Thursday, October 21, 2021

Chapter by Chapter Summary of Leviticus


Moses wrote the Book of Leviticus. It is mainly a set of instructions for the priests of the tribe of Levi and how the people were to worship God at the Tent of Meeting.


Leviticus Chapter 1

When an Israelite brought a sacrifice to God for a burnt offering, it was to be a male animal without defect. The sacrifice could be a bull, a sheep, a goat, a pigeon, or a dove.


The person bringing the offering was to place their hands on the animal’s head, and then the priests were to sacrifice it, cutting it into pieces, washing the organs, and then burning it on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The sacrifice atoned for the sins of the person bringing it.



Leviticus 2

A grain offering was to be of the finest flour mixed with olive oil and incense. It was also to be salted. Part of the grain offering was to be burnt, along with all of the incense, but most of the grain and oil were to be given to the priests for their food.


The people could bring the grain offering pre-baked if they wanted to. All grain offerings were to be made without yeast.


Yeast and honey could be brought as an offering of firstfruits, but they were never to be burned on the altar. Grain offerings could be brought as firstfruits. In this case, they were to be crushed heads of new grain roasted in the fire, then sprinkled with olive oil, incense, and salt.



Leviticus 3

A fellowship offering could be a male or female animal without defect. The person offering it was place their hands on its head, and the priests were to sacrifice it, then burn its organs and fat on the altar, including any tail the animal might have.


Israelites were not to eat blood or fat.



Leviticus 4

When a priest sinned unintentionally, he was to sacrifice a bull without defect as a sin offering. The fat and organs he was to burn on the altar, but the rest he was take outside camp and burn.


If the whole Israelite community sinned unintentionally, when they realized their sin, the elders were to bring a bull without defect to sacrifice in the same way.


If a leader sinned unintentionally, they were to bring a male goat without defect for sacrifice and the priest was to burn the organs and fat.


If an Israelite sinned unintentionally, they were to bring a female goat without defect and the priest was to burn the organs and fat.


Someone could also bring a lamb without defect as a sin offering.


When someone brought a sin offering, they were to place their hands on its head, and the sacrifice would make atonement for them so that they would be forgiven for their sin.



Leviticus 5

It is a sin not to testify to the truth of a legal matter.


If a person sinned, for example, by touching something “unclean” or thoughtlessly taking an oath, they were to bring to the priest a female lamb or goat as a sin offering. If they couldn’t afford a lamb, they could bring two young doves or pigeons. If they couldn’t afford birds, they could bring flour as in the grain offering. The priest could keep most of the grain.


If a person sinned in regard to any of the Lord’s holy things, they were to bring a ram without defect, along with a fifth of its value in silver as a guilt offering.



Leviticus 6

If anyone stole from or cheated or failed to return lost property, they were to pay it back with a fifth of the value added to it and sacrifice as a ram as a guilt offering.


When a priest sacrificed a burnt offering, the sacrifice was to remain burning until morning. Then he was to take the ashes and bury them outside camp. The fire of the altar was never to go out.


Males of the priestly family could eat the grain offering but only at the Tent of Meeting.


When Aaron and every priest after him was anointed, they were to bring a grain offering and burn the entire portion, half in the morning and half in the evening.


The males of the priest’s family could eat the meat of the sin offering at the Tent of Meeting. If a sin offering was brought into the Holy Place, it’s meat could not be eaten. It had to be burned.



Leviticus 7

Any male in a priest’s family could eat the meat of a guilt offering at the Tent of Meeting after the organs and fat had been burned up.


The priest could also keep the hide of an animal sacrificed as a sin offering.


The priests could keep the majority of the grain offerings, after the Lord’s portion was burned up.


If someone gave a fellowship offering as a way of giving thanks to God, they were to include:

  • thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in,
  • thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil,
  • and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in, including yeast in the bread.  

The priests were to eat the meat of the fellowship offering made in thanksgiving the same day it is sacrificed, then burn the rest. If the fellowship offering was made as part of a vow or as a freewill offering, the priests could eat the meat that day and the day after, then burn the rest or else the person who offered it would be considered impure, and anyone who ate it would be impure.


Meat that touched anything unclean became unclean. A person had to be clean to eat the meat of the fellowship offering. If they were unclean and ate the meat of the fellowship offering, they were to be put to death.


The Israelites were not to eat fat or blood. If anyone ate blood or fat, they were to be put to death.



Leviticus 8

Moses consecrated Aaron and his sons as priests as the Lord had commanded. God then commanded the priests to stay at Tent of Meeting for seven days to complete their ordination.



Leviticus 9

On the eighth day, Moses commanded the priests to make sacrifices for themselves and for the people – a sin offering, a burnt offering, a fellowship offering, and a grain offering.


