Looking back at Leviticus

There was no storyline to this book which meant, for me at least, that it was a bit of a trudge to get through it. Laws are obviously important and even laws that are no longer enforced or whose current relevancy are debated over must be known when discussing people who did abide them in any sort of context. In other words, it’s a good book to read even if we aren’t going to start living by Levitical law. It’ll help make sense out of the world we’re reading about in upcoming books.

As I read through this book, I occasionally reminded myself of two things:

  1. One should never judge the message of a book or caliber of it’s characters based on it’s first quarter. Here I mean the entire Bible should not be judged on the beginning. I know people have a tendency to randomly throw verses from any portion at us, but I’m not a believer in picking this message apart. It’s a comprehensive text that gives an overall message, treat it like one.
  2. I kept going back to that quote from Jefferson Bethke in Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough:

The Bible isn’t a rule book. It’s a love letter.

Given that, and what some may say wishful thinking and/or rationalizing as well, I won’t take offense to the many ways that women are left out of the conversation, not even talked to, ostracized or undervalued in this book of the Bible.

Leviticus covers 6 major areas:

  1. Making sacrifices
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Opening the tent of meeting
  4. Atonement
  5. Laws about how to treat each other
  6. Festivals and rest

As I read through the book, I could see where many refute that Moses was talking to the women. It doesn’t read that way at all. Nevertheless, women were not excluded from abiding the law and it is worded at the beginning of each section as if women are being addressed as well. It left me with a strange voyeuristic feeling, like being in the next room while your friend is being yelled at by her mom about stuff you were doing together.

Aside from the women, this is also the beginning of where we see homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, being construed as sinful or an abomination. It is the root of that narrative within this story, but like the treatment of women, I am hopeful that it is not where the story ends for this group.

Chapter links go to the ESV translations at Biblehub.com but I’m reading from the ESV Global Study Bible, which is available for free on the Kindle Reading App.


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