The Jews were to afflict their souls

Leviticus Bible Background

Old Testament: Lev 16.29–31

To read the Bible in a year, read Leviticus 15–17 on February 13, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

During the annual Day of Atonement, the Lord wanted the priests performing various duties, but He also wanted the average Israelite involved by refraining from a couple of things:

“This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.”

– Leviticus 16.29–31

Afflicting the soul generally meant for the children of Israel to refrain from eating and along with that, they were to refrain from working, that they might think on the significance of that day, that they might see that the Lord had cleansed them from all their sins.

We want to be busy, and we need to eat nourishing food, but sometimes we have to stop those activities that we might give attention to deep spiritual thoughts.

Questions:

  • On what date would Israel refrain from food and work?
  • Did this include Israel only?

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