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Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009

. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.

Lev 19:9 When you1 reap2 the harvest of your land you3 shall not reap4 to the edge of the field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. v10 And you3 shall not strip your vineyard bare5 or gather all the fallen grapes: you3 shall leave them for the poor and sojourner5a I am The Lord your God. v11 You1 shall not steal6; you1 shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with another of your fellows7; v12 You8 shall not swear falsely by my name, and thus profane9 the name of your God: I am The Lord10. v13 You3 shall not exploit11 your friend12 and you3 shall not rob him;13 the wages of a hireling shall not stay with you over night. v14 You3 shall not curse14 the deaf and you3 shall not put a stumbling block before the blind;14 you shall fear your God: I am The Lord. v15 You1 shall not make an unjust judgment: you3 shall not favor the poor or defer to the rich15; with righteousness you shall judge your fellow16. v16 You3 shall not go about as a slanderer among your people and17 you shall not seek the life of your friend18: I am The Lord. v17 You3 shall not hate your kindred19 in your heart: you3 shall surely20 reprove your fellow openly20 lest you incur guilt on account of him.21 v18 You shall not take vengeance and you shall not nurse a grudge against your fellow countrymen22 but you shall love your friend as yourself:23 I am The Lord.
1. 2mp 2. A double accusative infinitive construct (Q2mp) in which ‘with’ as ‘when’ directs subject of reap to “you(p):” “when you reap” 3. 2ms 4. the infinitive + lamed usage l h¢R;lAkVt is the object of h¢R;lAkVt and identifies the direction of action. 5. direct object at the beginning for emphasis in HB; l$ElwøoVt pual imperf 2ms to glean or strip a second time, BDB p 760 5a. In v34, rights of sojourner are as those of your fellow countrymen (home-born), BDB 158 6. HB places atnach at “steal.” I adopted the JPS translation combining ‘to deceive” and “to lie” with the verb “to deal” that seems to emphasize the use of the atnach setting “to steal” against them. 7. literally: “a man with his fellow” or “with one another” (wáøtyImSoA;b with his fellow) 8. HB uses 2mp here followed by 2ms. 9. The HB apparatus indicates LXX uses 2mp, JPS uses participle, profaning. 10. LXX inserts “your God, as in v10 11. qñOvSoAt Qal imperf, 2ms, oppress by extortion BDB p798 12. hor as “friend” throughout passage, BDB p945 13. note missing waw and atnach suggest reading the following clause in apposition to the first part, however, HB apparatus indicates many ms (sam. Pent. LXX, Targumj and Targumm) use 14. llq (piel 2ms) means “to curse” BDB p886 15. note atnach at end of this clause.


16. tyma is translated as “fellow” throughout passage, BDB p945 17. The waw is missing here, HB apparatus indicates several mss add it ( Sam. Pent., Versio Syrica consensus SA and SB). I add it because the atnach after ÔK¡Roér suggests the sense of apposition of “I am The Lord” to the first two clauses. 18. Levine discusses the idiom “_lAo däOmSoAt añøl” at length, literally, “do not stand over”. He cites three suggestions: to stand by” in the sense of inaction when neighbor is endanger; or he needs your testimony in court ; “to conspire against (as with murderers);” and “to rely on” at your neighbor’s expense. BDB entry 763 also suggests “seek one’s life”. Thus, using the sense of malicious slander in the previous clause, I bring in the sense of Levine’s second suggestion. 19. BDB entry 252 uses “of the same people” or “kindred” and notes v34 extends the meaning to include the sojourner among you. 20. The infinitive absolute in hifil 2ms strengthens the verb by adding weight to its antithesis: you shall surely reprove openly (vs. in your heart). The use of “surely” and “openly” emphasizes the public nature of the verb “reprove.” 21. Hartley translates the last part as “lest you be held responsible for sin because of him,” Milgrom, uses “so that you will not bear punishment because of him,” and Levine (JPS, p129) uses a less cumbersome but direct translation, “but incur no guilt because of him” that I have adopted. 22. I translate as fellow countryman throughout passage, BDB p766. 23. Hartley summarizes criticism of translations of this last clause. He states use of ÔKwóømD;k äÔKSoérVl ¶D;tVbAh`Da with the lamed rather than the direct object marker begs us to make some kind of mild distinction in action of love, perhaps the use of the lamed implies more of a collegial “treating kindly” rather than “love.” Levine is not sympathetic to a relaxed interpretation, nor is Milgrom. Milgrom proposes to read ÔKwóømD;k as an adverbial use, carrying the sense of


Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.
“love the good for your fellow that you love the good for yourself.” Given the holiness emphasis of this chapter demonstrated by 19:2, I followed Milgrom’s ordering. “love fellow…love self “to capture his sense.

I. The Language of the Text Vocabulary/semantics. Several elements of grammar and text usage stand out. The ten verses are set in pairs by a concluding divine command “I am The Lord,” or “I am The Lord Your God.” Besides demarking the verses this divine declaration attaches the highest importance to the textual units. The verses contain a number of verbs with legal or ethical force, for example, bng (to steal); lzg (to rob), obv (to swear) and fñOÚpVv (to judge) that point towards a legal, moral or ethical context. Grammar and syntax. Each verse begins or contains the sequence of “imperfect + añøl”. Alt notes this is the structure of apodictic commands (Alt). Text Criticism. The HB apparatus addresses the particular recurring use of the negative particle conjunctively joining clauses in the imperfect without a waw. Lambdin (p276) maintains this type of conditional usage is often seen in legal style of writing. He notes that when multiple clauses are concatenated this way it, the translator’s judgment identifies the meaning (the point of conditional separation of clauses). For example, a conditional reading of v13 sets keeping wages over night as equivalent to stealing or defrauding. Several textural authorities in the apparatus interpret these clauses by inserting a waw or deleting it (see v13 and v15 for examples). I have adopted this change only in v16. The apparatus notes LXX adds “your God” to v12, v14, v16 to keep a consistent “I am The Lord Your God .” I did not adopt this change. Another recurring usage is mixed subject number in clauses of a sentence. Several verses begin with the 2mp subject “You” and the following clause use 2ms (see v15 and 17). Some texts noted in the apparatus bring the verb number into agreement. I did not incorporate these for literary reasons. (See next section.) II. The Literary Character of the Text Location/boundaries. This discussion works on the hypothesis that vv9-18 comprise a single unit with no internal boundaries and argues against an internal boundary within vv910 or after v10. First from a broad perspective the book of Leviticus opens immediately after the completion of the Tabernacle in the Sinai and its occupation by the Glory of the Lord (Ex. 40:38). It concludes with the benediction of a sermon after the presentation of the cultic and ethical regulations for ordinary and priestly life(Lev 19:36b-37). The body of Leviticus has internal boundaries that group ritual laws for sacrifices (Lev 1-7), laws for ordination of priests (Lev 8-10), laws for purity for food, illness, bodily discharge and atonement of sin (Lev 11-16) and instructions and laws for ritual and ethical holiness (Lev17-27). Leviticus is the set of ritual instructions for Tabernacle and ethical instructions for the daily life of Hebrews to maintain their holiness as the people of God in whose presence they now live (Ross, p19-21). All ritual and ethical laws on holiness are placed within chapters 17 through 27. They deal with matters of holiness in all activities of living, see for example, 17:5-8, 18:4-5, 20:7-8, 21:6,7b-8 , 22:31-33, 23:2, 21, 24,27,35; 24:9; 25:17-18,55; 26:2; 27:21, 30. Lev 19 is a distinct sermon demarked by v1, “The Lord spoke to Moses, and by v 37, “You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances, and observe them, I am The Lord.” (Milgrom, p1596) notes this chapter does not have a unifying them, save 19:2: “Speak to the whole congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, “You shall be holy, because I the Lord your God am holy.” The variety of instructions on ritual, ethical and ordinary life in Chapter 19 recall the


Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.

