1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Leviticus

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33540681911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 16 — LeviticusJohn Frederick Stenning

LEVITICUS, in the Bible, the third book of the Pentateuch. The name is derived from that of the Septuagint version (τὸ) λευ[ε]ιτικόν (sc. βιβλίον), though the English form is due to the Latin rendering, Leviticus (sc. liber). By the Jews the book is called Wayyiḳrā (וַיִקָרָא) from the first word of the Hebrew text, but it is also referred to (in the Talmud and Massorah) as Tōrath kōhănīm (תּוֹרַת כֹּהֳנִים, law of the priests), Sēpher kōhănīm (סֵפֶר כ״, book of the priests), and Sēpher ḳorbānīm (סֵפֶר קָרְבָּנִים, book of offerings). As a descriptive title Leviticus, “the Levitical book,” is not inappropriate to the contents of the book, which exhibits an elaborate system of sacrificial worship. In this connexion, however, the term “Levitical” is used in a perfectly general sense, since there is no reference in the book itself to the Levites themselves.

The book of Leviticus presents a marked contrast to the two preceding books of the Hexateuch in that it is derived from one document only, viz. the Priestly Code (P), and contains no trace of the other documents from which the Hexateuch has been compiled. Hence the dominant interest is a priestly one, while the contents are almost entirely legislative as opposed to historical. But though the book as a whole is assigned to a single document, its contents are by no means homogeneous: in fact the critical problem presented by the legislative portions of Leviticus, though more limited in scope, is very similar to that of the other books of the Hexateuch. Here, too, the occurrence of repetitions and divergencies, the variations of standpoint and practice, and, at times, the linguistic peculiarities point no less clearly to diversity of origin.

The historical narrative with which P connects his account of the sacred institutions of Israel is reduced in Leviticus to a minimum, and presents no special features. The consecration of Aaron and his sons (viii. ix.) resumes the narrative of Exod. xl., and this is followed by a brief notice of the death of Nadab and Abihu (x. 1-5), and later by an account of the death of the blasphemer (xxiv. 10 f.). Apart from these incidents, which, in accordance with the practice of P, are utilized for the purpose of introducing fresh legislation, the book consists of three main groups or collections of ritual laws: (1) chaps, i.–vii., laws of sacrifice; (2) chaps, xi.–xv., laws of purification, with an appendix (xvi.) on the Day of Atonement; (3) chaps, xvii.–xxvi., the Law of Holiness, with an appendix (xxvii.) on vows and tithes. In part these laws appear to be older than P, but when examined in detail the various collections show unmistakably that they have undergone more than one process of redaction before they assumed the form in which they are now presented. The scope of the present article does not permit of an elaborate analysis of the different sections, but the evidence adduced will, it is hoped, afford sufficient proof of the truth of this statement.

I. The Laws of Sacrifice.—Chaps. i.–vii. This group of laws clearly formed no part of the original narrative of P since it interrupts the connexion of chap. viii. with Exod. xl. For chap. viii. describes how Moses carried out the command of Exod. xl. 12-15 in accordance with the instructions given in Exod. xxix. 1-35, and bears the same relation to the latter passage that Exod. xxxv. ff. bears to Exod. xxv. ff. Hence we can only conclude that Lev. i.–vii. were added by a later editor. This conclusion does not necessarily involve a late date for the laws themselves, many of which have the appearance of great antiquity, though their original form has been considerably modified. But though these chapters form an independent collection of laws, and were incorporated as such in P, a critical analysis of their contents shows that they were not all derived from the same source.

The collection falls into two divisions, (a) i.–vi. 7 (Heb. v. 26), and (b) vi. 8 (Heb. vi. 1)–vii., the former being addressed to the people and the latter to the priests. The laws contained in (a) refer to (1) burnt-offerings, i.; (2) meal-offerings, ii.; (3) peace-offerings, iii.; (4) sin-offerings, iv. (on v. 1-13 see below); (5) trespass-offerings, v. 14–vi. 7 (Heb. v. 14-26). The laws in (b) cover practically the same ground—(1) burnt-offerings, vi. 8-13 (Heb. vv. 1-6); (2) meal-offerings, vi. 14-18 (Heb. vv. 7-11); (3) the meal-offering of the priest, vi. 19-23 (Heb. vv. 12-16); (4) sin-offerings, vi. 24-30 (Heb. vv. 17-23); (5) trespass-offerings, vii. 1-7, together with certain regulations for the priest’s share of the burnt- and meal-offerings (vv. 8-10); (6) peace-offerings, vii. 11-21. Then follow the prohibition of eating the fat or blood (vv. 22-28), the priest’s share of the peace-offerings (vv. 29-34), the priest’s anointing-portion (vv. 35, 36), and the subscription (vv. 37, 38). The second group of laws is thus to a certain extent supplementary to the first, and was, doubtless, intended as such by the editor of chaps. i.–vii. Originally it can hardly have formed part of the same collection; for (a) the order is different, that of the second group being supported by its subscription, and (b) the laws in vi. 8–vii. are regularly introduced by the formula “This is the law (tōrah) of. . . .” Most probably the second group was excerpted by the editor of chaps. i.–vii. from another collection for the purpose of supplementing the laws of i.–v., more especially on points connected with the functions and dues of the officiating priests.

