February 23, 2023
Ritual and Moral Holiness
19 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2 “Speak to all the congregation of the Israelites and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3 You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the Lord your God.
5 “When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it or on the next day, and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8 All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the Lord, and any such person shall be cut off from the people.
9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13 “You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15 “You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand idly by when the blood of your neighbor is at stake: I am the Lord.
17 “You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
19 “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your animals breed with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials.
20 “If a man has sexual relations with a woman who is a slave, designated for another man but not ransomed or given her freedom, an inquiry shall be held. They shall not be put to death, since she has not been freed, 21 but he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, a ram as guilt offering. 22 And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he committed, and the sin he committed shall be forgiven him.
23 “When you come into the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall regard their fruit as forbidden; three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all their fruit shall be set apart for rejoicing in the Lord. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat of their fruit, that their yield may be increased for you: I am the Lord your God.
26 “You shall not eat anything with its blood. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft. 27 You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.
29 “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, that the land not become prostituted and full of depravity. 30 You shall keep my Sabbaths and revere my sanctuary: I am the Lord.
31 “Do not turn to mediums and spiritualists; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.
32 “You shall rise before the aged and defer to the old, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
33 “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. 34 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the native-born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
35 “You shall not cheat in measuring length, weight, or quantity. 36 You shall have honest balances, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances and observe them: I am the Lord.”
Penalties for Violations of Holiness
20 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Say further to the Israelites:
“Any of the Israelites or of the aliens who reside in Israel who give any of their offspring to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the land shall stone them to death. 3 I myself will set my face against them and will cut them off from the people, because they have given of their offspring to Molech, defiling my sanctuary and profaning my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land should ever close their eyes to them, when they give of their offspring to Molech, and do not put them to death, 5 I myself will set my face against them and against their family and will cut them off from among their people, them and all who follow them in prostituting themselves to Molech.
6 “If any turn to mediums or spiritualists, prostituting themselves to them, I will set my face against them and will cut them off from the people. 7 Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep my statutes and observe them: I am the Lord; I sanctify you. 9 All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their bloodguilt is upon them.
10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. 11 The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed perversion; their bloodguilt is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them. 14 If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you. 15 If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and has sexual relations with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.
17 “If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall be subject to punishment. 18 If a man lies with a woman during her period and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has laid bare her flow of blood; both of them shall be cut off from their people. 19 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for that is to lay bare one’s own flesh; they shall be subject to punishment. 20 If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall be subject to punishment; they shall die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.
22 “You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances and observe them, so that the land to which I bring you to settle in may not vomit you out. 23 You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24 But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God; I have separated you from the peoples.’ 25 You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves by animal or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from the other peoples to be mine.
27 “A man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritualist shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.”
The Priestly Order of Melchizedek
7 This “Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him,” 2 and to him Abraham apportioned “one-tenth of everything.” His name, in the first place, means “king of righteousness”; next, he is also king of Salem, that is, “king of peace.” 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
4 See how great he is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth of the spoils. 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to collect tithes from the people, that is, from their kindred, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man, who does not belong to their ancestry, collected tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 In the one case, tithes are received by those who are mortal; in the other, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
Another Priest, Like Melchizedek
11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek rather than one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
15 It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, 16 one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent but through the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of him,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
18 There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope through which we approach God.
20 This was confirmed with an oath, for others have become priests without an oath, 21 but this one became a priest with an oath because of the one who said to him,
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever’ ”
22 accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 Furthermore, the former priests were many in number because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests humans, who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
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