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Leviticus 21:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Jehovah said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none defile himself for the dead among his people;
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: ‘No one shall defile himself for a [dead] person among his people,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Jehovah said to Moses, Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none make himself unclean for a dead person among his peoples,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And Yahweh said unto Moses, Say unto the priests, the sons of Aaron,—yea thou shalt say unto them, For a dead person, shall no one make himself unclean, among his people:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Jehovah saith unto Moses, 'Speak unto the priests, sons of Aaron, and thou hast said unto them, For [any] person [a priest] is not defiled among his people,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— The Lord said also to Moses: Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and thou shalt say for them: Let not a priest incur an uncleanness at the death of his citizens.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And the LORD said vnto Moses; Speake vnto the Priests the sonnes of Aaron, and say vnto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the Lord spoke to Mosheh{gr.Moses}, saying, Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and thou shalt tell them [that] they shall not defile themselves in their nation for the dead,
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Yahweh said unto Mosheh, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aharon, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
M מֹשֶׁה, 4872
{4872} Prime
מֹשֶׁה
Mosheh
{mo-sheh'}
From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver.
Speak 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
the priests 3548
{3548} Prime
כֹּהֵן
kohen
{ko-hane'}
Active participle of H3547; literally one officiating, a priest; also (by courtesy) an acting priest (although a layman).
the sons 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Ahrn אַהֲרֹן, 175
{0175} Prime
אַהֲרֹן
'Aharown
{a-har-one'}
Of uncertain derivation; Aharon, the brother of Moses.
and say 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
them, There shall none x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
be defiled 2930
{2930} Prime
טָמֵא
tame'
{taw-may'}
A primitive root; to be foul, especially in a ceremonial or moral sense (contaminated).
z8691
<8691> Grammar
Stem - Hithpael (See H8819)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 533
for the dead 5315
{5315} Prime
נֶפֶשׁ
nephesh
{neh'-fesh}
From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).
among his people: 5971
{5971} Prime
עַם
`am
{am}
From H6004; a people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribe (as those of Israel); hence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Leviticus 21:1

_ _ Leviticus 21:1-24. Of the priest’s mourning.

_ _ There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people — The obvious design of the regulations contained in this chapter was to keep inviolate the purity and dignity of the sacred office. Contact with a corpse, or even contiguity to the place where it lay, entailing ceremonial defilement (Numbers 19:14), all mourners were debarred from the tabernacle for a week; and as the exclusion of a priest during that period would have been attended with great inconvenience, the whole order were enjoined to abstain from all approaches to the dead, except at the funerals of relatives, to whom affection or necessity might call them to perform the last offices. Those exceptional cases, which are specified, were strictly confined to the members of their own family, within the nearest degrees of kindred.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Leviticus 21:1-9

_ _ It was before appointed that the priests should teach the people the statutes God had given concerning the difference between clean and unclean, Leviticus 10:10, Leviticus 10:11. Now here it is provided that they should themselves observe what they were to teach the people. Note, Those whose office it is to instruct must do it by example as well as precept, 1 Timothy 4:12. The priests were to draw nearer to God than any of the people, and to be more intimately conversant with sacred things, and therefore it was required of them that they should keep at a greater distance than others from every thing that was defiling and might diminish the honour of their priesthood.

_ _ I. They must take care not to disparage themselves in their mourning for the dead. All that mourned for the dead were supposed to come near the body, if not to touch it: and the Jews say, “It made a man ceremonially unclean to come within six feet of a dead corpse;” nay, it is declared (Numbers 19:14) that all who come into the tent where the dead body lies shall be unclean seven days. Therefore all the mourners that attended the funeral could not but defile themselves, so as not to be fit to come into the sanctuary for seven days: for this reason it is ordered, 1. That the priests should never put themselves under this incapacity of coming into the sanctuary, unless it were for one of their nearest relations, Leviticus 21:1-3. A priest was permitted to do it for a parent or a child, for a brother or an unmarried sister, and therefore, no doubt (though this is not mentioned) for the wife of his bosom; for Ezekiel, a priest, would have mourned for his wife if he had not been particularly prohibited, Ezekiel 24:17. By this allowance God put an honour upon natural affection, and favoured it so far as to dispense with the attendance of his servants for seven days, while they indulged themselves in their sorrow for the death of their dear relations; but, beyond this period, weeping must not hinder sowing, nor their affection to their relations take them off from the service of the sanctuary. Nor was it at all allowed for the death of any other, no, not of a chief man among the people, as some read it, Leviticus 21:4. They must not defile themselves, no, nor for the high priest himself, unless thus akin to them. Though there is a friend that is nearer than a brother, yet the priests must not pay this respect to the best friend they had, except he were a relation, lest, if it were allowed for one, others should expect it, and so they should be frequently taken off from their work: and it is hereby intimated that there is a particular affection to be reserved for those that are thus near akin to us; and, when any such are removed by death, we ought to be affected with it, and lay it to heart, as the near approach of death to ourselves, and an alarm to us to prepare to follow. 2. That they must not be extravagant in the expressions of their mourning, no, not for their dearest relations, Leviticus 21:5. Their mourning must not be either, (1.) Superstitious, according to the manner of the heathen, who cut off their hair, and let out their blood, in honour of the imaginary deities which presided (as they thought) in the congregation of the dead, that they might engage them to be propitious to their departed friends. Even the superstitious rites used of old at funerals are an indication of the ancient belief of the immortality of the soul, and its existence in a separate state: and though the rites themselves were forbidden by the divine law, because they were performed to false gods, yet the decent respect which nature teaches and which the law allows to be paid to the remains of our deceased friends, shows that we are not to look upon them as lost. Nor, (2.) Must it be passionate or immoderate. Note, God's ministers must be examples to others of patience under affliction, particularly that which touches in a very tender part, the death of their near relations. They are supposed to know more than others of the reasons why we must not sorrow as those that have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), and therefore they ought to be eminently calm and composed, that they may be able to comfort others with the same comforts wherewith they are themselves comforted of God. The people were forbidden to mourn for the dead with superstitious rites (Leviticus 19:27, Leviticus 19:28), and what was unlawful to them was much more unlawful to the priest. The reason given for their peculiar care not to defile themselves we have (Leviticus 21:6): Because they offered the bread of their God, even the offerings of the Lord made by fire, which were the provisions of God's house and table. They are highly honoured, and therefore must not stain their honour by making themselves slaves to their passions; they are continually employed in sacred service, and therefore must not be either diverted from or disfitted for the services they were called to. If they pollute themselves, they profane the name of their God on whom they attend: if the servants are rude and of ill behaviour, it is a reflection upon the master, as if he kept a loose and disorderly house. Note, All that either offer or eat the bread of our God must be holy in all manner of conversation, or else they profane that name which they pretend to sanctify.

