy also; and (2) "I am the LORD"... who loved YOU when you, in Egypt, were no better than "aliens" to ME (v 34): you were worshipers of idols, and ignorant of My Name and promises; yet nevertheless I still loved you!

Lev 19:28

CUT YOUR BODIES: "Here God is proscribing ritual slitting of the womb of expectant women to deliver them to the Syrian god at whose hand the victims were supposed to believe the land had been invaded. The abortion was a dedication to the invading god. This is referred to in 2Ki 8:12 (and Amos, etc), where the same Heb word is translated 'rip' " (AG, Tes 54:306).

Many diseases were transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Is this a primary reason for the prohibition of cuttings and piercings in the flesh? (SP, Tes 71:206).

Lev 19:36

USE HONEST SCALES AND HONEST WEIGHTS...: "Weights, and scales, and measures were to be all according to the standard of justice. Surely no Christian man will need to be reminded of this in his business, for if righteousness were banished from all the world beside, it should find a shelter in believing hearts. There are, however, other balances which weigh moral and spiritual things, and these often need examining... The balances in which we weigh our own and other men's characters, are they quite accurate? Do we not turn our own ounces of goodness into pounds, and other persons' bushels of excellence into pecks? The scales in which we measure our trials and troubles, are they according to standard? Paul, who had more to suffer than we have, called his afflictions light, and yet we often consider ours to be heavy -- surely something must be amiss with the weights! We must see to this matter, lest we get reported to the court above for unjust dealing... Those measures in which we estimate our obligations and responsibilities look rather small. When a rich man gives no more to the cause of God than the poor contribute, is that a just ephah and a just hin?... When the poor are despised, while ungodly rich men are held in admiration, is that a just balance?" (CHS).

See Lesson, Honesty.

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