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Leviticus (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) Hardcover – May 19, 2007
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About the Author
Nobuyoshi Kiuchi is professor of Old Testament at Tokyo Christian University, Japan. He is the author of The Purification Offering in the Priestly Literature (JSOT Press) and A Study of Hata' and Hatta't in Leviticus 4-5 (Mohr Siebeck), and a contributor to the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP). He studied in England for his Ph.D. at the College of St. Paul & St. Mary, Cheltenham (now part of the University of Gloucestershire) and the Oxford Centre for Post-graduate Hebrew Studies.
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But there is a fundamental word study debacle which is key to Kiuchi's book. I am speaking of the Hebrew verb chata and the noun chattat as prounounced roughly in English. Anyone can do their own word study on this verb and noun and clearly see that "to hide" and "hiding" cannot be the definition of these words. As a test try to fit Kiuchi's definitions in these verses where these Hebrew words appear, which I have in quotes, and see if it makes any sense.
Gen 31:39 That which (Jacob's flocks) was torn by wild beasts I (Jacob) did not bring to you (Laban); I "bore the loss" of it myself. rsv Kiuchi says that this form of chata (called by grammars the piel form) means uncover
Gen. 42:22 - And Reuben answered them (his brothers who threw Joseph into a pit and sold him to traders), "Did I not tell you not "to sin" against the lad (Joseph)? rsv This form is called by grammars the Qal whicn KIuchi translates as "to hide"
Gen 43:9 - I (Judah) myself will guarantee his (Benjamin's)safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will "bear the blame" before you all my life. niv qal
Ex 10:16 - Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have "sinned" against the LORD your God, and against you. kjv qal Pharoah was doing anything but hiding he was challenging God!
Ex 29:36 - Sacrifice a bull each day as a "sin offering" (the noun form) to make atonement. "Purify" (Piel) the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it. niv noun and verb piel
Num 19:9 - "A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for "purification from sin". niv the noun
Something to cleanse is used to hide??!!
The other major problem is that the unclean sea animals are unclean because, according to Kiuchi, they look like the cursed serpent of the Garden of Eden??!! A lobster looks like a snake??!!, maybe a cockroach, but not a snake! Is not it simply that the majority of these animals crawl along the sea bottom (the ground of Gen 3) which is cursed by God. which is also where dead carcasses end up in the sea.
I feel a better translation for chata and chattat would be "to stray" metaphorically speaking in relationships "to stray away from the trust built up" And the noun would mean "straying". It seems to fine that the piel form means to "compensate or "purify" and anohter meaning fo rthe noun would be "cleansing" Also Kiuchi rarely refences the LXX and the other forms of the word chata. The hifil form seems to mean "to make go astray" "to miss", and the hitpael form "to free oneself from sin" "withdraw" see Holladay's lexicon
If you overlook that one twist, you will have an excellent commentary to grapple with Leviticus. That will be clear in the Introduction. It is well written, easy to comprehend, and not sidetracked on esoteric sidewalks. He quickly dismisses, as is easily done, bizarre theories like the documentary hypothesis. He was at his best in the section on Structure. Whether you would agree or not, he really analyzes in a way that opens up Leviticus.
His analyses of key words and themes was equally helpful. I believe repeated words are always a clue to themes and he follows that line. At other points he presents original thinking and even writes as if symbolism (what some call “types”) is not far off the mark.
He had a few other peculiarities like calling the soul “one’s egocentric nature”, but was still helpful. He interacted well with the exegetical volumes most likely to compete for pastor’s attention: Wenham, Rooker, and Hartley.
The commentary proper was excellent and presented in the typical Apollos style: Translation, Form and Structure, Comment, and Explanation. This is a solid effort and worthy of purchase.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.