And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God (Lev. 19:1-4).
The book of Leviticus is the Bible's premier book of holiness. The biblical meaning of "holy" is "set apart by God." It is related conceptually to "sanctify," "sanction," and "saint." It refers to any person, place, or thing with a God-ordained covenantal boundary around it. Everything inside such a boundary is sacrosanct. For example, we correctly speak of marriage as holy. This does not mean that every marriage is Christian. It means that God has placed a special judicial boundary around every marriage.
The book of Leviticus is the Bible's premier book of boundaries. There is an element of separation in every boundary, just as there is in holiness: separation by sanctions.(1) The Book of Numbers is the Pentateuchal book of sanctions, but the civil sanctions of Leviticus have alienated Christians and have outraged pagans. That certain sexual acts are forbidden in Leviticus is generally acceptable to most Christians, but the specified civil sanctions are a terrible mental burden for them. They will do almost anything, including dismissing the continuing validity of all the laws in Leviticus, in order to escape any personal or corporate responsibility for pressuring civil rulers to enforce the Levitical civil sanctions. Christians would rather deny all of the Levitical separations rather than affirm any of the Levitical civil sanctions. In short, they would rather deny the ethical terms of the Levitical system of holiness than affirm the judicial terms of Levitical civil justice.
Escaping Cultural Relevance
Here is a major dilemma for the modern church. Christians confidently affirm that "the Bible has answers for all questions." But one question is this: What relevance should Christianity have in culture? Modern antinomian Christians emphatically deny the judicial foundation of Christianity's cultural relevance in history: biblical law and its biblically mandated sanctions. Most Christians prefer pietism to cultural relevance, since civil responsibility accompanies cultural relevance. So, they seek holiness through withdrawal from the prevailing general culture.
This withdrawal has forced them to create alternative cultures -- ghetto cultures -- since there can be no existence for man without culture of some kind. Mennonites have achieved a remarkable separation from the general culture, though not so radical as tourists in Amish country like to imagine, by abandoning such modern benefits as electricity in their homes and the automobile. But they travel in their buggies on paved highways, and they use electricity in their barns. They are always dependent on the peace-keeping forces of the nation. Pietistic Christians have longed for a similar separation, but without the degree of commitment shown by the Amish. They send their children into the public schools, and they still watch television. The result has been catastrophic: the widespread erosion of pietism's intellectual standards by the surrounding humanist culture, and the creation of woefully third-rate Christian alternatives. I offer as evidence the quality of American Christian radio broadcasting, especially contemporary Christian popular music. It is better than hard rock "music" and rap "music," no doubt, but compare it to classical music. Compare it to Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. Compare hymns written after 1920 to those written by Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley.
The ultimate form of personal Christian withdrawal from culture is mysticism: placing an emotional and epistemological boundary between the Christian and the world around him. But there is a major theological risk with all forms of theistic mysticism. The proponents of theistic mysticism again and again in history have defined mysticism as union with God. But their primary motive is to escape social responsibility and social ethics. By defining mysticism as metaphysical rather than ethical, mystics have frequently come to a terribly heretical conclusion: their hoped-for union with God is defined as metaphysical rather than ethical. They seek a union of their being with God. Meister Eckhart, the heretic of the early fourteenth century, concluded in his 28th Sermon that "God and I are One."(2) This is a representative expression of the pantheism found in most forms of mysticism.(3) The mystic's quest for unity with God denies the Bible's ultimate definition of holiness: the separation of God from the creation.
The Creator/Creature Distinction
The ultimate boundary is the one separating God from man: the Creator/creature distinction. While man is made in God's image (Gen. 1:26), he is not God, nor does he participate in God's being. Man is commanded to be holy, for God is holy (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2), but man is also warned not to seek divinity for himself (Gen. 11:6; Deut. 29:29; Job 38-41). Man is commanded to seek ethical unity with the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, but man cannot attain ontological unity with God. A permanent boundary is placed between God's being and man's being. The unity between God and man is to be ethical, never ontological or metaphysical.
The doctrine of the Creator/creature distinction has enormous consequences for social theory and practice. A contemporary Jewish political scientist has correctly observed: "The boundary between God and man is His supreme safeguard against social chaos. For what would men not do to one another if they were to claim ultimate authority?"(4) When covenant-breaking men have sought to erase this divine-human boundary, they have reaped their appropriate reward: social chaos followed by tyranny. Twentieth-century Europe is a monument to this reality: World War I, Communism, Nazism, Italian Fascism, World War II, the Cold War, and the break-up of Yugoslavia in civil war after 1990. In addition to the politics of despair have come existentialism, nihilism, the self-conscious meaningless of modern art, pornography, the drug culture, and the mindlessness of hard rock music. The laws of Leviticus were designed to remind men not to erase the divine-human boundary. The Mosaic law was designed to avoid social chaos and tyranny. It established laws -- boundaries -- governing the relationships between men in order to remind men of the ultimate boundary between God and man.
This leads me to a very important point: any attempt to define Christian "relationships" apart from God's Bible-revealed law is a form of rebellion. Relationships apart from God's revealed law and its mandated judicial sanctions are inherently antinomian. It is common for modern Protestant evangelicals to blather on and on about "relationships" while denying the continuing validity of biblical law. This way lies tyranny. And adultery.
The fundamental boundary in history is the one between God and His creation. A subordinate boundary in history is the one between the State and the individual. Modern conservatism ignores the first boundary and therefore finds itself incapable of maintaining the second, either theoretically or institutionally. Rushdoony has described the importance of biblical boundaries for biblical political theory: "Man's realm is on earth, and, since every man's heart is alien ground to every other man, he must rule by force in order to gain total dominion. God's realm and sovereignty is [sic] universal as Creator. He is on home ground everywhere in the universe, as much in command in the heart of every man as in heaven. For God, there is no alien ground, and hence no compulsion: He simply exercises His will over His own domain and creation in every crevice of the universe, and in every man's heart. Wherever the state moves beyond its God-appointed grounds, it is on alien ground, as indeed all men and institutions are wherever and whenever they transgress their appointed bounds."(5)
As we shall see in this commentary, most of Israel's economic boundaries were based on geography (land laws), tribal membership (seed laws), and ritual requirements (laws of sacrifice). These economic rules constituted a covenantal unity. As Americans say, they were a "package deal." These rules were temporary boundaries designed to shape the nation of Israel in very special ways. These judicial boundaries maintained the land and the people as a special province of God. The land of Israel became like the garden of Eden: a temporary residence uniquely under God's revealed law and uniquely under His historical sanctions. The land of Israel, like the garden of Eden, was to serve as a training area for covenant-keeping men. It was also to serve as an example for covenant-breaking men (Deut. 4:4-8). It was to serve both as God's boot camp and as His general headquarters for worldwide evangelism and cultural conquest.
