New English Translation
Religious and Social Regulations
19 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Speak to the whole congregation of the Israelites and tell them, ‘You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 3 Each of you must respect his mother and his father,[a] and you must keep my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols,[b] and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal. I am the Lord your God.
Eating the Peace Offering
5 “‘When you sacrifice a peace-offering sacrifice to the Lord, you must sacrifice it so that it is accepted for you.[c] 6 It must be eaten on the day of your sacrifice and on the following day,[d] but what is left over until the third day must be burned up.[e] 7 If, however, it is eaten[f] on the third day, it is spoiled;[g] it will not be accepted, 8 and the one who eats it will bear his punishment for iniquity[h] because he has profaned[i] what is holy to the Lord.[j] That person will be cut off from his people.[k]
Leaving the Gleanings
9 “‘When you gather in the harvest[l] of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field,[m] and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You must not pick your vineyard bare,[n] and you must not gather up the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You must leave them for the poor and the resident foreigner.[o] I am the Lord your God.
11 “‘You must not steal, you must not tell lies, and you must not deal falsely with your fellow citizen.[p] 12 You must not swear falsely[q] in my name, so that you do not profane[r] the name of your God. I am the Lord. 13 You must not oppress your neighbor or commit robbery against your neighbor.[s] You must not withhold[t] the wages of the hired laborer overnight until morning. 14 You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person.[u] You must fear[v] your God; I am the Lord.
Justice, Love, and Propriety
15 “‘You[w] must not deal unjustly in judgment:[x] You must neither show partiality to the poor nor honor the rich.[y] You must judge your fellow citizen fairly.[z] 16 You must not go about as a slanderer among your people.[aa] You must not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake.[ab] I am the Lord. 17 You must not hate your brother in your heart. You must surely reprove your fellow citizen so that you do not incur sin on account of him.[ac] 18 You must not take vengeance or bear a grudge against[ad] any of your people,[ae] but you must love your neighbor as yourself.[af] I am the Lord. 19 You must keep my statutes. You must not allow two different kinds of your animals to breed together,[ag] you must not sow your field with two different kinds of seed, and you must not wear[ah] a garment made of two different kinds of material.[ai]
Lying with a Slave Woman
20 “‘When a man goes to bed with a woman for intercourse,[aj] although she is a slave woman designated for another man and she has not yet been ransomed, or freedom has not been granted to her, there will be an obligation to pay compensation.[ak] They must not be put to death, because she was not free. 21 He must bring his guilt offering to the Lord at the entrance of the Meeting Tent, a guilt offering ram,[al] 22 and the priest is to make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he has committed,[am] and he will be forgiven[an] of his sin[ao] that he has committed.
The Produce of Fruit Trees
23 “‘When you enter the land and plant any fruit tree,[ap] you must consider its fruit to be forbidden.[aq] Three years it will be forbidden to you;[ar] it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, praise offerings[as] to the Lord. 25 Then in the fifth year you may eat its fruit to add its produce to your harvest.[at] I am the Lord your God.
Blood, Hair, Body, and Prostitution
26 “‘You must not eat anything with the blood still in it.[au] You must not practice either divination or soothsaying.[av] 27 You must not round off the corners of the hair on your head or ruin the corners of your beard.[aw] 28 You must not slash your body for a dead person[ax] or incise a tattoo on yourself.[ay] I am the Lord. 29 Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute,[az] so that the land does not practice prostitution and become full of lewdness.[ba]
Sabbaths, Purity, Honor, Respect, and Honesty
30 “‘You must keep my Sabbaths and fear my sanctuary. I am the Lord. 31 Do not turn to the spirits of the dead and do not seek familiar spirits[bb] to become unclean by them. I am the Lord your God. 32 You must stand up in the presence of the aged, honor the presence of an elder, and fear your God. I am the Lord. 33 When a resident foreigner[bc] lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. 34 The resident foreigner[bd] who lives with you must be to you as a native citizen among you; so[be] you must love the foreigner as yourself, because you were foreigners[bf] in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. 35 You must not do injustice in the regulation of measures, whether of length, weight, or volume.[bg] 36 You must have honest balances,[bh] honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin.[bi] I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt. 37 You must be sure to obey all my statutes and regulations.[bj] I am the Lord.’”