commandments of the Decalogue. Hartley and Balentine discuss the correlation (of) the verses to reflect the Decalogue concluding the correlation is inexact and requires require disrupting and reordering of verses that are already well balanced in their current construction. The chapter and its surrounding chapters may be better thought of as a reflection on the application of teaching of the Decalogue in ordinary and ritual life. In that context, boundaries can be found according to the type of commands contained in Chapter 19. Milgrom(p1596) and Hartley(p307-308) present schemes for chapter 19 that differ only by placement of vv9-10. Milgrom places these two verses in the section of apodictic commands for ritual duties, while Hartley includes then as “five sets of commands and instructions (see table below). Milgrom identifies Verse 9-10 as ritual practice ( v9,10a: harvesting crops of the field and vine). Milgrom observes that vv9-10 belongs to both units and forms a bridge between religious duties and ethical duties. Hartley divides the text with an emphasis on hortatory and Milgrom on the type of duty (or command). The HB groups vv5-8; vv9-10, vv11-14, vv15-18. Hartley follows this scheme, only combining vv9-18. This discussion treats vv9-18 as a distinct unit of ethical commands using the boundaries described by Hartley: Hartley’s Boundaries (Lev 19) vv1: Introduction vv2-37: Speech v2: Commission and thesis vv3-18: First set of laws vv3-4: parents, Sabbath, idolatry vv5-8: offering of well being (ritual) vv9-18: five sets of commands and instructions vv19-29: Second set of laws vv30-36: Third set of laws v37: Conclusion/benediction Structure, flow, movement. The text expounds a series of apodictic laws and describes an agricultural/rural environment. Commands refer to leaving grain and grapes behind in harvests of field and vineyards for the disadvantaged (vv9-10); business dealings by employment, commerce (vv11-13), robbery, misrepresentation, testimony in judgments of legal proceedings, public behavior towards people and compassion for them (vv15-18). The verses are broken into couplets whose rhetorical intensity grows with increasing classes of affected persons and ethical altruism. (See following Table 1. ) These progression of the themes of these couplets punctuated by the divine declaration “I am the Lord” or “I am the Lord your God” are crescendos of rhetorical power. Verse 9-10 command Israel to provide of the harvest for virtually every needy or economically disadvantaged person in the land. (V34 in fact extends the privileges of the sojourner to the standing of fellow countryman.) Hartley(p309) describes Wenham’s scheme for this growth ( shown in Table 1). Note along with this progression of class of people the focus of ethical action changes. V9-10 call for the ethical obligation of compassion for the needs of all disadvantaged and resident aliens. The next four couplets move to classes of people in society that can be considered “insiders.” The number of these classes grows with each couplet and the ethical focus moves from commanded external physical behavior towards others to an internalized ethical value of others that commands external actions in v17-18. Vv17-18 include virtually all of Israel society except transient aliens. Vv17-18 and vv9-10 are an ethical mirror of a sort. While vv9-10 includes only all disadvantaged and resident aliens and vv17-18 everyone except perhaps transient foreigners, the ethical standard in both ia (is) s an internally motivated ethical focus on compassion for people. This internally motivated ethical focus binds the ten verses together.


Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.

In a speech the rhetorical structure of 2mp/2ms address enabled by the availability of Hebrew word forms for them (see next section) and the growing groups and change in ethical focus creates anticipation in the listeners’ mind as the progression unfolds. Table 1.
couplet V9-10 V11-12 Class of people Class of people poor, sojourner (all disadvantaged and resident aliens) fellow Ethical problem Compassion for disadvantaged Stealing, deceit, false swearing by the Lord

