I had all these questions about sacrifices when they first appeared, and I said that I hoped the rest of Leviticus would answer them. Well, the Bible has outdone itself, answering questions I hadn’t even thought of.
I had, for example, never even thought about who could eat the sacrifices, but here in chapter 22 it gives details on that. It’s far more inclusive than the list of people who can perform them. While a person in a state of uncleanness can’t eat it, at least not until after sunset, most people in the priest’s family can. Hired servants and in-laws from lay families are out, but any purchased slave counts as part of the priest’s family and gets to eat the sacrifice. If a daughter who marries a lay person comes back without children due to divorce or widowhood, now her “defilement” doesn’t matter, and she’s allowed to eat.
The only people who aren’t are “lay people,” just called “ordinary people” in the NCT. You have to be part of the priestly, Aaronic lineage. Yet it’s fascinating to me that their slaves are treated on the same level as that lineage when it comes to eating. In this one instance, they aren’t property, they’re family.
What’s more, if you eat an offering by accident, you just have to make an equivalent offering plus 20% of the original value. No death penalty, no “being cut off from the people.”
There are the echoes of unacceptable people from the last chapter when it lists the unacceptable animals here (v 17-25). But I’d rather contemplate these brief moments of magnanimity in Leviticus than keep making myself mad thinking about the appalling ones.
The Japanese: saishin, “careful, meticulous” (v 2), uchidareru “to establish” (v 3), nichibotsu “sunset” (v 7), taizai suru “to stay at, to visit” (v 10), azugaru “to keep, to look after” (v 12), yamome “widow” (v 13), atai “value, price” (v 14), mangan “fulfillment of a vow,” zuii “optional, voluntary” (v 18), izuremo “any” (v 22), hatsuikufuzen “hypoplasia, stunted growth” (v 23), nyuushu suru “to come by, to acquire” (v 25).