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Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6


Lesson 9 – Chapters 5 and 6

We began last week to deal with a new class of sacrificial offerings, the asham , that covered another aspect of sin and atonement: making reparations for what one had done whether the offense was intentional and known, or inadvertent and the person didn’t consciously realize he had done a wrong thing.

Years ago, when I first studied Leviticus, all I could focus on was this numbing litany of sacrifices, and the hundreds of meticulous rules and procedures, and the incomprehensibly minute differences between the sorts of things these many sacrifices were supposed to deal with. It was not until later that I realized that I was viewing all this through the lens of a lifetime as a church-going Western Christian who had been taught that far from being complex, the matter of sin and atonement was very simple and straightforward: everybody sinned, all sins were the same in the eyes of the Lord, and the remedy for it was one thing, Jesus Christ. As it turns out, 2 of those 3 premises are true: everybody sins and the only remedy is Jesus. What is not correct, however, is the notion that all sins are the same in the eyes of God. Further, sin and atonement is not a straightforward matter; it is complex, takes on many aspects and we need to understand it.

In the asham sacrifice reparation is being paid to God because it is His holiness that has been trespassed against. A reparation is the making of amends; it is a way to try to make right the wrongs that have been done. It is entirely different than a penalty. Paying the fine for a parking ticket is NOT reparation; it is NOT about making amends, rather paying a fine is a penalty, a punishment. Making reparations is a matter of one’s conscience and soul acknowledging that you did harm to an innocent or undeserving party, and the reparation is an attempt to compensate that party for their injury the best that can be done.

So in the asham, the Lord says that someone has assaulted His holiness, and therefore according to His justice He must be compensated. With the reparation the trespasser is forgiven. But also notice that this reparation compensation MUST be given wholeheartedly; if it is not, if the worshipper pays the reparation price but does so with a bad attitude, it is no reparation at all. It is then no different than a criminal who has robbed a bank, been caught and judged, and sent to prison. There’s no forgiveness at the end of the road, just judgment and penalty.

Let me also editorialize briefly: I hear all too often how a criminal goes to prison and “pays his debt to society”. According to the Bible, that is not so. The criminal is not paying anybody anything; he’s being punished. His victim is not made whole, and no attempt to make amends to that individual occurs. Housing this criminal at our expense because he has harmed

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 someone does not pay society back. What the criminal is doing is baring a penalty for his actions. Paying a debt owed to society is another way to say “reparations”. And no criminal serving jail time is making reparations.

So as we go forward, I hope this serves as a means for you to understand the difference between reparation and a penalty and the asham is about reparation, compensation, not a penalty. Let’s now look at another purpose for the asham sacrifice; verse 17 says this:

CJB Leviticus 5:17 “If someone sins by doing something against any of the mitzvot of ADONAI concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty, even if he is unaware of it; and he bears the consequences of his wrongdoing. This type of sin still falls in the category of unintentional or inadvertent. The concept of inadvertent is not precisely the way we typically think of it. Inadvertent to us means we had no knowledge of it, never MEANT to do it, we didn’t REALIZE it was even happening. It was the purest form of an honest error or accident. Apparently that is not quite the Biblical definition. Inadvertent seems to have more to do with the level of seriousness of the sin, whether or not a person should have reasonably known what he did was wrong, and perhaps even the intent of the worshipper or God’s assessment of the condition of his heart. In other words, it’s much more subjective than it is cut and dried.

The same applies to the concept of how it is that you did NOT realize when you were committing the trespass against God, but later you did. This is another of those hazy and ill- defined matters, of which there is not universal scholarly agreement. First, it doesn’t appear to be an issue whereby the worshipper didn’t know that he was indulging in property that belonged to the priests or the sanctuary, but later found out that it was. Nor was it that the person was unaware that a particular law or command existed, but later he found out that it did. Rather this is that the discovery of his wrongdoing was a result of his own conscience…….he started feeling guilty. And, the guilt was NOT so much that he knew what exactly it was he was guilty of……he just felt guilt.

That may sound strange to us, or even a little emotionally unbalanced……having guilty feelings, but having no idea what you had done wrong to produce the guilt. But, in ancient times there was probably no more universal and feared sin than the possibility of a trespass against the sacred property of a god….and this was not just in Hebrew culture, it was that way in most cultures of that day. Imagine, someone starts to feel guilty and now wonders what terrible fate might befall him as the result of some god or another that he MIGHT have offended; yet, he has absolutely no idea what he might have done wrong, and no priest of that god is able to tell him.

