Priests had to remember they were priests

Leviticus Bible Background

02.15.2017 – Old Testament: Lev 21.1–4

To read the Bible in a year, read Leviticus 20–21 on February 15, In the year of our Lord 2017

By Don Ruhl

Since a priest served God for man and man for God, he had to remember in all his affairs that he was indeed a priest. He could not defile himself, for if he did, he could not do his duties. Concerning someone who had died, the Lord instructed Moses,

And the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for the dead among his people, except for his relatives who are nearest to him: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother; also his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband, for her he may defile himself. Otherwise he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself” (Leviticus 21.1–4). 

This had to do with handling a dead body. Obviously the priest had family, and for that, the Lord made an exception, otherwise, the priest could not handle or touch the dead bodies of humans.

Christians are also priests, and while we do not have the restrictions against handling dead bodies, we do have restrictions about defiling ourselves spiritually, for we must remember that we are priests of God at all times.


  • Have you touched a dead body before?
  • What do you do when you defile your spirit?

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