Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch As Narrative. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
Chapter 3, “Leviticus” pp. 323-367.
Part 2, “Holiness in the Life of the People (18:1-27:34)” pp. 345-367.
Leviticus 18, Sailhamer observes, can shed light on Genesis 9:20-27, where Ham “looked upon his father’s nakedness” and his son’s descendants were cursed (Sailhamer 1992, 345). The start of chapter 18 is a formal introduction setting Israel apart from Egypt and Canaan. The narrative then moves into laws regarding who one might marry. Citing Abram and Amram (Moses’ father) Sailhamer states his understanding of the Law. “Both these men, of course, lived before these laws were given, and hence their lives show the temporary and historically particular application of many of these laws. Though the author tells us that Abraham ‘kept the Law’ (Gen 26:5), he means that Abraham lived a life of faith, and hence it could be said about him that he fulfilled the ultimate purpose of the Law” (Sailhamer 1992, 348). This author observes that Abraham is not justified by the works of the law but by faith, something Sailhamer does not seem to emphasize. Leviticus 19 moves into different laws, mostly pointed toward the role of the individual in society. Sailhamer observes a repeated pattern of 21 laws in groups with introductory statements. In chapter 20 we move into a series of laws grouped in 14s. Chapter 22 shifts us to laws grouped by 7. In chapter 24 we read about an individual upon whom the death penalty is inflicted. It is clear that murder and capital punishment are different in nature (Sailhamer 1992, 361). Chapter 25 discusses the year of jubilee, which is a time of restoration. The book closes with a summary of the “covenants” the people of Israel have with God. When the people of Israel humble themselves God will show his care for them (Sailhamer 1992, 365).