Afterward, Moses and Aaron blessed the people,


and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.

Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed

the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar.

And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.

- Leviticus 9:23-24



Leviticus 10

Then Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons, put incense in their censers and burned it in a way God had not commanded, so the Lord sent fire to burn them to death.


Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:


“‘Among those who approach me
    I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
    I will be honored.’”


Aaron remained silent.

- Leviticus 10:3


Moses then ordered some of Aaron’s relatives to take the bodies of Nadab and Abihu outside the camp. He ordered Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, not to show mourning but to continue in their priestly duties, or else God would kill them too.


He also told the priests that they were not to drink alcohol before going into the Tent of Meeting.


“This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come,

so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common,

between the unclean and the clean,

and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”

- Leviticus 10:9-11


The priests were allowed to eat the leftovers of the sacrifices, but Aaron refused, saying,


“…such things as this have happened to me.

Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?”

- Leviticus 10:19



Leviticus 11

God said the Israelites were allowed to eat any animal that had a divided hoof and ate grass. They were not to eat any animal that didn’t meet these two criteria.


They were allowed to eat any animal that had fins and scales.


They could eat most birds, but not eagles, vultures, kites, ravens, owls, gulls, hawks, ospreys, storks, herons, hoopoes, or bats.


They could eat insects with four jointed legs, such as grasshoppers or crickets. They were not to eat four-legged insects that fly.


The animals they could eat were “clean” and the animals they couldn’t were “unclean.” If anyone touched an unclean animal would be unclean until evening. They were to wash their clothes and anything else the animal touched. If they got into a clay pot, they were to break the pot.


The reason God gave for eating certain animals and not eating others was…


“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

- Leviticus 11:44



Leviticus 12

A woman was unclean during her period. She was unclean for seven days after giving birth to a son and for 14 days after giving birth to a daughter. She was to wait 33 days before entering the Tent after the birth of a son and 66 days after the birth of a daughter.


At the end of that time, she was to bring a burnt offering and a sin offering to make atonement.



Leviticus 13

If anyone had a rash or swelling or another abnormality in their skin, they were to show themselves to the priest to determine if they were unclean or not. The person was to isolate themselves for seven days and let the priest check them again.


If someone was unclean with a skin disease, God said they were to…


“…wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,

cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’

As long as they have the disease they remain unclean.

They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.”

- Leviticus 13:45-46


The priests were also to inspect fabric for mold and burn anything with persistent mold. If the item was isolated for seven days, and the mold did not spread, people could tear or cut out the moldy part and wash and keep the rest of the fabric.



Leviticus 14

When a person with a skin disease got better, the priest was to go meet them outside the camp and make a sacrifice for them. The sacrifice was to be two clean birds, some cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop. The priest was to kill one of the birds and mix its blood with water in a clay pot, also adding the other ingredients. He was then to take the live bird, dip it in the bowl and use it to sprinkle the person seven times, then release the live bird.


The person being cleansed was to wash and shave, then come back into the camp but not enter their tent. On the seventh day, they were to shave their head and all the hair on their face. On the eighth day, the were to bring a guilt offering and a grain offering to the priest and oil so that the priest could anoint them.


Concerning mold, God said,


“When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession,

and I put a spreading mold in a house in that land,

the owner of the house must go and tell the priest,

‘I have seen something that looks like a defiling mold in my house.’”

- Leviticus 14:34-35


The priest was to order the house to be emptied and then go examine it. The house was to be shut for seven days, and then the priest was to go back and see if it had spread. If so, the contaminated areas were to be removed and their entire house scraped and cleaned. If mold appears again, the entire house was to be torn down and the materials placed outside town.


If anyone went into the house while it was under quarantine, they were to be declared unclean until evening.


To cleanse the house after the mold was gone, the priest was to make the same sacrifice as cleansing someone from a skin disease, sprinkling the house with the ingredients.



Leviticus 15

An unusual bodily discharge made a man unclean, including things he touched, such as a bed seat, cooking items, or other people. They were unclean for seven days, then had to make a sacrifice of a sin offering and a burnt offering.


When a man had a discharge of semen, he was unclean until evening, then had to wash himself and anything the semen touched. If he had sex, the woman was also unclean until evening.


A woman on her period was unclean for seven days, including anything she touched or a man she had sex with.


A woman who had bleeding other than during her period was unclean for as long as the bleeding continued.


After seven days of a woman’s period or bleeding issue, she had to offer a sin offering and a burnt offering.


God said,


“You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean,

so they will not die in their uncleanness

for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.”

- Leviticus 15:31



Leviticus 16

God told Moses to tell Aaron not to come into the Most Holy Place whenever he wanted, or else he would die. When he entered the Most Holy Place, he was to first make a sin offering for himself, then a sin offering for the people to make.


