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Extra info for Reading the Law: Studies in Honour of Gordon J. Wenham
To put it otherwise, does its picture of Israel, in its relation to Yahweh and the responsibilities it is called to exercise in its social and political life, have relevance beyond itself? The question needs some further clarification at the outset, however. In what sense can we speak of the viewpoint of Leviticus as a thing in itself? In the biblical canon, it is part of the Pentateuch, or Torah, and thus of a narrative which runs from the creation to the point at which Israel stands on the border of its promised land.
Clements, God and Temple. 6-9. 40. G. J. Wenham, "Sanctuary Symbolism in the Garden of Eden Story," in Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1986), 19-25. 41 In a telling moment at the climax of the Day of Atonement ritual, this restricted presence of human beings to God is vividly expressed. The High Priest alone enters the most holy place to "make atonement" for the tabernacle, the holy place and the sins of Israel; and while he is there "no man" is permitted to be in the tabernacle (iTiT Xb C"TK ta, Lev 16:17).
62 The rationale of God's ownership of land is maintained throughout. While Israelites may "sell" themselves to other Israelites as a remedy for poverty (v. 39), this "selling" is analogous to the "selling" of land, as it does not imply the permanent subjugation of the person who serves in this way, nor indeed the status of "slave" ("QU), since Israel is in an "QU-relationship only to God (w. 42, 55). The service given to the fellow Israelite is comparable to the exchange of money, since both illustrate the close relationship between land, labour, produce and value.