Tag Archives: Leviticus 19-21

February 8, 2018 Bible Study — Commands For Us, Not Someone Else, To Follow

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 19-21.

    Today’s passage begins with a series of commands about personal behavior, most of them form the basis for having a civil society. Some of them are obvious:

  • “Do not steal.”
  • “Do not deceive or cheat one another.”
  • Do not rob or defraud your neighbor.”

But some of them we need to take special note:

  • “Do not favor the poor, or be partial to the rich, in legal matters”
  • Notice that it is not enough not to be partial to the rich, we also must not favor the poor over the rich.

  • “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s life is threatened.”
  • “Do not nurse hatred in your heart.”
  • “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge.”

These last two I dropped off the qualifiers which the passage contained based on what Jesus had to say about who is our family and who is our neighbor. There are a couple of these which I do not quite understand: “Do not mate two different kinds of animals,” “Do not plant two different kinds of seed.” However, since I am not a farmer, I do not need to figure out how either of those applies. The key to all of these is that they apply to ourselves, not someone else. The command is not “Do not let your neighbor steal.” it is “Do not steal.”

February 8, 2017 Bible Study — Social Justice and Providing for the Poor

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 19-21.

    Today’s passage contains many miscellaneous rules. Some of them I do not understand why they were given, some I do not consider to apply to those who are followers of Christ, but some contain principles which teach us how we should behave. Several of them deal with social justice and making provision for the poor. The law regarding harvesting is a great example of how we should provide for the poor. The instruction is clear that we should run our businesses in a way which leaves room for the poor to provide for their needs. The instruction is to leave the grain, or grapes, which would require extra effort to gather for the less fortunate to gather. There are two separate aspects to this. The first, and more important aspect, is that it allows the poor to provide for themselves by making an effort. The second is about how this is accomplished. We are not to every last penny from our business transactions, leave opportunities for others to make, or save, money. There is a second command which relates to this as well. It concerns paying your workers promptly. I believe that this verse is a condemnation of the practice of large businesses delaying when they will pay their smaller suppliers in order to maximize the interest they can earn on the money involved (it also applies in the obvious way to employees as well).
    There is one other verse which strikes me. It is a verse against twisting justice. There it warns against favoring the poor over the rich before it tells us not to be partial to the rich. I think it presents it in this manner because the latter is somewhat obvious to anyone who reads the Bible. However, it is easy to make the mistake of siding with the poor in a conflict with the rich because, “Well, they are so poor, and he can afford it.” We are not to favor the poor over the wealthy, nor are we to allow the wealthy to buy our favor. We should judge a dispute between the rich and the poor on the merits, not on the economic status of those in the dispute.

February 8, 2016 Bible Study — Making Sure That the Poor and the Foreigner Has the Opportunity to Provide for Their Own Needs

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I had been using One Year Bible Online, but it was time for a change.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Leviticus 19-21.

    Today’s passage contains more details on how the children of Israel should apply some of the rules God had given them previously. Among the instructions given here were instructions about how they were supposed to care for the poor among them. They were told not to harvest the grain along the edges of their fields, leaving it there for the poor. There were a couple of other things in this instruction. The point is that they were to leave the poor the opportunity to work to provide for themselves. Actually, as I read it, it was intended that they were to create opportunities for the poor to work to provide for themselves. A little later they are instructed not to favor the poor in legal matters, but neither are they to be partial to the rich and powerful. Overall, I think the passage makes it clear that God wishes us to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to provide for their, and their family’s, needs.

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    There are two ways this applies. First, we should run our businesses in such a way as to leave opportunities for the poor to make a living “around the edges”. We should not run our business so as to capture every little efficiency and every dollar possible. We should strive for the “high margin” aspects of the business, allowing those less fortunate to capture the “low margin” productivity around the edges. I will note that this allows the more industrious among the poor to perhaps find a way to turn those “low margin” things into “high margin” things and thus move themselves out of poverty. The second way this applies is that the government should not establish laws and rules which freeze the poor out of finding ways to provide for themselves.