Two goats were to be brought for the people’s sin offering. He was to cast lots, then sacrifice the chosen one and keep the other alive as a scapegoat.


Wearing his priestly garments, Aaron was to take a censer full of burning coals from the Altar of Incense and incense to burn to mask God’s Presence over the Atonement Cover. He was then to take some of the blood from his sacrifice and sprinkle it on the Atonement Cover. He was then to go out and do the same with the people’s sacrifice. He was to sprinkle blood on the Atonement Cover, on the Tent, and on the Altar of Burnt Offering to make atonement for all these items.


No one was to enter the Tent of Meeting while Aaron was performing this atonement. When he came out, he was to sacrifice a burnt offering himself and a burnt offering for the people to make atonement for himself and the Israelites. He was then to place his hands on the head of the scapegoat, confess the Israelites’ sins, and send the scapegoat into the wilderness.


All of this was to happen once a year.



Leviticus 17

Anyone who sacrificed an animal not in the prescribed way, by bringing to the priest at the Tent, was to be put to death.


The Israelites were not to eat blood. If anyone ate blood, they were to be put to death. God said…


“For the life of a creature is in the blood,

and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar;

it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

- Leviticus 17:11


Anyone who ate an animal they found dead was unclean until evening.



Leviticus 18

“I am the Lord your God.

You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live,

and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you.

Do not follow their practices.

You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees.

I am the Lord your God.

Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them.

I am the Lord.”

- Leviticus 18:2-5


A man was not to have sex with close relatives, including:

  • His mother
  • His father’s wife
  • His sister or half-sister
  • His granddaughter
  • His aunt or aunt-in-law
  • His daughter-in-law
  • His sister-in-law
  • Both a woman and her daughter, or the woman’s granddaughter
  • Two women who were sisters

A man was also not to have sex with:

  • A woman during her period
  • A woman who was married
  • Another man
  • An animal

Women were not to have sex with animals.


No one was to offer their children as sacrifices to the god Molek.


Anyone who did any of these things was to be put to death.


God said that if the Israelites did these things, they would defile the land He was bringing them to, and it would vomit them out just as it vomited out the people who were before them.



Leviticus 19

God commanded that the people…

  • Respect their father and mother
  • Observe the Sabbaths
  • Not make idols
  • Sacrifice in the prescribed manner
  • Leave some of the harvest for the poor
  • Not steal
  • Not lie
  • Not swear falsely by God’s name
  • Not cheat or rob
  • Pay workers their wages the same day they worked
  • Not curse deaf people or put stumbling blocks in the way of blind people
  • Not favor the rich or the poor in court
  • Not slander
  • Not endanger anyone
  • Not hate fellow Israelites
  • Rebuke others frankly so as not to share in their guilt
  • Not seek revenge or bear grudges to love others as yourself
  • Not mate different kinds of animals
  • Not plant fields with two kinds of seed
  • Not wear clothes of two different materials
  • Not sleep with a female slave who had been promised in marriage to another man
  • Not eat fruit from a tree for the first four years – the fourth year, the fruit was to be an offering to God
  • Not eat meat with blood in it
  • Not practice divination or seek omens
  • Not cut the hair at the sides of their heads or clip the edges of their beards
  • Not cut their bodies for the dead or tattoo themselves
  • Not make their daughters prostitutes
  • Observe God’s Sabbaths and respect the Tent of Meeting
  • Not seek mediums or spiritists
  • Stand in the presence of older people and show respect for them
  • Mistreat foreigners
  • Not use dishonest measuring devices


Leviticus 20

People were to be put to death for:

  • Sacrificing a child to Molek
  • Turning to mediums and spiritists
  • Being a medium or spiritist
  • Cursing their father or mother
  • Committing adultery in any form
  • Men having sex with men
  • Marrying both a woman and her daughter
  • Having sex with an animal
  • Having sex with a close relative


Leviticus 21

Priests offered the sacrifices, so they were to keep themselves holy in the following ways:

  • A priest was not to come into contact with a dead body except for a close relative.
  • They were not to shave their heads, shave the edges of their beards, or cut their bodies.
  • They were to not marry women who had been prostitutes or divorced or widowed. They were to marry virgins.  
  • They were not to tear their clothes or keep their hair unkempt

 No one could be a priest and make sacrifices if they had any physical deformity.



Leviticus 22

If a priest was unclean and came near the sacrifices, they were to be put to death. He was not to eat the sacrifices if he was unclean.


Only the members of a priest’s household could eat the sacrifices.


If anyone ate a sacrifice by mistake, they were to repay the priest, adding a fifth of the value to it.


