Add parallel Print Page Options

Priests[a] must not have a bald spot shaved on their head, they must not shave the corner of their beard, and they must not cut slashes in their body.[b]

“‘They must be holy to their God, and they must not profane[c] the name of their God, because they are the ones who present the Lord’s gifts,[d] the food of their God. Therefore they must be holy.[e] They must not take a wife defiled by prostitution,[f] nor are they to take a wife divorced from her husband,[g] for the priest[h] is holy to his God.[i]

Read full chapter


  1. Leviticus 21:5 tn Heb “they”; the referent (priests, see the beginning of v. 1) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. Leviticus 21:5 tn Heb “and in their body they shall not [cut] slash[es]” (cf. Lev 19:28). The context connects these sorts of mutilations with mourning rites (cf. Lev 19:27-28 above).
  3. Leviticus 21:6 sn Regarding “profane,” see the note on Lev 10:10 above.
  4. Leviticus 21:6 sn Regarding the Hebrew term for “gifts,” see the note on Lev 1:9 above (cf. also 3:11 and 16 in combination with the word for “food” that follows in the next phrase here).
  5. Leviticus 21:6 tc Smr and all early versions have the plural adjective “holy” rather than the MT singular noun “holiness.”
  6. Leviticus 21:7 tn Heb “A wife harlot and profaned they shall not take.” The structure of the verse (e.g., “wife” at the beginning of the two main clauses) suggests that “harlot and profaned” constitutes a hendiadys, meaning “a wife defiled by harlotry” (see the explanation in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 143, as opposed to that in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 343, 348; cf. v. 14 below). Cf. NASB “a woman who is profaned by harlotry.”
  7. Leviticus 21:7 sn For a helpful discussion of divorce in general and as it relates to this passage see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 143-44.
  8. Leviticus 21:7 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the priest) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  9. Leviticus 21:7 tn The pronoun “he” in this clause refers to the priest, not the former husband of the divorced woman.