Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:4. Laws for the Priests
1. Laws concerning the person of the priests (Leviticus 21:1-6)
2. Laws concerning their family (Leviticus 21:7-9)
3. Laws concerning the high priest (Leviticus 21:10-15)
4. Concerning blemishes (Leviticus 21:16-24)
We come now to the special laws and precepts for the priestly class among the people. The preceding laws concerned the nation as such. The requirements of the priests are the highest in the entire book of Leviticus. Responsibility is always according to relationship. The priests, as we have seen before, typify the church. The grace of God has given to us the place of nearness in Christ, access into the Holiest and constituted us priests. The holiness required of the New Testament believers corresponds to this blessed relationship.
Many are the lessons given here. 2Timothy 3:16-17 applies to this part of Leviticus. These divine requirements and laws are given even for us “for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” May we read with prayer and ponder over these words of Jehovah. We point again to the marriage relation. This was especially guarded. Only a virgin of his own people was he permitted to take for wife. A woman upon whose character there was a spot, who was immoral or divorced, could not be the wife of a priest. And should not God’s people in the New Testament, as holy priests, be equally cautious? We have an answer in 1Corinthians 7:39. No child of God, a holy priest, should unite in marriage with an unbeliever. The harvest from the acts of disobedience in unholy alliances is often disastrous.
Interesting is this section concerning blemishes in the priestly generations. These blemishes were: blindness, lameness, deformity of the nose, any outgrowths in the skin, broken footed, broken handed, crookbacked or of small stature, etc. Such a one was not permitted to come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He could not go in unto the vail nor come nigh unto the altar. Nevertheless, he could eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy. His deformity or blemish deprived him not of his priestly position, nor was he anything less than a son of Aaron. He was excluded from the functions of the holy priesthood. Our spiritual defects, the blemishes which often are upon us as a holy priesthood, typified by lameness (defective walk), blindness (defective sight), arrested growth (dwarf), etc., all these blemishes do not affect our sonship nor our priestly position. But they do interfere with the enjoyment of the communion into which grace has brought us. On account of spiritual defects we cannot enter into the fullest exercise of our priestly privileges and functions. Yet grace permits us to eat of the bread of God.
And Christ as our Priest is without any defect or blemish. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).