The Israelites were to bring only animals with no defects for their sacrifices. Animals eight days old and older could be sacrificed. They were not to sacrifice a young animal and its mother on the same day.



Leviticus 23

The Israelites were to keep the following sacred days and festivals:

  • The weekly Sabbaths – doing no work
  • The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread – eating no yeast
  • Festival of Firstfruits – celebrating the grain harvest and offering sacrifices
  • Festival of Weeks – another harvest festival with sacrifices seven weeks after Firstfruits
  • Festival of Trumpets – a special Sabbath commemorated with trumpet blasts
  • Day of Atonement – a Sabbath with sacrifices to atone for the priests, the people, and the Tent
  • Festival of Tabernacles – living in temporary shelters to commemorate how the people lived when they came out of Egypt


Leviticus 24

The Israelites were to supply the priests with clear olive oil to keep the lamps of the Tent burning.


The priests were to set out twelve loaves of bread, along with incense, on the Table of Showbread every Sabbath. The priests could eat the bread in the Tent area.


Once, two Israelites got into a fight, and one of them blasphemed God with a curse. God ordered the community to stone him. He said anyone who blasphemes God was to be put to death.


Anyone who killed another person was to be put to death.

Anyone who killed another person’s animal was to pay them back.

Anyone who injured another was to be punished in the same way.


These punishments were to apply to both native Israelites and foreigners living in Israelite territory.



Leviticus 25

Every seventh year, the Israelites were to leave their fields unplanted. The people could eat what grew of its own.


Every 50th year was a Year of Jubilee. The Israelites were not to plant their fields. Everyone was to receive back their family’s land if they had sold it.


“Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.

Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety.

You may ask, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?’

I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.

While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop

and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.”

- Leviticus 25:18-22


A relative was always permitted to buy back the land someone had sold, even before the Year of Jubilee.


A person could buy back their own property within a year of selling it if it was in a walled city. If they didn’t buy it back, it was to become part of the buyer’s property. It was not to be returned to the seller in the Year of Jubilee.


Levites could always buy back their property, wherever it was.


Israelites were not to charge interest to other Israelites. They were to help fellow Israelites who were in need.


Israelites who sold themselves to other Israelites were not to be treated as slaves but as hired workers. They were to be released in the Year of Jubilee. Israelites could buy slaves from other nations.


If an Israelite sold themselves as a slave to a foreigner living in Israelite territory, they themselves or a relative could buy them back and give them their freedom. Israelite slaves were to be released in the Year of Jubilee.



Leviticus 26

The Israelites were not to set up sacred stones or carve stones to bow down to. They were to observe the Sabbaths and respect the Tent.


God promised that if the Israelites obeyed Him, He would bless them with:

  • Rain
  • Crops
  • Peace from enemies
  • Removal of wild beasts
  • Victory over enemies
  • Fruitfulness in offspring
  • His Presence

 If they did not obey Him, He would punish them in steps with:

  • Sudden terror
  • Wasting diseases and fever to take their sight and their strength
  • Enemies to come eat their crops
  • Enemies to defeat them
  • Lack of rain
  • Lack of crops
  • Wild animals to eat their children and livestock
  • Plague to kill them
  • Hunger so bad that they turn to eating their children
  • Ruining their altars of sacrifice and idols
  • Ruining their cities
  • Exiling them among other nations

“Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate

and you are in the country of your enemies;

then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths.”

- Leviticus 26:34


“But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—

their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me,

which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—

then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin,

I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac

and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths

while it lies desolate without them.

They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.

Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies,

I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely,

breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.

But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors

whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God.

I am the Lord.”

- Leviticus 26:40-45



Leviticus 27

When a person was to be dedicated to the Lord, they or their family could pay an offering instead:

  • Men ages 20-60 – 50 shekels of silver
  • Women – 30 shekels
  • Male children and teens – 20 shekels
  • Female children and teens – 10 shekels
  • Male babies and toddlers – 5 shekels
  • Female babies and toddlers – 3 shekels
  • Men over 60 – 15 shekels
  • Women over 60 – 10 shekels

The priest could adjust the required payment if the person or family was too poor to pay the set amount.


Clean animals that were dedicated had to be given as the animal. Unclean animals dedicated to God could be paid for with the price the priest set, adding a fifth of the value to it.


Houses and fields dedicated to God could be paid for in the same way, adding a fifth of the value to it. A field that was dedicated to God could be bought back, but if it wasn’t, it became property of the priests during the Year of Jubilee.


Firstborn animals could not be dedicated because they already belonged to God. Unclean firstborn animals could be bought back if the owner added a fifth of the value to it.


If someone or something was devoted to destruction, they could not be paid for and spared.


The Israelites were to give God a tithe of all produce from the land and all livestock.




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