- Leviticus 19:3 tn Heb “A man his mother and his father you [plural] shall fear.” The LXX, Syriac, Vulgate, and certain Targum mss reverse the order, “his father and his mother.” The term “fear” is subject to misunderstanding by the modern reader, so “respect” has been used in the translation. Cf. NAB, NRSV “revere”; NASB “reverence.”
- Leviticus 19:4 sn Regarding the difficult etymology and meaning of the term for “idols” (אֱלִילִים, ʾelilim), see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 126; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 304; N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers (NBC), 89; and Judith M. Hadley, NIDOTTE 1:411. It appears to be a diminutive play on words with אֵל (ʾel, “god; God”) and, perhaps at the same time, recalls a common Semitic word for “worthless; weak; powerless; nothingness.” Snaith suggests a rendering of “worthless godlings.”
- Leviticus 19:5 tn Heb “for your acceptance”; cf. NIV, NLT “it will be accepted on your behalf.”
- Leviticus 19:6 tn Heb “from the following day” (HALOT 572 s.v. מָחֳרָת 2.b).
- Leviticus 19:6 tn Heb “shall be burned with fire”; KJV “shall be burnt in the fire.” Because “to burn with fire” is redundant in contemporary English the present translation simply has “must be burned up.”
- Leviticus 19:7 tn Heb “And if being eaten [infinitive absolute] it is eaten [finite verb].” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p.
- Leviticus 19:7 tn Or “desecrated,” or “defiled,” or “forbidden.” For this difficult term see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:422, on Lev 7:18.
- Leviticus 19:8 tn See the note on Lev 17:16 above.
- Leviticus 19:8 sn Regarding “profaned,” see the note on Lev 10:10 above.
- Leviticus 19:8 tn Heb “the holiness of the Lord.”
- Leviticus 19:8 sn On the “cut off” penalty see the note on Lev 7:20.
- Leviticus 19:9 tn Heb “And in your harvesting the harvest.”
- Leviticus 19:9 tn Heb “you shall not complete the corner of your field to harvest.”
- Leviticus 19:10 tn Heb “And you shall not deal severely with your vineyard.”
- Leviticus 19:10 sn On the Hebrew ger (גֵּר) “resident foreigner” see notes at Exod 12:19 and Deut 29:11. On the privilege of gleaning see also Lev 23:22; Deut 14:29; 24:19-21.
- Leviticus 19:11 tn Heb “you shall not deal falsely a man with his fellow citizen.”
- Leviticus 19:12 tn Heb “And you shall not swear to the falsehood.”
- Leviticus 19:12 tn Heb “and you shall not profane”; NAB “thus profaning.”
- Leviticus 19:13 tn Heb “You shall not oppress your neighbor and you shall not rob.”
- Leviticus 19:13 tn Heb “hold back with you”; perhaps “hold back for yourself” (cf. NRSV “keep for yourself”).
- Leviticus 19:14 tn Heb “You shall not curse a deaf [person] and before a blind [person] you shall not put a stumbling block.”
- Leviticus 19:14 tn Heb “And you shall fear.” Many English versions (e.g., KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV) regard the Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) as adversative in force here (“but”).
- Leviticus 19:15 tc Smr has the singular rather than the plural “you” of the MT, which brings this verb form into line with the ones surrounding it.
- Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “You shall not do injustice in judgment” (NASB similar); cf. NIV “do not pervert justice.”
- Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “You shall not lift up faces of poor [people] and you shall not honor faces of great.”
- Leviticus 19:15 tn Heb “In righteousness you shall judge your fellow citizen.”