The laws of Leviticus were designed to keep the leaven of evil outside of the land of Israel, but they were also designed to push the leaven of righteousness into the world around Israel. Levitical law was both defensive and offensive. One problem with virtually all commentaries on Leviticus is that they emphasize the defensive aspects of the Levitical laws: separation and exclusion. In this book, I do my best to point out the inclusive aspects of some of these laws. There were laws of inclusion, at least to the extent of placing the gentile world under the Ten Commandments and therefore inside the zone of predictable external blessings: positive sanctions in history. This was Jonah's message to Nineveh: God's covenant lawsuit. Had all of God's revealed laws been solely exclusionary, Jonah would not have been sent by God on his missionary journey. As I argue in this commentary, some of the Mosaic laws were cross-boundary laws that governed other nations, and are still valid today.
The Book of Priestly Holiness
Behind Jonah's prophetic ministry was a nation of priests. As Jacob Milgrom points out in the introduction to the first volume of his extraordinarily learned, extraordinarily large, and extraordinarily unreadable commentary on Leviticus, Leviticus is not about the tribe of Levi. It is about the priesthood. The Book of Numbers rather than Leviticus deals in detail with the laws governing the Levites. The reason why the book is called Leviticus is because in Hellenic times, when the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament appeared (the Septuagint), the term "Levites" meant priests.(6)
Milgrom writes: "Theology is what Leviticus is all about. It pervades every chapter and almost every verse. It is not expressed in pronouncements but embedded in rituals."(7) But what is the focus of the book's theology? Holiness. Leviticus is pre-eminently the Old Covenant's book of holiness. To be holy is to be set apart by God: judicially, ethically, culturally, and in the case of the Old Covenant people of God, geographically. God establishes boundaries. Leviticus is the Pentateuch's book of boundaries.
Leviticus also is the book of life. "Because impurity and holiness are antonyms," Milgrom writes, "the identification of impurity with death must mean that holiness stands for life."(8) The book's rituals and ethical injunctions point to separation from evil, which is the sole basis of life in God's world. Adam's wilful violation of a verbally identified boundary in the garden brought universal death into history. Man's continuing imperfections also point to death. But the perfect honoring God's boundaries therefore brings life. Thus, the ritual and judicial rigors of Leviticus point to man's need of redemption by means of a perfect substitute whose death brings life to the boundary violator. God's law kills those who are already under the sentence of death; on the other hand, it provides a better life for those who are alive. The pre-eminent example of this truth is Jesus Christ, who contrasted His own ministry with that of a thief: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Israel's boundaries were established in terms of God's unique presence among His people: "And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people" (Lev. 26:11-12). The Book of Leviticus rests on the assumption that God's unique covenantal presence among His set-apart people had geographical implications. The Mosaic Covenant was a geographical covenant. God's covenant with Abram (renamed Abraham: "father of nations") involved land because it involved seed: "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. 15:18).
God's goal in all of His laws is to place men under certain moral and judicial boundaries. Men are to acknowledge God's absolute sovereignty over them by accepting the authority of His covenant's hierarchy. The stipulations enforced by His hierarchical institutions serve as the legal boundaries of covenant-keeping man's existence. Men are to learn to live within these boundaries. There is both inclusion and exclusion in establishing and enforcing all boundaries. God in effect puts a "no trespassing" sign around something, and man is required to honor the stipulations of that sign. If he refuses, God threatens to impose negative sanctions on him in history and perhaps even eternity. God is not mocked at zero cost.
The Book of the Kingdom
Leviticus is also the book of the kingdom. God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt, a false kingdom. In doing so, He gave them an opportunity to gain land for a new kingdom. The next generation did inherit this land. The generation of the exodus did not. They died in the wilderness. Because of their rebellion and lack of faith, their boundary was the wilderness. They could not return to Egypt, nor could they enter the Promised Land. The kingdom grant of land could be claimed only by their children, and only after their covenant renewal at Gilgal (Josh. 5).
Leviticus presents the rules governing this kingdom grant from God. This land grant preceded the giving of these rules. Grace precedes law in God's dealings with His subordinates. We are in debt to God even before He speaks to us. The land grant was based on the original promise given to Abraham. That promise came prior to the giving of the Mosaic law.(9) This is why James Jordan says that the laws of Leviticus are more than legislation; the focus of the laws is not simply obedience to God, but rather on maintaining the grant.(10) The basis of maintaining the grant was ethics, not the sacrifices. Man cannot maintain the kingdom in sin.(11) The fundamental issue was sin, not sacrifice; ethics, not ritual. God told them this repeatedly through His prophets:
For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward (Jer. 7:22-24).
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow (Isa. 1:11-17).
The Book of Property
The Book of Leviticus is also the book of property in the Pentateuch. The grant of the kingdom was in the form of a land grant. The land itself was the visible manifestation of the historical reality of the kingdom. So was the promised economic prosperity. Leviticus is the book that presents the ethical foundations of prosperity (Lev. 26:3-10). It also presents the legal foundations of judicial peace with God, the only long-term basis of prosperity. God begins with a gift to His people, and then He sets forth the ritual and legal foundations of maintaining this gift. He promises to uphold this grant if they obey Him. God's promise cannot be separated from their requirement of obedience. Jordan writes:
God's covenant Word is always first and foremost promise, and then command based on promise. Point three has to do with God's grant of the Kingdom, His gift and promise, and then our duties consequent thereto. God's Word is always both promise and command, and in Reformed theology, promise comes first. (In Lutheran law/gospel theology, law comes first to drive us to Christ; but in Reformed theology, grace comes first to put us in the Kingdom, and then the law is given as guidance for our Kingdom duties.)(12)
Respect for the property of others clearly connects largely with the third zone of the five-fold covenant structure, because the third area is that of the distributed grant. We have to respect what God has granted to others. Also, disobedience to any part of God's law is regarded as a trespass or more literally a "debt," as we see it in the Lord's Prayer. Thus, any lawbreaking is a form of theft, creating indebtedness, which must be covered by a Trespass or Compensation Sacrifice. Theft has to do with boundaries, which is why it is equivalent to trespass. Leviticus is the book of boundaries, of who is allowed to go where, and of how to become cleansed once you have trespassed.(13)
The Book of Leviticus is book three of the Pentateuch. It is the book of property. The eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," is the third law of the so-called second table of the law, i.e., the third law in the second group of five covenantally structured laws. The third commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain," establishes a boundary around God's name. God's name is His property, and He in effect licenses the use of His name only for specific uses. The parallels should be obvious. Point three of the biblical covenant model establishes boundaries. Leviticus is the book of property because it is the book of boundaries.
A Holy Walk Before the Lord
We now come to a topic that is never discussed by the commentators. I have never seen any commentator devote as much as one page to it, yet it is more important for understanding the unique nature of the economic life of ancient Israel than any other topic. I am not trying to exaggerate; I really mean this. Here is the question that demands an answer: How did they have time to earn a living? The mandatory sacrifices ate up time as well as crops. Whatever answers to this question that Israel came up with were fundamental to the life of the nation for almost 14 centuries, yet we honestly do not know how Israel answered it. As far as I know, nobody has discussed in detail the economics of the festival journeys. The rabbis who compiled the Mishna and Talmud in the four centuries after the fall of Jerusalem forgot their ancestors' answers, and the Christians have never thought to ask the question.
In Exodus 23, we read: "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD" (Ex. 23:14-17). Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles: three feasts a year were required of every adult circumcised male if he was inside the land's boundaries. Every adult male had to journey to a central location and participate in a festival (ritual feast) three times a year. A parallel passage promised that during their absence from their homes, no invaders would disturb them: "Thrice in the year shall all your men children [males] appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year" (Ex. 34:23-24). God promised to bless the land when they honored these requirements. The nation's circumcised adults were on the march three times each year.
This geographically centralized system of ritual sacrifice was what motivated Jeroboam to create a pair of false worship centers at Bethel and Dan in his newly created northern kingdom (I Ki. 12:25-29). He did not want the people of Israel journeying to Judah to worship, for fear that this would divide their loyalty politically (v. 27). He set up a rival altar and a rival Passover celebration at Bethel (v. 32).
We need to understand just how central, and how centralizing, these mandatory sacrifices were. We need to remember this: there was only one lawful altar in Israel. Unless there was a way for local religious and civil leaders in a community to represent the entire community at these feasts, which the Bible's texts do not indicate there was, this meant that the entire adult male population -- or at least those eligible for numbering for military service -- came to Jerusalem a minimum of three times a year, not including their participation in any of the five special sacrifices discussed in Leviticus 1-7.
Most of them had to walk. A few might have had horses, but not many. Horses cost too much feed and do too little work for small farms to support. There are few references to horses in Israel. They are always spoken of in a military context: the possession of foreign armies. Perhaps some people had donkeys, but riding two hundred miles on a donkey is no picnic. Think about it. Despite rain, mud, dust, and bad weather, three times each year every adult male had to walk or ride a donkey to the tabernacle-temple. In David's day, this meant Jerusalem. Some sections of the nation were located over a hundred miles from Jerusalem "as the crow flies." Winding highways would have added to this estimate. At an average speed of three miles per hour, this would have required up to four or five eight-hour days of walking, each way, plus whatever time was spent in Jerusalem, three times a year. Not every Israelite had to spend this much time on the road, but members of some tribes did.
The Walk: Physical and Spiritual
When God spoke of a holy walk before Him, He really meant it. It was an judicial walk, but it was also a literal walk. The difficulty of the physical walk was to reflect the difficulty of the spiritual walk. Life in Israel was to be a kind of boot camp experience -- a temporary period of preliminary training for worldwide dominion. In Eden, Adam had been told to keep away from a tree: a physically easy task. In Israel, they were told to journey to a central location: a physically difficult task. If they walked faithfully, He promised, the land of Israel would make them rich.
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land (Lev. 26:3-6; see Deut. 28:8-13).
God promised to intervene in the operations of nature in order to make good on His promise. The heavens would deliver rain in due season. But to obtain these blessings, Israelites had to sacrifice -- not just offer sacrifices, but sacrifice a large portion of their lives to the boredom of walking. This nation, more than any other non-nomadic nation in history, was to be on the move. Like a literal army, they were to march a minimum of three times a year. Marching was to keep them in good shape, both physical and spiritual, as God's holy army.
At Passover, entire families journeyed to the tabernacle city and later to Jerusalem. Families were required to celebrate the Passover (Ex. 12). They could not celebrate the feast at home, for they were required to slay the Passover lamb on the night Passover began (Ex. 12:6). This had to be done at the appointed national place of worship after they entered the Promised Land (Deut. 16:2-6). There were about 625,000 adult males when they entered the Promised Land (Num. 26:51, 62). This means that about two million people would have arrived in one city at the same time, to spend a week.(14) Imagine four million people arriving. Or perhaps 10 million if the population grew. This did not happen, for God withheld the blessing of population growth, but until the sacrificial system changed, this long walk was required. Then they all walked home.
Mothers today complain about the trouble involved in planning a day's drive or a plane ride plus a week's visit in a motel. Think about organizing a family for a week's walk, a week's stay, probably camping out in a tent. Bear in mind, there was no running water, no indoor plumbing, no toilet paper, no disposable diapers, and no fast food restaurants. This was no picnic. Then, after a week of jammed masses of humanity and assembly-line sacrifices, they walked home. Less than two months after arriving home, all the men walked back to celebrate another feast, which we call Pentecost: the firstfruits offering. This was Israel's celebration the anniversary of God's giving of the Ten Commandments.(15)
During Pentecost ("weeks") and Tabernacles ("booths" -- the feast of ingathering), those eligible to serve in God's holy army arrived in the central place of sacrifice in order to offer their individual sacrifices. The feasts' celebrations were family-centered, with each family inviting in Levites and strangers to share in the festivities (Deut. 16:13-17). During Tabernacles, the altar was used the whole week during the daytime for mandatory national sacrifices (Num. 29:13-34). Pentecost (pentekoste is the Greek for fiftieth) was different; the festival's formal sacrifices were completed on one day -- day 50 after Passover (Lev. 23:16). So, the special five sacrifices of Leviticus 1-7 could have been conducted after Pentecost ended. The costs of making the journey were high; the time in Jerusalem was brief; perhaps many people stayed behind to offer these special sacrifices. But Pentecost was a summer festival, when agricultural time is most valuable. For as long as Israel remained predominately agricultural, there would have been economic pressure to return home immediately after Pentecost. Also, the pressure of so many visitors at any festival would have raised food and housing costs. Less busy periods were less expensive, but to take advantage of this, the sacrificer would have been required to make another journey to the temple. In short, the costs of sacrifice were very high. Conclusion: faithful people would have been very careful to obey the details of God's law, just to avoid an extra journey to the tabernacle-temple to make a sacrifice for having violated some detail. In the phrase of modern political theory regarding men's exodus from tyranny, Israelites voted with their feet. The marched for liberty. In their case, however, they voted for God's covenant order with their feet, not against it.
The Challenge to Tribalism
There is another aspect of the three marches, but especially Passover, that must be considered: the mitigating effects on tribalism. The three feasts were national celebrations. Clans and tribes from across the nation were required to meet together in one city: the earthly dwelling place of God where the sacrifices had to be conducted. Loyalty is ultimately to God and His law. This cross-tribal loyalty was to be demonstrated at the national feasts.(16)
When all the families of Israel journeyed to Jerusalem, young adults of marriageable age could meet each other: those of the opposite sex who were members of different tribes.(17) Marriage was not limited to members of the same tribe; it was limited only confessionally. The one judicial pressure to marry inside a tribe was the unique case law that applied only to a family of daughters. They could inherit their father's land, but only if they married within the tribe. This was for the sake of the preservation of land ownership within the tribe, not for theological or spiritual reasons (Num. 36:7). (The existence of the bride price/dowry system was another factor loosening the power of the tribe and the clan. Daughters did not carry title to land with them when they left their fathers' households; instead, they carried transportable capital: gold, silver, jewels, etc. Because this capital was transportable, marriage could cut across clan and tribal boundaries.)(18)
In a tribally based society, the power of the clan is very great. Ethics tends to be associated with the tribe. "My brother and I against our cousin; my cousin and I against the world." The tribal outlook is "brotherhood over otherhood," insiders over outsiders. Justice is owed only to insiders. The universalism of fixed moral law is denied by such tribal brotherhoods. This is why Mosaic Israel was not primarily tribal; it was confessional-judicial. It was a society based on the historical acts and the revealed laws of a universal God. The tribes had a temporary role to play because of the tribal identification (Judah) of the prophesied Seed-Messiah, Shiloh (Gen. 49:10).(19) The structure of landed inheritance kept citizenship loosely associated with the tribes inside the Promised Land, as we shall see,(20) but the absence of judicial restrictions on marriage outside the tribe, the bride price/dowry system, and the central feasts mitigated the effects of tribalism-clannism.