That is more or less the idea here in Lev.5, starting with verse 17. It is a SUSPECTED trespass, not a known trespass that this portion of the ritual covers. Do you understand this? A person simply is worrying that they MIGHT have done something against the Lord. In order to assure that he doesn’t have God’s judgment poured out on him, he decides its best to offer the ‘asham, and confess that he may have sinned against God’s property. But, because no one, not even the worshipper, knows what it is he might have done, he is allowed to bring less

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 of a sacrifice than the person who KNOWS what it is they did wrong. The person who KNOWS what trespass they committed must present a Ram PLUS give an additional 20% of that Ram’s assigned value in silver shekels to the sanctuary. The person who only feels guilt, but neither he nor anyone else knows what he might have done, brings ONLY the Ram and is not required to give the additional silver shekels.

So, in the end, it is probably fair to say that one of the primary purposes of this particular ‘asham was to soothe and calm the nervous wreck of a worshipper, in order to assure him and his family that all would be well between them and God. I mean, let’s face it: in a system as we see being developed here in Leviticus, whereby sin was meticulously defined and a required ritual to atone for each of the many kinds of sin was needed, this must have been a common problem. Many overly sensitive Hebrews probably thought night and day about what they might have done to offend God, and what to do about it, because the consequences could have been devastating. Many modern Christians do the same thing. Always worrying about what they may have done to offend our Father, and how it may have harmed their relationship with Him, and what eternal consequence might come from it. The difference is that in ancient days confession AND an animal sacrifice was necessary on an ongoing basis to deal with sin. Today, for those who accept the finished work of Yeshua, all that is necessary to repair our relationship with the Father is our honest confession to Him and a true spirit of repentance …..the sacrifice was already made in the person of Jesus Christ…..and it is a one-time and permanent sacrifice. Look, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t wonder from time to time (especially if we have encountered sudden and unexplainable difficulties, or illnesses, or set- backs) if we had perhaps done something to grieve our Lord and were now paying a price. It’s like so much else in life: it’s the degree and the balance that is important. Never wondering if one has offended God is about as unproductive as always wondering.

Now, in verse 20, we get a little different slant on what constitutes the type of “sin against the Lord” that the ‘asham sacrifice is meant to atone for. And, it is when the sin revolves around a person doing something against another person. If one casually reads verses 20-26, we would wonder how this has anything to do with sinning against God, when if fact this SEEMS to be all about stealing from you neighbor, or committing extortion against a person, or simply false and deceptive dealing with people. The key is in the first words of verse 24, where it says, “……or anything about which he has sworn falsely”. Remember, if someone has “sworn” to something, by definition they have invoked God’s name. So, in God’s eyes, we’re right back to the issue we first discussed regarding the ‘asham, whereby a person speaks a vow or an oath, in God’s name, and then breaks it. In this case, the vow or oath is that that person has indeed done something against his neighbor but when the matter is brought before a court he lies. He swears falsely. He says he didn’t do it, but in fact he did. It’s the LYING that is the issue, NOT the crime itself.

Now, if THAT doesn’t scare the pants off of you, you didn’t hear what I just said. In God’s economy, swearing in His name falsely is considered a SERIOUS sin….because it is directly against HIM! Sticking that brand new pair of combination pliers in your pocket at Sears is a sin…….but not NEARLY of the seriousness of putting your hand on that Bible and saying you didn’t do it.

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 The person who swears falsely must now make reparation both to the person he has harmed, and to God. First, he must return or make good on whatever it is he has stolen or damaged. He must make the person who he has harmed whole; PLUS he must give that person an extra 20% of the value of item that was involved. In addition to that, he must bring a perfect Ram as his ‘asham sacrifice, or its equivalent in silver shekels, and give it to the priests. I hope you see this: when you do something against a command of God that basically affects only your relationship with God…..like dealing improperly with His holy property, or making a vow to Him and not following through, then reparations are owed ONLY to Him. If you do something against a command of God that harms another person, then reparations are due that harmed person AND they are due God because by definition every sin we commit is a trespass against HIM.

