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Leviticus (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) Hardcover – May 19, 2007
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As concerns ritual symbolism, Kiuchi argues that the rituals in Leviticus have symbolic meanings that were never supposed to be divorced from the literal observance of the rite. There is therefore an inseparability between the symbols and what they symbolize. He illustrates this idea with appeal to various passages and the uses of different terms throughout Leviticus and non-priestly literature. One example he gives is of the cleanness and uncleanness regulations in between the Nadab and Abihu incident and the Day of Atonement, in Lev 11-15.
Literal observance of the rite, he points out, renders one clean. Yet if "uncleanness" symbolizes the existential condition of the party, which will be addressed below, "then to attend only to the literal observance of these rules would make a person a mere hypocrite." Thus, it is made apparent that "the Lord commands the observance of the symbolic meaning through one's involvement in outward actions." This is to make intelligible spiritual matters to humans who are often ignorant of such matters. Such an understanding also gets to the heart of what is meant by the prescriptions for the various rituals being statues forever throughout the generations (Lev 10:9; 16:29, etc.).Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›