Leviticus 21:21 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(21) No man that hath a blemish.—The addition of this general remark to the twelve instances adduced in the preceding verses, shows that the cases in question were simply typical, and that it was left to the administrators of the Law, not only to decide the minute details and various stages of these cases, but also to determine whether other bodily infirmities are included or not in this summary statement. Hence, during the second Temple, the authorities registered no less than one hundred and forty-two defects which disqualify the priest for serving at the altar. There was a chamber in the court of the Temple in which the Sanhedrim examined all the priests prior to their being received into the staff of those who officiated in the sanctuary. At the conclusion of this periodical examination, all the priests were divided into two classes. Those who were pronounced physically disqualified “put on black garments, wrapped themselves up in black cloaks, and went away in silence”; whilst those who were declared qualified put on white garments and white cloaks, and forthwith joined their brethren to assist in the sacred office. They celebrated the day by giving a feast to all their friends, which they opened with the following benediction: “Blessed be the Lord! Blessed be He because no blemish hath been found in the seed of Aaron, the priest; and blessed be He because He hath chosen Aaron and his sons to stand and to serve before the Lord in His most holy sanctuary.” Those priests who were declared physically unfit, were employed in the chamber for wood at the north-east of the court of the women, to select the proper wood for the altar, since any piece which was worm-eaten could not be burnt on it. (See Lev. 1:7.)
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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.