Closer investigation, however, shows that both groups of laws contain heterogeneous elements and that their present form is the result of a long process of development. Thus i. and iii. seem to contain genuinely old enactments, though i. 14-17 is probably a later addition, since there is no reference to birds in the general heading v. 2. Chap. ii. 1-3, on the other hand, though it corresponds in form to i. and iii., interrupts the close connexion between those chapters, and should in any case stand after iii.: the use of the second for the third person in the remaining verses points to a different source. As might be expected from the nature of the sacrifice with which it deals, iv. (sin-offerings) seems to belong to a relatively later period of the sacrificial system. Several features confirm this view: (1) the blood of the sin-offering of the “anointed priest” and of the whole congregation is brought within the veil and sprinkled on the altar of incense, (2) the sin-offering of the congregation is a bullock, and not, as elsewhere, a goat (ix. 15; Num. xv. 24), (3) the altar of incense is distinguished from the altar of burnt-offering (as opposed to Exod. xxix.; Lev. viii. ix.). Chap. v. 1-13 have usually been regarded as an appendix to iv., setting forth (a) a number of typical cases for which a sin-offering is required (vv. 1-6), and (b) certain concessions for those who could not afford the ordinary sin-offering (vv. 7-13). But vv. 1-6, which are not homogeneous (vv. 2 and 3 treating of another question and interrupting vv. 1, 4, 5 f.), cannot be ascribed to the same author as iv.: for (1) it presents a different theory of the sin-offering (contrast v. 1 f. with iv. 2), (2) it ignores the fourfold division of offerings corresponding to the rank of the offender, (3) it fails to observe the distinction between sin- and trespass-offering (in vv. 6, 7, “his guilt-offering” (אֲשָׁמוֹ) appears to have the sense of a “penalty” or “forfeit,” unless with Baentsch we read קָרְבָּנוֹ “his oblation” in each case; cf. v. 11, iv. 23 ff. Verses 7-13, on the other hand, form a suitable continuation of iv., though probably they are secondary in character. Chap. v. 14 (Heb. v. 26)–vi. 7 contain regulations for the trespass-offering, in which the distinctive character of that offering is clearly brought out. The cases cited in vi. 1-7 (Heb. v. 20-26) are clearly analogous to those in v. 14-16, from which they are at present separated by vv. 17-19. These latter prescribe a trespass-offering for the same case for which in iv. 22 f. a sin-offering is required: it is noticeable also that no restitution, the characteristic feature of the āshām, is prescribed. It is hardly doubtful that the verses are derived from a different source to that of their immediate context, possibly the same as v. 1-6.

The subscription (vii. 37, 38) is our chief guide to determining the original extent of the second group of laws (vi. 8 [Heb. vi. 1]–vii. 36). From it we infer that originally the collection only dealt with the five chief sacrifices (vi. 8-13; 14-18; 24, 25, 27-30; vii. 1-6; 11-21) already discussed in i.–v., since only these are referred to in the colophon where they are given in the same order (the consecration-offering [v. 37] is probably due to the same redactor who introduced the gloss “in the day when he is anointed” in vi. 20). Of the remaining sections vi. 19-23 (Heb. 12-16), the daily meal-offering of the (high-) priest, betrays its secondary origin by its absence from the subscription, cf. also the different introduction. Chaps. vi. 26 (Heb. 19) and vii. 7 assign the offering to the officiating priest in contrast to vi. 18 (Heb. 11), 29 (Heb. 22), vii. 6 (“every male among the priests”), and possibly belong, together with vii. 8–10, to a separate collection which dealt especially with priestly dues. Chap. vii. 22-27, which prohibit the eating of fat and blood, are addressed to the community at large, and were, doubtless, inserted here in connexion with the sacrificial meal which formed the usual accompaniment of the peace-offering. Chap. vii. 28-34 are also addressed to the people, and cannot therefore have formed part of the original priestly manual; v. 33 betrays the same hand as vi. 26 (Heb. 19) and vii. 7, and with 35a may be assigned to the same collection as those verses; to the redactor must be assigned vv. 32 (a doublet of v. 33), 34, 35b and 36.

Chaps. viii.-x. As stated, these chapters form the original sequel to Exod. xl. They describe (a) the consecration of Aaron and his sons, a ceremony which lasted seven days (viii.), and (b) the public worship on the eighth day, at which Aaron and his sons officiated for the first time as priests (ix.); then follow (c) an account of the death of Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire (x. 1-5); (d) various regulations affecting the priests (vv. 12-15), and (e) an explanation, in narrative form, of the departure in ix. 15 from the rules for the sin-offering given in vi. 30 (vv. 16-20).

According to Exod. xl. 1-15 Moses was commanded to set up the Tabernacle and to consecrate the priests, and the succeeding verses (16-38) describe how the former command was carried out. The execution of the second command, however, is first described in Lev. viii., and since the intervening chapters exhibit obvious traces of belonging to another source, we may conclude with some certainty that Lev. viii. formed the immediate continuation of Exod. xl. in the original narrative of P. But it has already been pointed out (see Exodus) that Exod. xxxv.-xl. belong to a later stratum of P than Exod. xxv.-xxix, hence it is by no means improbable that Exod. xxxv-xl. have superseded an earlier and shorter account of the fulfilment of the commands in Exod. xxv.-xxix. If this be the case, we should naturally expect to find that Lev. viii., which bears the same relation to Exod. xxix. 1-35 as Exod. xxxv. ff. to Exod. xxv. ff. also belonged to a later stratum. But Lev. viii., unlike Exod xxxv. ff., only mentions one altar, and though in its present form the chapter exhibits marks of later authorship, these marks form no part of the original account, but are clearly the work of a later editor. These additions, the secondary character of which is obvious both from the way in which they interrupt the context and also from their contents, are (1), v. 10, the anointing of the Tabernacle in accordance with Exod. xxx. 26 ff.: it is not enjoined in Exod. xxix.; (2) v. 11, the anointing of the altar and the laver (cf. Exod. xxx. 17 ff.) as in Exod. xxix. 36b, xxx. 26 ff.; (3) v. 30, the sprinkling of blood and oil on Aaron and his sons. Apart from these secondary elements, which readily admit of excision, the chapter is in complete accord with P as regards point of view and language, and is therefore to be assigned to that source.

