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PROF. OF HEB. AND ORIENT. LIT. N. Y, CITY UNIVERSITY.
CHICAGO: 8. C. GRIGGS & CO DETROIT: A. MCFARREN.
Entered according to act of Congress,
3. W. BENEDICT, STEREOTYPER AND PRINTER
No. 128 Fulton Street, N. Y.
§ 1. Title, Author, Date, &c.
The Hebrews, according to their usual custom, denominate this, the third book in the order of the Pentateuch, *1977 va-yikra, and he called, from its initial word. By the Septuagint it is called Aevitikov, leuitikon (levitikon), of which the Vulgate title Leviticus' is the Latinized form ; and this has been retained by our own and all the modern versions. It is so called from the fact that it treats principally of the rites and ceremonies, the services and sacrifices, of the religion of the Israelites, the charge of which was committed to the Levitical priesthood, that is, to Aaron and his sons, or descendants, who were of the tribe of Levi, and who alone of that tribe exercised the priestly office. It is not, therefore, the ministry of the Levites properly so called, who constituted a dis. tinct order from the priests, and subordinate to them, that forms the subject of this book, for of their services a much fuller account is contained in the book of Numbers than in the present. It is of the peculiar functions of the sacerdotal body usually termed the sons of Aaron,' that the book, for the most part, treats, for which reason it is denominated by the Talmudists 107576775 torath hakkohanim, the law of the priests, and 67227700777 torath hakkorbanoth, the law of the offerings. The sons of Aaron,' or the priests, were merely assisted in the performance of their sacred office by the descendants of the other branch of Levi's family, who obtained the privilege of officiating as a kind of second order of the pricsthood, in recompense of the ready zeal which they displayed against idolatry and the worshippers of the golden calf.
That Moses was the real author of this book, is proved, not only by the gen. eral arguments which demonstrate him to have written the whole Pentateuch, but by particular passages in other portions of the Scriptures where it is expressly cited as his inspired work. Thus, Nehem. 8. 14,' And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month.' This ordinance is contained Lev. 23. 34, 42. Again it is said of the mother of Jesus, Luke 2. 22, that' When the days of her purification according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem,' a law which is to be found Lev. 12. 6. Once more, it is said 2 Chron. 30. 16, of the priests and Levites, that they stood in their place, after their manner, according to the law of Moses, the man of the Lord; the priests sprinkled of the blood which they received of the hand of the Levites.' This regulation occurs Lev. 1.5. The true authorship of the book is by these passages put beyond question.
The time and place at which the book was written, are determined by the