Leviticus 21:2 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(2) But for his kin, that is near unto him.—There are, however, seven exceptions to the general rule. According to the administrators of the Law during the second Temple, the phrase, “his kin that is near unto him,” or rather, “his flesh that is near unto him” (comp. Lev. 18:6 with Gen. 2:24), denotes “wife.” Hence the Chaldee version of Jonathan renders it, “but for a wife who is of kin to his flesh.”
For his mother, and for his father.—This is the second of the three instances in the Bible where the mother is mentioned before the father (see Lev. 19:3). The Jewish canonists, who call attention to this unusual phrase, account for it by saying that she is placed first because the son’s qualifications for the priesthood depend more upon his having a good mother (see Lev. 21:7). This will be readily understood when it is borne in mind that the regulations about the woman whom a priest was allowed to marry during the second Temple were of the most stringent nature, and that the slightest infringement of them disqualified the son for performing sacerdotal functions. Thus the daughter of a foreigner or of a released captive was forbidden to the priest, and when a city was besieged and taken by the enemy all the wives of the priests had to be divorced for fear lest they had suffered violence.
Consult other comments:
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.