The consecration of Aaron and his sons was, according to P, a necessary preliminary to the offering of sacrifice, and chap. ix. accordingly describes the first solemn act of worship. The ceremony consists of (a) the offerings for Aaron, and (b) those for the congregation; then follows the priestly blessing (v. 22), after which Moses and Aaron enter the sanctuary, and on reappearing once more bless the people. The ceremony terminates with the appearance of the glory of Yahweh, accompanied by a fire which consumes the sacrifices on the altar. Apart from a few redactional glosses the chapter as a whole belongs to P. The punishment of Nadab and Abihu by death for offering “strange fire” (x. 1-5) forms a natural sequel to chap. ix. To this incident a number of disconnected regulations affecting the priests have been attached, of which the first, viz. the prohibition of mourning to Aaron and his sons (vv. 6, 7), alone has any connexion with the immediate context; as it stands, the passage is late in form (cf. xxi. 10 ff.). The second passage, vv. 8, 9, which prohibits the use of wine and strong drink to the priest when on duty, is clearly a later addition. The connexion between these verses and the following is extremely harsh, and since vv. 10, 11 relate to an entirely different subject (cf. xi. 47), the latter verses must be regarded as a misplaced fragment. Verses 12-15 relate to the portions of the meal- and peace-offerings which fell to the lot of the priests, and connect, therefore, with chap. ix.; possibly they have been wrongly transferred from that chapter. In the remaining paragraph, x. 16-20, we have an interesting example of the latest type of additions to the Hexateuch. According to ix. 15 (cf. v. 11) the priests had burnt the flesh of the sin-offering which had been offered on behalf of the congregation, although its blood had not been taken into the inner sanctuary (cf. iv. 1-21, vi. 26). Such treatment, though perfectly legitimate according to the older legislation (Exod. xxix. 14; cf. Lev. viii. 17), was in direct contradiction to the ritual of vi. 24 ff., which prescribed that the flesh of ordinary sin-offerings should be eaten by the priests. Such a breach of ritual on the part of Aaron and his sons seemed to a later redactor to demand an explanation, and this is furnished in the present section.

II. The Laws of Purification.—Chaps. xi.-xv. This collection of laws comprises four main sections relating to (1) clean and unclean beasts (xi.), (2) childbirth (xii.), (3) leprosy (xiii. xiv.), and (4) certain natural secretions (xv.). These laws, or tōrōth, are so closely allied to each other by the nature of their contents and their literary form (cf. especially the recurring formula “This is the law of ...” xi. 46, xii. 7, xiii. 59, xiv. 32, 54, 57, xv. 32) that they must originally have formed a single collection. The collection, however, has clearly undergone more than one redaction before reaching its final form. This is made evident not only by the present position of chap. xii. which in v. 2 presupposes chap. xv. (cf. xv. 19), and must originally have followed after that chapter, but also by the contents of the different sections, which exhibit clear traces of repeated revision. At the same time it seems, like chaps. i.–vii., xvii.–xxvi., to have been formed independently of P and to have been added to that document by a later editor; for in its present position it interrupts the main thread of P’s narrative, chap. xvi. forming the natural continuation of chap. x.; and, further, the inclusion of Aaron as well as Moses in the formula of address (xi. 1, xiii. 1, xiv. 33, xv. 1) is contrary to the usage of P.

1. Chap. xi. consists of two main sections, of which the first (vv. 1-23, 41-47) contains directions as to the clean and unclean animals which may or may not be used for food, while the second (vv: 24-40) treats of the defilement caused by contact with the carcases of unclean animals (in v. 39 f. contact with clean animals after death is also forbidden), and prescribes certain rites of purification. The main interest of the chapter, from the point of view of literary criticism, centres in the relation of the first section to the Law of Holiness (xvii.-xxvi.) and to the similar laws in Deut. xiv. 3–20. From xx. 25 it has been inferred with considerable probability that H, or the Law of Holiness, originally contained legislation of a similar character with reference to clean and unclean animals; and many scholars have held that the first section (vv. 1 [or 2]-23 and 41-47) really belongs to that code. But while vv. 43-45 may unhesitatingly be assigned to H, the remaining verses fail to exhibit any of the characteristic features of that code. We must assign them, therefore, to another source, though, in view of xx. 25 and xi. 43-45, it is highly probable that they have superseded similar legislation belonging to H.