y§InDo, r ´…g

R` :
I V13-14


hSoáér: hSoáér,, ¢IkDc, rY ´…wIo & v$érEj RtyImSo

Friend, hireling, blind, deaf

Exploitation, robbery, mockery, ill treatment of disabled

fellow, fellow-countrymen, friend


MImSo, hSoáér RtyImSo R, jDa, MImSo, ÔK$R;mA o y∞EnV;b, hSoáér

Biased judgment, favoritism, slander, murder,

Fellow, brother, fellow-countryman, members of your people, friends

Hate, compassionate upbraiding, vengeance, resentment/envy, love of fellow

Key: y§InDo: poor (BDB p776) , r´…g: sojourner (BDB, p158), `RtyImSoR`: fellow (BDB 765), hSoáér: friend (in weaker sense, fellow, fellow-citizen, even another person) (BDB p945), ¢IkDc: hireling/laborer (BDB 969), rY´…wIo blind (adj) (BDB p361) , v$érEj:deaf (adj) (BDB 361), MImSo: fellow-countrymen (BDB p766), hSoáér: friend (BDB p945), jDa: brother (extended to sojourner in v34) (BDB p26), ÔK$R;mAo y∞EnV;b: members of your people, fellow-countrymen (BDB p766)

Form and Genre. This passage is a series of speeches or sermons on law codes. Formally it is divine sermon for Moses to use to call the Israelite to obedience of laws and ethical duty in order to maintain holiness with the Lord (Lev.19:2). The passage, vv9-18, is a set of apodictic commands that addresses ethical norms opposed to cultic norms. The text points towards the Tabernacle and Israel in the Sinai. The varying verb agreement (2mp, 2ms) and conditional structure of clauses suggest an oral form rather than a written study. Hartley and Milgrom describe the 2mp/2ms usage as a rhetorical device used in oration or preaching, first calling on the congregation then directing commands at the individual. The commands pertain most (to) Israel’s society (disabled, marginalized, resident alien, citizens) and define the ethical character of a holy people (eschew deceit, stealing, slander, hate, resentment and place the love for friend on the same level as your own regard). It is an exhortation and an invitation. Because its content echoes the Decalogue it is calling the


Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.

listener to contemplate the force of those divine commandments of the Sinai Covenant. The use of the protasis/apodosis clause structure with missing waw is also an effective rhetorical device. Consider the auditory effect of vv14-15: “You shall not curse the deaf and you shall not put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God.” Recalling the creation story that humankind is in God’s image, the clear message from an effective speaker is that when one mistreats a human one is in the most unholy position of abusing the image of God. The setting described by Chapter 19 is exilic or post-exilic religious activity (See “The historical character of the text”). i.e., the worship service or instructional setting where the text was read. In the absence of the Temple this was a method to preserve the tradition of worship and Holiness the Lord demands of his people. Literary Context. As noted earlier, the organization of Chapter 19 has a single theme: Holiness. Vv9-18 (ethical Holiness) are bound on one side by the rules and rituals of 17:119:8 (slaughter of animals for sacrifice, eating blood, sexual relations, Sabbath and parents, sacrifice of well being. and rituals, penalties) and on the other by 19:19-27:34 (a miscellaneous mix of cultic prescriptions for animal husbandry, sexual practices, shaving, body marking, eating and business practices, priestly holiness, offerings, festivals Sabbath year and Jubilee). III. The historical character of the text The world in the text reflects a setting of the assembly of the Israelites at the Tabernacle, perhaps immediately after its completion at Sinai. It does not presuppose the existence of the Temple, In fact, chapter 8 provides instructions for ordination of Aaron and his sons, and 13:46 describes the setting as living in “the camp” (hÎnDj)” which carries the sense of to settle at, or of goal of day’s march, especially in the Wilderness.(BDB p333) The presence of agriculture, suggestions of formal legal systems by the legal words such as fpvm (can mean plain judgment, or litigation in a court seat, an act of judgment (BDB 1048)) leaves one with at least a little pause whether the world of the text occurs later in a time, at least in a pastoral setting with well established agricultural and perhaps legal system. If this is the case, Leviticus presumes a simpler society than the Leviticus presents. Perhaps Leviticus reflects a late text. Hartley presents a detailed analysis of the hypotheses of the history of the text that tilts one towards a late date but notes that with more precise exegesis of the Leviticus the less confident one is in any specific hypothesis (p260). Ska ( p46-48) presents a convincing case that the Holiness Code represented by vv17-18 is the latest redaction of the three codes (Covenant and Deuteronomic). Ska notes the Covenant analogue of vv17-18 is Ex23:4-5 that reflects ethical action towards an adversary involving property is justified on communal self-interest. Deut. 22:1-4, the Deuteronomic analogue bases ethical action involving property on a more altruistic recognition of the obligation to one’s fellow human. Lev19:1718 has transformed this concept of ethical action not towards another’s property but to ethical action towards a person, one’s relative or fellow citizen. This sequence of change suggests a temporal sequence Covenant to Deuteronomic to Holiness Code. Ska points out de Wette’s work gives us some basis to hold the Deuteronmic code evolved no later than King Josiah (622 BCE) (Ska, p105-107) which supports his earlier hypothesis based on analogues to Lev 19:17-18. Finally Ska suggests much of the compilation of the Pentateuch comes from the school that wrote the Holiness Code. Considering Hartley and Ska’s analyses we can say that the Holiness Code likely represents the effort in the exile or early post-exile period to preserve the world of Israel in the text to for the people of Israel.


Exegetical Paper – Annotated Translation, Literary and Historical Character Henry Paris All rights reserved, copyright 2009. The right for a single instance of noncommercial
use is granted under the condition the attribution to the author is prominently included on first page.

Tradition history. Relying on the previous analysis by Ska and Hartley, the Holiness Code reflects the interpretation of the tradition of the Covenant Code in the period of exile or early post-exile. Its purpose is to maintain cultic Holiness in the absence of the Temple, but likely with the new Temple in mind. The redaction history is so complex and fluid that I rest on the summary of Hartley (p 251-260). Canonical context. The canonical context of the passage relies on its surrounding rituals and laws in chapters 1-10:8 and 19:19-27:34. Aidan Kavanaugh and Margret Mead observe that ritual exceeds ecclesiastical ceremony, it is a basic human language rooted in social nature and environment and it is the essence of ritual that those who participate in it have participated before (p7, 90). To the Israelite society and religion began as a unity. In the absence of the Temple, the liturgy and attendant ritual of the HC of Leviticus to preserves the tradition. In the exilic or early post-exilic era the practice of the ritual and ethical laws represented the essence of maintaining the Holiness that is required for the presence of the Glory of the Lord first enjoyed at Mt. Sinai. The preservation of relationship defined by the two commands: “You shall be Holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy,” and ““You shall keep all my statutes and all my ordinances, and observe them, I am The Lord” (19:2, 27:34) can only be assured by knowing and living the Holiness Code. As a whole the preservation of its rituals, laws and subliminal reminder of the Decalogue define and defend Israel. Bibliography Alt, Albrecht, “The Origins of Israelite Law” in Essays on Old Testament Religion, Doubleday, trans. R.A. Wilson, Garden City (1967) p101-71 Balentine, Samuel E., Leviticus, Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, John Knox Press, Louisville (2002) p161. Hartley, John E., Word Biblical Commentary, Leviticus, vol.4, Word Boobs, Dallas,TX (1992) p311); HB: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, edited by Hans Peter Rüger, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, (1997) apparatus Cp2,2a p 3. Kavanaugh, Aidan, , in The Roots of Ritual, James D. Shaughnessy, d. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids (1973). Lambdin, Thomas O., Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, Prentice Hall, Upper SaddleRiver, NJ (1971) Levine, Baruch A., TheJPS Torah Commentary – Leviticus The Jewish{Publication Society, New YUork, (1989) p129-130. Mead, Margret, in The Roots of Ritual, James D. Shaughnessy, d. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids (1973). Milgrom, Jacob, “Leviticus 17-22, A new Translation and Commentary,” The Anchor Bible, Doubleday, New York (2000) p1596 Ross, A.P, Holiness to the Lord, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, (2002) p19-21. These are the laws, rules, and instructions that the LORD established, through Moses on Mount Sinai, between Himself and the Israelite people. Ska, John-Louis, Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN