The high priest always had to be able to represent the people

Leviticus Bible Background

Old Testament: Lev 21.10–12

To read the Bible in a year, read Leviticus 20–21 on February 15, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

When it was time for Aaron, or one of his descendants, to serve in the tabernacle, and later temple, he had to be fully qualified that he might able to do his job of representing the people before God. Therefore, God put these restrictions on him:

“He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes; nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or his mother; nor shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.”

– Leviticus 21.10–12

He had to be as nearly perfect as possible for human beings to be, because he ultimately served as a symbol of the truly perfect high priest who would come later.


  • What was he not to uncover?
  • What could he not go near?

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