The relation of Lev. xi. 2-23 to Deut. xiv. 4-20 is less easy to determine, since the phenomena presented by the two texts are somewhat inconsistent. The two passages are to a large extent verbally identical, but while Deut. xiv. 4b, 5 both defines and exemplifies the clean animals (as opposed to Lev. xi. 3; which only defines them), the rest of the Deuteronomic version is much shorter than that of Leviticus. Thus, except for vv. 4b, 5, the Deuteronomic version, which in its general style, and to a certain extent in its phraseology (cf. מין kind, vv. 13, 15, 18, and שרץ swarm, v. 19), shows traces of a priestly origin, might be regarded as an abridgment of Lev. xi. But the Deuteronomic version uses טמא unclean throughout (vv. 7, 10. 19), while Lev xi. from v. 11 onwards employs the technical term שקץ detestable thing, and it is at least equally possible to treat the longer version of Leviticus as an expansion of Deut. xiv. 4-20. The fact that Deut. xiv. 21 permits the stranger (גר) to eat the flesh of any animal that dies a natural death, while Lev. xvii. 25 places him on an equal footing with the Israelite, cannot be cited in favour of the priority of Deuteronomy since v. 21 is clearly supplementary; cf. also Lev. xi. 39. On the whole it seems best to accept the view that both passages are derived separately from an earlier source.

2. Chap. xii. prescribes regulations for the purification of a woman after the birth of (a) a male and (b) a female child. It has been already pointed out that this chapter would follow more suitably after chap. xv., with which it is closely allied in regard to subject-matter. The closing formula (v. 7) shows clearly that, as in the case of v. 7-13 (cf. i. 14-17), the concessions in favour of the poorer worshipper are a later addition.

3. Chaps. xiii., xiv. The regulations concerning leprosy fall readily into four main divisions: (a) xiii. 1-46a, an elaborate description of the symptoms common to the earlier stages of leprosy and other skin diseases to guide the priest in deciding as to the cleanness or uncleanness of the patient; (b) xiii. 47-59, a further description of different kinds of mould or fungus growth affecting stuffs and leather; (c) xiv. 1-32, the rites of purification to be employed after the healing of leprosy; and (d) xiv. 33-53, regulations dealing with the appearance of patches of mould or mildew on the walls of a house. Like other collections the group of laws on leprosy easily betrays its composite character and exhibits unmistakable evidence of its gradual growth. There is, however, no reason to doubt that a large portion of the laws is genuinely old since the subject is one that would naturally call for early legislation; moreover, Deut. xxiv. 8 presupposes the existence of regulations concerning leprosy, presumably oral, which were in the possession of the priests. The earliest sections are admittedly xiii. 1-46a and xiv. 2-8a, the ritual of the latter being obviously of a very archaic type. The secondary character of xiii. 47–59 is evident: it interrupts the close connexion between xiii. 1–46a and xiv. 2-8a, and further it is provided with its own colophon in v. 59. A similar character must be assigned to the remaining verses of chap. xiv., with the exception of the colophon in v. 57b; the latter has been successively expanded in vv. 54-57a so as to include the later additions. Thus xiv. 9-20 prescribes a second and more elaborate ritual of purification after the healing of leprosy, though the leper, according to v. 8a, is already clean; its secondary character is further shown by the heightening of the ceremonial which seems to be modelled on that of the consecration of the priest (viii. 23 ff.), the multiplication of sacrifices and the minute regulations with regard to the blood and oil. The succeeding section (vv. 21-32) enjoins special modifications for those who cannot afford the more costly offerings of vv. 9-20, and like v. 7-13, xii. 8 is clearly a later addition; cf. the separate colophon, v. 32. The closing section xiv. 33–53 is closely allied to xiii. 47-59, though probably later in date: probably the concluding verses (48-53), in which the same rites are prescribed for the purification of a house as are ordained for a person in vv. 3-8a, were added at a still later period.

4. Chap. xv. deals with the rites of purification rendered necessary by various natural secretions, and is therefore closely related to chap. xii. On the analogy of the other laws it is probable that the old tōrāh, which forms the basis of the chapter, has been subsequently expanded, but except in the colophon (vv. 32-34), which displays marks of later redaction, there is nothing to guide us in separating the additional matter.

Chap. xvi. It may be regarded as certain that this chapter consists of three main elements, only one of which was originally connected with the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement, and that it has passed through more than one stage of revision. Since the appearance of Benzinger’s analysis ZATW (1889), critics in the main have accepted the division of the chapter into three independent sections: (1) vv. 1-4, 6, 12, 13, 34b (probably vv. 23, 24 also form part of this section), regulations to be observed by Aaron whenever he might enter “the holy place within the veil.” These regulations are the natural outcome of the death of Nadab and Abihu (x. 1-5), and their object is to guard Aaron from a similar fate; the section thus forms the direct continuation of chap. x.; (2) vv. 29-34a, rules for the observance of a yearly fast day, having for their object the purification of the sanctuary and of the people; (3) vv. 5, 7–10, 14–22, 26-28, a later expansion of the blood-ritual to be performed by the high-priest when he enters the Holy of Holies, with which is combined the strange ceremony of the goat which is sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. The matter common to the first two sections, viz. the entrance of the high priest into the Holy of Holies, was doubtless the cause of their subsequent fusion; beyond this, however, the sections have no connexion with one another, and must originally have been quite independent. Doubtless, as Benzinger suggests, the rites to be performed by the officiating high priest on the annual Day of Atonement, which are not prescribed in vv. 29-34a, were identical with those laid down in chap. ix. That the third section belongs to a later stage of development and was added at a later date is shown by (a) the incongruity of vv. 14 ff. with v. 6—according to the latter the purification of Aaron is a preliminary condition of his entrance within the veil—and (b) the elaborate ceremonial in connexion with the sprinkling of the blood. The first section, doubtless, belongs to the main narrative of P; it connects directly with chap. x. and presupposes only one altar (cf. v. 12, Exod. xxviii. 35). The second and third sections, however, must be assigned to a later stratum of P, if only because they appear to have been unknown to Ezra (Neh. ix. 1); the fact that Ezra’s fast day took place on the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month (as opposed to Lev. xvi. 29, xxiii. 26 f.) acquires an additional importance in view of the agreement between Neh. viii. 23 f. and Lev. xxiii. 33 f. as to the date of the Feast of Tabernacles. No mention is made of the Day of Atonement in the pre-exilic period, and it is a plausible conjecture that the present law arose from the desire to turn the spontaneous fasting of Neh. ix. 1 into an annual ceremony; in any case directions as to the annual performance of the rite must originally have preceded vv. 29 ff. Possibly the omission of this introduction is due to the redactor who combined (1) and (2) by transferring the regulations of (1) to the ritual of the annual Day of Atonement. At a later period the ritual was further developed by the inclusion of the additional ceremonial contained in (3).