_ _ II. They must take care not to degrade themselves in their marriage, Leviticus 21:7. A priest must not marry a woman of ill fame, that either had been guilty or was suspected to have been guilty of uncleanness. He must not only not marry a harlot, though ever so great a penitent for her former whoredoms, but he must not marry one that was profane, that is, of a light carriage or indecent behaviour. Nay, he must not marry one that was divorced, because there was reason to think it was for some fault she was divorced. The priests were forbidden to undervalue themselves by such marriages as these, which were allowed to others, 1. Lest it should bring a present reproach upon their ministry, harden the profane in their profaneness, and grieve the hearts of serious people: the New Testament gives laws to ministers' wives (1 Timothy 3:11), that they be grave and sober, that the ministry be not blamed. 2. Lest it should entail a reproach upon their families; for the work and honour of the priesthood were to descend as an inheritance to their children after them. Those do not consult the good of their posterity as they ought who do not take care to marry such as are of good report and character. He that would seek a godly seed (as the expression is, Malachi 2:15) must first seek a godly wife, and take heed of a corruption of blood. It is added here (Leviticus 21:8), Thou shalt sanctify him, and he shall be holy unto thee. “Not only thou, O Moses, by taking care that these laws be observed, but thou, O Israel, by all endeavours possible to keep up the reputation of the priesthood, which the priests themselves must do nothing to expose or forfeit. He is holy to his God (Leviticus 21:7), therefore he shall be holy unto thee.” Note, We must honour those whom our God puts honour upon. Gospel ministers by this rule are to be esteemed very highly in love for their works' sake (1 Thessalonians 5:13), and every Christian must look upon himself as concerned to be the guardian of their honour.

_ _ III. Their children must be afraid of doing any thing to disparage them (Leviticus 21:9): If the daughter of any priest play the whore, her crime is great; she not only polluteth but profaneth herself: other women have not that honour to lose that she has, who, as one of a priest's family, has eaten of the holy things, and is supposed to have been better educated than others. Nay, she profaneth her father; he is reflected upon, and every body will be ready to ask, “Why did not he teach her better?” And the sinners in Zion will insult and say, “Here is your priest's daughter.” Her punishment there must be peculiar: She shall be burnt with fire, for a terror to all priests' daughters. Note, The children of ministers ought, of all others, to take heed of doing any thing that is scandalous, because in them it is doubly scandalous, and will be punished accordingly by him whose name is Jealous.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Leviticus 21:1

Among his people — None of the priests shall touch the dead body, or assist at his funeral, or eat of the funeral feast. The reason of this law is evident, because by such pollution they were excluded from converse with men, to whom by their function they were to be serviceable upon all occasions, and from the handling of holy things. And God would hereby teach them, and in them all successive ministers, that they ought entirely to give themselves to the service of God. Yea, to renounce all expressions of natural affection, and all worldly employments, so far as they are impediments to the discharge of their holy services.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Leviticus 21:1

And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be (a) defiled for the dead among his people:

(a) By touching the dead, lamenting, or being at their burial.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Speak:

Hosea 5:1 Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment [is] toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
Malachi 2:1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment [is] for you.
Malachi 2:4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.

There:

Leviticus 21:11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
Leviticus 10:6-7 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled. ... And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD [is] upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
Numbers 19:14 This [is] the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that [is] in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
Numbers 19:16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
Ezekiel 44:25 And they shall come at no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister that hath had no husband, they may defile themselves.
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Lv 10:6; 21:11. Nu 19:14, 16. Ezk 44:25. Ho 5:1. Mal 2:1, 4.

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