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Volume 29 - Page 131 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
The First Word in Leviticus.
The first word in Leviticus is in the Hebrew Vayikra: "And he called", and it has one
peculiarity that has attracted the attention of reader but has never been fully explained.
The last letter of this word is the letter "A", which is the Hebrew letter Aleph, and in all
Hebrew MSS this letter is written considerably smaller than the rest. No explanation is
given, but the feature is as old as the text itself. Aleph is the equivalent of Alpha in the
Greek, and Lightfoot's note is:
"It seemeth, by such a writing, to hint and intimate, that though this were a glorious
oracle, yet was it small in comparison of what was to come, when God would speak to
His people by His Own Son, Whom the ark, mercy seat, and oracle, did represent."
Ablutions demanded by the Law.
Ceremonial washing, as symbols of purification, are reducible under four heads.
The cleansing necessary to initiate into a high office. The consecration of Aaron
and his sons into the priestly office is an example (Lev. 8: 1-6).
The cleansing from contact with common life, in preparation for special ministry.
The cleansing imposed upon the priest, on pain of death, before approaching the
altar (Exod. 30: 17-21; Psa. 26: 16).
The cleansing from defilement contracted in special circumstances, and so to be
restored to normal. There are eleven kinds of uncleanness of this nature
recognized by the law (Lev. 12:-15:).
The cleansing or absolving of oneself publicly; the disavowal of complicity
in some particular deed. There is an instance of this type of ablution in
Deut. 21: 1-9): "Our hands have not shed this blood." Pilate's action as recorded
in Matt. 27: 24 also falls under this heading.