I would like to draw your attention now to the last verse of chapter 5 as it says the worshipper who brings his asham shall be forgiven; because it reinforces what I have been telling you now for some weeks; and that is that Yehoveh did not do a cosmic “bait and switch” on Mankind. He didn’t TELL those people of the OT Biblical days that He would forgive them if they made the proper sacrificial atonement through the priesthood He had established and then not do it. This statement is included in Leviticus over and over again: actual forgiveness occurred. In the end the purpose of all of these sacrifices is for the benefit of the worshipper, the benefit being that his conscience is cleared, and that his relationship with God is restored and maintained. That, folks, should be something we strive for as well.

Let’s turn our attention now to Leviticus chapter 6. It would be best if we read chapters 6 and 7 as one continuous work, because that is what it is. I ask you to recall that biblical chapter and verse numbers, and where a so-called chapter or verse begins and ends is a late addition by scholars added for the purpose of dividing and annotating the Scriptures so that we can more easily study them and communicate to one another about them. In the original each book was a continuous scroll, written like a lengthy letter…..there were no chapters, no verses.

However as it would be a little too tedious in my opinion to continue reading all of Chapter 7 immediately following Chapter 6, we’ll go ahead and study the contents of chapter 6 and read Chapter 7 next time. Just understand that the context and purpose of chapters 6 and 7 are the same.

And the context and purpose is this: these two chapters present the torot , the ritual procedures, for each of the FIVE major sacrificial categories we have now been introduced to: the ‘Olah, the Minchah, the Zevah (or more correctly, the Zevah Shelamim), the Hatta’at, and the ‘Asham. And, NOW THIS IS KEY, what we are going study in chapters 6 and 7 are what the PRIESTS are to do in regards to these various sacrificial offerings. The layman, the regular Israelites had their part in the sacrifices, but the Priests were the officiators of the sacrifices. These two chapters deal with the Priests.

To some extent the instructions of chapters 6 and 7 overlap with what we’ve already studied in chapters 1-5. So to put a sharp point onto it: we saw many remarks in Leviticus chapters 1-5

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 prefaced with the words “if any man”, or “if anyone”, and other such phrases. The idea was that those instructions were speaking primarily to the worshippers, the common man……the non- priests. Contrast that with the remarks prefacing many of the instructions we’ll read in chapters 6 and 7, which will begin, “Command Aaron and his sons”, or “Tell Aaron and his sons”. What class of people does Aaron and his sons represent? Priests…..the priestly class. So, for the sake of clarity, we could say that Leviticus chapters 1-5 are generally “Instructions to the Worshippers”, while Leviticus chapters 6 and 7 could be called “Instructions to the Priests”.

Let’s backup for just a few minutes to put all of this in perspective: the main thing chapters 6 and 7 deal with is: what is to happen with the vast quantities of animals and grain that are used as the sacrificial offerings. And that issue manifests itself primarily in which parts or portions of the animals and grains used for sacrifice may be eaten and which that cannot. In practice MOST sacrifices were to be eaten either by the priests or by the worshippers or in some cases both shared it. In particular, while Israel was out in the Wilderness, almost all meat……probably on the order of 99%…….that was used by Israelites for food was FIRST part of a specific sacrificial ritual. In fact, where animals were sacrificed, in most of the types of sacrifices, only certain portions of the animal were put onto the burnt altar and burned up…..the majority of the animal was used for food. Once Israel entered the Promised Land the law was amended such that meat could be killed for food without it first being part of a sacrifice.

It was part of God’s ordained system that the Israelites’ sacrifices of grain and meat and wine were to be used as the primary means of support for the priests. In effect the idea was that the priests were given some of GOD’s portion to eat, because all that was offered to be sacrificed belonged to Yehoveh. The animals, grains, and wine brought for sacrifice immediately became God’s Holy Property. The instant the sacrificial offering was brought to the Tabernacle grounds, the ownership was transferred to Yehoveh. Part of the meaning of semichah , the ritual of the worshipper laying his hands on the animal’s head as part of the sacrificial ritual, was to designate THIS particular animal as the animal whose ownership was being voluntarily transferred from the worshipper to God, by means of the priesthood. And it was Yehoveh’s to do with as He so pleased. And what He pleased was that some would be burned up into smoke and ashes, and some would be given back to the worshippers as food, and some would be given to His priests as food.


Chapter 6 begins by telling us that what follows is, as it says in verse 2, a command to Aaron and his sons…….to the priests. The first instruction concerns the priests’ duties when conducting the ritual of the ‘Olah, the burnt offering. The priests are told something that is obviously perhaps THE most important element of the burnt offering: the fire must be kept burning and NEVER allowed to go out. We’ll talk about that a little more in just a minute. Next, is that the ‘Olah offering, the animal, is to remain on the altar all night long……let me explain.

The ‘Olah was conducted daily by the priests without fail. Two one year old MALE sheep…..that is, Rams…..were the sacrificial animals. These particular Rams were provided NOT by worshippers, but were from the special flocks owned by the priesthood on behalf of all Israel, and raised for this one purpose. One of the Rams was sacrificed in the morning, and the

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 other was sacrificed in the evening as an offering for the whole nation. The ‘Olah was what began each day’s routine of sacrificing animals (and next grains) on the altar. First, the Ram was killed and burned up, then an accompanying Minchah (grain) offering was burned up, and this was followed up with a libation offering, sometimes of wine, other times of water. Now the evening ‘Olah, the evening burnt offering of a male Ram, was to be left on the fire- grill of the enormous Brazen Altar through the night. This was the LAST sacrifice of the day. No sacrificing was permitted after sundown, therefore no sacrificing was performed AFTER the completion of this evening ‘Olah sacrifice. In the morning a priest had the duty to remove the ashes from the previous day’s round of sacrifices, and to take the now dim altar fire, add wood, and bring it back to the necessary roaring flames to properly and quickly burn up the sacrificial offerings that would be brought all during this new day.

The priest whose duty it is to remove the ashes and stoke the altar fire in the morning is to wear his typical priestly outfit of white linen garments while he is performing the first part of this task. And note the precise steps that must be taken: the ashes are to be removed and piled up beside the Brazen Altar, and THEN the same priest removes his typical priestly garments and changes into another set to move the ash heap to another place. And, while on a practical level this changing of clothing may have something to do with preventing getting ashes all over his priestly garment, that is not the main issue; rather it has to do with this priest needing to cart these ashes from the pile next to the altar to a place OUTSIDE THE CAMP. Here’s that important term again: outside the camp. And, we now know that in Moses’ time, in the days of the Wilderness Tabernacle, OUTSIDE THE CAMP designated a place beyond the area that all those hundreds of thousands of tents the tribes of Israel lived in; tents that were erected in a more or less circular pattern around the Tabernacle. And, outside of this area there was a place where the ashes were dumped. This one little spot was considered to be “clean”; that is NOT defiled or common…..but also not holy.

The priest is to wear his official priestly garments ONLY within the confines of the encampment of Israel, and under most circumstances, the garments he wears while performing his duties at the Wilderness Tabernacle cannot be worn outside the grounds of the Tabernacle for fear of defilement.

As an aside: the priests are to wear garments of fine linen (some items of their outfits also mixed in wool). Not just linen, but the best quality linen. Where did they get that linen? Here they were, when all these instructions were being given to Moses, wandering the Sinai and Arabian deserts. They didn’t grow crops; they basically just pastured flocks and herds. This points out an element of the Exodus that we don’t usually think about: they did a lot of trading and conducting of business during that time. You simply cannot hide a group of 3 million people. Egyptian records, Canaanite records, even Hittite archives indicate an awareness of the various peoples inhabiting Northern Africa and the Middle and Far East of this enormous gaggle of Israelites. And it’s not as though the nation of Israel moved every day. They stayed in one spot usually at least a year, and in other spots even longer. There were precious few suitable locations that provided both pasture for their animals, a plain large enough to camp on, and a water supply sufficient for their needs. I suspect it was fairly common knowledge just exactly where the Israelites were at any given time.

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 So likely as soon as the Israelites escaped Pharaoh’s army, they established contacts with traders and merchants that already were criss-crossing the area where the Hebrews were now traveling. And Israel would have many needs: from certain spices used for seasoning food, to olive oil and frankincense used for both household AND sacrificial purposes, to dyes, to cookware…..the list goes on and on. Chief on that list would have been high quality linen for use by the large and growing priestly class; and linen was a common item offered by traders. What did the Israelites have to trade to obtain these items? Gold and silver. They had been given literally tons and tons of the precious metals when they left Egypt. So they had the ability to buy many important items that they needed in their daily life. And, I suppose, they also bartered animals from their flocks and herds.

Now one of the most interesting and mysterious aspects of this chapter is the instruction that the fire on the altar was to be perpetual…..it was NEVER to go out. Why is that? Well, in fact, we’re never explicitly told in the Bible why that is. The list of suggestions, however, by scholars and Rabbis is long. I don’t want to spend much time with this, because sometimes I think it’s best to just leave a Biblical mystery a mystery. Too often, the search to fill in the blanks of scripture leads to allegory and whole new manmade doctrines being established that are dubious at best.

Calvin had an interesting perspective that at least is scripturally based. He explains what we DO know: and that is that the fire on the Brazen Altar was originally lit by fire coming out of heaven or from “before the Lord”(Lev. 9). That is the fire that first started the Brazen Altar burning was divine fire. And as long as it never went out…..as long as it was kept stoked……all the fire that came from that original divine fire was considered of holy origin. This principle that whatever is extracted from, or is joined to, the divinely holy is itself holy originates from this instruction in Leviticus. Recall a passage in the New Testament that reminds us of that important principle:

CJB Romans 11:16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. Many years later, when Solomon built the first Temple, which was to replace the Tabernacle, and a new and even larger Brazen Altar was built, we are told in 2 Chronicles 7 that when the Temple was consecrated fire came down, again, from heaven and kindled the altar’s fire. Without that occurring (because the altar fire had long ago burned out), nothing of a holy and therefore atoning nature could have occurred at the Brazen Altar. It would have amounted to no more than an enormous Bar-B-Que pit.

Therefore, since the command was never to let THIS particular fire at the Altar goes out, there was something special associated with it. In some ethereal way that is not fully explained, God’s own presence was associated with the fire of the Brazen Altar. You see in God’s economy, without blood, and without the divine fire to burn it up, atonement was impossible. If the altar fire were ever quenched atonement would become impossible because manmade fire was unsuitable. The coals used on the Altar of Incense inside the Tabernacle also HAD to come from the coals produced in the Brazen Altar; so if the Brazen Altar fire were quenched, they couldn’t even offer incense to Yehoveh. So there was perhaps no more sacred and

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 important duty performed by the priesthood than to assure than under NO CIRCUMSTANCES did that Altar fire go out.

Remembering that all the New Testament was written while the Temple was still standing and therefore all these Levitical rituals were still being performed (except probably during some of the later writings of John), the earthly NT authors would have used those all-important Temple procedures that they had participated in since their earliest childhood (and continued to participate in, by the way, even after Christ) as analogies and illustrations in their writings. When in 1 Thessalonians Paul says to his Christian brothers “do not quench the Spirit”, he was almost certainly using the analogy of quenching the perpetual Brazen Altar fire; that is, since the advent of Yeshua HaMashiach the Spirit of God that has been placed in every Believer is now representative of the holy fire that burned on the Brazen Altar….and it was irreplaceable by manmade means. Quenching the Holy Spirit brought the same result as quenching the Altar fire; God’s presence would have vanished and there was no means by which a man could replace it. I can think of no greater catastrophe than that.

Beginning in verse 7, the subject changes from the ‘Olah to the Minchah rituals that the priests were to perform. The Minchah, as you recall, involved grain….. sometimes called meal, like in the term corn meal .

We learned in Chapter 2 that the preparation of the Minchah could be in a number of ways, usually one or the other being specifically called for depending on when and who the worshipper was that was associated with the Minchah offering. It could have been cooked or uncooked flour. It could be baked in an oven, or grilled on a griddle. It could even have been produced in wafer form.

Now, interestingly, we see here that the priests were REQUIRED to eat of the Minchah offering; they didn’t have the option of saying, “no thanks, I’m not hungry for grain today”. The ritual is VERY specific: in the case of the Minchah offering eaten by priests, a portion of the flour offered must be used to make Unleavened cakes; and it was these unleavened cakes that the priests were to eat. Further they MUST eat it inside the Tabernacle. Just to be clear, this does NOT mean inside the actual tent or later, Temple. It meant inside the courtyard of the Tabernacle, and they usually ate at the “door” into the sanctuary. And, the remainder, the uneaten part, must be destroyed.

In verse 10 we are told why such specific instructions are given as to how the priests are to eat this grain; it is because this food is classified as kodesh-kodashim….. most sacred offerings . All the offerings of chapter 6, and the first few verses of chapter 7, are classified as “most sacred”. The remainder of chapter 7 regards the offerings as kodashim Kallim….. offerings of lesser sanctity . Just as we are discovering that Leviticus classifies sins into different categories that reflect more or less seriousness in Yehoveh’s eyes, so are the sacrifices put into an order based on their level of holiness.

Verse 11 tells us that only males, and only Aaron’s descendants, can eat of this portion. Now let me explain that. While all of Aaron’s descendants are Levites, not all Levites are Aaron’s descendants. Aaron’s descendants are called cohen ……priests. If a person is a cohen they are a

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 blood descendant of Aaron and entitled to be a priest. The tribe of Levi was made up of many families, of which Aaron’s was but one. We must not think that the terms Levite and priest are one in the same. Even though the Levites are often called the priestly tribe, in reality only ONE of the several families of Levites is qualified to be priests……the descendants of Aaron. The other Levite families and their descendants are given other duties involving the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. But, they are not called “priests”, and they cannot officiate the various rituals we’re reading about in Leviticus.

Now, the end of verse 11 faces us with another mystery. Look at it carefully. The last sentence of verse 11 says (depending on your Bible version) “…… anything that touches these shall become holy.” This is not the last time we’ll here this statement. So, exactly does that mean. Does it mean, in this case, that any person who touches this holy portion of food set aside for the Priests becomes holy? Does it mean that the plate the food from the sacrifice is served on becomes holy simply because it came into contact with food that has be declared holy? Actually, up to now, that has been the general verdict as to the meaning of this. Many theologians and bible scholars have determined that verse 11’s meaning is that anything that comes in contact with holiness becomes holy itself. We’re not going to spend too much time with this right now, but we can’t simply go around it and ignore it either. And I have serious reservations about whether the common translation and meaning of this verse is correct.

Baruch Levine, one of the foremost Hebrew and Old Testament scholars of our day, thinks that perhaps there is a more credible meaning that better fits the overall pattern on this rather important subject that is laid out throughout the entire Bible. And that Biblical pattern is this: that whatever touches anything unclean, becomes unclean. But, anything that touches holiness does NOT necessarily become holy. To the contrary, if something that is NOT clean or holy touches holiness…. or, better, if something that is not AUTHORIZED touches holiness, it usually results in death and destruction. Is it because some element of holiness was contracted by someone or something that was never intended to have it that he or it must be destroyed? Probably. The pattern seems to be a one-way street…….uncleanness can be transferred via contact to something that was clean……but holiness must not be transferred by contact to something that was unclean or common. Holiness can only be IMPUTED. That is, God bestows holiness. God makes rules as to what and who can be holy, and how it can happen. Nothing becomes holy by accident…..a person cannot buy holiness nor obtain it by his own will……….but MUCH becomes unclean, unholy, by accident.

So with that pattern in mind, a better rendering of the instruction here that usually reads, “anything that touches these becomes holy”, is probably, “anyone who is to touch these must be in a holy state”. So, for instance, the verse we are discussing is saying that ONLY people who are in a state of holiness are authorized to come into contact with the holy portion of food. All else are excluded. We can all recall the stories in the Bible of what happened when the Philistines took the precious and unimaginably holy Ark of the Covenant from Israel in battle; thousands of Philistines died, the statue of their chief god Dagan was toppled and destroyed. We even read of the Ark being transported by Levites, and when it appeared that the Ark might fall, a Levite reached out his hand and touched the Ark to steady it….and that man died on the spot. Perhaps the best and most explicit proof, though, of Levine’s point of view is contained in Haggai.

Lesson 9 – Leviticus 5 & 6 Turn your Bibles, if you would, to Haggai chapter 2, verse 11. The general context here is whether or not the people of Israel are clean or unclean. And, the issue is: how is holiness, and conversely, un-holiness (the usual Biblical term being uncleanness) transmitted?


Here it is stated clearly, that it is common knowledge in that day that the protocol of Holiness is that it generally can NOT be transferred by mere physical touch, BUT…… uncleanness (un- holiness) most certainly CAN be transferred by touch and in fact regularly IS. Holiness can be defiled by contacting the common or unclean; therefore it is critical that holiness must be carefully guarded.

We’ll continue in chapter 6 next time.