Resources » Asbury Bible Commentary » Part II: The Old Testament » LEVITICUS » Commentary » IV. Regulations for Treatment of Clean and Unclean (11:1–15:33)

IV. Regulations for Treatment of Clean and Unclean (11:1–15:33)

In this, the third major section of Leviticus, the writer presents regulations concerning ritual purity regarding: (1) meat (ch. 11), (2) childbirth (ch. 12), (3) grievous skin diseases and mildew on garments and walls (chs. 13-14), and (4) discharges from the genitals (ch. 15). This material is integrally related to both the previous sections on sacrifices and the priesthood and the following section, which presents laws for holy living. The connection with the previous section is evidenced in the requirements that atonement for uncleanness be made (14:19-32) and that the priests implement the various regulations for ritual purity (10:10-11). The close tie with the following section on holy living (chs. 17-26) is evident in the exhortation to follow the dietary regulations as an expression of consecration to God (11:44-45). This exhortation is based on the declaration “I am the Lord your God,” which is repeated throughout chs. 17-26.

Standing between these two sets of regulations are instructions for the Day of Atonement (ch. 16). This arrangement is clearly intentional on the part of the author of Leviticus. The regulations on uncleanness preceding ch. 16 clarify the key purpose of the Day of Atonement, that is, the purification of the tabernacle from the uncleanness of the people (16:16, 19, 33). Through the ritual on that most important day, Israel became a cleansed and forgiven people. As such, they were motivated to serve God with their whole beings. Consecration in daily living is essential for a vital relationship with God. Thus regulations for holy living (chs. 17-26) aptly follow the ritual for the Day of Atonement.