III. The Law of Holiness.—Chaps. xvii.–xxvi. The group of laws contained in these chapters has long been recognized as standing apart from the rest of the legislation set forth in Leviticus. For, though they display undeniable affinity with P, they also exhibit certain features which closely distinguish them from that document. The most noticeable of these is the prominence assigned to certain leading ideas and motives, especially to that of holiness. The idea of holiness, indeed, is so characteristic of the entire group that the title “Law of Holiness,” first given to it by Klostermann (1877), has been generally adopted. The term “holiness” in this connexion consists positively in the fulfilment of ceremonial obligations and negatively in abstaining from the defilement caused by heathen customs and superstitions, but it also includes obedience to the moral requirements of the religion of Yahweh.

On the literary side also the chapters are distinguished by the paraenetic setting in which the laws are embedded and by the use of a special terminology, many of the words and phrases occurring rarely, if ever, in P (for a list of characteristic phrases cf. Driver, L.O.T.6, p.49). Further, the structure of these chapters, which closely resembles that of the other two Hexateuchal codes (Exod. xx. 22–xxiii. and Deut. xii.–xxviii.), may reasonably be adduced in support of their independent origin. All three codes contain a somewhat miscellaneous collection of laws; all alike commence with regulations as to the place of sacrifice and close with an exhortation. Lastly, some of the laws treat of subjects which have been already dealt with in P (cf. xvii. 10-14 and vii. 26 f., xix. 6-8 and vii. 15-18). It is hardly doubtful also that the group of laws, which form the basis of chaps. xvii.–xxvi., besides being independent of P, represent an older stage of legislation than that code. For the sacrificial system of H (= Law of Holiness) is less developed than that of P, and in particular shows no knowledge of the sin- and trespass-offerings; the high priest is only primus inter pares among his brethren, xxi. 10 (cf. Lev. x. 6, 7, where the same prohibition is extended to all the priests); the distinction between “holy” and “most holy” things (Num. xviii. 8) is unknown to Lev. xxii. (Lev. xxi. 22 is a later addition). It cannot be denied, however, that chaps. xvii.–xxvi. present many points of resemblance with P, both in language and subject-matter, but on closer examination these points of contact are seen to be easily separable from the main body of the legislation. It is highly probable, therefore, that these marks of P are to be assigned to the compiler who combined H with P. But though it may be regarded as certain that H existed as an independent code, it cannot be maintained that the laws which it contains are all of the same origin or belong to the same age. The evidence rather shows that they were first collected by an editor before they were incorporated in P. Thus there is a marked difference in style between the laws themselves and the paraenetic setting in which they are embedded; and it is not unnatural to conjecture that this setting is the work of the first editor.

Two other points in connexion with H are of considerable importance: (a) the possibility of other remains of H, and (b) its relation to Deuteronomy and Ezekiel.

(a) It is generally recognized that H, in its present form, is incomplete. The original code must, it is felt, have included many other subjects now passed over in silence. These, possibly, were omitted by the compiler of P, because they had already been dealt with elsewhere, or they may have been transferred to other connexions. This latter possibility is one that has appealed to many scholars, who have accordingly claimed many other passages of P as parts of H. We have already accepted xi. 43 ff. as an undoubted excerpt from H, but, with the exception of Num. xv. 37-41 (on fringes), the other passages of the Hexateuch which have been attributed to H do not furnish sufficient evidence to justify us in assigning them to that collection. Moore (Ency. Bibl. col. 2787) rightly points out that “resemblance in the subject or formulation of laws to tōrōth incorporated in H may point to a relation to the sources of H, but is not evidence that these laws were ever included in that collection.”

(b) The exact relation of H to Deuteronomy and Ezekiel is hard to determine. That chaps. xvii.–xxvi. display a marked affinity to Deuteronomy cannot be denied. Like D, they lay great stress on the duties of humanity and charity both to the Israelite and to the stranger (Deut. xxiv.; Lev. xix.; compare also laws affecting the poor in Deut. xv.; Lev. xxv.), but in some respects the legislation of H appears to reflect a more advanced stage than that of D, e.g. the rules for the priesthood (chap. xxi.), the feasts (xxiii. 9-20, 39-43), the Sabbatical year (xxv. 1-7, 18-22), weights and measures (xix. 35 f.). It must be remembered, however, that these laws have passed through more than one stage of revision and that the original regulations have been much obscured by later glosses and additions; it is therefore somewhat hazardous to base any argument on their present form. “The mutual independence of the two (codes) is rather to be argued from the absence of laws identically formulated, the lack of agreement in order either in the whole or in smaller portions, and the fact that of the peculiar motives and phrases of RD there is no trace in H (Lev. xxiii. 40 is almost solitary). It is an unwarranted assumption that all the fragments of Israelite legislation which have been preserved lie in one serial development” (Moore, Ency. Bibl. col. 2790).