Who Paid? Who Benefitted?
The costs of travel, lodging, food, and forfeited time required to participate in the three festivals were very high. We can only guess at the rents charged in Jerusalem when the city experienced a massive influx of participants. Even upper rooms would have come at a premium price. The farther away from Jerusalem a man lived, the higher these festival expenses were. The festivals took place in the months of agricultural labor, not in the dead of winter. That is, they occurred during periods of very valuable time for agricultural laborers. The value of the alternative uses of a farmer's time was high; thus, the costs of the festivals were high. As we shall see, it is reasonable to estimate that the total costs associated with making sacrifice in Israel were five percent (near Jerusalem) to 15 percent (distant) of a family's annual income. To this must be added the costs of the sacrifices themselves, plus tithing, gleaning, and giving to the poor. This does not count morally mandatory, zero-interest charitable loans (Deut. 15:7-11).
Edersheim said that the rabbis of the post-Old Covenant era estimated the expenses associated with the required sacrifices and payments, not counting forfeited travel time and personal expenses, at one-quarter of gross income.(21) This does not count the farmer's reduced income when the land rested during the sabbatical year. While this estimate of 25 percent may be too high, there is no doubt that 15 percent is a reasonable estimate, not counting travel and lodging costs, and not counting forfeited labor time. All of this was required before civil taxes, and not counting the sabbatical year. It is likely that the combined costs of the sacrificial system, plus the system of morally compulsory charity, plus civil taxes at 10 percent (I Sam. 8:15, 17) would have been in the range of one-third to one-half of an agricultural family's income. This is comparable to the middle-class member's tax burden in the twentieth century -- a very high-tax era. In the modern world, most of this money goes to various levels of the State. In ancient Israel, most of it went to the priestly tribe and the poor. Theirs was a far better system, but it was expensive. I know of no society in the ancient world with anything like these external costs on the average farmer-citizen.
An Israelite could have chosen to live in a city located closer to Jerusalem, but this would have led to higher real estate prices in those cities. What a man saved in travel costs he paid for in housing costs. The costs of sacrifice had to be borne. There should be no question about it: Old Covenant Israel was an expensive place to live, especially for Israelites.
The Farming Subsidy to Resident Aliens
This brings us to a controversial but inescapable conclusion: non-Israelites, who did not have to pay these temple-based costs, had a tremendous economic advantage as farmers in Israel. Except for one year in seven (Deut. 31:10-12), they were not required to attend the feasts. They could invest their time and money into farming while the Israelites were on the march. They were allowed to lease agricultural property from Israelites for up to 49 years (Lev. 25:47-52). This means that there was an indirect economic subsidy in ancient Israel for foreigners and covenant-breakers to occupy the agricultural areas, with the Israelites occupying the cities. Covenant-breakers would have paid rent for rural land to the Israelites who moved to the cities.
The larger the Israelite families became, the smaller and less economically efficient each generation's share of the original family plot. If the jubilee laws were enforced, this must have led to the creation of professionally managed farms along the lines of modern corporate farming. It is likely that non-Israelites eventually would have managed most of these farms, especially in regions remote from Jerusalem, where the implicit subsidy to aliens was greatest, i.e., relief from the costs of the most expensive journeys.
Consider the Jew who lived on one of Israel's distant borders. If he leased his land to a foreigner across the border, he might have been able to afford to move to a city closer to Jerusalem. As a city dweller, he could become a craftsman or trader. His thrice-yearly trips to Jerusalem could have become business-related. He could seek out new goods, new markets, and new business contacts. The division of labor would have been extended. So would the transfer of information. For an urban producer, the festivals could have become economically productive. Economically speaking, there is little doubt that the sacrificial system and the gleaning system (which was strictly agricultural)(22) subsidized the transfer of land stewardship to covenant-breakers, especially near the borders of the nation.
I am not arguing that foreigners actually did occupy most of the rural land in pre-Jeroboam Israel. I do not think they did. I am arguing that if this did not happen, it was because the Israelites ignored biblical laws, especially the jubilee land law. We know they did not obey the sabbatical-year law to rest the land (II Chron. 36:21). Perhaps they did not pay all of the temple fees, or perhaps they paid corporate representatives to attend some of the festivals. Maybe they did not pay their tithes, or else refused to participate in any of the five Levitical sacrifices.
Whatever the case, the ceremonial laws were designed to move Israelites off the land and into cities. If the Israelites as a nation remained on the land, it was because they broke some of these laws, or else they were willing to suffer very high worship-related costs -- a very doubtful proposition, given their subsequent behavior.
As far as I know, I am the first commentator to discuss the land ownership aspect of Israel's sacrificial system, and I discovered it only after I had completed two-thirds of the manuscript pages of this book. Having spent almost two decades writing an economic commentary on the first three books of the Bible, at age 51, I finally noticed what should have been obvious all along to any thoughtful investigator: the festival system subsidized gentiles in the nation. I say this, not in a self-congratulatory tone, but in shocked humility. What else haven't I figured out? How much don't we know about the actual operations of biblical law in Old Covenant Israel? A very great deal, I suspect. I ask myself: Why don't Bible commentators think economically? Why did it take two thousand years for someone to observe what should have been obvious? Am I completely off the mark about the costs of sacrifice and its economic implications? If so, what am I overlooking? If not, why did it take two thousand years for someone to write about it? If someone else has written about it, why haven't his observations found their way into any standard Bible commentary or history of Israel?
The Import-Export Business
For a farmer in a tribe on the fringes of the nation, the festivals brought immediate costs rather than immediate economic benefits. Only if he became a part-time specialist could he have made these journeys pay at least part of their cost. If he set up a cottage industry and produced something of value for those families living along the highways to the tabernacle-temple, he might make the trips pay. Or perhaps he could become a middleman for goods produced across Israel's borders. He could sell imported goods to wives, daughters, younger sons, and resident aliens who lived close to the highways and who had been left behind during Pentecost and Tabernacles. But he probably would not have been able to sell his agricultural products to nearby foreign nations. Those nations close to Israel's borders would have been "free riders" on the good weather God promised to bring on the land when the nation obeyed Him. The very high ecclesiastical costs of living in Israel would have placed the Israelites at a competitive disadvantage in relation to those foreign farms located close to Israel's border. If anything, Israelites living on the borders of the nation would have had to become manufacturers, trading their goods for imported food and other manufactured goods. Conclusion: inside Israel, journeying Israelites would have been forced to exchange manufactured goods or services for other manufactured goods. This would have made Jerusalem a center of trade and information: goods and information brought from the edges of the nation's borders.
The required feasts would have created economic incentives for residents located close to foreign borders to import goods from abroad in exchange for goods produced in Israel, and then use these imports to pay for their mandatory journeys. But they would not have exported any crop that was not unique to Israel. What is called the law of comparative advantage operated in agriculture. Israel must have imported food from abroad in cases where transportation costs were low, especially in cities close to the Mediterranean or close to foreign borders. Why? Because there is no question that foreigners who did not bear the high agricultural production costs borne by Israelites could serve as exporters of food to Israel. Foreign farmers who lived close to roads into Israel or the sea had a decisive economic advantage in those years in which famine did not strike their land -- a curse God promised to keep away from Israel if His people obeyed Him. It should be clear that God's law was designed to move His people from the farms to cities. From the cities, they were to move out across the entire globe.
Those living near highways probably did not farm crops that were immediately consumable, such as corn, fruit, olives, etc. The law allowed neighbors to pick a handful of the crop free of charge (Deut. 23:25). This would have included Jews on a journey in Israel.(23) To keep from getting their fields stripped at Pentecost and harvest time (Passover took place early in the growing season), they would have had to plant root crops or other hard-to-pick or hard-to-process crops. Also, there would have been an economic incentive for those living near highways to go into the tavern and lodging business. They would therefore have been in the barter business, selling prepared food and lodging for whatever goods the travellers had to offer in exchange. These highway businessmen would have become the local region's middlemen for imported goods.
Those who know anything about late-nineteenth century U.S. history think of the early immigrant Jews as peddlers, which some were. Jews in medieval Europe were also traders and peddlers. But given the costs of sacrifice in Israel, a lot of them must have become at least part-time peddlers in ancient Israel. Men try to decrease the net loss from mandatory tasks. Trade would have been one way to achieve this.
The International Division of Labor
If a majority of Israelites were not supposed to remain strictly agricultural producers and rural residents, then what were they to do for a living? Where would they live? As population grew, they would have become urban manufacturers, international traders, and specialists in finance: exactly what Jews became when the second diaspora began in A.D. 135, after Bar Kochba's failed rebellion. Rome forced the Jews to move out of Palestine. But from the beginning, Israelites were supposed to become involved in international commerce, both as a national center of trade for visitors and as men sailing across oceans. The economics of centralized sacrifice made this economically likely: cross-border importing and exporting. The laws of Passover allowed those on journeys to celebrate Passover a month later (Num. 9:10-11). This would have been during the harvest season but after winter storms on the Mediterranean. This exception to Passover's laws was a sign of what God wanted for them. They were to take the message of Jehovah's sovereignty and grace to every land, just as Jonah took it to Nineveh. They were to trade and preach. They were to do well while doing good.
Passover alone among the three mandatory festivals had a second date so that travellers could attend. Someone returning to Israel might have been caught in a winter storm. The Mosaic law acknowledged this possibility. This indicates that the other two festivals were not mandatory for Israelites who were outside the nation's geographical boundaries. For those who lived far from the central place of worship but inside the land, and for those living close to the Mediterranean, there was a lawful way to avoid the economic burden of these two festivals' time and travel expenses: become involved in international commerce. The traveller could arrange his affairs to be on a business trip when the two festival dates occurred. The festivals were held in the spring and the fall, when the Mediterranean was suitable for travel.
The extension of God's message of salvation to the rest of the world was inherent in the original covenant. Foreign nations were supposed to learn of God's grace in granting Israel His law (Deut. 4:4-8)? Foreign commerce of one kind or other would have facilitated the spread of the word of God. This was God's conditional promise to them: "[T]hou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow" (Deut. 28:12b) -- a blessing better understood by modern Japan than modern America.
Did God really expect the Jews to evangelize the whole world? Yes. But how? What about the Americas? Hadn't God condemned the Western hemisphere to spiritual darkness merely by placing its residents across the Pacific Ocean? No. Here I must break with the textbook accounts of exploration. On this point, we have been misled.
World Trade Before Jerusalem Fell
Rome was a trading nation in the era of the fall of Jerusalem. An important trade existed between Rome and China, based on the exchange of silk for raw materials. Frederick Teggart's extraordinary book, Rome and China (1939), discussed this international trade connection,(24) but the topic still receives scant or no attention whatever in the textbooks. In any case, this trade is presumed to have been exclusively overland trade. What the textbooks never discuss is cross-Atlantic trade prior to Columbus. This is a mistake that has only begun to be rectified, most notably by Barry Fell and the diligent members of his Epigraphic Society.
Jews were probably trading in North America as early as Jesus' time, and perhaps centuries earlier. There were traders from Europe in North America in the early second millennium B.C., so this should not be surprising.(25) There is evidence -- automatically dismissed as fraudulent ("forgeries") by establishment scholars(26) -- that someone brought the message of God's Ten Commandments to the American southwest before the time of Jesus, possibly centuries before. I refer to the inscription, written in a Hebrew "stick" script,(27) which records the decalogue. It was written on a boulder weighing 80 tons, located 30 miles southwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico, near the town of Los Lunas.(28) The script (alphabet) dates from the twelfth century B.C.(29) Professor Robert Pfeiffer of Harvard University's Semitic Museum first translated the inscription in 1948.(30) A more recent translation than Pfeiffer's is as follows:
I [am] Yahve your God who brought you out of the land of the two Egypts out of the house of bondages. You shall not have other [foreign] gods in place of [me]. You shall not make for yourself molded or carved idols. You shall not lift up your voice to connect the name of Yahve in hate. Remember you [the] day Sabbath to make it holy. Honor your father and your mother to make long your existence upon the land which Yahve your God gave to you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery or idolatry. You shall not steal or deceive. You shall not bear witness against your neighbor testimony for a bribe. You shall not covet [the] wife of your neighbor and all which belongs to your neighbor.(31)
It mentions two Egypts, an obvious reference to the two regions of Egypt, upper (close to the head of the Nile) and lower (close to the Mediterranean).(32) As to when the inscription was made, George Morehouse, a mining engineer, has estimated that this could have taken place as recently as 500 years ago and as far back as two millennia.(33) A "revisionist" who has studied the inscription in detail believes that the text may be from the era of the Septuagint, i.e., over a century before the birth of Jesus -- surely no comfort for conventional textbook authors. The stone's tenth commandment prohibiting covetousness mentions the wife before property, a feature of the Septuagint text.(34)
