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Asbury Bible Commentary – I. Title and Place in the Canon
Resources » Asbury Bible Commentary » Part II: The Old Testament » LEVITICUS » Introduction » I. Title and Place in the Canon
I. Title and Place in the Canon

I. Title and Place in the Canon

The Jewish title for Leviticus is wayyiqrā, “And He Called,” the first words of the book. The English title is derived from the name the book bears in the Latin Vulgate, Leviticus, “pertaining to the Levites.”

The historical perspective apparently determined placement of the book in the Canon. In the words of Brevard S. Childs,

...the book of Leviticus has been given a definite historical setting as instructions to Moses in the context of the Sinai covenant. Even elements of the narrative are continued from the previous book (Lev. 8-9 joins Ex. 29). The final chapters look forward to the imminent entrance into the promised land and connect smoothly with the book of Numbers (p. 157).

Theological considerations are also important in the placing of Leviticus immediately after Exodus. In the latter book God establishes the Sinai covenant with Israel and directs Moses in the building of the tabernacle. Leviticus gives instructions for worship at the tabernacle and for holy living before God. Basic theological themes introduced in Exodus, such as God's holy presence and human sinfulness, are central to Leviticus, where regulations are given in order that a sinful people may worship the holy God.