The relation of H to Ezekiel is remarkably close, the resemblances between the two being so striking that many writers have regarded Ezekiel as the author of H. Such a theory, however, is excluded by the existence of even greater differences of style and matter, so that the main problem to be decided is whether Ezekiel is prior to H or vice versa. The main arguments brought forward by those who maintain the priority of Ezekiel are (1) the fact that H makes mention of a high priest, whereas Ezekiel betrays no knowledge of such an official, and (2) that the author of Lev. xxvi. presupposes a condition of exile and looks forward to a restoration from it. Too much weight, however, must not be attached to these points; for (1) the phrase used in Lev. xxi. 10 (literally, “he who is greater than his brethren”) cannot be regarded as the equivalent of the definitive “chief priest” of P, and is rather comparable with the usage of 2 Kings xxii. 4 ff., xxv. 18 (“the chief priest”), cf. “the priest” in xi. 9 ff., xvi. 10 ff.; and (2) the passages in Lev. xxvi. (vv. 34 f., 39-45), which are especially cited in support of the exilic standpoint of the writer, are just those which, on other grounds, show signs of later interpolation. The following considerations undoubtedly suggest the priority of H: (1) there is no trace in H of the distinction between priests and Levites first introduced by Ezekiel; (2) Ezekiel xviii., xx., xxii., xxiii. appear to presuppose the laws of Lev. xviii.–xx.; (3) the calendar of Lev. xxiii. represents an earlier stage of development than the fixed days and months of Ezek. xlv.; (4) the sin- and trespass-offerings are not mentioned in H (cf. Ezek. xl. 39, xlii. 13, xliv. 29, xlvi. 20); (5) the parallels to H, which are found especially in Ezek. xviii., xx., xxii. f., include both the paraenetic setting and the laws; and lastly, (6) a comparison of Lev. xxvi. with Ezekiel points to the greater originality of the former. Baentsch, however, who is followed by Bertholet, adopts the view that Lev. xxvi. is rather an independent hortatory discourse modelled on Ezekiel. The same writer further maintains that H consists of three separate elements, viz. chaps. xvii.; xviii.–xx., with various ordinances in chaps. xxiii.–xxv.; and xxii., xxiii., of which the last is certainly later than Ezekiel, while the second is in the main prior to that author. But the arguments which he adduces in favour of the threefold origin of H are not sufficient to outweigh the general impression of unity which the code presents.

Chap. xvii. comprises four main sections which are clearly marked off by similar introductory and closing formulae: (1) vv. 3-7, prohibition of the slaughter of domestic animals, unless they are presented to Yahweh; (2) vv. 8, 9, sacrifices to be offered to Yahweh alone; (3) vv. 10-12, prohibition of the eating of blood; (4) vv. 13, 14, the blood of animals not used in sacrifice to be poured on the ground. The chapter as a whole is to be assigned to H. At the same time it exhibits many marks of affinity with P, a phenomenon most easily explained by the supposition that older laws of H have been expanded and modified by later hands in the spirit of P. Clear instances of such revision may be seen in the references to “the door of the tent of meeting” (vv. 4, 5, 6, 9) and “the camp” (v. 3), as well as in vv. 6, 11, 12-14; vv. 15, 16 (prohibiting the eating of animals that die a natural death or are torn by beasts) differ formally from the preceding paragraphs, and are to be assigned to P. What remains after the excision of later additions, however, is not entirely uniform, and points to earlier editorial work on the part of the compiler of H. Thus vv. 3-7 reflect two points of view, vv. 3, 4 drawing a contrast between profane slaughter and sacrifice, while vv. 5-7 distinguish between sacrifices offered to Yahweh and those offered to demons.

Chap. xviii. contains laws on prohibited marriages (vv. 6-18) and various acts of unchastity (vv. 19-23) embedded in a paraenetic setting (vv. 1-5 and 24-30), the laws being given in the 2nd pers. sing., while the framework employs the 2nd pers. plural. With the exception of v. 21 (on Molech worship), which is here out of place, and has possibly been introduced from xx. 2-5, the chapter displays all the characteristics of H.

Chap. xix. is a collection of miscellaneous laws, partly moral, partly religious, of which the fundamental principle is stated in v. 2 (“Ye shall be holy”). The various laws are clearly defined by the formula “I am Yahweh,” or “I am Yahweh your God,” phrases which are especially characteristic of chaps. xviii.–xx. The first group of laws (vv. 3 f.) corresponds to the first table of the decalogue, while vv. 11-18 are analogous to the second table; vv. 5-8 (on peace-offerings) are obviously out of place here, and are possibly to be restored to the cognate passage xxii. 29 f., while the humanitarian provisions of vv. 9 and 10 (cf. xxiii. 22) have no connexion with the immediate context; similarly v. 20 (to which a later redactor has added vv. 21, 22, in accordance with vi. 6 f.) appears to be a fragment from a penal code; the passage resembles Exod. xxi. 7 ff., and the offence is clearly one against property, the omission of the punishment being possibly due to the redactor who added vv. 21, 22.