Evidence of the ancient world's advanced tools, maps,(35) international trade, and highly sophisticated astronomical and observational science(36) never gets into college-level world history textbooks. The evidence is automatically rejected or downplayed by conventional -- and woefully uninformed -- historians because it breaks with the familiar tenets of cultural evolution. Time is supposed to bring science, technology, and cultural advance. Cultural evolution, not cultural devolution, is supposed to be mankind's legacy to future generations. The thought that international trade across the oceans existed five centuries before Columbus, let alone five centuries before David,(37) is an affront to cultural evolutionists. This is probably why a book like Patrick Huyghe's Columbus was Last (1992) had to be published by an obscure New York company, Hyperion. It also explains why there is so little awareness regarding amateur archeologist Emilio Estrada's 1957 discovery of buried Japanese pottery on the coast of Ecuador: Japan's Jomon-era stone-age pottery.(38) Scholars do not want to face the obvious question: How did it get there? And why are there artistic similarities between the China's Shang dynasty and the Mesoamerica Olmec culture -- large cats (sometimes without their lower jaws), the dragon, and the use of jade -- which overlapped each other from the fifteenth to the twelfth centuries, B.C.?(39) Why were the implements and techniques used by the Mayans to make bark paper five centuries before Christ so similar to the implements and techniques used by the Chou dynasty in the same era? Of 121 individual traits, the two systems shared 91, half of which were non-essential, and the other half, while essential, had alternative approaches available.(40) Why didn't the Mesoamerican techniques match papermaking techniques used by cultures in other parts of America?(41) Why do Mayan stone art works after 500 B.C. shift from earlier forms to match Asian art forms of the same era?(42)
Meanwhile, at the other end of the hemisphere, slate technologies have been discovered in burial sites of the ancient Red Paint (red ochre) People in Maine and Labrador. These artifacts match slate technologies in Scandinavia. The era of conjunction was some 4,000 years ago.(43) Huyghe writes: "The principal deterrent to the notion of historical contact is the widespread belief that ancient man was incapable of making ocean voyages in primitive boats. But there is certainly no doubt that Europeans had oceangoing watercraft quite early. Bronze Age rock carvings in Europe show plank-built ships were sailing Atlantic coastal waters more than 4,000 years ago."(44)
How many people know that the Carthaginians were sending trading ships to North America in the late fourth century B.C.? Throughout the eastern United States, Carthaginian coins from the 325 B.C. era have been discovered near navigable rivers and off the Atlantic coast.(45) Beginning in the late eighteenth century, farmers in New England started digging up hoards of Roman coins.(46)
Few people know that numerous commercial bronze replicas of Assyrian deities have been discovered in Cuenca, Ecuador. The Phoenicians were producing these replicas on Cyprus as early as 600 B.C. Carthage, an offshoot of Phoenecia, exported them to barbarian peoples.(47) We know that after 300 B.C., Carthage began to mint electrum coins: mostly gold, but with some silver. Where did Carthage get the gold? These fake deities in South America are evidence that Carthage imported gold from South America through the sale of these replicas.(48) These trips would also explain where Carthage got the pine lumber for building huge warships(49) until the end of the First Punic War with Rome in 241 B.C.(50) (In that war, 264-41 B.C., Carthage lost 334 of these giant ships.)(51) Barry Fell speculates that before the defeat, they had brought trees as ballast from North America, which is why we discover bronze coins there. They bought lumber from the Indians.(52) After 241 B.C., Carthage concentrated on building her army, not her navy. Carthaginian trade with the Americas ceased.
Roman trade replaced it.(53) Paintings of Roman-Iberian coins appear on cave walls in Arkansas and as far west as Castle Gardens, near Moneta ("money"), Wyoming.(54) There were Iberian-based banks all across North America in the time of Jesus. These contacts continued, and they left traces. "In 1933, an astonished Mexican archeologist excavated a terra-cotta head of a Roman figurine of the third century A.D. from an undisturbed ancient grave sealed under the Calixtlahuaca pyramid, thirty-five miles southwest of Mexico City."(55)
The Carthaginians and Romans were late-comers. The Scandinavians were trading in North America during the Bronze Age, possibly as early as 1700 B.C.(56) -- the era of Joseph in Egypt. A visiting Norwegian sailor-king left an account of one of these visits in what is now called Petroglyph Park in Peterborough, Ontario, in Canada. He had an inscription chiseled into rock, written in a nearly universal alphabet of the ancient world, ogam consaine,(57) and another alphabet, equally universal, Tifinag, an alphabet still employed by the Tuaregs, a Berber tribe in North Africa. The Norse inscription was accompanied by a comment written by an Algonquin Indian scribe in a script common among the pre-Roman Basques, but using a form of the Algonquin language still understood.(58) The inscription was discovered in 1954.(59)
This same Basque script was also employed by the Cree Indians well into the nineteenth century. It was not known to be related to Basque until Fell transliterated into Latin consonants a document written in this "Indian" script. The document had been sent to him by a Basque etymologist who had been unable to decipher it. When it was transliterated, the Basque scholar recognized it as a pre-Roman dialect of the Basque tongue, one which was still in use in the medieval period.(60) Some of the words are virtually the same in both the Algonquin and ancient Basque tongues.(61) (Fell also reads Greek, Latin, German, French, Danish, and Gaelic; he has a working knowledge of Sanskrit, Kufic Arabic, and several Asian and African languages.)(62)
A thousand years before the birth of Jesus, Celtic traders(63) were serving as missionaries in North America, bringing the stories of their gods across the continent: central and Western Canada, and as far south as Nevada and California. The petroglyphs of this era reproduce Norse gods whose names are in ogam.(64) Needless to say, none of this information has moved into college history textbooks. Textbooks include only certain kinds of texts. Textbook authors dismiss all such petroglyph evidence as "forgeries" -- the same way they dismiss the texts of the Bible that challenge their concept of chronology. But this is beginning to change. A few academic specialists are beginning to admit that there is something of value in Fell's work.(65) We can therefore predict the traditional three stages of academic surrender: 1) "It isn't true." 2) "It's true, but so what?" 3) "We always knew it was true." As of the final decade of the twentieth century, we are still in stage one.
If Celtic traders were able bring their gods to North America, so were Jewish traders. God expected them to do this. To some extent, they did, as the Los Lunas stone indicates. But they did not do it on a scale that matched the Celts. The requirement that they return for Passover each year must have inhibited their journeys. This was a barrier to world evangelism. It was a temporary barrier. Israel's old wineskins would inevitably be broken because the geographical boundaries of the Mosaic law would eventually be broken if God's law was obeyed. Population growth would have seen to that. So would the cost of journeying to Jerusalem, especially for international Jewish traders. But even if the Mosaic law was disobeyed, those wineskins would be broken. This is what took place definitively with Jesus' ministry, progressively with the establishment of the church, and finally in A.D. 70.(66) The fire on God's earthly altar was extinguished forever.
When, sixty years later, Bar Kochba revolted, the Romans crushed the revolt in 135. There is a continuing stream of archeological discoveries indicating that some of the survivors fled to Tennessee and Kentucky. An early find in Bat Creek, Tennessee by Smithsonian field assistant John Emmert in 1889 is a five-inch stone inscribed with eight Hebrew characters. The significance of this was denied by the Smithsonian's curator, who claimed this was Cherokee syllabic script. As the saying goes, "Nice try, but no cigar" -- he had read it upside-down. Over half a century later, Hebrew scholars turned it right-side up and discovered these consonants: LYHWD. In the early 1970's, Brandeis University's Hebraicist Cyrus H. Gordon identified the era of the style of these letters: Bar Kochba's. He translated the phrase: "A comet for the Jews," which was a standard phrase during the revolt. Similar coin finds from this era had been made in Kentucky, which Gordon believed had not been faked.(67)
Needless to say, none of this is in the textbooks. Neither will you find a reference to the massive 1,375-page two-volume bibliography Pre-Columbian Contacts with the Americas Across the Oceans, which contains over 5,500 entries.(68) For those of you who want to spend a lifetime following the trails into and out of America, here is the place to start.
