Leviticus 21:17
Speak to Aaron, saying, Whoever he be of your seed in their generations that has any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Whosoever he be of thy seed.—Better, any man of thy seed throughout their generations; that is, any of the descendants, to all future times, who have not been disqualified for service in the sanctuary by their parents contracting illegal alliances, are yet to be subject to the following regulations.

To offer the bread of his God.—That is, shall not officiate at the sacrifices. (See Leviticus 21:6 -Leviticus 3:2.)

Leviticus 21:17. Of thy seed — Whether the high-priest, or the inferior ones. That hath — In all successive ages, any defect or excess of parts, any notorious deformity or imperfection in his body. The reason hereof is partly typical, that he might more fully represent Christ, the great High-Priest, who was typified both by the priest and sacrifice, and therefore both were to be without blemish; partly moral, to teach all Christians, and especially ministers of holy things, what purity and perfection of heart and life they should labour after, and that notorious blemishes in the mind or conversation render a man unfit for the ministry of the gospel; and partly prudential, because such blemishes were apt to breed contempt of the person; and consequently of his function, and of the holy things wherein he ministered. For which reason, such persons as have notorious defects or deformities, are still unfit for the ministry, except where there are eminent gifts and graces, which vindicate a man from the contemptibleness of his bodily presence.21:1-24 Laws concerning the priests. - As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.He was not treated as an outcast, but enjoyed his privileges as a son of Aaron, except in regard to active duties.16-24. Whosoever he be … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God—As visible things exert a strong influence on the minds of men, any physical infirmity or malformation of body in the ministers of religion, which disturbs the associations or excites ridicule, tends to detract from the weight and authority of the sacred office. Priests laboring under any personal defect were not allowed to officiate in the public service; they might be employed in some inferior duties about the sanctuary but could not perform any sacred office. In all these regulations for preserving the unsullied purity of the sacred character and office, there was a typical reference to the priesthood of Christ (Heb 7:26). Whosoever he be of thy seed, whether the high priest or the inferior ones.

In their generations; in all successive ages, as long as your priesthood and policy endures.

Any blemish, i.e. any defect or excess of parts, any notorious deformity, or imperfection in his body. The reason hereof is partly typical, that he might more fully represent Christ, the great High Priest, who was typified both by the priest and sacrifice, and therefore both were to be without blemish; partly moral, to teach all Christians, and especially ministers of holy things, what purity and perfection of heart and life they should labour after, and that notorious blemishes in the mind or conversation render a man unfit for the ministry of the gospel; and partly prudential, because such blemishes were apt to breed contempt of the person, and consequently of his function, and of the holy things wherein he ministered. For which reason, some conceive, that still such persons as have notorious defects or deformities, which render them contemptible, are not fit for the ministry; which may be true in the general, except where there are eminent gifts and graces, which are sufficient to vindicate a man from the contemptibleness of his bodily presence. The particular defects here mentioned I shall not enlarge upon, because some of the Hebrew words are diversely interpreted, and because the use of these things being abolished, the knowledge of them is not very necessary.

The bread; either the shew-bread, one eminent part being named for the whole; or, the food, i.e. all the oblations. See Poole "Leviticus 21:6". Speak unto Aaron, saying,.... Who being the high priest, it was incumbent on him, at least at this time, to see that the laws and rules relating to the priesthood were observed; and particularly to examine carefully who were and who were not to be admitted to serve in it:

whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations; or, "a man of thy seed" (w), for this only respected his male seed, females of his seed had no concern in the following laws; but his sons, in all successive ages and generations, to the coming of the Messiah, had, whether high priests or common priests:

that hath any blemish; in any part of his body, particularly such as are after mentioned:

let him not approach to offer the bread of his God; neither go into the holy place, to set the shewbread in order there, nor to offer any sacrifice upon the altar; so Josephus (x) explains this law; that a priest should be perfect, and if he laboured under any defect, should not ascend the altar, nor enter into the temple: this was imitated by the Heathens: Romulus ordered that such as were weak and feeble in any part of the body should not be made priests (y): the Jewish priests were types of Christ, who is holy, harmless, without spot and blemish; and through whose blood and righteousness all who are made priests by him are unblamable, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; and a Gospel minister, bishop, or pastor, ought to be unblemished in his life and conversation, Titus 1:6; and there are some who think that the blemishes of the mind and of the life are rather here meant than those of the body.

(w) "vir de semine tuo", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (x) Antiqu. l. 3. c. 12. sect. 2.((y) Pompon. Laet. de Sacerdot. c. 6. de Vestalibus.

Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. throughout their generations] See end of introd. note to ch. the bread of his God] See on Leviticus 21:6.The high priest was to maintain a spotless purity in a higher degree still. He, whose head had been anointed with oil, and who had been sanctified to put on the holy clothes (see Leviticus 8:7-12 and Leviticus 7:37), was not to go with his hair flying loose when a death had taken place, nor to rend his clothes (see Leviticus 10:6), nor to go in to any dead body (מת נפשׁת souls of a departed one, i.e., dead persons); he was not to defile himself (cf. Leviticus 21:2) on account of his father and mother (i.e., when they were dead), nor to go out of the sanctuary funeris nempe causa (Ros.), to give way to his grief or attend the funeral. We are not to understand by this, however, that the sanctuary was to be his constant abode, as Bhr and Baumgarten maintain (cf. Leviticus 10:7). "Neither shall he profane the sanctuary of his God," sc., by any defilement of his person which he could and ought to avoid; "for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him" (cf. Leviticus 10:7), and defilement was incompatible with this. נזר does not mean the diadem of the high priest here, as in Exodus 29:6; Exodus 39:30, but consecration (see at Numbers 6:7).
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