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eTeacherBiblical Official Newsletter
Issue #127 - 05/13
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Eli Dahan

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How to deliver a message with the help of Leviticus 19?

Leviticus 19 is an incredible chapter of the Bible in terms of the transference of information. Not only are the Ten Commandments repeated with different words, but we learn specific lessons about the right ways to treat one another, human to human, when the rest of the chapter specifically relates to the relationship between man and God. This chapter also gives us the tools to deliver a message, another noticeably different feature.

Today I would like to focus in two passages from this chapter. The first is Leviticus 19:11-18-

"‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. ‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the Lord. ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord. ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

" לֹא תִּגְנֹבוּ; וְלֹא-תְכַחֲשׁוּ וְלֹא-תְשַׁקְּרוּ אִישׁ בַּעֲמִיתוֹ. וְלֹא-תִשָּׁבְעוּ בִשְׁמִי לַשָּׁקֶרוְחִלַּלְתָּ אֶת-שֵׁם אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְהוָהלֹא-תַעֲשֹׁק אֶת-רֵעֲךָ וְלֹא תִגְזֹל; לֹא-תָלִין פְּעֻלַּת שָׂכִיר אִתְּךָ-עַד-בֹּקֶרלֹא-תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ-וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל; וְיָרֵאתָ מֵּאֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְהוָה. לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ עָוֶל בַּמִּשְׁפָּט לֹא-תִשָּׂא פְנֵי-דָל וְלֹא תֶהְדַּר פְּנֵי גָדוֹלבְּצֶדֶק תִּשְׁפֹּט עֲמִיתֶךָלֹא-תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָאֲנִי יְהוָהלֹא-תִשְׂנָא אֶת-אָחִיךָ בִּלְבָבֶךָ; הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְאלֹא-תִקֹּם וְלֹא-תִטֹּר אֶת-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ: אֲנִי יְהוָה."

This is what you need to do!

If you look closely at verses 11-12, you can see that the message is written in the plural, since stealing, speaking falsely and swearing in the name of the Lord are all actions that damage not the person but also God Himself and the world that He created. From verse 13 onward, the message is for the singular (except the beginning of verse 15), since the law pertains to the term of man and his friends, an interpersonal relationship- בֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ. The word "not"- לֹא- appears at the beginning of the verses, while at the end of some verses can be interpreted as important sayings for life (see above). Also the expression "I'm The Lord" also can be found at the end of three verses in order to show us, the readers, who we should fear and how we should try best respect and honor Him with moral behavior.

Specific words in this chapter help us to better understand our aims and deliver our message. For example, when we see the word "blood"- dam- דַּם, it suggests me should be aware of our neighbor. When we read the words "deaf" or "blind" we are reminded to be more merciful to others in need.

A beautiful section to note is verse 18, which commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Interestingly, this is not specifically related to certain people or friends - this is a universal message for all of us. At the beginning of the verse, we read about the condition that helps to achieve this - when we think of revenge. It reminds us that we just need love in our life, just like The Beatles sang, "All you need is Love".

At the end of this chapter there's another memorable passage that deals with the sojourner, the stranger in a strange land. Most of us live in a world in which there are more than a few strangers. However, for God, the reality of how to treat such people is simple, as written:

"וְכִי-יָגוּר אִתְּךָ גֵּר בְּאַרְצְכֶם לֹא תוֹנוּ אֹתוֹכְּאֶזְרָח מִכֶּם יִהְיֶה לָכֶם הַגֵּר הַגָּר אִתְּכֶם וְאָהַבְתָּ לוֹ כָּמוֹךָ כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם  בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִםאֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם."

"When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  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."(Leviticus 19:33-34)

 

The world play between "the stranger" and the verb "to reside" is just another way the Hebrew Language highlights the importance of this message. As well, when you reread verse 18 with a slight text adjustment, we can see how everyone should be treated equally in God's ideal world.Have a blessed week, Eli

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

English

Transliteration

Hebrew

Stranger

gēr

גֵּר

I'm

'ănî

אֲנִי

Justice

tsedeq

צֶדֶק

Morning

bōqer

בֹּקֶר

Not

'

לֹא

Blood

dam

דַּם

Deaf

chērēš

חֵרֵשׁ

 

 

 

 
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