A book of law codes primarily concerned with priestly practices, including instructions for sacrifices and distinguishing between clean and unclean.

Horned Alter

riests offered gifts and sacrifices on the altar

Horned altar from Megiddo
10th-9th cent. B.C.

Lev 1-16 is the priestly code.  Leviticus is named for the tribe of Levi, which was a priestly tribe.  Priestly actions are central in the first part of the book.  Specific sections include laws for sacrifices (Lev 1-7), the ordination of priests (Lev 8-10), regulations concerning impurities (Lev 11-15), and rites for making atonement (Lev 16).

Lev 17-27 is the holiness code.  The responsibility of the whole community receives greater attention in the second part of Leviticus.  The central idea is that the people of God must be holy since God is holy.  Laws are given concerning sexual relations, loving one's neighbor (19:18), festivals, and redemption of property.

Lev 16 - Day of Atonement



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