Chap. xx. Prohibitions against Molech worship, vv. 2-5, witchcraft, vv. 6 and 27, unlawful marriages and acts of unchastity, vv. 10-21. Like chap. xviii., the main body of laws is provided with a paraenetic setting, vv. 7, 8 and 22-24; it differs from that chapter, however, in prescribing the death penalty in each case for disobedience. Owing to the close resemblance between the two chapters, many critics have assumed that they are derived from the same source and that the latter chapter was added for the purpose of supplying the penalties. This view, however, is not borne out by a comparison of the two chapters, for four of the cases mentioned in chap. xviii. (vv. 7, 10, 17b, 18) are ignored in chap. xx., while the order and in part the terminology are also different; further, it is difficult on this view to explain why the two chapters are separated by chap. xix. A more probable explanation is that the compiler of H has drawn from two parallel, but independent, sources. Signs of revision are not lacking, especially in vv. 2-5, where vv. 4 f. are a later addition intended to reconcile the inconsistency of v. 2 with v. 3 (RH); v. 6, which is closely connected with xix. 31, appears to be less original than v. 27, and may be ascribed to the same hand as v. 3; v. 9 can hardly be in its original context—it would be more suitable after xxiv. 15. The paraenetic setting (vv. 7, 8 and 22-24) is to be assigned to the compiler of H, who doubtless prefaced the parallel version with the additional laws of vv. 2-6. Verses 25, 26 apparently formed the conclusion of a law on clean and unclean animals similar to that of chap. xi., and very probably mark the place where H’s regulations on that subject originally stood.

Chaps. xxi., xxii. A series of laws affecting the priests and offerings, viz. (1) regulations ensuring the holiness of (a) ordinary priests, xxi. 1-9, and (b) the chief priest, vv. 10-15; (2) a list of physical defects which exclude a priest from exercising his office, vv. 16-24; (3) the enjoyment of sacred offerings limited to (a) priests, if they are ceremonially clean, xxi. 1-9, and (b) members of a priestly family, vv. 10-16; (4) animals offered in sacrifice must be without blemish, vv. 17-25; (5) further regulations with regard to sacrifices, vv. 26-30, with a paraenetic conclusion, vv. 31-33.

These chapters present considerable difficulty to the literary critic; for while they clearly illustrate the application of the principle of “holiness,” and in the main exhibit the characteristic phraseology of H, they also display many striking points of contact with P and the later strata of P, which have been closely interwoven into the original laws. These phenomena can be best explained by the supposition that we have here a body of old laws which have been subjected to more than one revision. The nature of the subjects with which they deal is one that naturally appealed to the priestly schools, and owing to this fact the laws were especially liable to modification and expansion at the hands of later legislators who wished to bring them into conformity with later usage. Signs of such revision may be traced back to the compiler of H, but the evidence shows that the process must have been continued down to the latest period of editorial activity in connexion with P. To redactors of the school of P belong such phrases as “the sons of Aaron” (xxi. 1, 24, xxii. 2, 18), “the seed of Aaron” (xxi. 21, xxii. 4 and “thy seed,” v. 17; cf. xxii. 3), “the offerings of the Lord made by fire” (xxi. 6, 21, xxii. 22, 27), “the most holy things” (xxi. 22; cf. xxii. 3 ff. “holy things” only), “throughout their (or your) generations” (xxi. 7, xxii. 3), the references to the anointing of Aaron (xxi. 10, 12) and the Veil (xxi. 23), the introductory formulae (xxi. 1, 16 f., xxii. 1 f., 17 f., 26) and the subscription (xxi. 24). Apart from these redactional additions, chap. xxi. is to be ascribed to H, vv. 6 and 8 being possibly the work of RH. Most critics detect a stronger influence of P in chap. xxii., more especially in vv. 3-7 and 17-25, 29, 30; most probably these verses have been largely recast and expanded by later editors, but it is noticeable that they contain no mention of either sin- or trespass-offerings.

Chap. xxiii. A calendar of sacred seasons. The chapter consists of two main elements which can easily be distinguished from one another, the one being derived from P and the other from H. To the former belongs the fuller and more elaborate description of vv. 4-8, 21, 23-38; to the latter, vv. 9-20, 22, 39-44. Characteristic of the priestly calendar are (1) the enumeration of “holy convocations,” (2) the prohibition of all work, (3) the careful determination of the date by the day and month, (4) the mention of “the offerings made by fire to Yahweh,” and (5) the stereotyped form of the regulations. The older calendar, on the other hand, knows nothing of “holy convocations,” nor of abstinence from work; the time of the feasts, which are clearly connected with agriculture, is only roughly defined with reference to the harvest (cf. Exod. xxiii. 14 ff., xxxiv. 22; Deut. xvi. 9 ff.).

The calendar of P comprises (a) the Feast of Passover and the Unleavened Cakes, vv. 4-8; (b) a fragment of Pentecost, v. 21; (c) the Feast of Trumpets, vv. 23-25; (d) the Day of Atonement, vv. 26-32; and (e) the Feast of Tabernacles, vv. 33-36, with a subscription in vv. 37, 38. With these have been incorporated the older regulations of H on the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, vv. 9-20, which have been retained in place of P’s account (cf. v. 21), and on the Feast of Tabernacles, vv. 39-44, the latter being clearly intended to supplement vv. 33-36. The hand of the redactor who combined the two elements may be seen partly in additions designed to accommodate the regulations of H to P (e.g. v. 39a, “on the fifteenth day of the seventh month,” and 39b, “and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest”), partly in the later expansions corresponding to later usage, vv. 12 f., 18, 19a, 21b, 41. Further, vv. 26-32 (on the Day of Atonement, cf. xvi.) are a later addition to the P sections.