- Leviticus 19:16 tn The term רָכִיל (rakhil) is traditionally rendered “slanderer” here (so NASB, NIV, NRSV; see also J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 304, 316), but the exact meaning is uncertain (see the discussion in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 129). It is sometimes related to I רָכַל (rakhal, “to go about as a trader [or “merchant”]”; BDB 940 s.v. רָכַל), and taken to refer to cutthroat business dealings, but there may be a II רָכַל, the meaning of which is dubious (HALOT 1237 s.v. II *רכל). Some would render it “to go about as a spy.”
- Leviticus 19:16 tn Heb “You shall not stand on the blood of your neighbor.” This part of the verse is also difficult to interpret. The rendering here suggests that one will not allow a neighbor to be victimized, whether in court (cf. v. 15) or in any other situation (see the discussion in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 129).
- Leviticus 19:17 tn Heb “and you will not lift up on him sin.” The meaning of the line is somewhat obscure. It means either (1) that one should rebuke one’s neighbor when he sins lest one also becomes guilty, which is the way it is rendered here (see NIV, NRSV, NEB, JB; see also B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 129-30, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 303, and the discussion on pp. 316-17), or (2) one may rebuke one’s neighbor without incurring sin just as long as he does not hate him in his heart (see the first part of the verse; cf. NASB, NAB).
- Leviticus 19:18 tn Heb “and you shall not retain [anger?].” This line seems to refer to the retaining or maintaining of some vengeful feelings toward someone. Compare the combination of the same terms for taking vengeance and maintaining wrath against enemies in Nahum 1:2 (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 305).
- Leviticus 19:18 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”
- Leviticus 19:18 sn Some scholars make a distinction between the verb אָהֵב (ʾahev, “to love”) with the direct object and the more unusual construction with the preposition ל (lamed) as it is here and in Lev 19:34 and 2 Chr 19:2 only. If there is a distinction, the construction here probably calls for direct and helpful action toward one’s neighbor (see the discussion in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 305, and esp. 317-18). Such love stands in contrast to taking vengeance or bearing a grudge against someone and, in NT terms, amounts to fulfilling the so-called “golden rule” (Matt 7:12).
- Leviticus 19:19 tn Heb “Your animals, you shall not cross-breed two different kinds.”
- Leviticus 19:19 tn Heb “you shall not cause to go up on you.”
- Leviticus 19:19 sn Cf. Deut 22:11 where the Hebrew term translated “two different kinds” (כִּלְאַיִם, kilʾayim) refers to a mixture of linen and wool woven together in a garment.
- Leviticus 19:20 tn Heb “And a man when he lies with a woman, the lying of seed.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakav) “to lie down” acts as a euphemism, implying going to bed for sexual relations. In this case, the phrase “lying for (a man’s) seed” specifies that it refers to sexual intercourse.
- Leviticus 19:20 sn That is, the woman had previously been assigned for marriage to another man but the marriage deal had not yet been consummated. In the meantime, the woman has lost her virginity and has, therefore, lost part of her value to the master in the sale to the man for whom she had been designated. Compensation was, therefore, required (see the explanation in B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 130-31).
- Leviticus 19:21 sn On the guilt offering see the note on Lev 5:15 above.
- Leviticus 19:22 tn Heb “on his sin which he has sinned.”
- Leviticus 19:22 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him.”
- Leviticus 19:22 tn Heb “from his sin.”
- Leviticus 19:23 tn Heb “tree of food”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV “trees for food.”
- Leviticus 19:23 tn Heb “you shall circumcise its fruit [as] its foreskin,” taking the fruit to be that which is to be removed and, therefore, forbidden. Since the fruit is uncircumcised it is forbidden (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 306, and esp. B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 131-32).
- Leviticus 19:23 tn Heb “it shall be to you uncircumcised.”
- Leviticus 19:24 tn See B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 132, where the translation reads “set aside for jubilation”; a special celebration before the Lord.
- Leviticus 19:25 tn Heb “to add to you its produce.” The rendering here assumes that the point of this clause is simply that finally being allowed to eat the fruit in the fifth year adds the fruit of the tree to their harvest. Some take the verb to be from אָסַף (ʾasaf, “to gather”) rather than יָסַף (yasaf, “to add; to increase”), rendering the verse, “to gather to you the produce” (E. S. Gerstenberger, Leviticus [OTL], 260, and see the versions referenced in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 306). Others take it to mean that by following the regulations given previously they will honor the Lord so that the Lord will cause the trees to increase the amount of fruit they would normally produce (Hartley, 303, 306; cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Leviticus 19:26 tn Heb “You shall not eat on the blood.” See the extensive remarks in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 319-20, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 132-33. The LXX has “on the mountains,” suggesting that this is a prohibition against illegitimate places and occasions of worship, not the eating of blood.
- Leviticus 19:26 tn Heb “You shall not practice divination and you shall not practice soothsaying”; cf. NRSV “practice augury or witchcraft.” For suggestions regarding the practices involved see B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 133, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 320.
- Leviticus 19:27 tc Heb “and you [singular] shall not ruin the corner of your [singular] beard.” Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. have the plural pronouns (i.e., “you” and “your” plural) rather than the singular of the MT.
- Leviticus 19:28 tn Heb “And slash for the soul you shall not give.” The Hebrew term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul, person, life”) can sometimes refer to a “dead person” (cf. Lev 21:1, 5; 22:5). See J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 306, 320-21.
- Leviticus 19:28 tn Heb “and a writing of incision you shall not give in you.”
- Leviticus 19:29 tn Heb “to make her practice harlotry.” Some recent English versions regard this as religious or temple prostitution (cf. TEV, CEV).
- Leviticus 19:29 tn Heb “and the land become full of lewdness.” Regarding the term “lewdness,” see the note on Lev 18:17 above.
- Leviticus 19:31 sn The prohibition here concerns those who would seek special knowledge through the spirits of the dead, whether the dead in general or dead relatives in particular (i.e., familiar spirits; see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 321, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 134). Cf. Lev 20:6 below.
- Leviticus 19:33 tn The noun “foreigner” (גֵּר; ger) is based on the same verbal root as “lives” (גּוּר; gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as an alien.” On the Hebrew ger (גֵּר) “resident foreigner” see notes at Exod 12:19 and Deut 29:11. On not oppressing the ger, see also Exod 22:21; Deut 24:14, 17; 27:19.
- Leviticus 19:34 tn The noun “foreigner” (גֵּר; ger) is based on the same verbal root as “lives” (גּוּר; gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as an alien.”
- Leviticus 19:34 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.
- Leviticus 19:34 sn The same term ger (גֵּר) is used for the resident foreigner living in Israel and of the Israelite who lived in Israel, despite the very different social conditions of each. A foreign resident has differing status in different countries. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but the resident foreigner in Israel was under the same laws (civil and religious) as the Israelite and could worship the Lord as part of the covenant community. Several passages emphasize equal standing under Mosaic Law (Exod 12:49; Lev 24:22; Num 9:14; 15:15, 16, 26, 29; 19:10; 35:15; Deut 1:16) or similar obligations (Exod 20:10; 23:12; Lev 16:29; 17:10, 12, 13; 18:26; 24:16; Num 15:14). For more on the ger (גֵּר), see the notes at Exod 12:19 and Deut 29:11.
- Leviticus 19:35 tn That is, liquid capacity (HALOT 640 s.v. מְשׂוּרָה). Cf. ASV, NIV, NRSV, TEV “quantity”; NAB, NASB “capacity.”
- Leviticus 19:36 tn Heb “balances of righteousness,” and so throughout this sentence.
- Leviticus 19:36 sn An ephah is a dry measure which measures about four gallons, or perhaps one third of a bushel, while a hin is a liquid measure of about 3.6 liters (= approximately 1 gallon).
- Leviticus 19:37 tn Heb “And you shall keep all my statutes and all my regulations and you shall do them.” This appears to be a kind of verbal hendiadys, where the first verb is a modifier of the action of the second verb (see GKC 386 §120.d, although שָׁמַר [shamar, “to keep”] is not cited there; cf. Lev 22:31).