Biblical Principle #224: Special Rules for Israel’s Priests

Biblical Principles List


Under the Law of Moses, Israel’s priests had additional rules for holiness because of their role.


In addition to the precise instructions pertaining to ceremonies and public service, Israel’s Levitical priests had further unique regulations that only applied to them because of their role as intermediaries between GOD and the rest of Israel.

Exposure to a Dead Body

1 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them, ‘They shall not be defiled by the dead among their people, 2 except for their nearest relatives: their father, mother, sons, daughters, brother, 3 and virgin sister near to him and having no husband; for these he may be defiled. 4 Otherwise, he shall not be unexpectedly defiled and profaned among his people.

Leviticus 21:1-4 OSB

Appearance and Holiness

5 You shall not shave a bald spot on your head for the dead, nor shall they shave the edges of their beard, nor make any cuttings on their flesh. 6 They shall be holy to their God, and not defile the name of their God, for they offer the sacrifices of the Lord as the gifts of their God; therefore, they shall be holy.

Leviticus 21:5-6 OSB

Nonapproved Marriage Situations

7 They shall not take a wife who is a prostitute and defiled, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for a priest is holy to the Lord his God. 8 Therefore you shall sanctify him, for he offers the gifts of the Lord your God. He shall be holy to you, for I the Lord, who sanctifies them, am holy.

Leviticus 21:7-8 OSB

Execution of Prostitute Daughter

9 The daughter of any priest, if she defiles herself by playing the harlot, she defiles the name of her father. She shall be burned with fire.

Leviticus 21:9 OSB

Rules for High Priest

High Priest Appearance

10 The high priest who is great among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who was consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes;

Leviticus 21:10 OSB

High Priest Exposure to Dead Body Forbidden

11 nor shall he go near any soul who died, nor defile himself for his father or mother;

Leviticus 21:11 OSB

High Priest and Anointing Oil

12 nor shall he go out of the holy places, nor defile the sanctified place of his God; for the consecration of God’s holy anointing oil is upon him: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 21:12 OSB

High Priest to Marry Virgin

13 Moreover, he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 But a widow, a divorced woman, a defiled woman, or a prostitute—these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife. 15 Nor shall he defile his seed among his people, for I the Lord sanctify him.’”

Leviticus 21:13-15 OSB

Biblical Principles List


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *