Leviticus (Hebrew: Vayikra, meaning The Call) is one of the most neglected books of the Bible. This conclusion is understandable, for the book is quite strange to most modern readers, and further, it seems to appear in an odd position within the Pentateuch. At first glance, it appears that Leviticus interrupts the flow of the Pentateuch. To one degree this is true, but to another Leviticus provides a necessary interruption. It supplies information on personal, priestly, and national holiness that was a necessary and integral part of Israel's story (Arnold & Beyer, p. 118).
- Leviticus (QuickTime), by Douglas Stuart
- Leviticus and the Christian, (MP3s) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Part 6, Part 7, by Dr. Jay Sklar
Leviticus receives its name from the Septuagint and simply means, "relating to the Levites." The text contains many laws mostly concerning worship and sacrifices before God, also including information on holy days, moral laws, ceremonial cleanness, the sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee. While the book of Exodus gave the directions for building the tabernacle, directing where to worship God, Leviticus now gives direction as to how to worship God. This information is believed to have been given to the Israelites while they were still at Mt. Sinai and before their journey to the edge of the promised land.
The text can be broken up into four sections:
- the five types of acceptable sacrifices (Lev. 1-7)
- the conditions for representative priesthood (Lev. 8-10)
- the conditions for acceptable worshipers (Lev. 11-16)
- and, known as the "Holiness Code", right living outside of the tabernacle (Lev. 17-27)
- Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer (eds.), Encountering the Old Testament. (Baker, 1999)
- Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 2002)