Leviticus 19:19-37

19 ‘You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.

20 ‘Now if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for anotherman, but who has in no way been redeemed nor given her freedom, there shall be punishment; they shall not, however, be put to death, because she was not free.21 He shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord to the doorway of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. 22 The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.

23 ‘When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as [d]forbidden. Three years it shall be [e]forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25 In the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its yield may increase for you; I am the Lord your God.

26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuts in your [f]body for the [g]dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.

29 ‘Do not [h]profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the Lord.

31 ‘Do not turn to [i]mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

32 ‘You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the [j]aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.

33 ‘When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.34 The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.

35 ‘You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity.36 You shall have just balances, just weights, a just [k]ephah, and a just [l]hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. 37 You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am the Lord.’”

This bit of “regulations” is all over the map. Some is just plain practical, like “do not mate two different kinds of animals.” And we know why, because the offspring will be sterile (if there are any). “Don’t make cloth with different kinds of thread”, because when you wash it, they will shrink differently and it could ruin the entire garment. Some seems obvious, like “do not practice… witchcraft.” Some is related to the land they were entering (I suspect), like vs. 27-28. Why a prohibition on tattoos or why not trim your beards? I suspect it was a custom related to the pagan religions they would encounter, or perhaps even a religious practice they had seen in Egypt. God wanted them to have nothing to do with that, even if trimming your beard wasn’t inherently bad. He wanted them to show their dedication to His commands, with no room for error or confusion.

But my favorite, is probably verse 32. It’s not unlikely that the aged were sometimes disrespected or neglected, just like they are in our day. And God wanted His people to have no part in that. He values each life as precious, and to show any distinction based on age would be to devalue that which God most treasures.

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