Richard Agee

Leviticus 19:19-34: Lessons from rules on bondservants, mixing of cloths and seeds

Richard AgeeLev. 19:19-34 may seem like a disjointed collection of rules about managing servants, textiles and crops. But when we see that these are used as symbols elsewhere for characteristics of people, we can learn God’s lessons that transcend culture and time.

The Hebrew word translated as seed in Lev. 19:19 — זָרַע zara’ (Strong’s lexicon No. H2232), to sow or scatter seed — communicates the mixing of grains. This is not about zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, etc. The GMO plants that are engineered to produce sterile seed so the farmers are forced to purchase new seed every year violate Torah.

“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” (Lev. 19:19)

If you plant grains together they will mix together and the result will be a weaker, lesser grain than the original. Yeshua told a parable that illustrates how this Torah command seems to be more than a lesson in agriculture (Matt 13:24–30, 36–43).

The issue with the mixing of garments only applies to linen, wool and leather. If you try to weave them together, the stronger thread will decimate the weaker thread and ruin the garment. The wool, linen and leather have symbolic as well as literal relevance to the High Priest’s garments and the tabernacle.

“Now if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for another man, but who has in no way been redeemed nor given her freedom, there shall be punishment; they shall not, however, be put to death, because she was not free. He shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD to the doorway of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.” (Lev. 19:20–22)

The woman in this text is a concubine, not a wife. She is a slave woman, not a free woman. But the woman in this statute was not innocent. She was not raped. Some English translations claim that the concubine or slave-woman was punished with a beating of scouring as a result of this situation but that is not in the original Hebrew. The Hebrew simply says that the matter will be investigated and if they are found to have done this deed, the man has to make sacrifices in atonement.

“When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. ‘But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. ‘In the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its yield may increase for you; I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:23–25)

The Bible never talks about tithing fruits and vegetables. It only talks about tithing grain, corn and animals. They don’t have any crops yet, they are still in the process of going to Canaan.

This rule is concerning what to do when you plant new trees or plants. The first three years, the fruit it produces belong to the earth. The fourth year, the fruit is dedicated to the priests and then in the fifth year, the fruit below to the owner.

The land only has value when humans, who are created in God’s image, take care of and maintain their property. Buildings, gardens, vineyards, etc. make the land more valuable. If buildings decay and man doesn’t keep back the wild animals and weeds, the land looses value.

“You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.” (Lev. 19:26)

Why are these three things combined in the same text? How are “divination” and “soothsaying” connected with blood? The word for divination is related to observing signs and people who communicate with the dead. King Saul did this and the false Samuel — an elohim, i.e., demon — who came up lied to him and caused his death (1Sam. 28:3–19).

God has to repeatedly tell the people that they are to stop doing the things they did in Egypt and not to pick up the habits and culture of the people in Canaan that they are going to conquer and throw out. God told the Israelites that He will throw them out as He is going to throwing out the Canaanites if they act the same way the Canaanites act.

“I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:13)

The Hebrew word for cloud is the same word that is translated as “soothsayer” in the rest of the TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings, aka “Old Testament”). That is what a soothsayer does, he covers up and hides the truth.

People who reads tea leaves, the stars, etc. are hiding the truth,not revealing it and if we listen to their words, we can be defiled by them.

“You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.” (Lev. 19:27)

God says that we are not to shape our hair in such a way that follows pagan religious convention. He is not saying you can’t perform basic grooming of your hair and beards. I haven’t studied Egyptian, Canaanite religion to know exactly what styles of beards of hairstyle are forbidden here. And quite frankly, I don’t care about their hairstyles. It’s not important to me.

“You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:28)

This is pretty simple: don’t cut yourself for the dead. It also says don’t write or inscribe anything on your skin.

“Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness.” (Lev. 19:29)

Prostitution is not a victimless crime. The land itself becomes worthless when prostitution is tolerated. The society will go downwards quickly. It affects the city, the state and the nation.

“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. ‘The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:33–34)

This is a reference to immigration. When a person comes to your land and becomes an immigrant, you are to treat them as a neighbor. The Israelites were not to treat them as they were treated in Egypt.

What is a ‘talebearer’?

The text I want to end with is to backtrack to Lev. 19:16:

“You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.”

The prophet Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) tells us what a talebearer really is.

“All of them are stubbornly rebellious, Going about as a talebearer. They are bronze and iron; They, all of them, are corrupt.” (Jer. 6:28)

The word talebearer is also a synonym for slanderer, and it’s crucial when it comes to life or death:

“Slanderous men have been in you for the purpose of shedding blood, and in you they have eaten at the mountain shrines. In your midst they have committed acts of lewdness.” (Ezek. 22:9)

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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