Jesus' Liberation Theology: More Net Income
Commentators should not ignore the economic burdens for Israelite covenant-keepers prior to Jesus Christ's liberation of His people. When Jesus substituted the mandatory tithe and voluntary offerings for all of the economic burdens of Israel's sacrificial system, He liberated His people. That the vast majority of Christians have always resented paying the tithe shows that they are rebellious at heart. They regard the liberation of the tithe as a threat to their economic autonomy. Their hoped-for economic autonomy is an extension of their hoped-for moral autonomy. The theology undergirding the familiar slogan, "we're under grace, not law," has delivered them into the hands of the tax collectors. The rapacity of today's tax collectors is on a scale undreamed of by the tyrants of the ancient world. Yet Christians continue to re-elect their masters. They cannot discern the difference between tyranny and liberty. They have rejected the authoritative standard by which to judge the difference: God's revealed law.
I have never seen these economic aspects of Israel's sacrificial system and tithe system discussed by any Bible scholar. This may be because I have not read enough commentaries and academic journals written by higher critics and liberals. I suspect it is because Bible commentators are not trained to think economically.
Contrary to the great Edersheim, who wrote that "the Law seems to regard Israel as intended to be only an agricultural people,"(69) the Mosaic law pressured Israelite families off their farms and into the cities. The eschatological task of filling of the earth is to bring all of nature under man's dominion (Gen. 1:27-28). So was the economic pressure of Mosaic Israel. There should be little doubt that Mosaic laws that dealt with the land, the tribes, and the sacrifices were designed to be temporary. As the population of Israel grew as a result of God's covenantal blessings,(70) the Israelites would have had to move out of the land into the cities, and then out of Israel into the world: away from Jerusalem. The centralized structure of temple sacrifice and worship would have become impossible to maintain. The Mosaic laws governing worship and sacrifice pointed to their annulment: the sooner, the better for a growing, prospering, urbanized population.
The Book of Leviticus is above all the book of holiness. It is the book of boundaries: ethical, familial, tribal, liturgical, cultural, and geographical. It is the book of ownership, property, and sacrifice. It probably is the most difficult book in the Bible to explain, verse by verse. That a commentary devoted only to the economics of Leviticus should be this large testifies to the problem. That mine is the first one ever written on this aspect of Leviticus also testifies to the problem. The commentators have ignored Leviticus for too long. Their prudence has come at a very high price.
Israel was to be a nation of priests (Ex. 19:6). The priests lived and worked in the holy city, just as the Levites lived in walled cities (Lev. 25:32-33). The earth is to be filled by city-dwellers. Nature is to be subdued by the nearby presence of myriads of men: the domestication of nature. To reverse a popular slogan of the ecology movement: "In wildness is the damnation of the world." The people of God are to dwell in the city of God. This does not mean that there should be no gardens in cities. The tree of life is in the midst of the perfect city (Rev. 22:2). But it does mean that the city is fundamental; the garden is supplemental.(71)
The economic pressure on Jews to move from the farm to the city was basic to Levitical law. The closer a man lived to Israel's holy city, the less time he had to spend on the road. If he had to spend time on the road, he might as well become a traveling salesman. The Israelites were pressured economically by the laws of the festivals and the sacrifices to become a nation of traders. The economic laws of Leviticus also pressured the farmers of Israel to move into the cities. The residents of cities were in turn pressured to become international traders. This does not mean that there were to be no Israelite farmers in Israel, but there can be no doubt that the general thrust of the economic incentives under the Mosaic law's system of costs and benefits was to move God's covenant people off the farms and into the cities. They were to become a nation of manufacturers, shopkeepers, traders, and bankers -- an early version of what England became in the nineteenth century. They were also to become a nation of missionaries. If there is a unique thesis found in this commentary, this is it.
* * * * * * * * *
In this book, I refer to laws, case laws, and statutes. Following Rushdoony's lead in Institutes of Biblical Law, I define a biblical case law as a Bible-revealed statute that applies a general principle of biblical law to a specific case. Rushdoony writes that "the law, first, lays down broad and basic principles," but there is also "a second characteristic of Biblical law, namely, that the major portion of the law is case law, i.e., the illustration of the basic principle in terms of specific cases. These specific cases are often illustrations of the extent of the application of the law; that is, by citing a minimal type of case, the necessary jurisdictions of the law are revealed."(72) God has provided us with case laws in advance in the form of legally binding statutes. A case law illustrates a general legal principle, making this principle clearer by making it specific. God, as the sovereign Legislator, is also the sovereign Judge. Thus, biblical laws are simultaneously statute laws and case laws.
This usage does not conform to legal terminology in the United States. The modern humanist legal theorist defines a case law as a judge-made law that serves as a legal precedent. He regards case laws as the products of specific legal disputes, in contrast to statute laws enacted by legislatures. The modern dichotomy between case laws and statute law reflects the dichotomy between humanistic English common law, which floats on legal precedents announced by self-proclaimed autonomous judges, and Continental Europe's humanistic Napoleonic code, which floats on legal enactments announced by self-proclaimed autonomous legislatures.(73) Ultimately, this dichotomy reflects the autonomy in all humanist thought between historical flux and fixed principles of logic: Heraclitus ("all is in flux") vs. Parmenides ("logic is constant"). Neither approach solves the problem of discovering binding fixed principles of law that can be applied to a changing world. The Bible provides this; humanistic law schools do not.(74)
Note: As in previous volumes of this commentary, I capitalize the word State when I refer to the civil government in general. I do not capitalize it when I refer to the intermediate American legal jurisdiction known as the state (e.g., California, Texas, Kansas).
1. See "Holiness," A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, 5 vols. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1900), II, p. 395.
2. Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation, trans. Raymond Bernard Blakney (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1941), p. 232.
3. Richard Maurice Bucke provides extracts of dozens of passages to this effect in the teachings and writings of numerous religious thinkers, from Buddha to Plotinus to the homosexual, nineteenth-century American poet, Walt Whitman. R. M. Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind (New York: Dutton,  1969), Part 4.
4. Aaron Wildavsky, The Nursing Father: Moses as a Political Leader (University, Alabama: University of Alabama, 1984), p. 97. Professor Wildavsky died before I completed this manuscript. I had hoped to send him a copy of the book. He was one of the great conservative academic scholars in this century.
5. R. J. Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity (Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn Press,  1978), p. 42.
6. Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, vol. 3 of The Anchor Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1991), p. 1.