Chap. xxiv. affords an interesting illustration of the manner in which the redactor of P has added later elements to the original code of H. For the first part of the chapter, with its regulations as to (a) the lamps in the Tabernacle, vv. 1-4, and (b) the Shewbread, vv. 5-9, is admittedly derived from P, vv. 1-4, forming a supplement to Exod. xxv. 31-40 (cf. xxvii. 20 f.) and Num. viii. 1-4, and vv. 5-9 to Exod. xxv. 30. The rest of the chapter contains old laws (vv. 15b-22) derived from H on blasphemy, manslaughter and injuries to the person, to which the redactor has added an historical setting (vv. 10-14, 23) as well as a few glosses.

Chap. xxv. lays down regulations for the observance of (a) the Sabbatical year, vv. 1-7, 19-22, and (b) the year of Jubilees, vv. 8-18, 23, and then applies the principle of redemption to (1) land and house property, vv. 24-34, and (2) persons, vv. 35-55. The rules for the Sabbatical year (vv. 1-7) are admittedly derived from H, and vv. 19-22 are also from the same source. Their present position after vv. 8-18 is due to the redactor who wished to apply the same rules to the year of Jubilee. But though the former of the two sections on the year of Jubilee (vv. 8-18, 23) exhibits undoubted signs of P, the traces of H are also sufficiently marked to warrant the conclusion that the latter code included laws relating to the year of Jubilee, and that these have been modified by RP and then connected with the regulations for the Sabbatical year. Signs of the redactor’s handiwork may be seen in vv. 9, 11-13 (the year of Jubilee treated as a fallow year) and 15, 16 (cf. the repetition of “ye shall not wrong one another,” vv. 14 and 17). Both on historical and on critical grounds, however, it is improbable that the principle of restitution underlying the regulations for the year of Jubilee was originally extended to persons in the earlier code. For it is difficult to harmonize the laws as to the release of Hebrew slaves with the other legislation on the same subject (Exod. xxi. 2-6; Deut. xv.), while both the secondary position which they occupy in this chapter and their more elaborate and formal character point to a later origin for vv. 35-55. Hence these verses in the main must be assigned to RP. In this connexion it is noticeable that vv. 35-38, 39-40a, 43, 47, 53, 55, which show the characteristic marks of H, bear no special relation to the year of Jubilee, but merely inculcate a more humane treatment of those Israelites who are compelled by circumstances to sell themselves either to their brethren or to strangers. It is probable, therefore, that they form no part of the original legislation of the year of Jubilee, but were incorporated at a later period. The present form of vv. 24-34 is largely due to RP, who has certainly added vv. 32-34 (cities of the Levites) and probably vv. 29-31.

Chap. xxvi. The concluding exhortation. After reiterating commands to abstain from idolatry and to observe the Sabbath, vv. 1, 2, the chapter sets forth (a) the rewards of obedience, vv. 3-13, and (b) the penalties incurred by disobedience to the preceding laws, vv. 14-46. The discourse, which is spoken throughout in the name of Yahweh, is similar in character to Exod. xxiii. 20-33 and Deut. xxviii., more especially to the latter. That it forms an integral part of H is shown both by the recurrence of the same distinctive phraseology and by the emphasis laid on the same motives. At the same time it is hardly doubtful that the original discourse has been modified and expanded by later hands, especially in the concluding paragraphs. Thus vv. 34, 35, which refer back to xxv. 2 ff., interrupt the connexion and must be assigned to the priestly redactor, while vv. 40-45 display obvious signs of interpolation. With regard to the literary relation of this chapter with Ezekiel, it must be admitted that Ezekiel presents many striking parallels, and in particular makes use, in common with chap. xxvi., of several expressions which do not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament. But there are also points of difference both as regards phraseology and subject-matter, and in view of these latter it is impossible to hold that Ezekiel was either the author or compiler of this chapter.

Chap. xxvii. On the commutation of vows and tithes. The chapter as a whole must be assigned to a later stratum of P, for while vv. 2-25 (on vows) presuppose the year of Jubilee, the section on tithes, vv. 30-33, marks a later stage of development than Num. xviii. 21 ff. (P); vv. 26-29 (on firstlings and devoted things) are supplementary restrictions to vv. 2-25.

Literature.—Commentaries: Dillmann-Ryssel, Die Bücher Exodus und Leviticus (1897); Driver and White, SBOT. Leviticus (English, 1898); B. Baentsch, Exod. Lev. u. Num. (HK, 1900); Bertholet, Leviticus (KHC, 1901). Criticism: The Introductions to the Old Testament by Kuenen, Holzinger, Driver, Cornill, König and the archaeological works of Benzinger and Nowack. Wellhausen, Die Composition des Hexateuchs, &c. (1899); Kayser, Das vorexilische Buch der Urgeschichte Isr. (1874); Klostermann, Zeitschrift für Luth. Theologie (1877); Horst, Lev. xvii.–xxvi. und Hezekiel (1881); Wurster, ZATW (1884); Baentsch, Das Heiligkeitsgesetz (1893); L. P. Paton, “The Relation of Lev. 20 to Lev. 17-19,” Hebraica (1894); “The Original Form of Leviticus,” JBL (1897, 1898); “The Holiness Code and Ezekiel,” Pres. and Ref. Review (1896); Carpenter, Composition of the Hexateuch (1902). Articles on Leviticus by G. F. Moore, Hastings’s Dict. Bib., and G. Harford Battersby, Ency. Bib.  (J. F. St.)