7. Ibid., p. 42.
8. Ibid., p. 46.
9. James B. Jordan, Covenant Sequence in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 8.
10. Ibid., p. 9.
11. Ibid., p. 11.
12. Ibid., p. 8.
13. Ibid., pp. 12-13.
14. The average Israelite family had approximately two children at this stage in the nation's history. The number of adult males had been almost the same when they left Egypt (Num. 1:46; 3:43), which meant they had experienced zero population growth. Stable population growth requires a little over two children per family: 2.1 children -- one male, one female on average (in monogamous societies). This means that Israel had a national population of about 2.4 million people at the time of the conquest. See Gary North, Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion vs. Power Religion (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), pp. 22-25.
15. Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services As They Were in the Time of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans,  1983), p. 261.
16. The feast still promotes unity across judicial boundaries, acknowledged or not: at the communion table.
17. The denominational college or Bible college has long served a similar function: a place for people of the same accent (in the broadest sense: confession and culture) to send their children to meet and marry others who are outside the local church community.
18. The Mosaic law did not specify who would inherit the wife's dowry upon her death. It is easy to imagine that such funds would go to unmarried sons (bride price assets), daughters (dowries), or unmarried grandchildren.
19. Chapter 17.
20. Chapters 15, 17, 25, 30.
21. Edersheim, Temple, p. 379.
22. Chapter 11.
23. Jesus relied on this conclusion in His parable of the good Samaritan on a journey through Israel (Luke 10:30-35), which He offered in response to the lawyer's question: "Who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29).
24. Frederick J. Teggart, Rome and China: A Study of Correlations in Historical Events (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood,  1983). Teggart traced the tight correlation between barbarian invasions in Northern Europe, 58 B.C. to 107 A.D., and 1) Rome's wars on its eastern frontiers and 2) China's wars on its western frontiers. When wars disrupted the silk trade, barbarian invasions soon followed.
25. Barry Fell, Bronze Age America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982).
26. See "Los Lunas Attracts Epigraphers," Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, XII (Aug. 1985), p. 34.
27. Donald Cline, "The Los Lunas Stone," ibid., X:1 (Oct. 1982), p. 69.
28. David Allen Deal, Discovery of Ancient America (Irvine, California: Kherem La Yah, 1984), ch. 1.
29. Barry Fell, "Ancient Punctuation and the Los Lunas Text," Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, XIII (Aug. 1985), p. 35.
30. A photocopy of Pfeiffer's translation appears in Deal, Discovery, p. 10.
31. L. Lyle Underwood, "The Los Lunas Inscription," Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, X:1 (Oct. 1982), p. 58.
32. New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.; Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1982), p. 302.
33. George E. Morehouse, "The Los Lunas Inscriptions[:] A Geological Study," Epigraphic Society Occasional Papers, XIII (Aug. 1985), p. 49.
34. Michael Skupin, "The Los Lunas Errata," ibid., XVIII (1989), p. 251.
35. Charles Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1966).
36. O. Neugebauer and A. Sachs (eds.), Mathematical Cuneiform Texts (New Haven, Connecticut: American Oriental Society, 1945); Neugebauer and Richard A. Parker, Egyptian Astronomical Texts, 3 vols. (Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1960); Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (2nd ed.; Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1957); Livio C. Stecchini, "Astronomical Theory and Historical Data," in The Velikovsky Affair: The Warfare of Science and Scientism, edited by Alfred de Grazia (New Hyde Park, New York: University Books, 1966), pp. 127-70. See also Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An essay on myth and the frame of time (Boston: Gambit, 1969).
37. Fell, Bronze Age America.
38. Patrick Huyghe Columbus was Last (New York: Hyperion, 1992), ch. 2.
39. Ibid., p. 84.
40. Ibid., pp. 86-87. See Paul Tolstoy, "Paper Route," Natural History (June 1991).
41. Ibid., p. 87.
42. Ibid., pp. 87-91. See Gunnar Thompson, Nu Sun (Fresno, California: Pioneer, 1989). Thompson is director of the American Discovery Project at California State University, Fresno.
43. Ibid., pp. 52-54.
44. Ibid., p. 54.
45. Barry Fell, Saga America (New York: Times Books, 1980), pp. 25-26, 62, 64.
46. Ibid., p. 27. Cf. Huyghe, Columbus Was Last, pp. 97-98.
47. Ibid., p. 82.
48. Ibid., p. 85.
49. Quinquiremes: five rowers per oar, 250 rowers, 120 marines plus officers: 400 men per ship. Ibid., p. 75.
50. Ibid., p. 76.
51. Ibid., p. 75.
52. Ibid., p. 86.
53. Ibid., chaps. 6, 7.
54. Ibid., pp. 134-35, 144, 148-49, 159-60.
55. Huyghe, Columbus Was Last, p. 98.
56. Fell, Bronze Age America, ch. 1. The dating is calculated by the zodiac data in the inscription: ch. 5, especially pp. 127, 130.
57. A gift to man from the Gaulish god Ogimos, god of the occult sciences. Ibid., p. 165.
58. Ibid., p. 36. For additional information, see Huyghe, Columbus Was Last, ch. 5.
59. Ibid., p. 39.
60. Ibid., p. 146. Comparisons of the North American Indian script and the ancient Basque script appear on pages 148-49.
61. Ibid., p. 151.
62. Huyghe, Columbus Was Last, p. 59.
63. Fell, Bronze Age America, ch. 14.
64. Ibid., chaps. 7-13.
65. Cf. David H. Kelley, "Proto-Tifinagh and Proto-Ogham in the Americas," Review of Archeology, XI (Spring 1990).
66. David Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987).
67. Huyghe, Columbus Came Last, pp. 98-99. See Cyrus H. Gordon, Before Columbus: Links Between the Old World and Ancient America (New York: Crown, 1971).
68. Provo, Utah: Research Press, 1989. Compiled by John L. Sorenson and Martin H. Raish.
69. Edersheim, Temple, p. 379.
70. North, Moses and Pharaoh, ch. 1: "Population Growth: Tool of Dominion"; Appendix B: "The Demographics of Decline"; North, Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), ch. 29: "The Curse of Zero Growth."
71. Christianity is at war with paganism. "Pagan" means "rustic, villager." Christianity triumphed in the cities of Rome; rural villages resisted. "Pagan," Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1971). Rural people clung to belief in animistic local gods. The public resurrection of occultism in the West after 1965 has been accompanied by the resurrection of earth worship, animism, and a self-consciously pagan environmentalist movement.
72. R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley, New Jersey: Craig Press, 1973), p. 11.
73. Cf. A. V. Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (8th ed.; Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty/Classics,  1982), esp. Chapter 12.
74. For an example of a lawyer who is a Christian and who is still intellectually trapped by the humanist legal categories that he was taught in law school, see David Holford, "Review of Victim's Rights," in Contra Mundum, VIII (Summer 1992), p. 63. Holford's review reveals a Christian professional -- the recipient of a grant of monopoly privilege from the State -- who dismisses biblical scholarship for its failure to conform to his humanist-certified professional standards and definitions. This is almost universal today, which is why serious biblical scholarship is in low supply and even lower demand among Christian intellectuals and would-be intellectuals.
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